We had a great evening on Thursday (Nov 30), at the Lift Ottawa Christmas Cafe.
Although the weather looked frightful, we had a full house of wonderful women. As a team, we each shared about our favourite Christmas fragrances and how we notice them over this season. Moreover, how these fragrances point us to time with Jesus. In all of this, we are encouraged to continue to “walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” The beautiful fragrance of Jesus.
Great conversation, laughter, thoughtful moments and beautiful women.
We shared a Christmas blessing that we are praying this season:
(based on Blessings from Susie Larson)
May you recapture the wonder and the awe of this season.
YOU are someone Jesus loves, profoundly so.
You are someone He sings over, delights in, and plans for.
May you marvel that He came to earth to save you, restore you, and use you in ways that are beyond what you’ve ever imagined. May you take time to notice Him in the small sacred spaces of life. He’s there. He invites you. May a heaven-breathed wonder fill your lungs today.
Look around and give thanks for the everyday provisions you’d miss if they went away tomorrow. May you be present and be still in the middle of activities and recognize His presence.
May you hear what God is speaking to you through what you see, hear and observe. May God give you the ability to be quiet inside when there is busyness all around. May He open your eyes to see those who need special touch, a kind word or a special prayer. May you slow down long enough to take in the sights, scents, and simple joys of this season.
You’re more loved than you can fathom and more blessed than you know.
Take a deep breath, exhale, and enjoy your holiday.
May you remember today – above all else – that the One who puts the stars in place greatly delights in you. He is strong and powerful and gentle and true. And may your Christmas season be filled with sacred moments that remind you just how precious you are to Him! You are so dear to His heart.
(you can sign up for daily blessings by Susie Larson on her website, www.susielarson.com)
At the end of February 2017, my wife Susan and I sent out a note that we never thought we would send out to family and friends. For 20+ years we have sought to serve the Lord faithfully through thick and thin. Sure we had some nasty scars and were weary over the years but we had always come through. All that changed back in February when I landed in a Hamilton ER. At 45, I entered with all the signs of a heart attack and lay on a bed hooked up to machines with tears streaming down my face contemplating my own mortality. It is true that your life does flash before your eyes and what is truly important is brought into focus. Through months of testing and visits with cardiologists, it has been determined that my heart is incredibly healthy and that what I encountered that cold February morning was an extreme panic attack for the first time in my life.
In the moment, this came as an incredibly shock to my wife and I and yet, upon further reflection, it shouldn’t have. As we processed it all, we missed a number of signs over the past 24 months of ministry that we believe were there as warning signs. These warning signs included things such as not achieving a full nights sleep for over a year, growing stomach issues, inability to make decisions (and I’m a decision maker), emotional emptiness, growing discontentment with the church and the list could go on. Far too often my wife would find me staring into space and completely disconnected from my family and reality around me. But, per my personality, I tried to push through it and by God’s grace (yes we see it now as God’s grace) it landed me in the ER that fateful February morning. Although we didn’t have the financial resources to do so, my wife and I took a step of faith and made the decision to take a Sabbatical and step back from ministry to rest emotionally, physically and spiritually. If you’ve read this far, I would encourage you to take some time to read a bit further and celebrate with us some of what God did in these three areas through this season of rest and reflection. Rejoice with us and consider what God may be saying to you. We want our story to be a testimony and a help to others as we now believe that this pause was a grace filled transformative moment in the halftime season of our lives with the best years of ministry yet to come.
THE FAITHFULNESS OF GOD AND HIS PEOPLE!
We would be remiss to not begin with a word of praise! In complete transparency, we must confess that we were feeling quite discouraged with the Body of Christ as we entered 2017. But God also knew that. He never gives up on His children and used many brothers and sisters in Christ to remind us how beautiful the Body of Christ is when functioning and walking in love and obedience. There was a season where we would excitedly go to our mailbox to see how God was going to work on that particular day. From the many kind notes, cards and financial gifts, we experienced afresh the love of God through His people. It was a wonderful gift to be reminded that it is God who provides for all of our needs. We, as pastors, can lose sight of that as we become so fearful of losing our “job” within any given church that we end up pushing on in dysfunction. How sweet it has been to live by faith and experience our faithful God. How sweet to fall in love again with His church as we experienced His love through them.
WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED AND EXPERIENCED!
We have affectionately come to call this season in our lives “Halftime” (taken from the book/movement of the same name started by Bob Buford). In this forced pause that started in a Hamilton ER, we have considered in a very real way our own mortality and the days we have left. We are grateful God has revealed much to us on an emotional, physical and spiritual level.
Emotionally, I (Tim) did not realize how empty my tank was. The pressures of ministry, along with my own personality, left me carrying a weight that only God could carry. Through the help of a godly executive life coach, I’ve learned once again how God has gifted and wired me. I have been encouraged to celebrate the incredible strengths I have been entrusted with to impact His kingdom. But in this, I’ve also learned that strengths have balconies (a positive side to them) and basements (detrimental side) and how I must be careful to function on the balcony side of my strengths. This requires discipline and a careful alignment of all I do to my personal values. Here in the Halftime, I am grateful for the refilling of my emotional tank as I’ve taken Sabbath rest.
Physically, we learned first hand the dangers of living for far too long on adrenaline without proper diet, sleep, exercise and weekly Sabbath rest. The pressure to “perform” well in ministry (this includes both internal and external pressures) led me to not leading myself well. So when the crash came and doctor’s appointments followed, we were reminded how important sleep; diet, exercise and rest are to a well-balanced life especially in this “halftime” season. My ability to just go and go and feed the workaholic tendencies I have was not sustainable. We are thankful that after many tests and appointments, I am feeling healthier and stronger than I have in over a decade. I have some new eating; sleeping and exercising routines which I have worked slowly towards over months which has provided me with the needed physical refreshment my body and mind were craving so deeply. I have also learned the importance of saying “No” to many things in order to pursue the best God has for me.
Spiritually, we have been reminded of God’s grace and faithfulness towards His children. We are grateful that certain spiritual disciplines sustained us, but we believe the biggest thing God has restored unto us spiritually is “joy” in the journey. Ministry and life had become nothing more than duty to us and the value of walking in Christ’s joy as those who have been redeemed has been found once again. This was experienced as we found balance in some of the areas noted above. We are learning to daily celebrate His faithful activity in our lives and not miss the gifts of grace that come as the gospel of Jesus takes root in our hearts.
FINAL THOUGHTS – THE GIFT!
Although this season came unexpectedly, we will forever see it as a gift from God. It has been incredibly humbling at times and I’ve struggled with both the internal and external pressures pastors face to not show weakness. So please keep praying for us as we settle back into full time ministry trying to self lead well within the healthy boundaries established over the past number of months. We have embraced His process in our lives and give thanks for the journey ahead!
Finally, we want to speak to our fellow ministry leaders and church boards. For those pastoral couples that may be feeling all alone in their suffering, we want you to know that we are here for you as well! The beauty of this journey is that we get to do it together as brothers and sisters in Christ. If some of what we have learned in this season can be used to encourage you, reach out as we would consider ourselves blessed to journey with you. To church boards and those who sit in the pews who may be reading this, understand that there are unique pressures associated with being a pastor. The spiritual battle is very real and what your pastor needs is to know that they are loved and that their well-being is important to you. One way this can be shown is to build in times of regular Sabbath rest into your hiring practices in order to show you care and to encourage healthy pastors.
Tim and Susan Auld
2 Timothy 4:6-8, John 15:11, 17:3
Jennifer is passionate about working with leaders who yearn to live today what they want to be remembered for tomorrow. She is skilled at helping leaders reflect and take stock, to look forward, to dream and to develop the insights required to transform their legacy from “success” to “significance”.
With over 25 years of experience in marketplace leadership and executive coaching, Jennifer has also served many ministry and church leaders as well as para church ministries including her role as a faculty member for Arrow Leadership Ministries. She is a Master Certified Coach and faculty member with the Halftime Institute in Dallas, TX and in 2017 launched Halftime Canada.
Jennifer holds an MBA from the University of Western Ontario and is a graduate of the Education for Ministry (EfM) program.
Married to Paul, a successful entrepreneur, and she is the proud mother her son Scott. Jennifer is an avid skier and enjoys exploring the world with her family and her friends.
Her initial responsibilities with Yield Ottawa will be to introduce Halftime Canada, a partnership between the Halftime Institute and One Way Ministries, to enhance Yield Ottawa’s ministry offerings to workplace leaders.
Yield Ottawa is an initiative of One Way Ministries. It strives to provide safe spaces where workplace leaders gather to pursue God’s purpose for their lives and workplace ministry. We facilitate their journey by:
- Strengthening their intimacy with Jesus
- Encouraging connections and friendships with other workplace leaders
- Presenting ways to discern, refine and live out their calling
- Promoting God’s principles for healthy marriages, bodies, relationships and minds
Please join us in welcoming Jennifer to the One Way team. You can email her by clicking here.
What’s Happening with Gerry Organ?
As we enter into our 21st year of ministry in Ottawa, I wanted to take a few moments to share our highlights from 2016 with you and some of the things we are looking forward to next year.
First of all, let me start by saying how encouraged we are as we look back on 2016. We see evidence of the Lord at work across our city in many different ways. In addition, I continue to say that our team at One Way is one of the best I’ve worked with. We pray well together, work hard and have our share of fun.
Our Year in Review
There were many highlights from 2016, some include the following:
Big Rocks for 2017
Much of our ministry is ongoing; I won’t mention all of them. But, here are some of the bigger rocks that I think are important and worth noting:
20 Years!! We are working towards a 20-year celebration and fund-raising event on February 16th. Watch for details to come.
We are so grateful to those of you who support us in prayer and with financial gifts. I hope you can see that your investments are bearing fruit.
Please consider us as you are making any year-end donations. As a ministry we depend on financial partners and simply would not exist without them.
You can choose our general fund or one of our projects or staff members who raise their own financial support.
May the Lord bless you as you abide in Him in 2017.
Financial Support and One Way Ministries
One Way Ministries relies on funding and donations from committed individuals who believe in the vision of walking together for greater impact.
We have several One Way Ministries team members that raise their financial support – Doug Sprunt (Link Ottawa), Richard Long (Love Ottawa) and Sarah Jackson (Pray Ottawa), and we also raise funds for our General Operating Fund for One Way Ministries and Love Ottawa. One time gifts are welcome. You can also donate to one of our Love Ottawa team efforts through the options given below.
There are several giving options:
1. Call the One Way Ministries office at 613-225-0210 to arrange an immediate donation via your credit card or to set up a monthly contribution by automatic withdrawal.
2. To donate online, click the Canada Helps button to the right. It will bring you to the One Way Ministries page, where you can specify General fund, “Love Ottawa” or one of our other teams. You make the selection of where to apply the gift under “Apply your donation…”, and there is a drop down menu of our teams. You can also leave a message with more information. On the page, there are thumbnail pictures of our teams.
3. Cheques should be made out to “One Way Ministries.” Please make a separate note specifying General Fund or the intended project (such as the support of Richard Long, Sarah Jackson, Doug Sprunt or one of our Love Ottawa teams.)
Mail to 89 Auriga Dr., Ottawa, Ontario, K2E 7Z2.
Tax receipts will be issued at the end of the year.
Thank you for your faithful support of One Way Ministries!
What an amazing day! Saturday, June 4, 2016!
One Way Ministries and Love Ottawa were privileged to be a part of this great ministry to the city of Ottawa and the Ottawa Valley. The Lord blessed us with perfect weather…it couldn’t have been better. Personally, I was so honoured to be on the planning committee to see the enthusiastic team, coming from several different denominations, work together showing God’s love to our communities.
That Saturday, we ended up with 66 churches participating…14 more than 2015! A 25% increase! Praise the Lord!
It was such a joy to travel around to several of the churches in the city to see how everyone had caught the spirit of The Big Give – to give with no strings attached – and to see the people flooding in to find those items that they need to help them furnish their homes, cloth themselves or their children, find fun toys or to enjoy a great BBQ. We’ve heard so many stories of people who are new to Canada and had nothing. To be given the chance to find some essential needs and for it all to be free!!!!, they couldn’t believe the generosity shown by churches of our region!
My personal highlight was arriving at a school where four churches (three different denominations) co-hosted their Big Give event. What a wonderful feeling it was to see this happening. Plus, to top it off, we were thoroughly entertained by this very talented choir made up of people from the four churches! Awesome!
Also very exciting are the reports coming in from volunteers who participated in their churches’ event. Here are some of the great things we heard…
- “…a bunch of my volunteers, in the category of “never did anything like this before” are talking about next year!!”
- “(our church)’s participation in The Big Give was fabulous. We gave away over 100 bagged lunches in Lowertown and we blessed people in Laundromats by paying for their laundry…”
- “I had the opportunity to volunteer yesterday and it was an amazing thing. A big thank-you to you and the organizing team as well as the leaders on the ground and other volunteers. I enjoyed it thoroughly and hope to be part of it next year.”
We are so looking forward to June 3, 2017, while celebrating Canada’s 150 Birthday, praying that many more churches will see the great benefits to being involved in this unbelievable experience. Not just in Ottawa, but also in many others cities and communities.
Click here to learn more about The Big Give.