Sep 28 2012

And they’re off . . . again . . . a “thank you”

Yes, admittedly I’ve fallen off the blog wagon lately.  But now I’m back, and I’ve got a good reason to write today.

Earlier this morning my family piled into the car and headed to the airport to see off our new friends from Eagles Landing FBC.  With hugs and high fives we said goodbye to the three couples who have spent the last week looking for ways to serve Celebration! Church.

They shared experience and perspective at the couple’s night out in Carleton Place, at the Women’s Seeds event in Barrhaven, the worshipped with us at our Sunday service, they prayer walked on campus and spoke with some students, they poured into our !group leaders at two different meetings, and they lent a hand with some handy-work and cleanup at a couple local C!C peeps’ residences.  In addition to all of that, they just flat out genuinely loved on people every chance they got.

As both recipient and witness to these acts of selfless service, I’ve found myself immensely encouraged and fueled up.  I am more eager to pour myself out in love and service to my “neighbour”.  I’m also praying that the example of Christian maturity and obedience that the team exhibited would rub off on my C!C brothers and sisters.  I’m hoping that we’ll continue to grow as individual disciples and as a faith family to more fully experience the beauty of Christian community AND to be a “city on a hill” to the world around us.

So THANK YOU, Eagles Landing Team . . . and C!C family, let’s love deeply, serve thoroughly, and shine brightly!

Jul 6 2012

And they’re off …


Here I am, back at the computer after my smartphone reminded me that it’s time to consider my weekly blog entry.  Before plopping here in my desk chair, I was at Starbucks, sipping an iced coffee and filling notebook pages with thoughts about Luke chapter 10.  Before that I was dropping Zach at his place, and just before THAT I was standing in the Ottawa airport saying goodbye to a dozen wonderful people who gave the last week of their lives to diligently serve a neighbourhood in Ottawa, to favourably represent C!C, and to prayerfully advance the Kingdom of God.

I’m not going to spend very much time here because, quite frankly, there is too much to do to get ready for our first Sunday morning service in our new room.  But I wanted to record a brief sentiment of my appreciation for the crew from Eagle’s Landing FBC.

Some brief highlights:

  • I was deeply encouraged by the contrast of how young the team was and yet how mature and disciplined they were.
  • I appreciated their honesty in sharing their hopes and expectations for the week.
  • As is often the case in missions and ministry, flexibility (with a good attitude) is a major necessity . . . and the team owned it.
  • The team showed great boldness in having purposeful conversations without being “weird” or pushy.
  • I felt honoured by the grace the team showed me and my family, whether it was by helping watch the kids or not giving me a hard time through “intentional misdirections” in and surrounding Montreal.
  • One aspect of the team that was abundantly clear throughout their time and interactions with people and each other was that they simply loved Jesus . . . and they felt loved by Him.  This made them an absolute treat to be around.

So as I get back to work on the next round of tasks and calendar items, I’ll end with:

Thank you Eagle’s Landing Team, Thank You.  And Praise the Lord, for He is good, His love endures forever.

May 25 2012

New friends, New strides

This day two weeks ago, I was literally jumping into the car in order to race to the airport and pick up Zach Welliver, arriving fresh from Atlanta, Georgia.  Now,  I dropped him off at bus stops and he runs a couple errands before busing across the city to where he’s staying.  He’s set up his headquarters at his house; he’s getting a feel for the city; and he’s initiating toward some C!C peeps.  Awesome?  Yeah.

This past two weeks I’ve enjoyed getting to know more about Zach: the person, the intern, the musician, the young man with a heart for people to know God and experience Him through authentic, sincere, passionate worship.

Here are a couple of things I like most so far:

– He’s laid back and doesn’t get stressed while hanging out with my kids
– He doesn’t like mushrooms on his pizza
– We like similar books
– We like similar music
– He has a healthy intimidation and excitement at working in a church other than what he’s known his whole life
– He is really eager to help our band and band members become better worshippers, better disciples, and a better band

Yeah, so I’ll stop there.  But I’ll end with inviting everyone at C!C to pray for Zach, reach out to him in friendship, and to look for ways to encourage the ministry that God leads him to while in Ottawa.

Jan 18 2012

little bit of everywhere

Hey friends.

I thought I’d just give a quick check in in regards to the Byers family travels on behalf of Celebration! Church.

Having been away from Ottawa a total of 4 weeks now, here’s a bit of what we’ve been up to.  We’ve been thoroughly blessed to tell the stories of how God as moved and is moving among us, and in so doing, we’ve been constantly reminded of you all.  We love you dearly!

Dec. 24/25 … Christmas with our families — a special time that we cherished being able to have.

Dec. 27 … Meeting in Cumming, GA with the Groover family, who we went to university with and who just finished a job at a church in South Carolina as family pastor.  We also met a family in that city who we had been in contact with in Ottawa; their son plays for a Junior hockey team in Ottawa, and hopes to connect with C!C.

Dec. 28 … Meeting with the Tyndall family in Suwanee, GA, who joined our support team after Carrie was the 2nd grade teacher of their daughter (who is now in high school!)

Dec. 29 … Meeting with the Thaxtons in Ackworth, GA.  This family is one of dearest and closest friends.  Sharing together and having our kids play together was wonderfully refueling, especially as we shared about C!C.

Dec. 31 – Jan. 6 … Week of Passion 2012 with Emily, David, Ryan and Andrew (and the ELFBC crew).  What a great time was had by all as we learned more about each other while exploring our callings and being fed by high caliber Christian teachers and leaders!

Jan. 8 … Preaching at Sweetwater Church, Lawrenceville, GA.  If you attended the C!C service on the 8th, you saw firsthand the sermon and the connection between these two likeminded churches.

Jan. 10 … Riggins family in Lawrenceville, GA.  This family has known us since before we were married, and Mike introduced us to the missions program that helped us get to Canada.  As well, he was our initial contact point to Eagle’s Landing First Baptist.  This family has been a wonderful supporter of C!C in lots of ways.

Jan. 11 … Anderson family in Marietta, GA.  This couple has been dear friends of ours since university, has faithfully supported us and has been right beside us whether on the frisbee field or prepping for the mission field.  They have huge hearts for the Lord, and after trying for a long time, are now expecting their first child!

Jan. 13 … Lunch with the Harrisons in Lawrenceville, GA.  This lovely couple owns their own business and faithfully support a number of missionaries all over the globe.  They currently attend a church of mostly college students and young adults and offered some interesting, encouraging perspectives on being the “older folks” in the church.  Then, we had dinner with the Pascuals in Stone Mountain, GA.  I served on a ministry team with Jonathan while in university, and shared a deep appreciation for missions and church planting.  Jonathan, his wife Sarah, and their daughter Roary just received news that they’re approved to adopt a set of 3yr old twins from Uganda!  In addition, in Atlanta, they’re working with a core group of believers to start a specialty coffee shop in conjunction with planting a new church . . . cool, huh!?!

Jan. 14 … Byers Open House.  My parents opened up there home for a drop in visitation time for friends and family.  Among the guests were a number of family members who had never met Lillie or Hannah!  It was such a blessing, not only to share our ministry and some of your stories, but also to see our children warm up to our extended relatives and enjoy the gift of family.

Jan. 15 … Lead the music worship at Sweetwater Church.  It is always a joy to serve with fellow believers and jointly commit our lives in obedience.  I am excited about the future plans of this modest group of Christians as they strive to move effectively reach others with the Gospel.

Jan. 15 – 17 … Camping in North Georgia Mountains.  Below zero temperatures didn’t stop my brother and I from braving the outdoors for a much needed break.  Camping, hiking, and fishing (including a yummy 18 inch trout) rounded out this special quality time with my brother whom I don’t get to spend much time with.  I was thankful for the time with him and especially for the time outdoors to pray and experience God is a fresh way.

And the adventures continue!

I’m signing off for now, but as I do, know that I’m praying for C!C and all my friends north AND south of the border.

Jan 10 2012

“Top 10″ for Passion week 2012

Hey everybody!  Last week was the profound privilege of attending Passion 2012 in Atlanta with four C!C students, my lovely wife Carrie, our newest baby Hannah, some friends from Eagles Landing First Baptist Church, . . . oh, and over 40,000 other people who love Jesus.

It was a wonderfully busy week full of fun, surprises, challenges, and encouragement in our Journey with Christ.  Among the melee of experiences, here’s my “top ten” from the entire week (in no particular order).

10.  Repeatedly getting separated from Carrie/Hannah and thus having to go through security with a diaper bag and no baby . . . oh, the strange looks.

9.  JW Marriot.  Oh, thank you Lord for fancy hotel beds and stellar pillows to help my body recuperate!

8.  New songs.  Singing songs of surrender, freedom and victory alongside tens of thousands of fellow worshippers, led by the likes of Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, David Crowder, Charlie Hall, and more!

7.  Giving in support of ending modern day slavery . . . total money raised was over $3 million!!!  In honour of C!C’s heart on this issue, we wrote the names of everyone we could remember from C!C on a pair of shorts to be a part of the monument for freedom!

6.  Seeing Emily, Andrew, David and Ryan blessed by the great Christian community at the conference and with the ELFBC folks.

5.  Meeting none other than Hank Aaron during our tour of Turner Field.  If you don’t know who Hank Aaron is . . . shame on you — go Google it.

4.  Best of the best:  only at Passion could you listen to Lecrae followed by John Piper.  That’s like awesomeness topped with fantabulastic!

3.  Feeling conviction, courage, and hope for being more purposeful in sharing Jesus with my physical neighbours.

2.  Riding public transit with dozens of pals, including our new friends from Casting Crowns . . . way to go MARTA.

1.  Connecting with the story in 1Samuel 14, and praying that C!C would have the spirit of Jonathan and his armor bearer to go fight even if we’re the only ones . . . then, Lord willing, that our victory would awaken other believers to follow in the battle and that Ottawa would be won for Christ.