I was told when I arrived in Canada this time that you’re not really a Canadian till you’ve held a “stick” in your hands in each season of the year! For over two decades now, the Ryley, Alberta, SDA Church has been hosting an annual hockey tournament. Folks from all over Alberta come for a weekend of spiritual renewal and some Christian hockey. What a rush! This year I was invited to be their Speaker. I spent Friday night and all day Saturday giving presentations. The audience was a mixed crowd of churched folks as well as un-churched, who were there just for the hockey. So we began Friday night unpacking the rational and intelligent reasons for embracing a faith in Jesus Christ. And then we spent all day Saturday taking a close look at what kind of a being Jesus revealed the Father really to be. The result was astounding. Many people made decisions, not only to embrace and follow Jesus, but also to begin seeing our Heavenly Father radically differently from the way they had viewed Him when they first came to the weekend. We ended the talks with a look at Calvary and what it reveals about God’s character of love, His love for us personally, and what it looks like to embrace this kingdom of radical self-sacrificial love and make it the center piece of all we do as Adventist Christians. I could not help but be captivated by the miracles; I saw the truth of God’s character of love accomplished in the hearts of those who attended—once again, in both churched and un-churched alike.
Later that night I was invited to play hockey in their tournament. I am far from being an elegant ice skater to begin with, but I have NEVER played hockey before in my life! The guys were great to play with, and it was great to take God’s kingdom onto the ice. It was hockey as I had never witnessed it before. Sure it was still hockey, but there was a real spirit of brotherhood even between the teams in the tournament. They were just there to have fun, and I must say, I loved it! (I even got to take part in a shoot out! If any hockey fans out there are reading this, you’ll understand what that is. It was a blast.)
Thank you, Ryley, Alberta, for the invitation to come and not only to fellowship with you as we looked at God’s unfathomable love through the lens of our teachings, but also for introducing me to a central piece of Canadian culture.
Good game, eh?
For those who have been praying with us during each weekend event, I will be home this coming weekend, celebrating my oldest daughter’s Birthday.
Love like the sun, love like the rain, and go enlarge the kingdom.