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The Afternoon at OFLO

Good afternoon from OFLO! We had a great time at the service this morning. Many students were praying with each other and the worship was great. I’ll give you full details later:)

For now however here is an interesting picture…I just can’t keep these two off of each other:)

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The students are enjoying a fun afternoon of hanging out at the mall, the hotel and the OFLO complex. We are heading for dinner in two hours…more details later!

Well…..this is my first post of OFLO 2013 and it is already day two. This is not because I am slacking or because we have had a major issue. Rather, its just because things have been sooo busy and I didn’t get back to my room until after midnight last night!

So, let me bring you up to date. The drive up was uneventful. Really. The kids were all quiet. Really. Us leaders are still trying to figure that one out. The biggest piece of news is that someone’s guitar (not our’s) fell off their truck onto the 401….and Mandy ran it over:) No damage to the car, but the guitar will not be functioning as a guitar any longer. RIP.

We checked into our hotel and realized that there were no cots available so we had to juggle the rooms lists a little and get an extra room. No worries, we had everyone settled within 30 minutes and everyone (except Nic W, by his choice) has a bed to sleep in. Nic is sleeping on couch cushions on the floor.

We went to the world’s busiest Wendy’s for dinner and waited almost an hour in line…and then it was off to OFLO!

The speaker last night gave the students a great challenge. His message was rooted in Genesis 2 where Adam and Eve hid from God after they had sinned. He spoke to the students about fear and what that can do in our lives. He reminded us that fear causes shame (like when Adam and Eve sinned) and shame causes us to lash out and blame others (like when Adam blamed the woman for his sin). The speaker reminded the students that the opposite of fear is not faith…rather it is perfect love. Remember the Scripture, “…perfect love casts out all fear”.

The conclusion of the message was a challenge to students to embrace the confidence that comes along with God’s perfect love and to begin to walk away from living in fear of others and fear of ourselves. Many of our students responded to the alter call and prayer time for this! Almost 1000 other students responded to the alter call too….so it took a while:)

These moments in your son’s and daughter’s lives are just beginning moments, they are not ends in themselves. You can help your son or daughter to continue to live out commitments made and decisions made at OFLO by asking them questions about the spiritual content and letting them know that you are there to be their spiritual guide when they need it. That probably sounds a little scary sometimes for you…but just trust that God will give you the wisdom and insight you need for the moment.

So, here we are on Saturday morning! In 15 minutes we head to Tims to grab a quick breakfast and then we are off to OFLO again! I’ll try to sneak another blog post in this afternoon so long as I can find some WiFi.

Oh, BTW, it is Cindy’s 49th birthday today (…at least that is the story I am spreading around:). Wish her a great one:)

Take care,
PN

This afternoon I had the pleasure of officiating my second wedding ceremony since being ordained by the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada in May of 2009. As with my first wedding, my wife was also a bridesmaid and so the experience was all the more special as we shared it together.

The couple that was married (Brandon & Nancy) are great friends of both Mandy and I; the time we spent together doing the pre-marital prep and planning the wedding ceremony were certainly highlights over the past few months.

Since I have only had the opportunity to speak at two weddings I do not have a terrible amount of experience with this; however, both times I have shared thoughts concerning love, marriage, and commitment in the real world. These thoughts have emerged from the Scriptures and have certainly challenged some views of love present in our popular culture. Here are some excerpts of what I shared this afternoon:

 

…The portrait of love as portrayed in the word of God (1 Corinthians 13) seems almost as if it were a fairy tale. Who would not want to be on the receiving end of love like this: love that never get easily angered…love that keeps no record of wrongs…love that always trusts and always perseveres…when we look deeper into this kind of love described in the Scriptures we realize that if we are expecting to receive that quality of love we must also be individuals who give that kind of love; herein lies the problem…

 

…Though Scripture records that it was Eve who was first tempted by the serpent to disobey the only law of their society, Adam did not appear to hold this against her or against their relationship…despite the wrong the Eve had committed – a wrong that would have severe consequences for Adam as well – Adam still protected Eve on the verge of her original sin being confronted…

 

…The words of Saint Peter as recorded in his first book, chapter 4 verse 8, are especially pertinent…Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. There will be days when you will get on each other’s nerves…there have likely already been those days. There will be days when you will say and do things that you will need to apologize for and the other will need to forgive…

 

…Let nothing and no one come between the vows and the bond that you are making today. Do not let yourselves be your own stumbling blocks and continually strive for that perfect ideal of love found in the Scriptures…

 

My prayer is that Brandon and Nancy will have many years of blessings and happiness and that God will grant them the strength and courage to overcome the days when the sun does not shine so that they can be an inspiration to all of those who come after them…and perhaps a few who have gone before.

Congrats guys!