I was in church this past Sunday. I say it like that because I am often unable to be in my home church due to my ministry, where I am speaking somewhere else on Sundays. But today, we were back with our congregation, and it felt so good.

February is missions month at our church, where we get reports from around the world where we are involved. This month we are seeking to raise $250 thousand to support ministries beyond our walls. As I watched and listened to our lead pastor, he shared about the work we are involved with in India. My mind wandered a bit as I thought of how that church in India is also meeting today. Around the world today, and each week, pastors are speaking at 37 million churches.

Pastor Derrick Hamre, CLA Langley

When people think about pastors, often the picture of a quiet and reserved person comes to mind. But what many don’t realize is that pastors work tirelessly behind the scenes preparing sermons and messages every week. Millions of pastors – men and women – stand in front of their congregations each Sunday, providing words of hope, help, healing, inspiration, and life-changing messages from the Bible.

Just imagine – pastors have to keep up with current events and use them as examples for their messages; they research sound theological insights, all while finding time to practice before presenting these sermons, attending meetings, visiting and leading teams! It’s no wonder pastors can become exhausted after preaching week after week.

As churchgoers, we should be more mindful and thankful for pastors who dedicate their lives to sharing the gospel. Speaking in front of a large crowd is just as terrifying as rewarding. Let’s take the time to thank pastors for giving us hope and inspiring us week after week! They deserve our deep appreciation and respect for all the hard work they put into each sermon.

Delivering the sermon is not the goal each Sunday. “Only half of the pastor’s work is to gather the people together for worship. The other half is to send them back to their daily tasks equipped to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. If we forget this second part, the other can be positively dangerous.” – Leslie Newbigin

Let’s show pastors some much-needed love and gratitude by taking a moment out of our day to say “thank you”. After all, pastors are essential in keeping up the spiritual momentum that leads us closer to God – which really is lifegiving! You may be at a church with more than one pastor in which case we should also reach out to the entire team with appreciation. A small word, or note of encouragement goes a long way.

So next time you hear a pastor speak at church, remember how incredible they are and offer a prayer of thanks to God for them.

Thank you, pastors, for all that you do – may God bless you.

Doppelgängers and Recognition


The TV sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” has popularized the use of the word “Doppelgänger” as a term to describe finding a ‘double,’ an erie but awesome look alike. It is a word that causes you to use both lips and tongue to say it aloud and makes you want to smile just saying it. The TV sitcom uses it to describe finding a look alike of their friends such as Vancouver actress Cobie Smulders who plays television reporter Robin Scherbatsky, also a Canadian. Take for example Cobie Smulder (Robin), Kirstie – my son’s girlfriend, and Meghan Fox. Given the right hairstyle and pose – very similar.


In my travels I frequently come across strangers who look like someone I know. Over the years have used these occurences as a prompt to pray for my friends. Now I have  name for it. I have recently expanded my travel game to include taking a photo of the doppelgänger and then sending it to my friend with the location of where I am at the time and a note to say that I paused to pray for them.

Doppleganger David

Recently I noticed a fellow in the balcony of a church in New York that looked like my friend David – and I paused to pray for him.

In an airport I saw a fellow that reminded me of my friend Eli Hernadez so I also offered up a prayer for him. (Interestingly I received a Blackberry message from him just minutes later.)

This little reminder to pray has increased my intercession for others – and it is fun. Try it.



I knocked on the door then opened it announcing my arrival with “Hello” with the ‘..lo’ drawn out and sounding musical.

“Gampa.Gampa” came squeals of delight accompanied by the sound of feet running towards me. My two ‘walking’ grandsons, Landon (3) and Liam (1) rushed towards me. Landon imitating the moves of a hockey player with his socks sliding on the wood floor and Liam walking carefully – trying not to smile so broadly that his soother would fall out – with his arms upheld . This is the universal sign language for ‘pick me up and hug me Grandpa’.

Simply the sound of my voice was enough recognition for us to embrace in this little love-fest at the door.

Don’t we love being recognized by those who love us?


Recognized By Your Love

“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” —John 13:35

This was the test Jesus said would distinguish his followers. We would be recognized by our love for one another. The Bible gets more specific on the ‘love’ we are to show.  To present or show this ‘love’ succinctly we are instructed  “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

Howard Lawrence and I had a chance to hang out together in Phoenix and I enjoyed discussing neighborhoods. He is an Arrow leader who directs the Neighbourhood Life emphasis of Forge particularly attending to what God is up to in our neighborhoods.

Who is your neighbor?

The word comes to us from an old english term, nēahgebūr – from nēah [nigh, near] + gebūr [inhabitant]. There is no way of dodging the fact that if you are a follower of Jesus you should be known by your love, and we must be engaged in loving those who live near you.

In our developing of leaders in the Arrow Leadership Program we remind them of this need for recognition by love, and add that our ‘first neighbor’ is actually your family – spouse and children, parents, siblings, nieces, nephews – and of course grandchildren.

Howard and I reflected on how the actions and expectations of ‘the church’ frequently mitigate against our doing just that.  It has left me reflecting on how Arrow might encourage Christian leaders to engage their personal communities and empower those they influence to do the same. A key to this being successful is that those who engage their neighbors are spiritually formed by Christ – mature and transparent enough to handle the love.

What do you think? I’d like reading your thoughts.

Would your neighbors say that you are a doppelgänger for Jesus?