A Look Back: A Look Ahead

This past year saw the vision for Threshold House take flight. After a slow and halting start plagued by renovations setbacks and Covid 19 this fall prayers saw answers and things started coming together. Now as we stand on the threshold of a new year we have four new resident with four or five applications in process.

We have added two new staff members. Steve came to us all the way from British Columbia. He has a wealth of experience in the ‘world of recovery’ which includes his own discovery of recovery through Christ. He has brought knowledge and enthusiasm to the ministry. He works daily with the men of Threshold House providing programing, oversight, and counsel. Jeff came to us this fall and is now the Night Proctor. He is excited about taking further education with a view to full-time ministry in the future. The addition of these positions increases our financial commitment. Threshold Ministries has agreed to assist us as we grow Threshold House solidify its financial standing.

Threshold Ministries is looking to import a discipleship/evangelism training program and we look forward to this becoming a regular component for Threshold House residents. We see this as an exciting opportunity to advance our vision of equipping a releasing those who have discovered hope to be ‘givers of hope.’ Steve and a former resident a graduate of Threshold House are taking the current program ‘Envoy’.

Christmas Eve the residents hosted eleven visitors who were lonely or struggling. It was a wonderful opportunity to further develop the outreach ministry of the house. We had planned a Threshold House family Christmas dinner and though I was sick and could not make it the guys cooked a wonderful meal and celebrated together.

The year ends on a melancholy note. Yesterday would have been my son’s wedding anniversary. Instead, it marked three months since her death. I was personally reminded of how sad this ‘festive’ season can be for many. God has been good though. It has been wonderful to see an outpouring of love and support for our hurting son. Years ago, with the death of our first boy we learned that life is not fair. It is not right to bury our children. It seems much more natural that they bury us! It is painful to watch helplessly as wave after wave of grief crashes over our son. We do not, though, mourn like those who have no hope! We look forward to death losing its sting more and more over the new year and years to come until finally at the Return of Christ, death will be swallowed up in Victory, and things put right once and for all.

We cross the threshold of 2023 with a lot of hope. I look forward to penning some wonderful news of what God is doing at Threshold House and in the lives and ministries of our residents. I wish you all a blessed and hope filled year.

Generous Gift Giving

Giving is a richly rewarding practise. Our giving has changed over the years. We used to run up our visa bill to purchase toys and gifts for our children. They have grown and we are also better stewards, and do not ring up more debt. One year we had a very ‘modest’ Christmas as we were saving to send our daughter on a mission trip to Mexico. We called that Christmas “Have Yourself a Mariachi Christmas” we made presents for one another. It was quite fun and some of those gifts remain as personal treasures. We stopped buying and mailing a lot of Christmas cards instead we buy livestock for third world families and tell our friends we do it in their names.

We often know Christmas as the ‘Season of Giving’ and rightfully so. A letter from Dr. Charles Stanley highlighted this for me as he listed gifts and gift givers associated with the season.

  • Mary gave her physical body and reputation (Luke 1:26-38)
  • Joseph gave protection and provision (Matt. 1:18-25)
  • Caesar Augusts gave a decree (Luke 2:1-7)
  • The angel gave an announcement (Luke 2:8-14)
  • The shepherds gave their testimony (Luke 2:15-20)
  • The Magi gave their gifts (Matt. 2:1-11)
  • God gave His only begotten Son (John3:16)
  • Jesus gave His life (Matt.20:28

We see in these scriptures a picture of lavish generosity and such generosity stirs us to follow in kind and in kindness! None of the wondrous gifts listed above came from Amazon or via Visa but were costly, nevertheless. Self-sacrifice has seemingly gone out of fashion in our culture, but it is at the very heart of the counter-cultural life to which God calls us.

Years ago, I preached a sermon “It is Better to Receive Than Give.” In that message I emphasized John 1:12 “But to as many as received Him He gave the power to become the children of God.” God’s wonderful gift of a Saviour needs to be received! Once we have apprehended this abundant salvation we join the ranks of the generous.

Praise Reports

This week we travelled to Teen Challenge to meet two applicants. It was so heart warming to hear their stories of God’s love and mercy. One of the guys will join us at Threshold House in January. This is exciting because we already have another fellow coming at that time and we have found it is a great advantage to have two starting at the same time. The other fellow was also quite impressive though he has not been a Teen Challenge for long and so we are going to stay in contact and look forward to future prospects.

Someone is donating a turkey so on the 23rd we are going to celebrate our own Christmas Threshold House Family Christmas.

We have an agreement with our parent organization Threshold Ministries which enables us to continue to grow in a sustainable way.

We are grateful to all our prayer and financial supporters for their generosity. God is Good!

Faithful God Fruitful Lives

Today during our ‘chapel time’ I shared about the importance of telling our testimony so that it is God centred rather than ego centred. I encouraged the guys sitting around the table, to discover what attribute of God they have experienced. It is the God of that attribute that we can then recommend in our testimony. Today I am thinking about the utter faithfulness of God. This week I began my 70th journey around the sun and as I reflect upon the past 69 years I see the fingerprints of a faithful God over all of my life. Through tragedy and triumph God’s unchanging loving presence is evident. Through pain and trial and joys alike, God has been true. His Word promises that God will never leave or forsake me. I have certainly not always been as true, but my failures and faults only prove God’s faithfulness. We are all searching for that kind of unconditional tenacious love and the only place I have found it is in relationship with God, through Jesus.

I left the guys with the homework of journalling and praying about aspects of God that they could personally recommend. We will work together at creating organic ways to share the story of their experience with God.

This is exercise is in alignment with our goal. We seek to enable men who have discovered hope in Jesus, to become effective in sharing that hope with others.

I confess I have missed this type of equipping. I always get such a wonderful ‘charge’ out of seeing people loosed in personal evangelism!

It is as we are successful in this aspect that we can be successful in the larger goal of taking the Good News to the wider community, that so desperately needs to experience the God who has such attractive attributes.

It was such fun this week as Linda, and I joined the gang for the morning check in. When it came my time to share the things I was grateful for, I was filled with gratitude that that moment was illustrative of the original vision. Years ago, we began to pray and then several years ago we ‘stepped out’ to begin Threshold House. Through times of Covid and struggle we persisted and that morning I had a glimpse of the fruit of God’s faithfulness, as the table was crowded, and God’s goodness was evident in every life!

We are looking forward to a time of celebration and service over the coming weeks. We want to host those who are lonely, hurting, or just at loose ends, over the Christmas New Years time. We will have hot beverages and festive snacks as well as warm fellowship for anyone who drops by.

During the winter much of our world stops growing, under a blanket of snow, but we are looking for a winter of growth. We are looking forward to a new resident next month and will be talking to other applicants in the weeks ahead. It is our prayer that we see a dozen residents by spring. We also anticipate growth in each individual’s life. Already we have witnessed wonderful transformation in guy’s lives!

Please pray with us. God is faithful.

Meekness & Hope

This week, I was reminded of a past theme, “We can all use a little hope!”  A local church is going to donate a part of its Christmas offering to support Threshold House. In looking for a ‘blurb’ about us to include in announcements it was suggested that they might include the following.

Much of the information is out of date and my good friend ‘Big Donnie’ passed away a few years ago but the idea that we can all use a little hope, continues to resonate. I no longer get to hang out with Don, but God continues to bring people into my sphere, especially now with the men of Threshold House.

In the last few weeks, it has been marvellous to see the positive changes happening in guys’ lives. As we share check ins I see it, as we sit around our chapel table and discuss God’s word and pray, I see it.

Today we looked at Matthew 5:5 and the benefits of meekness. For any of us who are seeking to ‘overcome’ or to become more like our Saviour, meekness is a key! Surrender counterintuitively is the means of freedom. Family (Kingdom) resemblance grows as we humbly submit to God and God’s will for our lives. To be an inheritor we first need to be in relationship with God. It is a general rule that strangers do not inherit. Only children inherit!

A worthwhile, useful, abundant life can be ours, yet surrender is a precondition to the promised inheritance.

There is hope! It can be realized, and it can be realized through surrender. This is not a one time only surrender but rather a continuous conscious humble yielding.

My prayer for the guys of Threshold House, for myself and for you, is that we might have a hope filled season as we are enabled by God to grow in meekness and reliance on Him.