Obedience to Jesus 2023


Then Jesus said, “I am light to the world, and those who embrace me will experience life-giving light, and they will never walk in darkness.” The Pharisees were immediately offended and said, “You’re just boasting about yourself! Since we only have your word on this, it makes your testimony invalid!” Jesus responded, “Just because I am the one making these claims doesn’t mean they are invalid. For I absolutely know who I am, where I’ve come from, and where I’m going.

John 8:12-14a TPT

The action word contained within this passage is as the title suggests, walk.

When children are little and learning to walk, you grab their hands to assist their steps and hold them steady. You teach them to trust you—that you will not put them in harm’s way and that you want the best and safest way for them.

As they grow in confidence and take those steps for themselves you allow for the stumbles and falls, especially while their heads are so much heavier than the rest of their bodies. And they walk!

It becomes muscle memory, walking is just something they can do without thinking, and they begin to follow you a little less willingly—the desire to go their own way—quite strong.

They need to figure it out on their own, and we let them.

Walking the path of Obedience to Jesus is much the same, we learn to walk out our own life of faith, walk through the trials of life, and walk in obedience even as we harbour the desire to go our own way.

Look at what Jesus said: “For I absolutely know who I am, where I’ve come from, and where I’m going.”

Perhaps, it’s the context we need for the beginning of the passage…

He was walking the path the Father had set before Him. (Hebrews 12:2) He walked, forged the way, and became the saviour we needed—knowing where the path would lead. But, also what would be won by walking!

“I am” God Himself with a life-giving light.

Now it’s up to you and me—walk.

And this is His promise, “they will never (double negative: never, no never) be driven (pushed) by the darkness.”[1]

You will walk and not be pushed, you won’t turn back in fear, and you will embrace Him as He provides the life-giving light you need when the path grows dark. You follow the God who knows where He is going.

Joy becomes the companion in your life of faith, is there really anything better?

[1] as translated from Aramaic; The Passion Translation

Obedience to Jesus 2023

Guides into God’s divine secrets

“Don’t imagine us leaders to be something we aren’t. We are servants of Christ, not his masters. We are guides into God’s divine secrets, not security guards posted to protect them. The requirements for a good guide are reliability and accurate knowledge. It matters very little to me what you think of me, even less where I rank in popular opinion. I don’t even rank myself. Comparisons in these matters are pointless. I’m not aware of anything that would disqualify me from being a good guide for you, but that doesn’t mean much. The master makes that judgment.”

1 Corinthians 4:1-4 MSG

Cargo shorts, a bottle of water, sunglasses, a loud mic, and jokes that are old and tired—a tour guide—at least, as depicted by the movies.

But it got us thinking and wondering about what makes a good guide?

As His followers, we are guides into God’s divine secrets, not security guards, stewards, estate managers, or trustees. We are the guides pointing the way to Jesus, equipped with the Holy Spirit as we follow His lead.

And we are working towards being better all-the-time!

So take a look at the qualities—and follow along as we take A Biblical Tour of the 11 ways you can be a guide into God’s divine secrets

  1. Know your tour route—we know the journey, the twists and turns, and the beauty of finding Jesus when our own efforts fail—because we’ve been there ourselves. (1 Timothy 3:16)
  2. Clear communication—having the right response makes a huge difference when it comes to reaching the lost. (Colossians 4:5-6)
  3. Understand where people are coming from—we may not have the same experiences as everyone who crosses our path. (Proverbs 20:5)
  4. Magnetic personality—be someone people want to be around, attractive by the way you live your life. Full of the Spirit! (Titus 2:7-8)
  5. Ability to improvise and adapt—1 Corinthians 9:19-23—enough said! 😉
  6. Build rapport—rapport is built in the context of community. (Romans 12:9-16)
  7. Engaging storyteller—the Bible is filled with parables, stories, and examples of the goodness of God! Be good at telling your story, allowing God to change your mess into a message. (Psalms 66:16)
  8. Flexibility—as a ministry leader you know this to your core, plans change—often! But His purpose prevails! (Proverbs 19:21)
  9. Timeliness—in light of the message of the Gospel, today is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:1-2)
  10. Willingness to teach others—”Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2)
  11. Professionalism—Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35)

This Biblical Tour is a simple reminder that we are never done learning and growing. It helps to understand that we are indeed guides! Our circles of influence and communities need us.

If you are looking to grow your leadership, ACOP is offering Epic 2.0, March 13-16, 2023. Let’s become the guides our world needs!

We follow His lead with humility, reliability, and accuracy—we guide, not locking away the truth for ourselves. Continue our Biblical Tour by leaving your favorite scripture of leadership in the comments below. 👇


In the dark

After the busy of Christmas, the winter season can seem long, the snow becomes dreary, your neighbours are no longer turning on their twinkle lights, the cheery decor comes down, and the gathering of family and friends slows down.

It can be a time of loneliness, and of late, many in our ACOP Family have suffered loss, become sick, or have a family member that is struggling this winter season.

Increasing loss.

But there are gentle reminders in the Word…

“Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? To be out of your sight? If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there! If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, You’d find me in a minute—you’re already there waiting! Then I said to myself, ‘Oh, He even sees me in the dark! At night I’m immersed in the light!’ It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.”

Psalms 139:7-12 MSG

When we are suffering or walk through suffering with someone we love there is a heavy price paid in stress, anxiety, depression, and the need to control circumstances. Wisdom doesn’t come easily—that’s exactly why we should pause…

And be reminded that your darkness isn’t dark to Him.

What matters most is prioritizing your spiritual health—reading, praying, trusting, looking for His light, crying, grieving, and longing for the comfort of the God who finds you in a minute (no matter how far you go).

And you can rely on the fact that God does find you, just as He always does. Without pain? No. Without questions and doubts? Not always. Then how? Most often, through His people. Meals, financial needs, time, friendship, a clean house, cards, hugs, and prayer.

Oh, what would we do without this great God of ours? If you’re the one in need—accept the help. And if you see the need, I’m sure you’ll find a way to love your neighbour as yourself; extending grace and igniting hope.

If you need to talk to someone, we encourage you to contact the Focus on the Family care and counselling team at 1.800.661.9800. Office hours are Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. PT.

A Year of Hope Encouragement


Thanksgiving in Canada officially became a holiday on January 31, 1957, when the Canadian Parliament declared: “A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed—to be observed on the second Monday in October.”1

But as we know thanksgiving was celebrated long before it became a national holiday. The origin of this celebration aside, what really matters is that thanksgiving is a simple expression of gratitude, especially to God.

As a family of faith, gratitude and thanksgiving are familiar practices…

“Let your joy be your continual feast. Make your life a prayer. And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 TPT

These verses suggest a beautiful simplicity.

Joy, prayer, and giving thanks…

In the midst of everything.

Thanksgiving comes at a very busy time for Pastors, ministry leaders, and church communities—but, despite the timing, gratitude is a practice of paying attention, noticing, and naming the gifts around you.

“To name a thing is to manifest the meaning and value God gave it, to know it as coming from God and to know its place and function within the cosmos created by God…

To name a thing, in other words, is to bless God for it and in it. And in the Bible to bless God is not a ‘religious’ or a ‘cultic’ act, but the very way of life.

God blessed the world, blessed man, blessed the seventh day…and this means that he filled all that exists with his love and goodness, made all of this ‘very good.’ 

So the only natural (and not ‘supernatural’) reaction of man, to whom God gave this blessed and sanctified world, is to bless God in return, to thank Him, to see the world as God sees it and—in this act of gratitude and adoration—to know, name, and possess the world.” 

Alexander Schmemann

Then all at once we know, those simple expressions of gratitude for people, events, situations, and life moments lead to joy—a continual feast.

Our prayer for you is that you would be surrounded by the Holy Spirit, have moments of peace in the midst of the busyness, and feast on the knowledge that “nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God.”3

Happy Thanksgiving!

1. Kelch, Kalie; Grab Your Boarding Pass. Review & Herald Publishing Association.

2. Schmemann, Alexander; For the Life of the World.

3. Romans 8:39 NLT

A Year of Hope Encouragement

For our members, with love…

The chill of the morning air lingers just a little longer before the strength of the sun reminds us summer isn’t quite over. The leaves are slowly turning, but you know that one morning when you open the blinds, everything will be coloured red, yellow, orange, and brown.

The dreaded first frost is holding off for now, but it won’t be too much longer before you have to scrape the thin layer of white before you drive. Or, you just might be one of those who starts the vehicle and lets the defrost do the work for you.

The patio furniture needs to be winterized, the garden needs to be fully harvested, and the rake needs to be swapped out with the shovel. Hoses wrapped, water lines turned off, and one final cut of the grass.

There is something inherently sad, but also a relief because the summer yard work is hard work. It’s nice not to have to remember to water, pull weeds, patch the grass, paint the deck or fascia on the house.

But you know as well as I that the work doesn’t disappear, it changes. It morphs into the tasks of another season.

Hanging the Christmas lights, raking the leaves—which quickly turns into shovelling the driveway and sidewalks. It’s making sure the fireplace pilot light is on or the wood is chopped. It’s blankets and cozy things that make their way into daily use.

And for us who work with a passion for the gospel, it’s special meetings, Alpha, Thanksgiving and Christmas outreaches. It’s making the church open to the community, a lighthouse, a warm and loving place where grace is extended and hope, ignited.

“I am glad when I suffer for you in my body, for I am participating in the sufferings of Christ that continue for his body, the church. God has given me the responisbility of serving his church by proclaiming his entire message to you. So we tell others about Christ, warning everyone with all the wisdom God has given us. We want to present them to God, perfect [mature] in their relationship to Christ. That’s why I work and struggle so hard, depending on Christ’s mighty power that works within me.”

Colossians 1:24-25; 28-29 NLT

You do what you do at personal cost many times, and that is right. Because according to this scripture, in order to serve the church, you are willing to:

  • Suffer for the church
  • Serve the church
  • Steward God’s Word faithfully
  • Strive for maturity in God’s people
  • Struggle and work hard
  • Sustained by God’s power at work within you

Though the work of every season changes; there is still a need for our Pastors and Church Leaders to be serving from a place of health. So as we head into the busy fall season there are three ways your ACOP Family can help today…

  1. Your regional directors have been prayerfully placed in this position of support. They are there for advice, difficult conversations, and prayer. If you’re not sure who your regional director is, we’re happy to provide you with that information; email us.
  2. You can reach out with a prayer request. ACOP leadership prays! We’re with you to support and trust God that He has all we need. Submit your prayer request through our members portal.
  3. Clergy Care is a service we offer in partnership with Focus on The Family Canada. You have access to professional counsellors, articles on healthy routines in ministry, Kerith retreats, and resources for your ministry. You can access this resource by visiting our members portal.

Extending Grace & Igniting Hope happens when we are serving people with intention. As ACOP Family, we’re moving forward together…

“We acknowledge that the kingdom of God prefers collaboration, interdependence, and community. Whereas the kingdom of darkness prefers independence and individualism. We confess that too often we have chosen independence and individualism and done what was right in our own eyes, for this we repent. Lord, help us to recognize and demonstrate that we are better together.”

President, Rev. Wes Mills—ACOP 101 Conference
A Year of Hope Encouragement

Rediscover Amazement

Science and statistics wave their unmagic wand across the face of life, squelching the oohs and aahs and replacing them with formulas and figures.

Would you like to see Jesus? Do you dare be an eyewitness of His Majesty?

Then rediscover amazement. The next time you hear a baby laugh or see an ocean wave, take note. Pause and listen as His Majesty whispers ever so gently, “I’m here.”

Max Lucado—God Came Near

A feeling of nostalgia is locked in our minds when we think back to our childhoods. There was wonder in the world when we first made discoveries and when we recall the crazy things we used to do—there is still a sizzle of excitement!

Jumping out of barn lofts, catching anything from frogs to snakes, or bugs. Eating outside, riding bikes, jumping in the lake, or…

Like Hazel’s article (Jesus The Healer), you remember the encounters with God that impacted and changed you!

We each have personal revelations about who He is, where He’s met our needs, spoken a word of peace or correction, or shown His love in unmistakable ways. And this God of love delights in continuing to show us how beautiful life can be.

Rediscovering amazement is not about nostalgia or wishing for what once was. It’s about savoring the simple things, noticing life through a gratitude filter—replacing hopelessness with joy.

It’s good to remember, but it’s also good for our souls to have a laugh around the supper table, to see the little birds around the bird bath—splashing and making noise. It’s good for us to notice the sunrise or sunset, to feel His love painted across the sky.

It’s the warm hand of your spouse or the sticky fingers of the little person in your life. It’s the worship that surrounds you in church on Sunday, causing a tear to fall in gratitude.

“We were not retelling some masterfully crafted legend when we informed you of the power and apprearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, for we saw His magnificense and splendor unveiled before our very eyes.”

2 Peter 1:16 TPT

We tell others that God wants to show Himself to them, and then we forget to look for Him ourselves, not pointing fingers, just saying that the same God whose magnificence and splendor was on display for the disciples is right there for our discovery too.

What amazes you about today?

A Year of Hope

You’re Too Busy

Maybe you can relate to some of these stories…

I once spent five minutes searching desperately for my cell phone, complaining the whole time about it being missing, to my girlfriend, who I was talking to on my cell phone. This went on until she timidly asked “Are you using your phone right now?” It was such an out-of-body experience, I just hung up.

Eeeps—sometimes we’re so distracted that we don’t know what we’re doing. Put your hand up if you’ve done one of those! You’re not alone.

Many years ago I had to do a presentation. When I got to the meeting and opened my briefcase, I realized I had been carrying a backgammon board all morning.

How about that? Have you ever been too busy to notice?

In the middle of the night, George was pacing back and forth in his room, unable to sleep. this woke his wife, who asked him why he couldn’t sleep. He replied, “You know that thousand dollars I borrowed from Bob next door? Well it’s due tomorrow, and I don’t have it, and I’m anxious and can’t sleep.” His wife said, “Honey, I have the solution.” She opened up the window and yelled to the house next door. “Bob, wake up.” A light went on in the house next door and Bob stuck his head out of his window. She continued, “You know that thousand dollars my husband owes you? Well, he doesn’t have it!” Then she closed her window and turned to her husband. “There, now let him pace the floor and you go to sleep.”

Worry and stress cause you to think (and walk) in circles, and if tripled with sleeplessness, it creates some hard days ahead. No one is alone in these feelings. These small stories only serve as an illustration of how crazy, stressful, and busy life can be at moments.

The following descriptive passage of scripture (make sure you read it slowly), puts a special light on what Jesus wants for us.

“The apostles returned from their mission and gathered around Jesus and told Him everything they had done and taught. There was such a swirl of activity around Jesus, with so many people coming and going, that they were unable to even eat a meal. So Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Come, let’s take a break and find a secluded place where you can rest a while.'”

Mark 6:30-31 TPT

Jesus recognized that they needed a break, a secluded place, and some much-needed rest. The word rest, Anapauó, means to give rest, give intermission from labour, and by implication refresh.

The disciples were on mission (so are you), they were doing and teaching (yes, again), loving and serving people (your community).

You have a list (and probably always will) and we understand that sometimes the work must continue, that rest is still a way off, and that you’re giving your life to what matters.

But, there is still a call to rest. This is simply a friendly reminder that Canadian summers are so short, take moments, and hopefully at least a week to stop, rest, refresh, and pause from your labours.

“The same way a loving father feels toward his children—that’s but a sample of your tender feelings toward us, your beloved children, who live in awe of you. You know all about us, inside and out. You are mindful that we’re made from dust.

Psalms 103:13-14 TPT

We pray that you find rest this summer. Thanks for all you do.

A Year of Hope

Holy Spirit Pollen?

They are sneaking in everywhere…

Through the tiny squares of window screens, invading the venting system of vehicles, peppering the leaves of all plants in the yard, and clinging to the bottom of our shoes.

There are many trees in my neighbourhood, and the elm trees are happily releasing all their little yellow-green pollen spores to the world.

I’ve not noticed the proliferation of such pollen before, which is a wonder this year. It’s amazing how the conditions on a year-to-year basis cause trees and plants to respond to the growing season in different ways.

Sometimes it’s a great growing year, and other times it’s not.

For example, the same conditions by which the Elm tree pollen is prolific are the same conditions (including all the wind and rain), in which the immature pinecones from the pine trees have been blown to the ground. These pinecones will not mature and bear seeds as they were meant to. Future generations of the pines will be affected by the seeds that never were.

Ok, maybe I’m being dramatic, but you know what I mean. 😉

I’ve been noticing the same type of patterns, and growing seasons in my own life, and I know you see it too, in your own life! And I got to thinking that all the pollen, should be much like the Holy Spirit…

“So be very careful how you live, not being like those with no understanding, but live honorably with true wisdom, for we are living in evil times. Take full advantage of every day as you spend your life for His purposes. And don’t live foolishly for then you will have discernment to fully understand God’s will. And don’t get drunk with wine, which is rebellion; instead be filled continually with the Holy Spirit. And your hearts will overflow with a joyful song to the Lord. Keep speaking to each other with words of Scripture, singing the Psalms with praises and spontaneous songs given by the Spirit! Always give thanks to Father God for every person he brings into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Epesians 5:15-20 TPT

Growing and gardening teach us so much, not just about the natural world but also about our spiritual lives. The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth (John 16)—making Him just like the pollen—covering everything and like pollen’s purpose, to bring new life, there is no fruit without pollination! Hello, Fruit of the Spirit!

The scripture above asks us to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit. How? Joyful songs, scripture, more singing, and surrounding yourselves with good people. Listen, I know I’m making this sound simplistic, but the reality is that the Holy Spirit was sent to us, He is with you, now.

I remember when, young in my faith, and growing up on the farm, our neighbour’s horse got tangled in her lead and spooked. We were all playing nearby and this huge, Arabian, charging horse was coming right for us!

Holy Spirit clearly spoke to me and told me to grab my younger siblings and climb the dirt hill in our yard. As I stood on the top, still shaking with fear and adrenaline, He whispered to me again that the horse was not going to break its stride to climb the hill, sure enough, I witnessed the horse, in a full gallop, come near the hill and pass by into the fields behind.

I was surrounded. And still am. Now I know the Holy Spirit doesn’t “sneak,” but He is a part of my life and He fills the spaces where He is invited, pollinating, and helping me to bear fruit.

And we all have the choice to take full advantage of every day, spending our lives for His purpose.

A Year of Hope

White Stones

Declare a holy fast; call a solemn asssembly. Summon the elders and all who live in the land to the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.

Do not hold against us the sins of past generations; may your mercy come quickly to meet us, for we are in desperate need. Help us, God our Saviour, for the glory of your name; deliver us and forgive our sins for your name’s sake.

Joel 1:14 NIV; Psalms 79:8-10 NIV

Century—a big word all on its own. One hundred, year after year, those who served before now in the presence of Jesus, and we, continuing the work but also inviting change and the correction of the days ahead.

“We are ACOP and what we become in our second century is up to us—we have no destiny apart from our shared destiny.”

ACOP President Rev. Wes Mills—ACOP 101 Revive • Recalibrate • Recommission

Drawn from the scriptures, our future is good…

Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he as become an entirely new person. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new. And God has made all things new, and reconciled us to himself, and given us the ministry of reconciling others to God.

2 Corinthians 5:17-18 TPT

All that is related to the old order is vanished, that includes our identity—which was discussed during the Solemn Assembly—names are about identity and identity brings purpose. What name did you allow the Holy Spirit to give you?

Sin vanishes too, along with Satan’s power—

So, we can boldly declare that NO…

  1. Denominational distinctive will be placed above the mission—Gone!
  2. Independent and insular attitudes—No more sowing to the wind!
  3. Neglecting to prioritize evangelism and disciple-making—Plunder Hell!
  4. Mishandling of sexual sin—Biblical Correction!
  5. Resisting the work of the Holy Spirit—Fresh and New!

The religious works of trying to please God disappear when we become enfolded into Christ. Keeping the main thing—the main thing! The confidence we have is grounded in the truth that we are not reformed or refurbished (the old just waiting to break through), but we are made completely new, enfolded into Christ and the indwelling, or permanent presence of the Holy Spirit.

ACOP has remained faithful to the Word of God—desiring to know the scriptures and the power of God. We have faithfully lifted up the name of Jesus and championed the message of the Grace of God.

We have also faithfully sent out Global Workers, and even sent out youth and young adults through Street Invaders and LifeForce Teams.

We won’t stop doing these things—but, behold everything is fresh and new! We have renewed our covenant with the Lord and we resolve that by God’s grace our future will be different from our past.

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomems I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone an new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.

Revelation 2:17 ESV

White stones, new names, shared destiny, and the ministry of reconciling others to God—what a century ahead!

If you missed or would like to watch our Solemn Assembly again, follow this link.

Note the new names given to our members on May 17, 2022!