February 14, 2024

A Few Things

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you! On this day we celebrate romantic love, but on this Encounter site we also celebrate the ongoing love of God for us!

There are a few messages we want you Encounter people to get, so in lieu of a blog as per usual today, I want to include three updates for you: Lent preparation, Anchor bolts, and an upcoming retreat in Kamloops.

In my recent podcast with Earle Davies, he talked about the anchor bolts in his life. To listen, go to the church website, click on ‘resources’, then ‘podcasts’ and have a listen. This next piece will make much more sense to you:


Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you! On this day we celebrate romantic love, but on this Encounter site we also celebrate the ongoing love of God for us!  

There are a few messages we want you Encounter people to get, so in lieu of a blog as per usual today, I want to include three updates for you: Lent preparation, Anchor bolts, and an upcoming retreat in Kamloops.

In my recent podcast with Earle Davies, he talked about the anchor bolts in his life. To listen, go to the church website, click on ‘resources’, then ‘podcasts’ and have a listen. This next piece will make much more sense to you:


In 1964, in our first year of marriage, Judith and I were walking along the bank of the Skeena River (between Terrace and Hazelton) and came to a place where the bank of the river was smooth rock and imbedded in the rock was a bolt attached to an iron ring (about 8 to 10 inches in diameter). We tried to imagine why the ring was there and how and when it was put there. It was at a place where the river turned a 90 degree angle and as we looked over the area we realized that we were standing at the upper end of the Kitselas Canyon – a narrow part of the Skeena River. We found out from some of the old-timers in Terrace that it was one of many rings imbedded in the rock shore that was used by the paddle-wheel steamships (in the early 1900s) that travelled between Prince Rupert and Hazelton. At high water in the spring the current of the river was so strong that the boat was unable to travel through the canyon and so they would hook a cable from the boat onto one of these rings and ‘winch’ their way through the canyon.

As I looked at the bolt and ring (anchorbolt), I realized the tremendous force they must have endured throughout the years pulling the passenger boats through the canyon. I began to realize that I was collecting similar ‘anchorbolts’ - anchors that would not move or ‘pull out’ - in the scriptures and started to collect some of them to use throughout my life. These anchorbolts are and have been a very great strength and help to me throughout my life. Truths I could count on – that were dependable and unmoveable.

Lent is to prepare our hearts for Easter – it’s the 40 days before Easter which is on March 31st this year. Melody Froc has written an excellent piece to lead you through the next 40 days (today is Ash Wednesday):

Encounter Lenten Reflections 2024

We are so glad you are exploring and considering joining us this Lenten season to corporately prepare our hearts for Easter.  

So, the big question for some of you may be… “What does observing Lent have to do with Encountering God?” If you have been around the Alliance for a while, you may have remembered the 40-day National initiatives we had…Remember those little booklets simply called 40 days and invited us to 40 days of intentional prayer…in case you were not aware, they did coincide with the Lenten season…

As you may have heard us mention before, Encounter is passionate about creating places and spaces for you to Encounter God in fresh new, life changing, life giving ways. The opportunity to engage in a personal journey of Lenten Reflections can accomplish that objective… to withdraw from the busyness of this life and intentionally be alone with God for a while…taking time from our frantic schedules so that we create space to just BE and hear from God…A personal invitation from the Lover of our souls to come away with Him and rest …to be still, listen and be nourished by rich communion with Him. To give Him quality time and space for Him to speak life and bring renewal, or springtime to our weary souls.

Okay, so what is Lent or the Lenten season actually? I don’t see it in the Bible…Isn’t that some sort of Anglican or Catholic thing??…Didn’t Paul in Galatians 4, warn us against becoming enslaved again by adhering to these ritual practices?  

6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,[c] Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.

Paul’s Concern for the Galatians

8 Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. 9 But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning back to those weak and miserable forces[d]? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again? 10 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years! 11 I fear for you, that somehow, I have wasted my efforts on you.

I would say yes and no.

In fact, many Christians through the ages have observed the Lenten season since the first century AD and it became a more accepted formal practice when the council of pastor-theologians that developed the Nicene Creed formalized the practice of Lent in the 325.  The 40 days signify Jesus’ time in the wilderness but also there is significance in 40 throughout scripture which you can look up and study during this season…40 days plus 6 sabbath days or Sundays between now and Easter.  Sundays we “break” fast and Feast like mini resurrection celebrations

Lent simply means the season of spring…when new life emerges from the strong grip of winter here in the Northern Hemisphere.  Just as new life awakens and begins to grow, so too, we invited to awaken and be more intentional about returning to God on every level of our being through practices of self-examination and repentance… To gain a fresh Vision of Life in the Spirit and the ways that life transform us to be God’s people.

“Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God” (Joel 2: 12-13).

As we set aside those aspects of the self that keep us from abandoning ourselves to God more fully, we are invited into the sacred rhythm of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. As we intentionally empty ourselves of things that occupy space in our hearts and lives, we become aware of our real hunger: the hunger that only God can satisfy…again, the invitation…

“Even now, says the LORD, return to me with your whole heart, with fasting, and weeping, and mourning; Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God” (Joel 2: 12-13).

So, what shall we do with Lent? We could consider Lent a time of waiting to get our priorities in order. Then we could move to the apostle Paul’s injunction, “Be filled with the Spirit!” (Ephesians 5:18). If we approach this Lenten season in this fashion, Lent can become a beautiful and deeply moving experience of walking spiritually with Jesus on his pilgrimage to the Cross. For as John tells us, he went to the Cross not only to bear our sin but that he might send us his Spirit. “Christianity Today Feb 1974”

I love the language around “walking spiritually with Jesus on His pilgrimage to the cross” reminds me of the pilgrimage Leon speaks of in going to Israel…

Do Spirit-filled Christians need to look into their personal lives? Yes, of course, we do. We all become careless. We all tend to forget our obligations and to ignore those we should be remembering. We all need a fresh look at the Cross.

The purpose of engaging in Lenten disciplines is to help us become more in tune with our longing for God so that we can seek Him with all our hearts.  They assist us in engaging with our own wilderness places time tested and true practices open ourselves to the Spirit of God and invite and allow Him to search our hearts and reveal whatever may be false in us to be shown, confessed, and cleansed.

Personally, I need to practice Lent, a time of spiritual focus, examination, prayer, and fasting ….a spiritual reset.  I have discovered it is a time to help me look at my attachments to anything that is not God.  The process of such self-examining practices can be painful but truly transformative and partner with the Spirit of God in my ongoing sanctification process.  

Create a Prayer card in which you ask these questions: What Jesus, are you inviting me to notice during this Lenten season…How are you inviting me to draw near??? Finish this sentence…

When it comes to my character…Life…Family…Circumstances…over these next 40 days, God I need you to__________.

40 Day Challenge or Invitation

So, what will you give up for Lent?  The real question is not what we give up but rather How can we be more filled with the Spirit?? The heart in which we approach this season makes the difference between just another legalistic practice or a vibrant life-giving devotion to the One who gave it all.

During Lent – fasting, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, and generosity are encouraged as spiritual disciplines that helps us to shift our focus from self to God – to draw near to God.  Jesus already assumes his disciples will be fasting and praying regularly. In Matthew 6 says, “When you fast… When you pray”. Confirms that…so let’s take a deeper look at biblical fasting.

Biblical fasting – as with any spiritual habit – it is God’s gift to us to help us. The truth is that God knows that I - if left to myself - would absolutely not choose to settle in to a season of denying myself.  Even though I might think consciously that I am choosing to return to the Lord with all my heart, it is only by God's grace through the work of His Spirit that I am able return at all!    

Fasting: always has to do with helping us eliminate distractions – or increase our focus for a spiritual purpose.  Fasting helps us hit the reset button of our soul and renews us from the inside out. It also helps us by reminding us to pursue God intentionally and prepares our hearts for all the good things God desires to bring into our lives.

John Piper has written that: “God rewards fasting because fasting expresses the cry of the heart that nothing on the earth can satisfy our souls besides God. God must reward this cry because God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.”

― John Piper, A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer

A good fast has two components.  One is that you’re abstaining from something – or you’re giving something up/you’re putting something down/you’re stopping from something.  The second is that in the place of that thing that you fast from – you pick something up to replace it, something that draws you closer to God.


Complete Fast: In this type of fast, you drink only liquids, typically water with light juices as an option.  Not recommended if fasting for extended periods of time is not already a part of your life.

Selective Fast: This type of fast involves removing certain elements from your diet. For example, cutting added sugar or caffeine or bread or meat.  This needs to be done wisely and intentionally but can be a great way to fast.  A selective fast.

Partial/intermittent Food Fasting: This fast involves abstaining from eating any type of food in the morning and afternoon. This can either correlate to specific times of the day, such as 6:00 am to 3:00 pm, or from sunup to sundown.

Soul Fast: Your soul reflects your whole life. This fast is great if you wish to refocus certain areas of your life that are out of balance. For example, you might choose to stop using social media or watching television for the duration of the fast and then carefully bring that element back into your life in healthy doses at the conclusion of the fast.

We invite you to consider embarking on a new Lenten Journey with Jesus… prepare your heart for Easter… take the heart of the spiritual discipline of fasting and put it to work in your own Lenten Reflections:

The way or what you do is less important and will vary for one individual to another. The goal of a fast is to help you go deeper in Jesus.  

To prioritize God as first in your life.  

Your personal fast should present a level of challenge, but it is very important to know your body, your options.

What has distracted you from being intentional about your intimacy with God?

Most importantly, I would you encourage to begin your Lenten Retreat by having an honest conversation with God…. reflect and prayerfully ask the Spirit to reveal things that have distracted you from being intentional and experiencing a deeper intimacy with God?

Ask for His help to release it …just for a season... What would it look like for you to return to the Lord - with all your heart? What is Christ inviting you to this Lenten Season?  

If this is new to you, choose something attainable.  Although fasting should be a challenge – in no way should it be a harmful process.

The important question is “does my method support not hinder the way the Spirit of God can bring forth new life into my desert places through both ritual and free forms of worship…. bring beauty from the ash heaps of our lives?”

Our encouragement to you is to be willing to let go of whatever you need to hear God speak to your heart.

Examples of things you may wish to put down (fast from) this Lenten season that will remind you to be Christ-centered and in pursuit of God:

 Meat, or a fast from meat on a certain day

 Bread

 Sugar (or desserts)

 A favorite beverage (pop, coffee, alcohol)

 Unplug: i.e., social media, Screen Time (tv, movies, gaming etc.)

 Fast Food/Eating out

 Gossip or some other social sin you’re aware of

 Other? ___________________________________

Examples of things you may wish to pick up (start/do more of) during Lent in the place of the item(s) you’re fasting from:

 30 minutes a day of reading scripture (go through the gospels) or a daily devotional & praying

 Having a neighbor per week over for dinner or coffee (practice hospitality)

 Volunteer at a school/church/social agency

 Give financially to a local poverty initiative

 Encouragement notes – 1 per day to a different person each day that God puts on your mind

 Repurpose money: choose something that you spend money on for yourself – and spend or give that money only on others during lent.

 Exercise

 Other? ___________________________________

*Remember…Sunday is “feast day” – we don’t fast on Sundays/our day of worship as we celebrate Jesus each weekend in our worship. On Sundays – we’re celebrating the resurrection – it’s the beginning of a new week. It’s a day of life, and celebration, and of breaking your fast each week.

“We are invited to embark upon a journey on which, by defying routine, we strive to open our eyes and ears, but especially to open our hearts… During Lent, we are reminded to strive to be attentive to God’s presence in, through and around us.  This heightened devotion, fruitful for a season is not sustainable indefinitely, however, this rhythm of devotion has a cumulative effect that stays with us and impacts the rest of our year. How do you desire to practice God’s presence during Lent? How will your Lent challenge your Christian life during the rest of the year?

To assist you with your decision – we’ve prepared a collection of scripture passages to reflect on and a couple of links to free online Lenten devotionals to guide you as you embark on this journey of reflection this season:

CU Church, Preparing for Easter, 40 days of Lent: https://cuchurch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/2018-lent-devo.pdf

More of God: https://s3.amazonaws.com/a.voskamp/Sticky+Notes+LENT+2020.pdf

Lenten reading plan:  Use these prompts as you read each Scripture.

ATTENTION: Read or listen to the Scripture. What word, phrase or verse captures your attention? Underline it or copy it onto a piece of paper.

CONNECTION: What connections do you see to other scriptures? To your own experience or current situation? To the character or promises of God?

ACTION: What is God inviting you to say or do? How will your life be different because of this scripture?

PRAY: Talk to God about what you just experienced or anything else on your heart.

Ash Wed. Week, 2/14

John 1:1-28

John 1:29-51

John 2:1-25

John 3:1-21

John 3:22-36

Lent Week 1, 2/18

John 4:1-42

John 4:43-54

John 5:1-15

John 5:16-47

John 6:1-21

Lent Week 2, 2/25

John 6:22-59

John 6:60-71

John 7:1-31

John 7:32-52

John 8:1-30

Lent Week 3, 3/3

John 8:31-59

John 9:1-41

John 10:1-21

John 10:22-42

John 11:1-16

Lent Week 4, 3/10

John 11:17-57

John 12:1-19

John 12:20-50

John 13:1-20

John 13:21-38

Lent Week 5, 3/17

John 14:1-14

John 14:15-31

John 15:1-27

John 16:1-15

John 16:16-33

Holy Week, 3/24

John 17:1-26

John 18:1-27

John 18:28-40

John 19:1-30

John 19:31-42

Easter, 3/31

John 20:1-18

John 20:19-30

John 21:1-14

John 21:15-25

Lastly, one of the key people in the Alliance regarding fresh Encounters with the Lord is Rev. Rob Reimer – a New York pastor and professor at the Alliance Seminary in New York. I have learned that he is coming to Kamloops Alliance this spring. You may wish to make the effort to go. Here is a little information on that event – you can also call the Kamloops church at 1-250-376-6268.

Soul Care Conference

April 11–13, 2024

Registration is open

LOCATION: Kamloops Alliance Church

200 Leigh Road Kamloops, BC V2B 2L6


217 remaining


KAC is pleased to host Rob Reimer as he facilitates Renewal International's upcoming Soul Care Conference.

Bitterness, shame, fear, sin, and pain that is filling our soul can keep us from fully experiencing the peace and joy that Christ has for us. Take a few days to learn and apply Biblical principles for healing the soul and overcoming broken and sinful areas of life to gain freedom & fullness in Christ!


Thurs. April 11th from 8:30 am to 5 pm

Fri. April 12th from 8:30 am to 5 pm

Sat. April 13th from 8:30 am to 5 pm

• Lunch and snacks will be provided.

Cost: $150 (discount applied for KAC attenders with promo code)

(We love your little ones, but please leave them with a sitter. Childcare will not be provided).

This has been a long one today, but may it spur us on to fresh Encounters!
Pastor Leon Throness

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