Sunday Service at 9 and 11 am

Deleted Scenes: My speech at a Gala (Daniel 3)

A Note From Craig...
Last Friday, I had a very unique opportunity. I was asked to speak at the Children’s Heart Network Gala. (I should say we were asked to speak, as in both Carolyn and I, but she 100% opted to cheer me on from the sidelines). From the moment we walked into the hotel ballroom, I had the overpowering sense of not quite fitting in. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a gala. I felt like I was in the movies. There were servers walking around with trays of wine and fancy appetizers, and you could eat as much as you wanted! When the dinner was served, the portions were small but very artistically arranged, which is how you know it’s expensive. The fact is, the ticket for the gala would probably have been well out of our normal price range, but we got the free invite because of the speaking gig. We were even placed at the celebrity table. The MC of the evening was an actor, the auctioneer was a media personality, and there was a doctor who was receiving an award and some of his family. That was our table. Like I said, we felt a little out of place.

Here’s the thing: I wasn’t asked to speak because I’m a pastor. And I think this was a first. As far as I can remember, it was the first time I’ve ever been asked to publicly speak but not as a pastor. I was asked to speak because I’m a “heart dad”. Our son Zachary has had two open heart surgeries, and in the years since we’ve become more and more involved in the Children’s Heart Network. I was being asked to share primarily about our story as a heart family and the role the network has played in that. I’m not sure they even knew I was a pastor. Well, they know now!

Carolyn and I went back and forth about how much I could speak about our faith in Jesus. In the end, this is the excerpt from my “speech” where I talked about my faith:
“Most people would never know that Zachary is a heart kid unless we tell them. But we know, because forever, we’re marked out as a heart family. And as a heart family, it matters knowing that we’re not alone in this.

I want to segue quickly to say something about who I am, and this will make more sense if you also know what I do on a day to day basis. I am a pastor of a church in North Vancouver. At the very center of my identity, and really our identity as a whole family, is that we are followers of Jesus. Even before being a heart family, that’s what we’re all about. And I want to say really quickly that this idea of not being alone, of knowing that there’s someone else in the battle with you, that’s pretty core to who I believe God to be. That was the number one thing Carolyn and I experienced whenever we faced uncertainty about Zachary’s heart. When Zachary was born, he was rushed right into the ICU, and I prayed all night for those saturation levels to stay above the level that would make an immediate surgery necessary. When he was four years old, he had that second surgery. After we handed him over to the staff at BC Children’s, Carolyn and I prayed, we worshiped God, and we had a tremendous sense of peace in the midst of one of the scariest experiences of our lives. When Zachary was recovering from that surgery in the hospital and was crying out in pain in the middle of the night, we’d sing him his favourite worship song at the time, that has these lines: “way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, light in the darkness, that is who you are.” Again and again, we experienced His presence. Our family believes that the God of the universe became flesh and made his dwelling among us in Jesus. One of the names in the Bible for Jesus is Emmanuel, which means God with us. So our family believes that God cares about us, has come near to us, and that He is with us in our darkest times. And I think that’s why it is so profound and so encouraging when you experience being together in the battle with other people. I believe it’s because of who God is and how He wired us.

And going back to our other identity as a heart family, one of the most significant ways we’ve experienced that same sense of “being in the battle together” with other people, that sense of knowing that we’re not alone, is through the children’s heart network…”
Two days after that, I spoke a very similar message in a very different context- at our Sunday gatherings here at The Bridge Church. I preached on Daniel 3, which features three friends facing the greatest test of their lives. Either bow to an idolatrous statue or be thrown into the flames. They kept their eyes on the Lord, and He made His presence known to them in the fire. They were not in the battle alone. The Lord was with them and brought them through.

The connection I didn’t make on Sunday, but I made on Friday, is how profound it is when we are like God in this way. As exiles seeking to live faithful lives in a world in rebellion against God, it is so, so, so important that we are in this together. That’s why the church is such a gift. That’s why I emphasize the gathered church to such an extent. We cannot follow Jesus on our own. That's now how He intended this to work, it's not how He wired us. When we come alongside each other in the battle, we are imaging the God who is with us in the fire (or in the hospital room, or wherever). Praise God for who He is and how He’s wired us in this way.

- Craig


Dianne lindquist - May 2nd, 2024 at 10:16pm

What a wonderful opportunity, and the way you shared your faith was beautifully said.

Wandra - May 3rd, 2024 at 12:52pm

What a beautiful talk that was —- so heartfelt about Zack’s operation & giving Gid all

Karen - May 4th, 2024 at 12:39am

God is so good! Thanks for sharing that!