Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thank you

Thank you Lord,

Thank you.
Thank you for making me.
Thank you for giving me parents who followed you.
Thank you for helping me see you early in life.
Thank you for helping stay true to you in most ways throughout my life.
Thank you for allowing me to learn servanthood.
Thank you for continuing to teach me servanthood.
Thank you for teaching me.
Thank you for my house, it’s a really nice one.
Thank you for my van, you brought it along for my family.
Thank you for my wife, I love her dearly.
Thank you for my kids, all three of them. They are truly a blessing of unimaginable size.
Thank you for a church that was willing to take a risk on a young pastor.
Thank you for your faithfulness to me.
Thank you for your patience with me.
Thank you for showing up.
Thank you for showing up to do good things despite what we deserve.
Thank you for giving me luxury compared to many in our world.
Thank you for health.
Thank you for loving me.
Thank you for all the little things that sometimes I notice and sometimes I don’t.
Thank you for all the people praying for me.
Thank you that I am loved by you.
Thank you that I am loved by more than just you.
Thank you for the things that usually, I just take for granted.
Thank you for my freedom.
Thank you for all these things and the ten thousand other things I need to be thankful for today.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A sound byte from Bob

I also read Bob Hyatt's blog. Who's Bob Hyatt? I don't know exactly, but he's a pastor with a young church and struggles through things on his blog. So I read...

In a old post today I read this:

...If our mission was to reach these people, we wanted the offense to be in the Gospel, not our polity, ecclesiastical structure, bad coffee... whatever....

Makes sense to me.
(although bob is discussing women in ministry in that post, i think this quote bears repeating on other issues as well)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Of Christmas Trees and Anyways...

I enjoy reading Randall Friesen's blog. He's a pastor in Prince Albert, he writes way more than I do. Here are some from the last while that I appreciated.

O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum


If you only want to read one, read the "Anyway" one.

Back in the saddle again...

Okay, so I'm back in the office after having a two week break. Do I feel rested? Yes and no. Yes, as I haven't been thinking about church stuff for two weeks, physically no. I have a newborn, and two other kids.

I want to contemplate the church. You know we spend a lot of time kicking ideas around about church. We spend even more time looking at what is wrong with the church and what it needs to have happen to make it better. I was reading a post here about a pastor who was ranting a little bit about the negativity aimed at the church. It got me thinking about a bit about what we want and are and don't like about ourselves. I still believe the church is still of the utmost of importance in our world. It has the only message that will make things truly better. I don' try to say that as if we in the church are intellectually superior to those outside the church, I don't say that because we have everything figured out and those outside the church are messing things up, I say that because we are getting started a relationship with God. We were found by God. We have had him change us from the inside.
But then again, that's just me...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

She's here!

Well, finally (or so it feels) we have an addition to our family! Olivia Joy Robertson came into the world on December 8th 2006 at 7:30am. She was 8 lbs 14 ozs and all in all everything is going well. We all came home on Sunday and she met her big brothers. They think she's the best little sister ever (she brought them a gamecube).
Everything is going well at home except for sleeping.

We feel blessed. May you have as much Peace and Joy in your home this holidays as we do.


PS: There are more pictures on my Flickr account (link in the sidebar). For family who have access to my other photo gallery there's even more there.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Snow, again.

Snow is super, really it is... (sarcasm doesn't quite work the same in print oh well.)
And still it snows.
It's snowed a lot this week. If anyone would like to send me a snow blower, I'd be grateful. The bigger the better, but beggars can't be choosers.

Oh, and by the way - baby should be coming soon.
I am so looking forward to her arrival. Posts and pictures will follow!!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Hope in pdas?

As I begin this post I realize that it’s been over 2 weeks since my last one. I enjoy blogging but find it difficult to begin a post and then say something of relevance to even the small audience (I’m assuming) of this blog.

My family is getting ready (or so we think) for our new arrival which should be happening on or before the 28th of November. If Tara doesn’t go into labour, the doctor will induce on that day. Excitement, nervousness and a sense of being overwhelmed are the emotional landscape.

I want to share a few thoughts on hope. These are entirely from my own head and have little or nothing to do with anyone else’s writings or words, the disclaimer out of the way…

What is it that we have hope for?

In a way of background; about a year ago my PDA (little handheld organizer thingy) stopped working. It was a bummer. I enjoyed using (and playing with) that thing. I could not justify the cost of a new one. Recently, I have been struggling even more than normal with getting through my days and tasks in some semblance of order. I went and purchased another one. The new one is a very basic model (Palm Z22). Yet, using it this week was a help in getting things done. While I’m not through everything I would like to be by a long shot. I feel a little more like things have a possibility of getting done because I know I have a better way to help me remember things. Perhaps PDA’s are a help to everyone, but for me, they work better than anything else. Will I be accused of having OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) in my organization life, hardly. To most people watching me, they may or may not see a difference, to me, it’s made all of it seem a little more manageable.

Which got me thinking about hope…

Hope for a better slightly more organized tomorrow. If the lift I’ve received from that little bit of hope is worth mentioning, how much more should I be hoping in what I read in Scripture?

What do I hope for? Not hope in the sense that I wish such and such would happen, but hope for and expect to happen someday soon.

Could it be that much of hope is more of a wish/pipe dream and less of an expectant waiting?

Just some thoughts.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Feeling sick

Man, being sick stinks. (Sometimes literally)
On to other things....
Got another email from John Piper (a mass email)
Where are we going? Is it not incredibly how easily we can be distracted? Now for those who know me, distracting me is not a difficult task in the least. However, as I read part of that article:

"But was I doing that? Or was I drifting into the very fascination and desire that makes God feel remote and the Bible unattractive and heaven irrelevant and hell inconceivable?"

Do we not all get to this point sometimes? Where things are just not easy. The good things we know we should want to do, seem boring and difficult. The things we want to do are not necessarily "bad" but they are just besides the point.

Might I encourage myself along with you, do what you know you should. Don't do what you know you should not do. If we all would start there... if I would only start there...

Dear Lord,
Please capture my imagination such that all else fades away.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Henri... again

To some who read this blog; and if you do, wow, thanks, I've been struggling to post recently; here is something I found from my daily email from Henri Nouwen. I know I have posted a number of things from him before, but truth is, I find his writing very challenging and easy to connect with. Perhaps I should actually get around to reading one of his books.


Forgiving the Church

When we have been wounded by the Church, our temptation is to reject it. But when we reject the Church it becomes very hard for us to keep in touch with the living Christ. When we say, "I love Jesus, but I hate the Church," we end up losing not only the Church but Jesus too. The challenge is to forgive the Church. This challenge is especially great because the Church seldom asks us for forgiveness, at least not officially. But the Church as an often fallible human organization needs our forgiveness, while the Church as the living Christ among us continues to offer us forgiveness.

It is important to think about the Church not as "over there" but as a community of struggling, weak people of whom we are part and in whom we meet our Lord and Redeemer.


Just for clarity's sake, I'm not feeling wounded by the church, but I, like many others, know a few people who have been hurt by the church and struggle with what to tell them. I believe in the church (a good thing for a pastor to do). I believe that it is the one thing we can be involved in that will have an eternal significance. The church is not perfect, clearly, it needs to be better. We need to be open about what we do that hurts ourself. Did that make sense? If the church is wounding it's own, then we must figure out how to stop that.

If it's the church's job to tell the world about the gospel, and we spend time wounding ourselves, it means that's less time, resources and energy being put into our true task.

Like this blog says, ramblings and thoughts from Doug.

Friday, October 13, 2006

My ramblings, after a forward

As some of you know I receive a number of newsletters from some “thinker” types. It helps push my own thinking beyond what I see. I got this one from John Piper’s ministry this week. I particularly like the quotes he takes from Sam Harris and Diane Setterfield. (At this point it might help you to read the article, or at least the indented quotes from those authors)

I wonder how many people in our community feel the way Sam Harris does? I wonder how many people don’t want to come to church because they see it and while they want to know God they don’t want to know us? I know that’s a harsh question, but what if that were true?

How many people feel like they are “at midnight, in the dark, when the wind is roaring like a bear in the chimney, when the lightning strikes shadows on the bedroom wall and the rain taps at the window with her long fingernails” and are looking for someone to be with them, to love them, to give them a hug, to let them be themselves warts and all. I know that I’m in serious danger of being overly fluffy and generalizing people and the church, but I wonder…

When it comes to the church what do we pray for? If I can make a request as I blog I make this it:

Please pray. Please care for your spiritual life, pray, study, struggle. I think we need to be prepared for some tougher sailing ahead. God has been good to us. We are blessed. Our enemy will not take this lying down. We must press on. We must encourage people, ourselves to do the work that God has put before us. We have a community before us, with many watching, what we will do with the blessings God has given to us. There is always tension within the ranks. An apprehension of what will come. We must continue to break down walls, we must forge a lasting legacy of hope and grace.

Pray for me, for focus, for strength, discernment, wisdom and a strong sense of the presence of God. Pray that all of us would win the battle of temptation that each of us faces daily.

That’s enough “soapboxing” for me today. Thank you for your work to see God’s kingdom advanced.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Stuff I should have known about already...

Check THIS out!!

Wow, it is a cool idea. Check it out.
I really should have heard of this before, considering the amount of time I've spent in front of a computer screen.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Water & Powder

So I know it's been awhile since I posted and my readership is probably quite low. However I will press on. For those who live in Saskatchewan you are aware that it's been very wet weather we've had recently. Well, it's been wet at our house too. Somehow one of the boys socks got in the drain in the floor in the basement and we didn't notice until the dishwasher and the washing machine had done a load each (with all the waste water flooding the floor in our basement!!). So we flooded our own house!! Then one of the boys spilt water on one of Tara's bibles and then on a journal. So we had a water themed day this week.

Then a little later in the week our boys decided it would be fun to play with baby powder. They thought it was great stuff and proceeded to empty more than 2/3rds of a LARGE Johnson & Johnson's Baby Powder into various parts of our bedroom. Including, but not limited to our bed, the closet, the clothes in the closet, the clean clothes in the laundry basket, the heating vent, the walls, under the bed, onto books, they tried to get it in my camera bag and pretty much anywhere else their little minds thought would be good. My house smells of baby freshness. So if you see me with wrinkly clothes that smell a little of baby powder, you know why.

Also, Randall has had some excellent referrals to articles in the last week or two. Check it out.

Also for those who care... I found via here, a site that will let you watch any episode of the Simpsons at any time for nothing. Oh dear, I'm sure someone will get in trouble for doing that, but for Simpson fans, getting things done just got harder.

To quote a tshirt I saw once....Procrastinators UNITE... tomorrow.


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Something I saw and liked

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Oh man...

Okay so I have been doing some reading and studying recently. Working some on a sermon series on the Psalms. I have been slowly going through, (again) Walter Brueggeman's The Message of the Psalms: A theological commentary I have found that to be a helpful thing in my understanding of the Psalms. And then I happened upon this post from Randall Friesen's blog quoting Eugene Peterson. From there I looked at where he clipped that excerpt from and my head is kinda spinning.

So to sum up, I have nothing of my own to say today, but I decided to point the few of you to what's been going through my head. And for what it's worth, I feel like I'm in a transition towards "new orientation" (see Brueggeman) and that's a good, albeit uncertain place to be.


Sunday, September 17, 2006

And ever it rained...

I have not much to say other than my mood is affected by the weather more than I'd like to admit. I have no good reason to complain or be moody and yet I find myself that way. In my defence, it's been raining forever. Okay, 3 or 4 days. But still. I am thankful for a great many things. I've noticed that lately, those things aren't the first things to come to my mind, nor are they the second things either. While this might not sound too out of the ordinary, I usually try to keep my blessings before me. Heavy emphasis on the try, lately though, the try is somewhat lacking.
Historically I begin reading the psalms at this point.
Psalm 34:8-10 (NIV)
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing.
The lions may grow weak and hungry,
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.

David (the psalmist) calls to me. I'm off to seek refuge.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Some more thoughts from... others

First off I'd like to share THIS with you. I thought it was funny.

Secondly, Henri Nouwen shared this with me and I'm passing it on to you, my loyal blog readers (thanks by the way, it gives me warm fuzzies to know someone is reading this)

Blessing One Another

To bless means to say good things. We have to bless one another constantly. Parents need to bless their children, children their parents, husbands their wives, wives their husbands, friends their friends. In our society, so full of curses, we must fill each place we enter with our blessings. We forget so quickly that we are God's beloved children and allow the many curses of our world to darken our hearts. Therefore we have to be reminded of our belovedness and remind others of theirs. Whether the blessing is given in words or with gestures, in a solemn or an informal way, our lives need to be blessed lives.

So I leave you with one of my favorite blessings:
Numbers 6:22-27
22 The LORD said to Moses, 23 "Tell Aaron and his sons, 'This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

24 " ' "The LORD bless you
and keep you;

25 the LORD make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;

26 the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace." '

27 "So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them."

(NIV- taken from

Have a great day all.


Sunday, September 03, 2006

And now for something refreshing...

Given the week(s) we've had, I took the boys to the playground and took this (among other) pictures. I thought I was happy enough to share.

It makes me smile and sometimes even chuckle out loud.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

what do you write pt 3

Monday morning we awoke as we often do to our kids. Around 7am the phone rang. Monday is generally my day off, so it's not often that happens (for those that know me, 7am is not my best hour).
The expression "good news waits 'til noon" rings true. A dear lady in our church had been killed in a car accident the night before. Perhaps you know the feeling of having a thought enter your mind and your mind utterly rejected that thought. I was so in need of verifying the truth of it that I immediately jumped in the van and went to the hospital in town (although I must say at this point, I did trust the people who shared the information with me, I just needed to be sure in my own mind). I found out that it was indeed true. Her husband was in hospital with minor injuries, and I went home to wait until later to visit him as he was sleeping. I can't tell you what my mind has thought much of this week as it's fuzzy and floppy.
What words bring comfort when there is grief? I think that much of my expectations of life and what happens to us in this life must be very different than God's. I suppose these are not new thoughts to anyone but how do you align your perspective of life to what what God sees life to be?
I blogged a little while ago about Henri Nouwen. The past week, much of the meditations has been on death. A coincidence? I'm not sure. To be honest, I skimmed them. I suppose I should go back and really take them in.
Oh, that I could see life the way that God does! To be able to see the endless joy of simply knowing God without concern for "stuff", to not be worried about circumstances needlessly, to know that a lifetime here is but a blip in the light of eternity. To see temptation and sin as what it is and cast it aside the way one should without a second thought or consideration. To understand true joy when a beloved saint goes home.
But I have not attained these things. One foot in front of the other, seeking Jesus. I'm stumble, I am slow, moody, sad, angry, flippant and everthing else. Yet I am determined to become what God has called me to be. I love the people I serve. I love being a pastor. I love God. I am not sure of many things. I have more questions than answers. I have answers that don't seem to speak much to a family that has lost a wife, a daughter, a mother, a friend, a confidant, a encourager, a teacher, a light, a laugh and most of all a godly woman.
I know that God will provide the words I need. The prayers I pray with them will make sense, even if it is just them knowing I care and want the best for them. While I struggle with the events, and I'm sure I have yet to feel the full weight of them, I struggle more with my own perspective of life and death, both physically and spiritually.
We all speak endlessly of simplifying life. We know we are too busy. We know we don't sleep enough (don't look at the time of this post). We know we... yet what do we do about it?
What should we do about it? The only passage of Scripture that has come to me this week to share and to contemplate on is from Hebrews 11 and 12. The author of Hebrews (we won't go there today), speaks of the "heroes" of the faith from scripture, an incredible legacy of faith and life, and then in 11:38:

"38They were too good for this world. They wandered over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground.

39All of these people we have mentioned received God's approval because of their faith, yet none of them received all that God had promised. 40For God had far better things in mind for us that would also benefit them, for they can't receive the prize at the end of the race until we finish the race.

Hebrews 12 Gods Discipline Proves His Love

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us. 2We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterward. Now he is seated in the place of highest honor beside God's throne in heaven. 3Think about all he endured when sinful people did such terrible things to him, so that you don't become weary and give up." (Hebrews 11:38-12:3, NLT)

We keep our eyes on Jesus.

Sorry, this has turned out to be a very long post. I'm sure at points it has been a rant, a sermon and other things besides. If you've made it this far, thanks for reading, and most likely caring. Blessings.

what do you write pt 2

So Sunday began as many Sundays do for me. Going over to the church to make sure everything is ready for our service. And if I do say so, it was an excellent day. Service went well, smoothly, I didn't fall off the platform or cause any major (or minor for that matter) catastrophe and it even seemed like people were listening to my preaching.
Sunday afternoon we had a bbq out at a family farm. Just a time to eat, talk and watch the kiddies run around outside and play. We enjoyed ourselves more than I expected us too. Often on Sundays after preaching I am "talked" out; where I am not much for conversation and routinely seek out quiet and solitude. Perhaps some of you other pastor types will be able to identify with that. In the rest of life, I am rarely talked out. I normally enjoy talking to and being with people, but for some reason Sundays aren't quite like that. And even though I didn't talk as much as normal, I was very much pleased with the day.
That was my Sunday.

what do you write

I am stuck. This week has not been great. In my last post I wrote about a fundraiser for a local family who has an 8 month old who choked on a popcorn kernel and long story short has suffered significant brain damage because of it. All in all it was an excellent day. The family the fund raiser was for is in Calgary taking her through some hyperbaric treatment. From what I've heard the fund raiser was a good deal in raising money for a needy family. I volunteered as being the sound guy extraordinaire. The "big draw" aside from the cause was Codie Prevost. Cool guy. There were numerous other performers they all did very well. There was prize giveaways and a silent auction as well as other fun things. I enjoyed doing the sound on Saturday, even if it was hot and very long. That was Saturday.
I think I'll break this up in posts... stayed tuned.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Will be back with some more soon...

Greetings to those who read my blog.
My apologies for being slack as of late posting. Several reasons for this. The largest, Sasktel has made a small mixup with the internet connection when our church moved into a new building. This building is in fact another reason for the lack of posts, but I will post on those reasons next week. I would write more tonight, but I'm fried. Spent the day helping out at a fundraiser all day in the sun (yet another post) so while I haven't been posting, I have lots to post about. I am slowly catching up on my "blog" reading.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Darn that Henri

So I read this today from my daily Henri Nouwen email and I did not really like it, more on that after you read it...

Protecting Our Hiddenness

If indeed the spiritual life is essentially a hidden life, how do we protect this hiddenness in the midst of a very public life? The two most important ways to protect our hiddenness are solitude and poverty. Solitude allows us to be alone with God. There we experience that we belong not to people, not even to those who love us and care for us, but to God and God alone. Poverty is where we experience our own and other people's weakness, limitations, and need for support. To be poor is to be without success, without fame, and without power. But there God chooses to show us God's love.

Both solitude and poverty protect the hiddenness of our lives.


This is a hard thing for an extrovert who likes stuff to deal with. I like being with people. I like toys and cool stuff. But yet I also know he's right. I keep saying to myself and others, "Do what you know you should and don't do what you know you should not do." Sometimes simple, gentle reminders come across with the force of a big stick. What are you going to do?

yes Lord.

On Earl, the van

Okay, so I mentioned in passing the naming of our new family vehicle - Earl.
Well, after the aforementioned breaking of the wheel. There was considerable angst among the new owners of the van. Tara was feeling exceedingly overwhelmed with the "what ifs" (read here... what if we have to pay to get this fixed!!) and I mentioned that a song by the Dixie Chicks, Earl had to die was in my head. To which Tara began laughing in earnest and the new name has arrived.

In all truth, we love our new wheels. We all seem to love road trips a little more and we made one to Prince Albert yesterday where I literally almost bumped into the author of one of the blogs I read fairly regularly. Randall was at the Superstore in P.A. while we were doing some "bulk" shopping. It was neat to meet him and I think it would have happened Only in Saskatchewan.

And for interest's sake, a friend who had been thinking of actually buying the old Intrepid was disappointed to find that it has gone to Saskatoon to be sold to some unknown person...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Prayer, division and a van

Sweet Lord, have patience with us. We build walls that divide. We close doors to keep others out. Teach us how to topple the walls stone by stone. Show us how to open the doors and bless all who enter.
-Christopher De Vinck

I have been thinking about this today. I have just come back from vacation and spent my first day back in the office. I have noticed that everything is still here. I am more refreshed than I expected. However, as I reflected on this little prayer today, I realized yet again in my own life how easily it is to be taken off course in our relationship with God.
Why is it that when things are difficult or challenging we so often try to do things on our own? Why are we so slow to understand and remember that if we simply turn to God at the first moment of trouble/temptation/questioning and seek his help things would be so much easier.
These are not "new" thoughts of mine, just the refrain that seems to permeate humanity with regards to following God. We divide ourselves from each other, and from God himself; even though no one likes to be lonely.

Be assured though that God loves us. I am continually amazed at the protection and blessings God brings. We traded our car (94 Chrysler Intrepid) for a used van (1996 GMC Safari). Bought the thing on Friday. Saturday my family and I along with my parents (6 of us including me) jumped in the new (to us) van and drove around. We ended up putting on about 250kms that day. All got home safe and sound. I went out Saturday evening to drop something off and as I was driving home a ball joint let go. (See picture) Had the van less than 24hrs and it breaks. Now, that might not sound at first as a big reason to be thankful; but it didn't let go on the highway. It was on the driver's side front wheel, had it let go at highway speed we would have been forced into oncoming traffic. Aside from that, because we bought the van from a dealer they are replacing both ball joints on the front end of the van for us. Now, I won't have to worry about that with the van.
Now it has been frustrating to not have the van I bought when I bought it, but we're all safe and a few days in the course of (I trust) years of use is not much. Besides, I'm driving my old car for the time being, it's not like I'm walking (although in Tisdale that would be fine too).
God is good. We were not sure if we would be able to get a van in time for our new addition around Christmas (for those not up to date, we are expecting our third in December, we think it will be a girl). A car doesn't hold 3 kid's car seats, and now we have a van.
There is more to say about the van, but I'll leave that to another post (perhaps I'll even tell you all why we will call the van "Earl"). I'll leave you with a parting shot of our beloved Intrepid
a car that we towed our tent trailer across this great country of ours and has seen more than a few kilometers beneath it's rubber; just before I went to trade it in.


Friday, July 21, 2006

Art, Social Justice and the church

Hey, been a little slow in posting on here, as I have not been too sure what to post. I've been reflecting on the church, the arts, social justice and star wars. Not necessarily in that order, nor necessarily at the same time, although that produces some interesting mental images doesn't it?

I'm not sure what to say about any of what I have been thinking about, although I'd be interested in hearing what you all have been thinking about recently.
I have been thinking about what the church could look like. Specifically I've been thinking about what our church could look like. I am pondering what God is calling us to specifically. What ministries, what programs, what people, what teaching, what preaching, what fellowship, what everything. I am excited with what God is doing here, but it's hard to see where God is taking us. I keep reminding myself to relax and do one thing at a time. To keep my priorities straight, to "be". To be a good disciple, to be a good husband, father, pastor, friend. To not get distracted from things (easier said than done for many of us).
I have been praying more these last few weeks then I have in I don't know how long. I have been waiting and trying to soak in the presence of God. I don't know how successful I have been, but that's okay. One step at a time. God is doing something in my head, I'm not sure what it is yet though. I'm a little nervous, a little frightened, a little excited, and very thankful that I'm growing.

I will leave with one picture that I enjoyed taking the other day.

Clouds making rays

Thursday, July 13, 2006


So it's been a crazy time recently.
Tara (my wife) and I were in Edmonton for General Assembly. I felt like the week was like trying to drink from a fire hydrant on full blast. Overwhelming. One of the themes that kept coming back was social justice. That is, the church being nice to those not in the church and who don't have much. That would be the poor, the marginilized, anyone we don't normally associate with. Another thing that was thought provoking was a thought expressed by one of the pastor's on a panel discussion I attended; he asked the question about what are we doing to bring the person who has never thought of getting out of bed on a Sunday morning into church. Now, this was certainly something I had thought of before, but I am not sure that I connected that thought to what we do on Sunday mornings in church. Actually, now that I reflect on it, I'm not sure what that thought struck my head like a hammer on a gong but it did (ok, maybe God was trying to get my attention).
I purchased a number of cds of different sessions so that I could try and get through it all later. I am not sure I completely know how to process all of this.

In addition to processing Assembly and catching up on life (like my lawn!) Owen (my youngest son) had some tables fall on him in church on Sunday and he broke his leg. A greenstick fracture is what the doctor called it. From what I understand it's not "broken" like we think, but because his bones are still relatively flexible the bone "bent" and didn't break. That leaves a wrinkle (?), at least that's what it looked like (kind of sort of not really) on the x-ray, on the bone. He has a cast now for three weeks.
It's still quite tender and he is not super comfortable but he's a trouper. I wish I could wear it for him.
Also Tuesday, my mother-in-laws car broke down about an hour and a half away from here and we went and towed her home so that we wouldn't have to pay a tow truck. A long, slow afternoon that was. It's all good.
Currently I'm struggling with studying (don't look at the time this was posted...). Mind is going around in circles and I'm getting a little dizzy. Oh, and did I mention IT'S TOO HOT!! Yuck it was hot today.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Dismissed thoughts...

I found this on Bobby's blog. It made me think. How much have I done that?

I have spent some time reading a atheistic blog . I certainly cannot accurately understand all that was presented (as I have not read it all yet... I have to process more). However, I guess I can understand a portion of their worldview in that it seems that some who have rejected religion and theism in general reject some of what Scriptures says and they see parts of it as contradictory etcetera (it is not my intent to examine their objections); it might be easier for people, atheistic or otherwise to examine and accept first of all a theistic worldview and then look at and possibly even accept Christianity if we as a church and I mean that with the WORLD church in mind could all get on the same page and agree on a few things.

Clearly there is some agreement between branches of Christianity, but clearly there are so many branches because of disagreement. How many different things come to mind? The Spirit, the gifts, government, how to read the Bible, or whatever you want to bring up, how many books have been written on all this. I have thought for many years now the denominations (specifically branches of theological thought) are a necessary evil.

I wonder if there would be as much opposition or objection to theism and Christianity in particular if all us of us were able to look at the Bible and come to the same conclusions. If all of us in our behaviour and our attitudes towards those like us and different from ourselves were similar? The particular blog I read seemed like it was written by intelligent and well meaning people who like to dwell on positive things and not the negative.

I wonder if like Tozer says "We are safe only when the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, only when our intellects are indwelt by the loving Fire that came at Pentecost." That we know and experience God as much as possible and we do what we can.

However big people's obstacles are to theism and Christianity, my hope is that as people examine my life that they see someone who is genuinely trying to live out a life of faith, hope and love. A life that gives to others, helps, encourages and tries to be good. But then again, I'm biased, I'm a Pastor. I'm a Christian. I'm a child of God, and you may or may not believe in God.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Thoughts on other blogs I read today

I was reading a few blogs today and thought I would like to comment on them, because I can.

Dan Kimball on Bible Warning Label

I always find it interesting that some people have such strong dislike for Christians and what they believe. I mean, if you think Christians are silly simple-minded simpletons then dismiss them as that? I suppose that some people carry a great deal of hurt and angst about what has happened to them in the church or done to them by Christians. That stinks. Hypocrisy in the church is rampant. It's in each Christian to a greater or lesser degree, but it seems to me that if what you said you believed, were it all written out in one place for me to check out, you might be proved a hypocrite too. (Apologies for the rant like bit here... but it's my blog, I'll do what I want)

Next Blog entry....">Earth ... Heaven's Appetizer

Which is related to this post: Kyle Lake's last Sermon

If you don't read those posts, essentially a pastor performing baptisms somehow got electrocuted in a service. Which incidently would mess me up watching that, but Kyle had been at least working on, if not recently preached a sermon about doing things well, enjoying life as a foretaste of heaven. I agree with Bobby when I wonder when did the People of God stop seeing death as a promise? When did we start seeing death as punishment. Certainly I don't have a death wish. But I find myself more and more listening for the trumpet call to take me home. Not that I'm a eschatological junkie watching and interpreting every second headline in being the "one" sign it's all coming to an end, but I do desperately want to be in heaven. I love my life, I love my family, my church, my job as Pastor, but if heaven is more than all that, I gotta get me some more of that!!

And Finally:

Also, I now know that at least one person reads my blog as Colin referred to me the other day in his blog Random Colin: Nothing at all. Thanks man.

Friday, June 16, 2006

What to write?

I have been opening this window to type a blog entry in often this last week, but I cannot find the words to express what I feel I'd like to express, so this will have to do.

The baby girl I referenced in my last post is well, not doing well. Keep praying for that family. I'm not even sure where to start with that story. Essentially her brain works enough to keep her alive. She is in a vegetative state and it seems unlikely that will change. But, it's still someone's baby daughter.

All I know is that it takes some work for the promise that God often tells us: "You're not alone", it takes work for that to answer the "why" questions.

On to some of the other things bouncing in my head...

One of my leadership heroes is Nehemiah. You know the Old Testament dude. Anyways, one verse that has struck a chord within me is Nehemiah 4:14b (NIV)
"Don't be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for you brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes."

Nehemiah seems to have done a good job at doing what he says he would do. I think we'd all like to do that more. Perspective I think is important here. Without a proper outlook we can get all fuddled.

Don't know if this will make sense to anyone but me, but that's ok.


Friday, June 09, 2006

Waiting and the church

I have been thinking about the church this week. About what happens in it, about where it is going, about what it is and what it should be. And then...

This week happens. A baby girl in our church almost died this week. Stopped breathing, heart stopped beating, was resuscitated and airlifted to the city, long story very short, for now everything looks good, but they say 72 or so more hours. Tara and I spent time with the family, including in the bitter watches of the night. When all you can do is wait. Wait for the body to heal, wait for the medicine to work, wait to see if God answers the prayers. I know God is faithful. I know God has always been and always will be, but what does that feel like. He was faithful for the first part of this journey, now what? Baby got to the hospital faster than I thought was possible, even in a small town.

To wait. We hate waiting don't we? When I was a kid I'd want to know what was for dessert to see if I really wanted to finish my supper (everyone has to finish their supper to get dessert didn't you know?) and you know what my Dad would say? "It's a big bowl of wait and see." Man that would drive me crazy!

Waiting seems to make some things better and others worse. Perception is everything, waiting can last forever if it's one kind of thing and time can be way to short for other kinds of things.

And so we wait for the church to figure itself out. We wait for things to fall into place into the chuch and into our lives so that "things will be better".

I read the following this week:

“However, engaged in many good activities, Christians often take the growth of the church for granted. They neither pray earnestly for it nor work systematically at it. They assume it will take place automatically as Christians study the Bible, do good to others, and worship God. As a result, in the midst of huge numbers of receptive men and women, many churches stop growing and become static enclaves of comfortable middle-class Christians. These feed the hungry, visit the sick, clothe the naked, build attractive houses of worship, train leaders, and influence society for good, but they do not grow. The dynamism of the early church does not dwell in them. Huge populations in the Western world and even larger populations in the Third world remain undiscipled. They do not have the Son. They do not have eternal life. Church growth has been assumed and is, alas, not occurring.”[1]

We wait for some things, but what do we have to do while we wait? I don't have all the answers, but I sure have some questions piling up.

In His Grip. DJR

[1] Donald A. McGavran, Understanding Church Growth (3rd Edition), (Grand Rapids; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, 1990) Pxii

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Preaching and Mercy

As some of you know I am a pastor. One of the things I do is try and come up with something relatively intelligent to share with my church Sunday after Sunday.
I am constantly amazed at the fact that regardless of how I feel I have carried out this task, someone seems to be blessed by it. Now certainly some may simply trying to be encouraging but it would seem that others are encouraged. I am also certain that some find my sermons to be less than stellar, which is why at the moment you will not find audio links to anything I preach. The entire internet is too broad an audience for me right now.
The process of sermon writing is for me anyways a weekly ordeal that is both painful and joyful. I enjoy preaching immensely. I do not take it lightly either. It seems that it always comes together in the end but I am glad that others are not privy to the often ugly fashion things come from my heart and mind to being expressed in the form of sermon manuscript. (It's also interesting to see how much changes from manuscript to oral presentation)

Another thought;
I read some about the Good Samaritan this week, talking about mercy, let me give an outline of what Mark Buchanan gives us:
Jesus gives the parable of the Good Samaritan in response to a question, Luke 10:29b (NIV) "And who is my neighbor?"
Then the familiar story.
Then comes Jesus asking and the expert in law responding: Luke 10:36-37 (NIV) "'Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?' The expert in the law replied,'The one who had mercy on him.' Jesus told him, 'Go and do likewise'."
Let me quote:
"The neighbor is the one who has mercy.
Did you catch that? My neighbor isn't one I have mercy upon - it's someone who has mercy on me.
Which means I'm the one in need of mercy."

[Mark Buchanan, The Holy Wild: Trusting in the Character of God (Sisters, Oregon: Multimonah Publishers, Inc, 2003) p115 ISBN=1590522494]

If Mark is correct in his interpretation the primary focus of Jesus' answer to the expert in law is that the answer to the expert's previous question (Luke 10:25b) "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" is to realize that I must realize my need for mercy.
Interesting. I don't like to think I need mercy. I'm a good person. I'm not on any "most wanted" lists. But I need mercy. Do I see myself as needing God's mercy? I like to think that I want God's grace, that is getting stuff I don't deserve, but mercy, not getting what I do deserve.
This was a reality check for me.
In His Grip,