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.