Saturday, December 29, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Friday, December 07, 2007
Part of me is unsure what to do with it all. I'm still processing things that happened last week. I'm still thinking and feeling and musing and wondering. I'm not sure how to answer the rather bland question "how are you?" truthfully. Part of me feels pretty good, other parts feel: a little frustrated, confused, amazed, thankful, overwhelmed. So ya. I suppose I sound like I'm all mixed up. To a point I suppose I am.
I bought Keith Kitchen's new album "Broomtree" in iTunes tonight. I haven't worked through all of it yet but up to this point, I'm enjoying it greatly. I'm biased though, Keith was one of the guys who I went to Bible school with. SO there's the personal connection, and I'm a sucker for acoustic guitar. I will say this though, he has grown as an artist since school. That may be taken for granted, but I enjoyed his stuff greatly then. At first blush, I'm uber impressed.
For now I'm resting pretty strongly on some of the words I've been thinking through a bit from Psalm 103.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
You can find it on "google documents" here.
It is a youth event I call "Labyrinth". It started out after I found Youth for Christ's online labyrinth (here)and as my take on some of the popular curriculum out there (like this one) and . I took those sources and tweaked them some.
After I had run this a few times and there were some things I wanted to change. So I did. This last Friday was the third time we have tried this with the youth group here in Tisdale (I had run this a few times in Stoney Creek too) and I rewrote a bunch of it. I unashamedly took some things from a blogger in Prince Albert (here - thanks Randall!)
I am always surprised at how our students take to this. I thought this last time everyone was going to be way to rowdy to run with this... but it went well. I hope that there was blessing to the kids who took part.
For anyone who wants to, use whatever you want. If you're interested in the word document (that is far more formatted than Blogger/google docs will allow me to) shoot me an email or hit me the comments section. I had to remove much of the clipart. The only thing I ask is that you don't make money off this. (I know most of you reading this won't... but this is the web).
A quick run down.
11 stations. The first 5 prepare you for the sixth, the last 5 are to prepare you for "normal life" after the sixth station. What's the sixth station? Silence. In a previous version I called that station "Holy Space". I might go back to that title.
Each station is designed to be something you read through and then on many of them there are exercises. From washing your hands to dropping rocks in water, writing/drawing symbols of things in your life, lighting a candle, leaving footprints in some sand.
Hope this all finds you well on your own spiritual journey in this life.
A while ago I wrote about my ordination. I can happily say that it is finished. My official service will be held January 13, 2008. It looks like my parents will even make the trek out for it. To say I'm relieved that it's done is an understatement. A big thanks to my wife for putting up with me throughout the latter part of that process. She deserves a medal for being so patient and kind to me.
As far as the interview itself, it was much better than I anticipated. Part of me knew it would be, but that's the way the brain works when your nervous about things.
On the way home from Regina I stopped and took some pictures of the landscape with the rising moon.There's a story behind this picture, suffice it to say, I was asked to leave the land upon which I was standing as I took this picture. I'm not sure why. Perhaps if I had peeked inside the barn I'd know...
I'll likely write a few more posts in the next day or so to keep on with the updating.
Friday, November 02, 2007
Good vs evil
What I need against what I want.
The internal vs the external
breadth over depth
quality against quantity
up vs down
laziness against victory
all that there is to do vs all i can do
Where am I at? I'll work at answering that... in the meantime... where are you at?
Friday, September 28, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
My experience? Well, I like the appearance of the bracelet (although my wife called it a man bracelet - I'm not sure what that means). For the best function of these bracelets I understand you are to wear them "contacts" (the ends) up on your right arm or down on your left. As I don't want to short circuit the bracelet I have I have found though that I do not wear the bracelet as often as I expected because it doesn't lie flat on my wrist. This is no problem if I'm up and about, but as soon as I sit down at my computer and try to use the mouse or type at the keyboard I have found that because the bracelet does not lie flat it gets in the way. Then I would take it off and forget to put it back on later. (Forgetting things is not uncommon to me).
However, when I did wear the bracelet I did notice something. I'm not even sure I can tell you how it felt, but there was a difference, mostly in alertness in the morning, I think... I really am not sure that I could quantitatively or qualitatively describe the difference between wearing it and not wearing it.
The big question though - will I buy one? Not this model certainly. Another model at the right price? Perhaps. My issue is that I tend to dislike wearing things on my wrists (when was the last time you saw me with a watch on?). Do I think they work? That depends on what you were hoping for. I was not truthfully expecting much, but I did sense they were doing something. As I said in the original post, I am merely borrowing this one for the time being; whether I buy one or not will depend on whether I can find one that fits better and that fits into our limited budget.
So there you have it, a slightly indifferent but positive review... you can now resume your regularly schedule lives.
Today would have been better had there been more sleep.
Today will be long (I know this because I've been up for more than two hours and it's eight thirty)
Today is cloudy and wet.
Today I realized that sometimes I think people can read my thoughts.
Today I realized that sometimes I think other people should contact me instead of me having to contact them.
Today I am reminded that life is rarely black and white.
Today I will pray some, play some and try and find a smile or two.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Today I sat down with one of the guys on the ordaining council. He was coming through Tisdale to see his parents and then tomorrow he and I and five other pastors are meeting for a day or so of peer to peer care. He walked me through a little bit of what to expect at my ordination interview. While at first glance the idea of sitting in front of nine or ten other guys, show and defend what I know might seem intimidating; I was encouraged.
I have a tendency to get overwhelmed with things and then shut down. A silly response to be sure. I have so much to do that I will sit and watch out the window at that butterfly is a illogical and unwise use of time and effort. It is however my predisposition. Talking things through with this gentleman (and scholar I might add...) made me realize that most of the stuff is already in my head, it's just floating around a little too much. I need to try and nail it all down and tighten it all up so that when someone asks me about the difference between the first and the second resurrection I don't go slack jawed glassy eyed drool coming out of my mouth and say: "Jesus is my friend." (Which he is but that's off topic)
I hope the rest of my week is as encouraging as that was.
Tomorrow I'm off to SPN (Senior Pastor's Network) overnight. Bring on the good conversation and prayer - I'm always up for more.
Saturday, September 08, 2007
The theme for the week was "abstract", I doubt I'll win as I like some of the other pictures better, but for what it's worth, here's my photo.
(Clicking on the photo will take you to my Flickr page where it's hosted.)
I was not even going to post it, but Tara said she liked it and I had taken it for the contest so I entered it. I'm pleased.
Friday, August 31, 2007
I have often used pictures to help express my headspace too, and yet often I find the process of taking pictures to be the fun part. The process of seeing. Light, texture, colour. Thoughts, pictures, words, emotions.
If you were looking for more complete thoughts... sorry. This is it for now...
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
I've been learning through Strobist, a blog based website all about off camera flash.
So here's is my foray into off camera lighting in photography, you can see all my posted pictures by clicking this link, it's the same link as you'll find in the header of this page.
edit: added embedded slideshow
Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
Today I am feeling a little misunderstood. I'm certain it will all be sorted out in time. It stinks being misunderstood. Despite that though, today is a good day. I have at the very least one person who gets me. She is an encouragement to the very fabric of my being. She is one that is my perpetual cheerleader. I love you Tara. Thanks for being you.
(note on the photo - while this photo was taken long ago - before kids even - it is a favorite of mine)
Thursday, August 09, 2007
The scary thing about for me is that I feel like I could "measured, but be found wanting" (that's the phrase that runs through my head - me standing in the middle of a round room facing my elders seated on cushy chairs while I fidget with my fingers and bite my lip, and stand on jello legs. In my minds eye I think its a lot like the Jedi Council room thing in the Star Wars room)
Now, in my rational mind I know that's a complete paranoid and delusional idea (I mean it's not like our district has the money to build a solarium atop a tower for the ordaining council to meet and in and decide the fates of prospective ordinands. And likely as not the guys on our ordaining council couldn't pull off Jedi robes). I know the process is about affirming and helping pastors develop and become better at their task. Fear is something though is it not? Fear that you are not "good enough". Fear that others will judge you and dismiss you. Fear that your acceptance is based upon performance. Now I realize that I have a job to do and that if I disregard those responsibilities then yes, likely I will be asked to find a new career. The likelihood of that happening is relatively small.
If there is anything this process is teaching me is that I need to buck up and get better at what I do, to swallow my pride and seek the resources I need to be what God has called me to be. If I sit behind my desk and "make do" with I have I will never get to where I need to be.
I often think of myself as the "new guy", the "rookie"; and to a point I suppose I am, but I have been doing this ministry for
Oh well, there's my rant/self-inspirational talk for the day.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
So ya, there you have it.
For those of you who read about my boys playing with our cd player in the van on my wife's blog and were wondering about what actually happened, let me break it down for you.
I was downstairs working on a bracket type thing I designed to hold our portable DVD player securely in the van. I had removed the head rests in the van to do this (this detail is important later...). Tara was upstairs cleaning or sorting laundry or something, I wasn't there, I don't know exactly what she was doing. Anyways... I thought the boys had gone to be with her, she thought the boys were still with me, and in all truth they had gotten into the van.
Without naming any names, my oldest son had taken the jewelers screwdriver I had left in the van (I had used it to remove the headrests in the back seat remember) and had proceeded to use it to dislodge all the contacts between the faceplate and rest of our Pioneer cd/mp3 players. The contacts looked like spaghetti.
CD players are much cheaper now, but the really sad part is the stereo had been a gift from some of the college and career kids from my ministry in Stoney Creek. So, it sits on my workbench and sometime I'll try and sort it out. I have however purchased another deck. For those of you who care you can find it here.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
As we were walking around I noticed that more than a few of the shops down the main drag in Nipawin had particle board over their windows. Turns out some guy went down the sidewalk with an axe and smashed out store windows. Even more crazy then that was that he did it at about 8:45pm, while it was still light out.
After lunch with Dan I headed to see a guy in our church who owns a jewelry store in Nipawin. His windows had been smashed out as well. It had been a long day for him and his staff. They had to come in late last night and try to clean up as best they could. THey did have help though. He told me that there were a number of people from the community who showed up to help them clean up!
As we visited we got talking about these Q-Ray bracelets. They're supposed to help your body with "stuff". All kinds of different things they're supposed to do. I had talked to Tim about these before and he says that for him they help. So he lent me one to try it out. So I'm on day one of my own trial of the Q-ray bracelet. He lent me one of his old ones for a month. I think he's pretty sure that I'll be buying one at the end of that time, but we'll see.
Tara asked me why I had a man bracelet on when I got home. Apparently I don't wear jewelry at all, ever.. so to "sneak" this one by wouldn't work.
Do I feel any different after a few hours? I'm not sure, maybe, but that could just be from the two great visits I had today, I always feel good after I've had some good talks with people. We'll see.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Today is our eighth anniversary. It was ... anticlimactic. Of the things that happened to day - I took the van in to see about the air-conditioning. It had been "sorta" working- which also means that it was not working very well at all. I thought it needed to have the refrigerant recharged. It was not lacking refrigerant. What is lacks is a properly functioning compressor pump. Which according to the estimate they handed me is like a fifth of the value we paid for the van in the first place. In response to that I have only one legitimate response: EEK!
The second thing that is of note today is that we have in our house a kitten. He is very cute. He is very playful. He is as of yet unnamed. For more on the name scenario and for a few pictures click over to my wife's blog for today.
I also finished the newest Harry Potter novel the other day. The seventh and final book of the series. I won't give anything away other than to tell you it would help you to read the first six books to get the seventh. I know, I'll be lambasted by those who haven't read the book yet for not labeling those particularly vivid spoilers.
For those who care... I expect I will be putting some new pictures up on my Flickr page soon.
I have been taking quite a few pictures recently (if you count our family vacation pictures literally thousands but that's another story), my issue is which ones to post. Ah, well, we'll see what gets put up and what gets tossed, well, I'll see what got tossed, you won't.
Hope you're having an above average Tuesday (and for those in Newfoundland- Wednesday).
Thursday, July 19, 2007
I took almost three thousand pictures too. Ya, really. Well, 2767 if memory serves. I have to sort through them. Most are "meh", some are great.
My yard is a jungle. Hacked a lot of that away tonight. More to do, but that will wait until next week. I'm off to North Battleford tomorrow to conduct a wedding.
Likely there'll be some pictures of flax fields or canola or something, driving on the prairies this time of year is beautiful (we've done some this week let me tell you).
Oh, and gas in Ottawa (as of Tuesday morning) was 98.5 cents a litre - to Saskatoon's 119.9 cents a litre. So all of you folks in Ontario don't complain about fuel. Oh well, we don't sit in traffic though. I digress, and my bed is calling me.
Hope you missed me. I'll be back....
Friday, June 15, 2007
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Since we all last tuned in: My boys had a MASSIVE mud wallowing party; I had a birthday, arranged our 3 week holiday to Ontario, been to Winnipeg for District Conference, planned a wedding, visited a family- before-during-and after a funeral, my daughter turned 6 months old, and some other stuff that my brain has shut out.
I've been more tired than I have been in some time. I have however been very thankful for my new camera, an Nikon D40, and have pushed the button to take a picture literally over three thousand times (not all of them are that great - but some of them are spiffy!)
For those of you who know about my Flickr page (you will if you've clicked on any of the above links-except 1), I haven't uploaded too many as many of them are of people, and I'm not too keen on posting too many pictures without permission. Although I did just make 138 pictures I took available to our District office of some I took from our District Conference in Winnipeg, some are okay, some are kinda neat and some are just so-so.
All that to say, I'm enjoying my new camera immensely. I feel very much at peace when I'm behind the camera. I am continually learning and trying new things. I am learning that whatever it is you do to recharge/de-stress/relax/unwind/renew-your-passion; you have to do it.
That's a little of what's going on with me, what's with you?
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Besides, when I go outside, I get wet.
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
So this past year we bought a new dishwasher, we like it. Our town however has "weird" water. It's hard, and normal dishwashing detergents don't clean anything. So one day some time ago I come home and the dishes are suspiciously clean. I look under the counter and find "DIAMOND BRITE".
I found out that this was indeed the detergent used to render our dishes sparkling clean. I inquired of my wife where we bought it from... she said her friend gets it. Hmmm.....
I let it go, whatever, then we ran out. You can't buy this stuff in stores. The "friend" was out of town. What do we do?!?! We made the emergency call to the friends cell phone. She says "I'll send a guy with it when we get it." So one evening we get a knock at the door and this guy brings 4 bottles straight to our house. He didn't know how much it cost, but that "we'd straighten it all out later".
So I don't know who gets it, where it comes from or how much it costs... all I know is that it's the only thing that works in our dishwasher. Some questions I guess are better left unanswered.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
I've been through people in my church dying before, not many, but a few. It's a weird thing for me. There is a part of me that tries to stay professional, that is listening, sharing what I feel God might want them to hear. To walk with them as much as I can. The other part is incredibly numb. By numb, I mean stunned, unable to think of the ramifications of what this family is going through. Unable to process the range of emotions, the weariness, the pain, the fear of the future.
It's then that I pray like crazy. My deepest heartfelt prayer is that God would use something, anything that comes out of my mouth to be an encouragement and a reminder of where God is. I also pray that the really silly sounding things I must say (I know I must say some weird things, I have no clue what they must feel or are facing) go unnoticed, or at the very least they see the intent behind the words.
If you think of them pray for them. God knows who they are, even if you don't. Cancer is a terrible thing. It really, really is a terrible thing.
Oh Lord, bless them, let them know you walk with them and that you are close by. Give them good times together, draw them close. Glorify yourself in their testimony and their lives. Even so, come and let the trumpet sound and take us all home. Amen.
The Temptation to HoardI think at some point, many of us struggle with this...
As fearful people we are inclined to develop a mind-set that makes us say: "There's not enough food for everyone, so I better be sure I save enough for myself in case of emergency," or "There's not enough knowledge for everyone to enjoy; so I'd better keep my knowledge to myself, so no one else will use it" or "There's not enough love to give to everybody, so I'd better keep my friends for myself to prevent others from taking them away from me." This is a scarcity mentality. It involves hoarding whatever we have, fearful that we won't have enough to survive. The tragedy, however, is that what you cling to ends up rotting in your hands.
Monday, May 07, 2007
We left the house Sunday afternoon and went to Saskatoon. We spent the night at Colony House Bed & Breakfast, a nice little B&B. Tara had a doctor's appointment today. We had intended on this being a bit of a retreat for Tara and I. We didn't really need to spend the night in the city, we could've made the drive in the morning; but it was good. It was nice to have only one kid to worry about. The boys are a lot of fun, but I guess I'm just not able to keep tabs on three kids and be able to enjoy conversation with my wife at the same time. Hopefully that skill will come in time.
We had decided to do some shopping. First stop, London Drugs; where I bought a Nikon D40, a two gigabyte SD memory card and a UV filter. (and for those of you familiar with the Nikon gold boxes, don't worry, they're inside, one for the body one for the lens...) The picture of Olivia in the car seat is the first picture taken with the camera.
Then we got to cruise the new Wal-Mart in S'toon, found some stuff for the house. We also hit Toy R Us for some toys for the boys and Old Navy for some clothes for Olivia. It appears that ALL of the stores in the city of Saskatoon are dangerously short of clothing for little girls in the six-nine month age and size range. It also appears that children who like space ships are out of luck as the only space ship toy we could find at several stores was a Star Wars "transformer". For the Star Wars savy among you , it is a Emperor Palpatine shuttle that transforms into a robot version of Palpatine. It's really more transformer than spaceship. I was disappointed. Why can't they just make a spaceship toy anymore?!?
After a stop a DQ we jumped on the highway and came home.
It's so much nicer to make the drive from Saskatoon to Tisdale without snow and in daylight. We got home and the boys were super excited to see us, which is always fun. The picture of Aiden is literally his first moment seeing me, now tell me does it get any better than that?!
I also got to experimenting with my lenses that was from my old Nikon FE (a virtually completely manual 35mm SLR camera) and found, that YES they are compatible.
At some point I will be creating and posting more pictures on the Flickr site. I'm pretty pumped at getting a new camera.
This picture of Owen was the best pose from trying out the manual lenses.
Oh, and Tara's doctor appointment could've been done over the phone...
Friday, May 04, 2007
"I had thought that when I was cleansed by the blood of Jesus and filled with the Holy SPirit all the self life was taken away. He showed me that His method of dealing with the self-life was not just cleansing, but crucifixion. I said, 'Lord Jesus, I don't know how to die. Teach me to die.'"
I don't know if I know how to die either...
I've been listening to U2 today as I write. I have looped Hawkmoon 269 (from the Rattle and Hum album) for a little while. Besides making want a fresh pot of coffee, I have thinking through this song and it reminds a great deal of the worship tune by Brian Doerksen entitled "More" (I wonder if James Wharrie's finger have healed from playing that tune for me ad-nauseum?).
The question that both songs are currently bringing up within my soul is: Do I feel the need for my God's love as much as:
" Like thunder needs rainAs I write about the church today, my prayer is that each us would begin to yearn so deeply and completely that even those words would be inadequate to express our need for our God.
Like a preacher needs pain
Like tongues of flame
Like a sweet stain
Need your love
I need your love."
(U2- Hawkmoon 269)-OR-
More than oxygen, I need your love
More life giving food the hungry dream of
More than an eloquent word depends on the tongue
More than a passionate song needs to be sung
(Brian Doerksen - More)
This is excruciating for me, and I'm not sure why. I enjoy studying most of the time. I like learning, but this is just a big deal for my pea sized brain to cope with.
I am enjoying, but not enjoying spring. I learned last year that I am essentially allergic to EVERYTHING outside in the summer, pollen, trees, grass and whatever else. My eyes and nose are going all crazy again and while I'll get used to it soon, right now it's not fun.
But, Tara and I are going into Saskatoon for an overnight stay for one of her appointments for her thyroid. We're going to stay at a B&B we've gone to a few times. Mostly we're going to have some time for just us. So for our friends in Saskatoon who we likely won't see, sorry, we're just too cheap for a getaway to Hawaii, so S'toon will have to do and we'll pretend like it's new and exciting. Oh, and I may have some hospital visitation to do while we're there too.
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
The day yesterday was really good otherwise. I mean it was ridiculously long, as we left at 8:00 AM and returned at 10:00PM. The boys were SO good. I think the warmer weather and the ability to "rip and tear" (as my mom used to say) outside helps reduce their toddler angst. Then they seem to listen and work together with us better.
It's been a good few days with the boys.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Monday, April 09, 2007
I had several people say they appreciated my "humaness". I also had someone compliment me on the Sunday of "recoveries".
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
The consistent observation shared was that Christians generally don't want to listen to other viewpoints than their own, and they basically abandon the person if they aren't ready to "receive the gospel" and the Christian then moves on to someone else. This was shared that it feels like (and actually is) showing that as a person, those outside the church aren't really cared about or respected and valued as a human being other then as an evangelistic target or as someone to prove them wrong, and the Christian right.Boy, I hope that's not describing me. I'm sure at times it has though. I felt this bit was a good reminder for me.
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
Saturday, March 31, 2007
I have been trying to sort out some of the chronology of events from the different gospel accounts of just what happened that last week. I won't give you everything, you can figure that stuff out for yourself if you so choose, but some highlights: (these are fragments of ideas... to give you a flavor of my brain these days.)
If you look at the scene of the woman washing Jesus' feet with her hair and the expensive perfume in John 11:1-11 and then read Matthew 26:14-16; it would appear that Judas may have been feeling rebuked and "squashed" by Jesus in that sequence. Could that have been the flash point that moved him from disciple to betrayer?
The challenges the religious leaders had for Jesus and his responses (especially the parable of the wicked servants) seem to point to pride being a central issue in humanity's acceptance of God's help.
I love how in Luke 22:32 how Jesus says to Peter "But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."
- in the afterglow of the resurrection and ascension could there be any stronger calling on Simon Peter's mind?
I feel today that we sit on the brink. Between the triumphant entry and the phrase Jesus shares in Luke 22:53b: "But this is your hour- when darkness reigns."
That's it for now.
Friday, March 30, 2007
My wife would tell you I've been complaining about it, but I say I was sharing my pain in attempts to bring her into my world.
I see a "travelling" orthopedic guy on May 9th and in the meantime I'm on some anti-inflammatories to see if the fluid will go away by itself. Worst case scenario is orthopedic doctor will want to "scope" it and see exactly what is wrong inside and try to fix it. Oh well, nothing to do but wait and see what happens. Although the idea of anyone poking me with anything causes some mild anxiety.
Friday, March 23, 2007
This weekend is busy for me. Youth group Friday night, hosting a district training event Saturday during the day, a dinner Saturday evening and then finishing up a sermon series on Sunday (looking towards Palm Sunday too...).
Tonight though was good. During and after youth group I got a few questions from students that show God is doing stuff. Questions like: if you think about something after you have "given" it to God, is that wrong? what does God's voice sound like? I'm confused about this... what does it mean?
I'm so glad God showed up tonight. I'm so glad he showed me He's still doing his thing, regardless of what is going on in my head. He uses me despite myself. He uses me as I am. It makes me want to know and love Him more.
Thanks God. I needed that.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
So tomorrow I get to try my first massage. I am really not sure what to expect. Should be interesting at the very least. Going is my "homework" from our last counseling session. Rough eh?
Friday, March 16, 2007
Today is Friday. Friday’s are youth group night. I like youth group. No, I’m not a youth. I do not wish to be a youth again. That being said I like being with youth. A parent who came early to pick up her son, sat as we did a “sports” night at the community gymnasium and shaking her head, said to me: “and you do this every Friday night?” I nodded and said: “I love it.” And it’s true I do. She commented that I must have a lot of patience. I suppose I don’t know how much patience other people have, so I don’t know.
Youth are neat. I see myself reflected back to me. Some of them remind of me when I was in high school. Others remind me of friends I have or had. Others are totally new to me. I see so much potential.
I mentioned in a previous post about homework. Writing out the things that stress me out and the things I do to cope with said stress. It was an interesting exercise. I tried to do it as honestly as I could and yet I still feel like I’m not even aware of all the things that stress me out. I won’t share all of those things with you, but I was surprised a little to see how much of my stress is essentially my own doing. I feel called to be a pastor. Some of you will know what that means intellectually and others will know what that means entirely. Some may have no clue what I’m talking about. I feel, strongly, that God wanted me to be a pastor, to this community, to this church, at this time. I know for those outside the church that would sound a little “over the top”, but, it is what it is.
That being said, I often feel entirely and completely inadequate to the task(s) of ministry. So there’s this kind of cognitive dissonance that happens. I feel overwhelmed and unable to do such and such a task, but I know that’s what I’m supposed to do, I know that’s what I’ve been trained to do, that’s what I’ve been called to do, so here we go, let’s jump in with both feet shall we? (I’m often praying; “God you had better show up or this is going to be bad!”) God has always pulled through for me. Although, I know that sometimes, that God really did work in spite of me. I mean, he always does, sometimes it’s just more evident.
I know that many struggle with whether or not they should do this or that within the church, because they feel that someone else must be better at it then they are. My thoughts are, likely there is someone out there who might be better than I am at this job. I can pretty much guarantee that; but they’re not here. And, if that person where here, that doesn’t mean I don’t have to do anything. A friend of mine used to always say: “Suck it up, buttercup”.
So like many of you, I battle my own mind, my own desires, my own fears and I call upon Christ to come and help me, as it’s clear (to most, but especially me) that I’m incapable of changing anything on my own.
A passage that has been "soaking" in the back of my head. Take from it what you will...
A passage that has been "soaking" in the back of my head. Take from it what you will...
Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV)
Isaiah 61:1-3 (NIV)
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor.
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
As Tara (my wife) mentions we are going to some counseling. As someone who often has remarked that counseling would do anyone a lot of good, I had some concerns about going. Mostly on what people would say if I went. That aside - the "homework" we were given for this next session was: list your stress and what you do to cope with it. Sounds simple enough, except when you start. I'm tempted to put down: drink excessively while juggling my children through the air over burning coals. I won't put that down. I guess I'm a little annoyed because it's making me realize how silly some of the things in even my head are (those of you reading this who were on my floor in bible school - stop snickering!). The thing is, I knew/know that many of the things I'm stressed about are silly. I also know that some of the things I do to cope are silly. The big problem is: how to change? I have been describing myself lately as being "as focused as a disco ball", because that's how my attention seems to be going; spinning around the world in a lot of really cool dots that make you kind of zone out, and it doesn't really accomplish much.
I don't want to sound like I'm totally depressed, because I'm not. There are times I'm overwhelmed, but I don't think those are the same things.
But hey what do I know?
Well, I had better start to figure out all the things that stress me out and what I do with them, so I can say I did my homework.
I dare you to try figuring those things out.
Today has been a long day. I should be asleep, but I felt I should make an update here.
Drove into Saskatoon today (about two and half hours), about halfway there we came upon whiteout, horizontal snow blizzard conditions (did you know it's March 14th?), went to a doctor's appointment for Tara, had lunch with a close friend/mentor ministry couple, and then actually caught up with my cousin Chris and chatted with him for about an hour before both of us had to go. Then drove home, all the while still snowing until magically all the snow disappeared about the same place on the highway it started. So, while I drove in snow today, I don't have to shovel anymore off my driveway. Not that I was doing that anyways, I have a big van now, I just "barrel" through."
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
I was given the character of Caiaphas to look at. Caiaphas was the high priest during the mock trial of Christ. I finished my mini-sermon and even preached it to our empty sanctuary this morning. I suppose that unless you are a pastor or teacher you will not understand this, but I'm not totally pleased with it. I like it on paper, however, it doesn't want to come out right. (Gee, could I be more vague...) I heard once that a sermon is never really finished, and well, I guess that's what I feel today. I feel like while I know the passage, I know what I want to say about it and where I want to direct our thoughts, it feels like my thoughts are not as clear as they should be.
Make my words your words. If I utter anything not of you, cause it to be forgotten. May those words that are only mine fall like stones to the floor, not even landing on the ears of those with me. However, if there are words that I speak that are of you, make them pierce through the defenses that even I have built up. Make us aware of your presence and allow us to see you; even through my words. I love you, thanks in advance for going before me. Amen.
All I know is that God had better show up. He always does though, so I suppose I'm not too worried. I like it when our community of faith has these kinds of events where we all can come together and be together despite our theological differences.
I hope that God finds you today. Let him in when shows up. I know it's hard, but it's good.
edit: Things went pretty well, I think what I wanted to say came across, and everyone got something to eat.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Often, I feel totally unprepared for forgiveness. Tonight, I've been watching a program on CBC entitled "Embracing Bob's killer". It's about a woman who's husband was killed when he tried to break up a party at the end of his street. The man who killed Bob was eventually sentenced with a man-slaughter conviction. Long story short (as I type this the program is not even over), the wife forgives the killer, and even introduces her children to him. She has created a new life for herself and including public speaking and books about forgiveness. They are showing footage of the two of them doing speaking engagements together.
I can't begin to imagine what that is like. I can't process what I would do if I was the one who lost my Tara to another person's action, would I forgive them? Would I be able to make that person apart of my life?
One of the comments the narrator of this program is: "...it is a complicated thing, this simple act of forgiveness..." I have to think about that. Is simply forgiving someone complicated? Is it easier to forgive and move on then not?
I'm not really sure. I need to think this one through a little more...
The questions I'm asking myself now are going something like this:
Who have I forgiven?
Is there someone I need to forgive?
Who has forgiven me?
Who have I hurt?
Do I think of salvation in the same way as I might think of personal forgiveness?
One of the other bits I found very interesting in the program was the question posed to the guy who had killed this man and done his sentence: "Have you forgiven yourself yet?" The answer was no.
Forgiveness, what a think to talk about. I mean we do talk about it in church, all the time we talk about it; but do we take it as personal as this? I'm not always so sure. I sometimes think we like to leave things at a comfortable distance.
We like to think and talk of forgiveness of ourselves and "others" (no names attached), but we don't like to put specifics to it. We don't like to think that serial killers and rapists could be forgiven, and if we did think they could be forgiven, we certainly wouldn't want to put our children in the same room as they are and encourage a relationship with them. Now, the program I referred to there was, as you might expect, limits to the relationship between the widow (now remarried) and the killer.
How do we think of forgiveness? Would we let someone into our homes who needed to be forgiven by us? Someone who had hurt us and our family, would we open our hearts and our homes and our children to them, to their influence?
I'm not sure I can say that I would be able to throw open my life to the killer of a loved one (for the record; no one in my life or that I know about has been killed), I'm fairly sure that I could forgive them and begin to pick up the pieces of my life and do something that resembled "moving on". But inviting that person into my life? Bringing them into my family like God did us? Bringing them into the fabric and core of my life?
As I write this, it dawns on me that is exactly what God did, he forgave the people who murdered his son and welcomed them into his family.
The thought that comes to mind is: "whoa".
And so we march towards the cross.
Saturday, February 17, 2007
Two of the thoughts that have been in my head today have been about boredom (explain more momentarily) and hope.
By boredom I mean, every once in a while I feel a little like I'm bored with my spiritual life. I emphasize feel, because my mind often is chewing on things, and there are the challenges of applying faith to the myriad of situations that I face day to day. But sometimes there's a feeling almost like, "meh, been there done that."
The only thing that I think intellectually counters this dangerous (in my mind anyways) condition is resting in the hope we have in Christ. Often this works for me on an emotional level too, but not always. I do not like to disregard my feelings or "stuff" them, but I do not like to be held hostage by them either.
I think boredom and hopelessness are related, I don't know how, but I think they are. Take that for what it's worth.
Then again, I'm tired. Sleep does wonders for the body and mind. So good night.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
Apologies for the unsightly link, but if adding to a news reader it makes is mildly easier.
I've also added links for searching through posts according to tags.
This week has been challenging. For the first time in my career I had to officiate two funerals in the span of a week (Friday and Tuesday). The first for someone I knew. The second for someone I only knew about. Both had lived a life that tried to honour God as much as they could.
Both services went really well (as far as funerals go). But, I'm not sure how I feel. I feel tired to be certain, but I also feel like I'm moving underwater. I do not fear the outcome of death. I know that my faith in Christ makes my eternity secure, but I suppose I do fear the process. The process of death is scary. Two issues come to mind, control and change. We cannot control death, and most often change comes whether we like it our not. Someone else dies and we are left with a hole in our lives. A big void where that person used to sit. Our bodies change, we cannot do what we once did. Often times we feel powerless to control those things. Often times we are powerless to control those things.
We do not however, travel through these things alone. In that, I find hope and comfort.
(I may edit this post later....)
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Thursday, February 08, 2007
(it seems I'm always learning something, even if it's just a deeper understanding of what I already knew)
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
So why do I share this with you, my faithful blog readers? Well, I recently joined a online group of players aged 30 and up (as you can imagine many of those who play this game are decidedly under 30). This group provides a network of people to trade items with and to do activities together. The reason I share this with you, is this group (it wasn't my fault, I promise!!) just went through a very significant division. The group had been about 350 or so, and currently it's dropped to about 244, but it also included some of the leadership. This has caused a great deal of stress and it certainly isn't the same as many of those who have stayed are upset about their friends leaving and for how everything was handled.
The fact that I'm a big geek aside, does this not remind anyone of what happens in the church? Needless to say, I don't play video games for that kind of interpersonal drama. If I want drama I'll watch ER (is that show not a little over the top recently?). Yet it was fascinating for me to see this happen outside the church. Although, it was very sad to talk with those who left. As a new member of the group, I was very much surprised at all this and had no idea what was really going on. It was stressful for me, as one of the people who introduced me to the group is now gone. While there were a lot of things that were totally unlike church in the situation (what with it being online and being all about a video game), there were some things that I did learn. These are things I won't soon forget.
- It's difficult to sort out what's going on when you feel like you only know a handful of people. It's difficult to know who to believe when people take sides.
- It's hard to know what to do when you like the group, but the people you knew best are gone, should I stay or should I go?
- Your emotions that run the gamut all at the same time, you find yourself in some measure identifying with all sides.
Now truthfully, the intensity of those emotions are for me, were not nerely as intense as I have about church and serving the Lord. (For anyone reading this from that group... that is primarily due to the strength of my convictions about church life and community and the length of time I've been in the group).
In the end, it's good to know that other groups struggle with what we do, but it's sad to know that as the church we're not that different either. Did that make sense? It has given me a great deal to think about.
Monday, January 22, 2007
...specifically, mine. It has been in the last few years that I have begun to discover how incredibly emotional I am. (All of you saying that you knew that already... keep you comments 'til later) I feel very much like I have been on a rollercoaster of emotions and it is incredible how much of your sprituality seems tied into that. It's not like I'm having a serious crisis of faith or anything, I still fervently believe in God, but somehow things feel "off".
For some of you, this revelation is nothing new (read: Tara), however for myself it has been a little stressful to see all these up and downs. I have pictured myself more "steady" then it appears I am. Nothing like having your own ideas of yourself challenged.
I have begun to study Isaiah. While prophetic literature is rarely "fun", in that there is a great deal of judgment therein, I am looking forward to chewing on some of it. I am trying very hard to think through some things and look ahead, to the future. Recently, I have found that life when it becomes overwhelming (as it is likely to try and do...), it begins to take away our hope, our dreams and our passion for things. Sometimes it seems like everything is kinda stale.
Parts of life sometimes feel that way. Intellectually I am thankful for so many things. I am so thankful for my wife. If I haven't told you lately how awesome she is, I'm sorry- SHE'S AWESOME! My kids are a major blessing to me too. So many other things too, but those are on my mind now.
I once heard someone suggest that perhaps these "dull and dark" times are to help us appreciate the clear and bright times, if that's the case, let's get on the bright shall we? It is astonishing to me how up and down life can be.
All I know for certain is this, that without my faith, without my God, without the blessings he has placed in my life, things would be infinitely harder.
Pursuing God despite of it all seems to be the order of the day. I am becoming more convinced that God is more concerned about where we are in relationship with him then he is about our personal comfort. So I seek Him as best I can. Often this is hard. Often this is against my "better" judgment. I still hear Him calling me to himself. Not just as a pastor, but as a disciple. The verse that comes to mind is this
Matthew 6:33 (NIV)But, then again, that's just me.
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
I don't know how much snow we ended up getting, but for goodness sakes, it's a lot.
I also don't mind admitting I have inquired to a friend about having him do our driveway with his quad/snowplow setup. Yes, I'm wimping out. I'm okay with that. I say, work smarter not harder. Besides, while looking out the window might give you the impression it's a beautiful day, bright sunshine, not a cloud to be seen - I can read a thermometer.
Currently -24.7C on the north side of our house. That's like 5 degrees warmer than when I woke up, but it's still cold.
If you need me. I'll be inside.