Saturday, March 31, 2007

Palm Sunday

So I have some thoughts I will share from my preparations for speaking this weekend and next (Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday).

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

Popliteal Cyst

So a month or two ago I did something to my knee and this week I finally went to the Doctor to check it out. Turns out I have a popliteal cyst. Not a cyst like cancer or anything, more like water (aka Synovial fluid) on/behind/throughout my knee. Who knew? It shouldn't be a big deal, it depends on what caused it in the first place. Doctor said it was likely caused by a chunk of cartilage or something tearing. She said it was the largest she's seen and was a little surprised I was still able to function fairly well.

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

And then you get those conversations...

...that make you go: "wow, I love this!"

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.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Blogging & My "homework"

So I've been reading some blogs today. Skimming over some stuff from people I went to Bible School with. Blogging is pretty cool. It's a good way to keep up on people that you don't get to keep in touch with. Although I'm pretty sure that's kinda creepy in a way too... but I digress.
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...

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

If there was any doubt...

One of the discussions that routinely comes up with our family is how much the kids have grown. Often it is phrased "look how big you are!". Aiden thinks this is great. Olivia doesn't understand words, but she's excited about any and all attention that she gets. Then, there's Owen. Owen is our middle child. Owen does not want to be big. Owen does not want to be the baby. Owen, would like to be little. It causes great stress for him to be described as big. So, if you see him, you can think he's big, but you don't need to tell him. I know he's big, Tara knows he's big, anyone who sees him knows he's big, and if there was ever any doubt....

He's not our baby anymore and he certainly is big. But he's our little Owen. (Okay mushy bit over)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

On Homework

I decided to split this post up because they cover very different things.
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.

On today

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

Lenten Lunch

I'm just about to leave the office for a ministerial event. Our church is organizing this weeks Lenten Lunch. As a ministerial we host a lunch every Wednesday of the Lenten season and a different church organizes the food and the service portion.

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.

Dear God,
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.