Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Years & the Bible

Study 2So as you get ready to start a new year, what are you hoping to do? I don't like the word resolutions because, to me, resolutions seems doomed from the start. I have always heard of more people breaking their resolutions then following through on them. I know it's not the word's fault, but I avoid using it anyways.

Sunday night at church we talked a little about making sure your devotional life is improving as we head to the New Year.  In light of that, I thought I would share some online resources.  You don't have to use the computer to read your Bible, you could just grab a Bible and start reading.  Write down notes and questions on a scrap of paper.  However, if you're the type that likes to use your computer or handheld, read on for two sites that have lots to offer that might be of help.  These are two that I use, there's likely many more that are just as good or better...

Youversion
Reading Plans
Audio Bible, Study tools - Both are included in the browser window
Mobile Page

Bible Gateway
Reading Plans

For what it's worth I will be starting one of the reading plans this week.  Maybe, even more than one.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Waiting in the van

So we had a to wait in the van a bit while Tara did some stuff.  So first we went to McDonald's.  Everyone did very well, but Olivia refused to eat.  That is until we got back into the van.


Kids in a van

We had to wait just a few more minutes in the van, so I tried to take a few nice pictures of the boys... they're pictures anyways...

Kids in a van 1

Kids in a van 2

Thursday, December 10, 2009

on social networking and lurking

I like the internet.  I like Facebook and other social networking sites.  But I sometimes wonder about it all.  It's cool to be aware of what's going on in other people's lives.  I love finding out about people who I once studied with, or went to church with, or whatever.  Sometimes though, we just get a very small piece of the story.  Like reading a newspaper story and having far more questions then when you started.  Sometimes you want to ask a question, but it's been awhile, and you're not sure how to get into those discussions with those old friends.  So rather than make a comment you lurk.  I do this ALL the time.  reading blogs, facebook pages, whatever; often wishing I could contribute something to the conversation, but feel like I am missing too much of the story to say anything.  Has this ever happened to you? -> You make a comment on something trying to join a conversation and others just seem to ignore that you said anything?  I dislike that, maybe it just says something about me.
So I (or maybe you) lurk and wonder.  I am not sure there's anything to do to fix it, but I felt like expressing.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

today

Well, we finished another week.  This week felt long.  Had some great connections with people this week.  Got a few things done I've been meaning to get going.  We've had a number of unexpected gifts this week, more than a couple actually.  God is good.
At our evening gathering today, there was some good food, great people and the service, I felt, was significant.  So while I'm tired, wiped out really, it's good.
Rest tonight now, then tomorrow we drive to T-bay and Olivia has teeth yanked out of her head.  Will let that worry hit me tomorrow, now I'm going to veg.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Pictures of Life

(this is a duplicate post from my photoblog)


I've mentioned a couple of times about a project I've been working on.  It's as ready as it will ever be for the public.  It's a gallery of pictures (is this a surprise? probably not). First the pictures... then the details, along with how this might help you...




As some of you know, I'm a pastor.  I've noticed that in some churches it seems a struggle to find good photos to use as a backdrop on their powerpoint presentation, or to slip behind the words when lyrics to songs are projected for group singing.

Over the last few months I've been challenged by many things to try and find a way to help others with my photography.  So I started going through my photos to find images that would work for churches in what I've described above.  Started with over 200 gigs, first cut was just over a 1000 images.  This is a gallery of 200 images.  If you have been following my photography for awhile you'll likely recognize these photos.  They have been shared before.  I am proud of these images.

If you are apart of a church and would like to use these in your services please do so.  You can download them and size them to fit your screen and use them.  Technically I'm putting a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License on these photos.  Click the link to learn more.  However I'm not real concerned with people knowing that I took the picture.  If you do use them, it would be nice if you could send me an email or leave a comment with that photo on the photo gallery page

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I went on two dates recently

So, late last week I got to go on a date with someone, not my wife.


All I'll say, is she likes ketchup.


And then today, I went on a date with my wife. You know where we went? The grocery store. It was all good.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

today

So, I should have something to say in this space. But I'm struggling. I'll start and see where we end up?
Have you ever seen, or read, or heard, or thought of some really rather inspiring stuff and rather than 'doing' something you just think. Then in your thinking you go around in circles and then you just throw your hands up in the air and say, "well, I guess I wasn't that inspired to do something, just think it" - even though the inspiring stuff was awesome...

Did that make sense?

Ever feel overwhelmed? Ever feel like you have to do something, but not sure what, or how, or with whom? Ever feel like the stuff you write, the stuff you create, well, it is at best mediocre, and at worst, well, dung? Ya, me too.

Then I remember that most of relationship is just showing up. Even if you show up and your socks don't match and there's coffee on your shirt and you dragged mud in on the carpet.

So here's a prayer I'm writing out for those of us who sometimes feel like that...

Uh, God?
It's me again. I know I'm not doing all I should. I know I sometimes do stuff I shouldn't.
I'm trying, kinda, I mean I am, but I get overwhelmed with stuff. And I try to get by on the bare minimum. I know that's lazy, and I know better, it's true.

Thanks for loving me anyways. Thanks for not giving me what I deserve and thanks for giving me so much already and then some of what I don't deserve. I believe in you. I believe that you care for me. That you want me. I come and I bring such as I have, use it. Work through me or in spite of me. You've done so much, I will keep trying to show you how much that truly means to me, more than my words too.

I'm making this up as I go, so you'll need to help. I've learned a few things, thanks for that by the way, so I'll start there and see what happens okay? Have I told you lately that you are awesome? Ya.

Love ya, Amen.


trickle
it can be a long way up...

Philippians 3:12-14 (New Living Translation)

Pressing toward the Goal
12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Taken from Bible Gateway HERE.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

beauty in the background

So as my wife has noted, illness has descended on our home. Kids are sick, Tara is beginning to feel "rough" and as for me? I think I'm close, but if I'm careful I might be able to sidestep most of it...

I was up relatively early with Olivia, around 6:30 or so. As I looked out the dining room window, the sun was just starting to paint all the undersides of the thin clouds that more vibrant sunrise pink. It was really pretty. I didn't snap a picture so you actually have to use your imagination here. As I was looking at it all part of me wanted to move the houses and the power lines and the other "clutter" that was getting in the way of the pretty scene in front of me.

Then it occurred to me, "beauty in the background". Even with sick kids, today is a new day. Despite the clutter in front of us, there is beauty in the background. It forms a sense of hope for me. That even with all the stuff in front of us, you can still see beauty. It still causes me to wonder at how a little pink on the bottom of clouds (pink of all colors!) can evoke these thoughts. How when another morning begins, if we watch for it, something beautiful will be there, in the background. You could easily miss it. I almost did. I almost didn't open the blinds, almost didn't stop to see what the morning looked like.

I found this verse and thought I'd share it. Hope that even with sickness and clutter, you see the beauty of today.

Proverbs 4:18 (New Living Translation)

18 The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,
which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.

New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

what I like in photos...

(Note: this was on my photoblog, but I felt I needed to cross post it here too)

So Strobist had a post on colour palette in photos, specifically how do I use colour in my photos. I got thinking about how I tend to shoot and process my pictures. It got me thinking about my photos.

I think my I have tendency to have more saturated colours and in doing so I think many of my pictures lean to be a little underexposed. I often underexpose pictures to pull as much colour out and keep the contrast as high as I can. The lens I use the most is my 55-200VR lens.
I think this is one of the reasons I have a real hard time with shooting black and white. I don't naturally see things that way. I also seem to gravitate towards real tight crops when shooting people at events. I have come home from family or church events and realized that the only photos I really have are of individuals and not of the group function.

I think some of this reflects at least a part of who I am. The stronger colours reflect my optimistic leanings. I use photography more as an escape from my everyday life more than I do a vehicle to make statements. I use photography as a vehicle to help me pray, to see the good things in the world when I'm overwhelmed, and perhaps most importantly, give perspective the things in life I need to be thankful for.

I am drawn to photos that have a very strong and simple composition too. That center on one moment or one thing. Usually for me, it's something that is tied to a simple joy of something, or relationship, or just fun!

So what? What do I do with all of this? Do I try and go the other way and learn to be as rounded and balanced as possible? Or do I simply accept it and run with it as part of my style? Well, to start, I want to make sure that I really start working on exposure. I need to learn how to draw the colour I want out of photos without making them underexposed. I need to learn how to shoot with more than just that one lens, even if it's just to save that lens from wearing out while the others look brand-new (actually if you look at that lens you'll see it is worse for the wear, even though it is the lens I've had the longest). I also need to shoot events with an eye towards the larger event and not just the individuals within the event.

How do you use colour? How are you seeing the world? Does it come out in your photos? Do you even care? What are you looking to take pictures of?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

words

magnetic words

I dug out the old magnetic words from a box today and put them on the fridge. Thought maybe the kids might like to play with them. I know I do. We got these when we were first married if memory serves...

Words can be fun.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

faith vs disbelief

Do I trust you?

I say I do

I say, I declare, I preach...

that the gift you already gave me was enough

That what you did to save me was enough forever

I even tell others that the one gift is enough

That I don't really need you to do any thing else

But do I really believe that?

If this happens will I hold it against you?

Will I trust you while I wait or will I worry?

I think I believe you

I do believe you

But I'm scared

So many things could go wrong

So many things could be so much easier if...

If something happened

I don't know what

I don't even know what to ask really ,

I don't know how to ask for nothing but everything at the same time

I trust you, I do, but I'm scared

I trust you, I do, but I'm worried

I trust you, I do, but I'm stressed

I trust you, I do, but I'm nervous

I trust you, I do, but I'm lazy

I trust you, I do.

You remind me that you have come through before

You remind me that you think of me

You remind me that you love me

You remind me that you've given me so much more than I deserve

Your way of teaching me is so different then what I would do

Your way of looking after me is so different then what I would do

Your ways are some much better than what I would do

All of these things I know in my head

But my fears sometimes get my head all mixed up

So even though you've already done so much,

I come again and ask for your help.

Friday, September 25, 2009

bouncing light

moon

I like the moon. I'm not sure when I started really liking seeing the moon, but I do. The moon reminds me a little bit of life. Forgive me if you've heard me say this before (because I have said this before). The moon, as we know, doesn't produce any light of it's own; but the moon is normally the brightest thing in the night sky. You can see the moon during the day at times too.
It reminds me that I am ordinary, and that there are many other people in this world. There are many people who are more qualified than I am. There are others who are smarter, or more kind or whatever. However, if my life has light in it, the light comes from somewhere else.

I am not really trying to be self deprecating here, nor am I am trying to be unnecessarily humble. It's just that no matter where I am in my life, no matter how well or poorly I'm living my life, the thing I want others to see is Christ.

trees v2
Even if the moon is only a sliver, and the light from the sun is only hitting a tiny bit of it, it's still the brightest thing in the sky. I find that terribly encouraging. That people don't have to see me. They may see the "texture" of my life, they may see the stuff I do that has left a scar, a crater from where through my own choices or just from life, I've taken hits, but the first I hope they see is the light. At first I hope they see I'm not just a big rock floating in space, but that they see the light (try not to linger on the "Doug as a big rock floating in space" image, it's not as compelling as the moon).
The first photograph I took of the moon the other night went all white, the moon's surface was overexposed, as the camera tried to balance the dark sky and the bright moon. So you saw the shape but not the detail. I ended up taking a number of photos until I got the amount of lunar surface texture that I thought looked good. The point is, often you have to really look at the moon to see that texture. Often to really see it you must magnify it.

This post as I think and reread feels a tad more corny then what I usually write about, but I saw the moon the other night and I felt I needed to write about what I thought.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Some thoughts about our life these days...


the big move
We're getting ready to move. It's a big thing to do. Packing, taking things apart, sorting, picking up all kinds of heavy things and carrying them about.
Yet, God seems to be caring for us.

tenacity
Life is tenacious. Grass, growing in a rock, right by swirling water. Often I think I need to be a little more tenacious. Pastoral ministry often has in it challenges. Things that can be hard. And yet it's when things are not hard, that is when things are easy that I find it hardest to be tenacious. As there seems to be no real need to be tenacious, you can just be. I think though, that for us to really do well we need to always be pressing ahead. Especially when things are easy. To teach and prepare, to rally people together, to build up, because when things become difficult, it is so much harder to do those things.

So, let these pictures be a reminder, that even when it's a big job, you still need to take it one step at a time and to be tenacious.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

dark thoughts on a bright day

waterlily 2Yesterday was a beautiful day outside (today too for that matter).

Among other things I went to a presentation yesterday. It was on domestic violence. It shared stories from women who had been battered. By men, claiming to be Christian. It shared the story of a church who's pastor was attacked by a son-in-law. It made my heart hurt. I'm at a loss for words.

My head was spinning so many different directions that I had to go for a walk. So I did, and I prayed and listened to a worship album. I'm still at a loss for words, but I do know this, a marriage should be a safe place.

I am constantly thankful for having a woman that I can stand back to back with and regardless of what the world does, of what anyone else does, she's with me and I'm with her. I want to see her flourish, to grow, to do things that neither one of us thought possible. I have absolutely zero desire to "control" her. I trust her with everything. We disagree at times, we even argue about stuff . But always, always I have felt safe with her and she with me. Without her support I doubt I could pastor at all.

I cannot imagine what life would be like without that kind of support from my spouse. I cannot imagine what it would be like to not feel safe in the relationship that is intended to be a safe point in the craziness of life.

So I walked. I listened and sang along with some worship music (don't worry I wasn't loud enough for anyone else to hear!). God knows that some people are in awful places in life. And yes, God does want his people to do something about it. So what do we do? Well, I am truly not sure, yet. God is leading in some directions these days that are getting me to pray more and more. To seek him more and more.

I have some personal projects in mind that hopefully will help others. People outside my family, outside even my church. Will be earth shattering? Likely not. But you have to start somewhere...

And through it all I am faithful that God will care for us as well. As I walked I saw these lily pads.

Luke 12:27 (New International Version)

27"Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.(Taken from BibleGateway.com)

A little of Galatians

Galatians 3:23-29 (New Living Translation)

God’s Children through Faith
23 Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed.

24 Let me put it another way. The law was our guardian until Christ came; it protected us until we could be made right with God through faith. 25 And now that the way of faith has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian.

26 For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. 28 There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

lurking, moving, and prayer, amongst other things.



So, recently I've not posted much material to the internets. Due largely in part to my inability to articulate anything intelligent. I've been working on some material on prayer in the background recently. Mostly just reading, studying and trying to be more disciplined in praying. To grow and stretch. To become a little more self-aware to things like attitude and how I speak to people (especially the kids).

I've been thinking about what this year will hold, as we begin the first full school year here in this community. Starting a new school year, Owen's in grade 1, Aiden starts grade 2. Olivia will start preschool in a little while. The only thing that stays the same is the amount of change.
One of the challenges for me is to be deliberate about doing things. It's very easy for me to just "let things happen", at times that's a big strength. I can go with the flow much easier than some people, but at other times it means a disproportionate amount of energy is required to get things moving, especially when it comes to internal motivation.

So what? I keep trying to learn. Keep trying to identify the things I'm doing well and the things that need work. To keep in touch with the people in my life: family, friends, church people, people in my community. Also, to grow more and more in those relationships - and in my relationship with God.
My relationship with God is best maintained when I come to him because I want to. And I do. Sometimes life gets in the way. I need to push back. Spending time with God is good. It makes everything else better.
What's the point of this post? Uh, to share what's in my head.

Friday, July 31, 2009

10

Ten years today.

We invited,
People came. We wed,

We ate, actually Tara and I never tasted that cake but that's another story...
We then left on a ferry
Got to drive the boat!
Had a few wonderful days on a honeymoon,
And the 3653 days since have been good. Some great times, some hard times, some funny, some sad, but always have I been happy that we're together.

Ten years is a long time in some ways, but in others, it seems like we're just beginning.
I love you Tara.




For those who might care 10 years is:
From and including: Saturday, July 31, 1999

To, but not including : Friday, July 31, 2009

It is 3653 days from the start date to the end date, but not including the end date

Or 10 years excluding the end date

Alternative time units

3653 days can be converted to one of these units:
  • 315,619,200 seconds
  • 5,260,320 minutes
  • 87,672 hours
  • 521 weeks (rounded down)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday

So I sit here on the couch at the end of a Sunday. It feels like it has been a long day. Spent the morning going over my notes for this evening's service, and pouring over the computer trying to get more information on the forest fires in the Kelowna area (Tara's Aunt, Uncle and some other family live in the area). Then I tried to clean our van out some, which took a little more time then expected.
Went at four to help with the setup for our service. You know I love our church, it was good to see them. Good in the same way as a favorite comfort food is good when you're really hungry. Fills you up. Does that make sense?

We have been holding our services outside this summer, it's been really nice. Tonight I enjoyed it greatly, although preaching into the sun can be challenging. Couple of things happened today that I wanted to share.

The usual practice for Sunday afternoons goes something like this, those helping set up meet at 4 and we set up all the gear, when all that is setup and the whole music team has arrived then we take time to pray and then there is some rehearsal and at 6 we start our service. That is, more or less what we do.

Today however I somehow got all mixed up and wh
ile the music team was rehearsing I had it in my head that we had begun the service. Now I don't wear a watch, I often use my camera to tell time (although I have to take a picture first!). There was fourteen people assembled already and I thought that was the group we were going to have.

Interesting little dialogue went on in my head at that point, me and God talking some things through. I was clearly reminded that it's not my church. It's his, and he's called me to serve, to care for those that are there. Then, someone told me the time, still 40 minutes until the service is due to start. Okay, point taken, lesson learned.

Then after the service I realized that one family arrived to church in their sailboat. They had been out on the water all day and decided to take the boat up river and sail to church. That was a first for me. I had never before seen anyone come to church in a sailboat/yacht. How cool is that?!


And, tonight we've started to make some contact with our family in the Kelowna area, so far it appears that Tara's Aunt and Uncle's home is still intact. That seems like a miracle to me, but what do I know?

All I know is that hearing voices on the phone is a good thing. Hearing a voice is better than just receiving word. So that is today.

Scott Kelby Photowalk and some unrelated concerns)


Here are some of the photos from my involvement in the 2nd Annual Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk. I had hoped to work on these a little more but have been unable to. In time I will add more pictures and perhaps rework these ones.

The reason I haven't been able to do much is that my wife's Aund and Uncle have been evacuated from their home in West Bank, British Columbia. West Bank and the western part of Kelowna are in flames from a 200+ hectare forest fire that started yesterday. The fire is (as of right now) still uncontained and authorities are evacuating more and more people. There are even rumblings that this fire might be bigger than the fire in 2003.

There are some pictures on one of the Kelowna news websites of them evacuating Les & Shirley here. They are featured in the second and third photos. If you're the praying type, please do so.

This post is duplicated on my other blog

Monday, July 13, 2009

Friday, July 10, 2009

Friday


It's Friday and Sunday's coming. I have been thinking about Sunday all week, and was thinking about it all last week too. Randall was talking about this Sunday on his blog today and it prompted me a little to blog about what's in my head.

I don't know if other pastors are like me, but it seems that summers mess with my head. People are coming and going, vacationing and travelling, busy and resting and it seems that services take a hit in attendance.

It can be hard to tell if people are slipping through the cracks, feeling disconnected from the church or if they are simply running around. Are people really busy, or are they taking a break from things to see how they feel. Are they doing it deliberately or does it just happen unconsciously? Those are the questions that sometimes run through my head. So I pray. So I lift up our people to God and hope that he prompts me to connect with those that need it and that others will connect with each other too.

Just because you can go to the beach, doesn't mean you no longer need community, and encouragement. So this Sunday, I think we're going to look at a Psalm and consider prayer some. We'll be meeting in the Cooper park, if you're around at 6:00pm stop by.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

keep

Keep it honest.
Keep it simple.
Keep it up.

Words that encouraged me today. How many different areas of life would be better if we learned this?

Saturday, July 04, 2009

self

Ever had a week where you found that your objections to things, are totally dumb. The things you find yourself objecting to could be regular chores, social gatherings, or just simple requests that people ask of you, things that are no big deal. Yet, there is a stubbornness inside that just doesn't seem to dissolve. That ever happen to you? Ya me too.
chewed
What do you do? I start praying. I know that sounds like a very pastoral kind of answer. But that's what I am, that and I find that God is the only one who I can verbalize all my stupid rationalizations, he listens and after verbalizing them to him I realize how dumb I'm being.
I start to sense some the things that are good in my life; certainly there are things I need to work on, but I am loved, by a few people and by God.

Now what remains is to keep moving forward, even though you feel like the world has chewed on you a bit.

(For what it's worth this photo very narrowly won a simple Facebook photo contest)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Franciscan Benediction

From my reading today there was, as an aside, this benediction:

A Franciscan Benediction

May God bless you with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
So that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and
To turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world,
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.

Amen
(p105, Prayer by Philip Yancey)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

the past & prayer

Have you ever had thoughts and memories of the past float through your mind in a way that made you wonder how things turned out the way they did? Why did that relationship get all weird? How did that work at all? How did that get to be so great? How did that all fall apart? Was the mistake made my fault, their fault or our fault? If we had taken the time would relationship have been restored?

Big questions really. Tough questions. I think it's those questions that seek to help us see ourselves more clearly, or simply slip into blaming others. I'd like God to simply work in the areas where I've made a mess of things, and I'm really thankful for all that he has done.

I read this quote today from Yancey's book entitled prayer, Yancey quoting Ray Anderson;
"Prayer is not a means of removing the unknown and unpredictable elements in life, but rather a way of including the unknown and unpredictable in the outworking of the grace of God in our lives."
(p82, PRAYER, by Philip Yancey)

golden light
I don't know about you, but prayer and the past and all of the stuff we carry in our hearts and heads can be overwhelming. Yet for me the grace of God still shines through.

I hope all that made sense to someone other than me, if not, please refer to the title of this blog.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

hmmm

I thought about blogging today, but I don't have anything to say and I don't feel like it.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Down by the dock


click to see large

We went down to the government dock tonight and threw rocks in the water. I think they had fun.
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Thursday, May 21, 2009

a walk to the park

Put this together with video clips and stills from a walk that the kids and I had.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sermon Wordle

So I dumped the notes from my sermon last week into Wordle, this is what came out.
Posted by Picasa

The last few days

So this is what I drove home in last night. The last few days I have been away at a meeting in Regina and then another meeting in Winnipeg. Both were great and some good discussions. Lots of driving, but really is this what spring is going to be about this year? Yet it's great to be home.
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Monday, May 11, 2009

The Hunt for Gollum



If you know that LOTR is the common abbreviation for "Lord of the Rings", then it may interest you to know that while it seems that "the Hobbit" won't hit theatres until sometime in 2011 or 2012, there is a Tolkien inspired fan based movie that has just been released on the web recently.

You can read a BBC online article about it here. Here is the main site.

It's entitled: "The Hunt for Gollum" and takes place between the Hobbit and the Fellowship of the Ring. Quick synopsis, Strider (aka Aragorn) searches for Gollum.

The movie is about 40 minutes long, and while the budget was relatively small, it's pretty cool. I enjoyed it, but then I'm a LOTR fan.

If you're a fan go watch it. You can only view it online, currently at DailyMotion, although it appears that in the next little while it will be posted to other video sharing sites.

While it's not quite up to standards for New Line Cinemas, it is so much better then I had expected a fan based movie made not-for-profit for other fans of Tolkien.

Just for fun here's the link to the first LOTR movies.

UPDATE:
I have found another Fan based LOTR movie here that I have not seen yet, although it looks great.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

music on dusty shelves


So over the last little while I've been dumping some of old CDs onto my computer and mp3 player. Bands I listened to in college. 26 disks so far...
Here's a list:
  • Tragically Hip
  • Watchmen
  • Hootie and the Blowfish,
  • Pearl Jam,
  • Our Lady Peace,
  • 3rd eye blind,
  • Oasis,
  • Goo Goo Dolls,
  • Great Big Sea,
  • really old Sarah McLachlan stuff,
  • Space Jam soundtrack,
  • Crash Test Dummies,
  • Big Wreck,
  • Barenaked Ladies
It's weird though, the music hasn't changed. But I have. I'm older. I'm married, now, have a trio of kids, my oldest turned 7 today (see Tara's post for a cool little video she made of photos).

Yet while I don't enjoy all of it the way I did back then, some I have truly enjoyed listened to, because it seems to connect to a part of my life years ago. It's good to have a sense of where you came from, a sense of who you are without all the forces around you pushing and pulling you to be something else. I learned a lot about life in the 90's. It's good to groove to music that I haven't listened to in so long that it feels like it's fresh- if you know what I mean, but I know all the words.

So no, I am not going to live in the 90's, but for awhile, I'll be there musically.

Friday, April 24, 2009

pink...

So today I was buried in pink.
I was loading the washing machine and found that I had a whole load of pink things. Now this was not something I had ever imagined myself doing. However at this point in my life I am tied to the colour pink. Pink now completely and totally reminds me of my daughter Olivia. Pink does not remind me of Tara, if any colour reminds me of her it's green. But now I don't despise pink. Now I kinda like pink. Honestly it's funny how some things change you.

Anyhow, here's a few photos of my little girl. It's official (and has been for some time) I'm smitten.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sitting on the porch with a friend...

Have you ever just sat with an old friend on the porch?
Just sitting, sometimes chatting, sometimes not.
Where just being together is like a healing balm to your whole person. As your body rests from the sitting, your soul rests in the presence of trusted and beloved friend. Have you ever had such a wonderful moment where time slips away but leaves a fabulous warmth in your heart as it does?
Morning pleasures...

Most of us long for those kind of connections. Most of us have no idea how to make those moments happen, or even how to encourage them. So when they do happen we hold onto them like crazy, reliving them many times in our imagination afterwards. The only thing we know is that those moments only come if you give them space. You can’t have moments if you never get together with your friend. If you never carve time out for them you can’t have those moments.

I think sometimes we expect Jesus to show up and do that for us every Sunday. Yet if we never give him the space or time, is that a realistic expectation?

Oh Lord, I so long that you would come soon so that the promises, all the things that up to now fall into that “not yet” category, becomes the now. If not, will you come and be with me today? Will you bring warmth and healing to my stone like heart? Strengthen and encourage, gently teach and show me the way to do all of life better, show all of us how to be your people, your church, your bride.
We love you, but not as much as you love us.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

All of a sudden it was 1997...

So I'm driving Aiden home from school and the grocery store and we were talking about the warm weather and having a barbeque tonight, and I said ' should we listen to some music on the way home?' and he replied 'Oh yeah! Some rock and roll!', 

So I put in a kids CD on that we have in the van.  He said 'that's not rock and roll!!!'.
So in a scramble I slammed in an almost forgotten about CD and was taken back to 1997...

Anyone remember "Big Wreck - In Loving Memory of"?  

Here's a little reminder...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter 1989

I was baptized on Easter Sunday 1989.
Twenty years ago.  

Thoughts are swirling between my ears.  

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Me and Church and other people

I'm a pastor.  For the vast majority of the time I enjoy what I do.  I love the church.  It's not a popular sentiment these days, but I've never been cool.   I grew up in the church.  Aside from home, it was where I learned about God, where I learned to grow and mature as a Christian.  As I went from childhood to my teen years, it was in church, specifically the youth program at my church, that I was pushed to grow more in my walk and make my faith 'my own' (as opposed to something that my parents did).  

I read this week a reminder about the nature of truth and love it said this:

Love without truth is hypocrisy
Truth without love is brutality

The church is messed up.  We can be inward focused, selfish, push personal agendas, and generally be mean to each other and judgemental (or worse) of the world.  I get that.  I get that many people have been hurt by the 'church', which is really just a nice way of saying that other people, other Christians have hurt you.  Sometimes that comes through deliberate actions and sometimes it's because something was left undealt with or was never seen.
That sucks.  It's more than likely I have even hurt people.  My choices or lack of making a choice has hurt people.  Sometimes you know that a choice you make is not only going to be unpopular, but difficult for someone.  Sometimes you have no idea.  Sometimes hindsight tells you that the way something worked out hurt people, even though  you didn't mean it.

So what am I trying to say really?
Leaving the church isn't the answer.  There are times when you need to leave a particular church, but giving up on ALL church is not going to help anyone.  
The question I then have, and it's a question I ask on a regular basis is this:
Well what should church look like then?  Because in my mind it's easier to find things wrong then come up with solutions.

While I grew up in the church, at the end of it all I wasn't left with the same kind of 'traditional' feeling that some people get.  I mean I remember poking fun at different parts of our church life or of some of the people who did things a certain way.  People poked fun at me too, and my wife feels that was entirely appropriate as this was the era of the Doug Mullet.  I have also been informed that I am in no way ever to have that kind of a hair cut again, or she'll go and cut my hair in my sleep with a rusty steak knife, but I digress.  (If there are any people from my youth group days who can tell me which family's pool this photo was taken at, hit me in the comments)

The point is though that nothing ever really felt 'traditional' to me.  There were things that I liked and things that bored me to tears.  There were parts of church life that resonated with me and parts of it left me scratching my head.  
I wanted to become a pastor because I felt like I had to give back a little of what others had given me.  God used the work and effort of regular people to impact my life.

 Sure over the years there are some people that don't understand me and rail against me at times, but not everyone.  I remember pivotal points in my life where different people in my church(s) were used by God to break through my defences and teach me something.  People like Jim, who taught a Sunday school class in Junior High, my quiz coaches pushing me to memorize (even though I only quizzed one year), Pastor Gerry who God used in big ways, Steve a youth sponsor who drove bus and prayed with me the night God rattled my cage in a big way at a Good Friday rally in Unionville.  I remember the ladies who sang their hearts out and showed me that all kinds of music could be worship (I wasn't listening to anything like what they were singing on my walkman).  I remember the encouragment people gave me the night I was baptized (Easter Sunday 1989).   The people in the church I interned at who loved me and challenged me and showed me things.  And many in the churches I've served as pastor. And as much as I remember I know that there were more things that God used to shape me.  

I suppose I struggle with those who can walk away from church in general.  Despite all the chaos that I've seen in churches (and likely I haven't seen as much hurt and chaos as many have) God still used it to impact me.  For me being a pastor is a small way to serve the church that has prayed for me, challenged me, taught me and at times has hurt me.  

Often though, I don't know what to do to make the church better.  Often I don't know how to get people to change.  Often I don't know how to bring depth to something that often is shallow.  I struggle at length at times to find a way to communicate the immense gratitude I have inside for all the things that God has done.  

It was twenty years ago that I was baptized on Easter Sunday, perhaps that's why I am writing this really long post.  I'm still here.  My intention is, that twenty years from this Easter I will still be in church; and twenty after that and... (although I'm not sure I'll be pastoring 40 years from now, but who knows, maybe I'll be the guy trying desperately to stay awake during the service and Tara will be jabbing me in the ribs with an elbow to keep me from snoring during the sermon).

May you find a new appreciation for our Lord Jesus this Easter weekend and find new ways to love the church.  

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The pastor's question is

The pastor's question is, "Who are these particular people, and how can I be with them in such a way that they can become what God is making them?"
  -Eugene Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The new Sunday routine

So here it is the first Sunday I will be preaching at this new-to-me church and I've been at home all morning.  No, I'm not sick, but it is starting to sink in a little more that having the church service in the evening feels very different then having it in the morning.

So today we have the first Sunday where I will preach a 'full' sermon and then we'll have a membership meeting to talk about some stuff before the AGM next week.  I am so lucky, this year I get TWO annual general meetings!  Although really it appears that both meetings will be great fun.  

So despite everything feeling very different and foreign, today seems like a good day.  Gotta run out in a little while to pick up some ink cartridges so I can print out my sermon notes... we have ink, somewhere in a box, so rather than dig through the maze of boxes for another small box, I'm going to the big store where someone in a blue smock can tell me where the small boxes are and I'll give another person in blue some money and we'll come home and try printing.  

I hope today has been good for you.  

Saturday, March 07, 2009

updates

So I had expected to have more written on here in the last few days.  In time I'd like to take some new pictures to update the blog layout (haven't done that yet if you're reading this through RSS). 
There's been lots going on, mostly involving boxes and moving the things in them around throughout the house.  We're enjoying the house.  I'm doing my best to enjoy what's happening 'now' without worrying about what's next.  
I'm trusting that God is working behind the scenes so that the things I will bring on Sunday to this new (to us) group of people would be helpful and encouraging.  
So for those asking, things are good.  Lots to do, unpacking, there's some extra parenting required these days as the kids are all over the map.  There's peopel to have coffee and meals with.  There's things to learn (mostly on my part).  
I'm thankful.  I'm trying to be patient.  I'm hopeful.  I'm kinda tired.  I wonder about those we left. 
But moving is like that...
So, I'm soaking things up, trying to cope and learn and laugh, and today, I've had LOTS of coffee.  

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

back!

Well the move is done.  The unpacking, whilst underway, is not done.  First service is over, first leadership meeting is done and we now have internet at home.  I also can claim that I had the first blog post in this house!  That may not sound like much of a boast, but when it comes to blogging I come a distant second place to her.

So far, things are good.  I'm tired, but good.  There seems to be lots to do at home, at the church but I'm very thankful.  I'll write more soon...  stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

the last push

Last full day of packing begins.  Coffee is brewing, kids are at school, in a short while there will be furniture to disassemble more boxes to pack, errands to run, mail to pick up and then this afternoon I swim with grade ones.
Tomorrow morning we load a truck (all things being well).  
Strength for today and faith for tomorrow.


Tuesday, February 24, 2009

not quite what was expected


So today was weird. She posted the stuff about the appointment, didn't turn out at all like we hoped. That took the wind out of the sails a little.

Aside from that, we did some shopping at Wally world and ate at MickeyD's.  I walked through London Drugs today and was a little saddened that a few of the cameras I've been quietly (and unexpectantly) dreaming about are priced higher than I expected, oh well, c'est la vie.

So when we heard the results of this long awaited and might I add seemingly providentially provided appointment, it kinda was a low point.  We had a short visit with my sister in law, the kids were done, but it was nice to see her.  My brother is away on business and it may be some time before we see them again, which is very sad.  
   Then on the drive home, things started out kinda somber and then we had a great talk and things seem a little brighter, albeit overwhelming with the move, the future, and just life.  But it seems we talk the best while driving, perhaps because there's less distractions and the kids are strapped in and we don't need to chase them out of stuff.

Now I've taken a large shelf apart, packed a bunch of boxes from my workshop (sheesh I have a lot of junk) and now I'm done.  Tired from driving in the snow (almost hit a bus), tired from the news, from packing, from a long day.

So goodnight folks, tomorrow is a new day.  


To the city!

So we start our trip to the city of Saskatoon today. Appointment for Aiden. It's a big day. We have tons to do yet, to pack to sort through, to arrange. As overwhelmed as I was yesterday, I have faith today that it might get done. Truck will be here to be loaded Thursday morning. We will drive away on Friday morning.

Had a wonderful evening last night visiting with our neighbors. Had a great visit yesterday afternoon with some folks from the church who stopped by with a little gift for my desk to remember them and here with.

Have been praying in my head for lots of things, lots of people - here, there and everywhere.

Oh and tomorrow I've been volunteered to help take the grade one class swimming. I could be the only Dad going (aka boys change room supervisor). Sheesh.

Hope today is a great day for you and yours.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Just another Sunday?

So today I find myself in a different spot.  I'm at home on a Sunday morning, and I'm not on holidays.  The one Sunday between the old and the new.  Life feels a little surreal.  Lots to do, would rather not do some of it.  Packing is draining.  Caught up between the sadness of leaving one and the excitement of going to another.

Details seem to overwhelm, so I'm trying to keep the bigger picture in mind as that seems to bring some clarity, or at least purpose in why we undergoing what we are.  And yet here I sit blogging instead of packing...

I like the interweb.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Zack Arias - needed to be reposted

Found this via Chase Jarvis' blog, it was also posted on Scott Kelby's blog and on Zack's blog too.
First the video and then a thought...


Inspiring, to me at least.  What I take away from this is: share what you know.  The stories you tell that you know best are your best stories.  I have a few more ideas for my photos after watching this... and I'm one of the hacks that suck, as he says towards the end of the video, but that's okay, I'm learning!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Even after

even after
(Click on the image for some of the details on how this image was taken.)

Even after all these years (it will be ten years married the end of July) she'll still kiss me on occasion.

I need to share with you all how much my wife rocks. She is a blogging machine (1016 posts as of today!), she truly cares for a lot of people - even when she says she doesn't, she cares for our kids and will relentlessly pursue what's best for them, she laughs at my stupid jokes (which is great evidence of long suffering). I truly do love her. Our life together has been an incredible ride, up and down and all over. As we start on a new chapter of adventures there is no one else I'd rather have with me.





(I decided to post this on both blogs...)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Today.

Today was a long day.
It began with my son asking if he could get up terribly early.
Later I discovered I had left the interior lights on in the van yesterday and it didn't start.  Great.

Also, today was my last day as the pastor of Tisdale Alliance Church.  I went relatively early to the church to get the powerpoint and things setup for the service.  
The service was amazing really.  The high point really for me was a song that was written and sung by a woman on our worship team (who also cleans the church).  
I got to preach on the end of Mark 6 where Jesus walks on water and the disciples are described as hard hearted.  
We then had a potluck lunch.  Feast is a more appropriate word.  Some folks shared some very kind words and they gave us an extravagant gift (the one that always fits).  Some tears, lots of hugs and handshakes.  It is sad to see this chapter of our life come to an end, but I feel at peace.  
As often seems the way, had some wonderful connections with people in the 'margins' of the day if you know what I mean.  Snippets and short exchanges here and there that were a very real encouragement.

As we were finishing, we received some encouraging news concerning some of the details of our move.  Then as we were leaving we got a boost for the van (thanks Jonathan!) and we got some snacks and took a little drive as the house was being shown this afternoon.  On our drive we saw a pair of moose come out of a small stand of trees off the highway.  We stopped and both Tara and I were able to take some pictures of the pair.
Here's one of him:

cropped moose
The four of us quite enjoyed watching them for a few minutes (Olivia was sound asleep).  It's been a long time since either Tara or I saw one.
An excellent day really, and now I'm terribly tired. 

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Me, a pastor, on the church and 'Cheers'

As my family and I start to work through the transitions of our lives; finishing at one church and anticipating starting at another; I have a few thoughts.  Add to that we are in annual meeting time when we write reports and reflect and plan for the future there is a few thoughts banging around in the grey fluffy bits between my ears.

Randall wrote a post yesterday about overhearing a group of pastors discussing things in a bookstore today.  His post pushed the thoughts that have been brewing down below to the surface of my mind.

Let me start by saying this - I love the church.  Really I do.  
For some people I know this is perhaps the most unbelievable thing I could write.  The church is a place that sometimes is a hard place to be.  We are sometimes hurt by what happens in church.  

But as I reflect on my journey, for all the things that at times drive me crazy about the church and about her people; I also know that without her I would not know God as I do today.  I became a pastor because I felt like it was through the church that God reached out and made Himself known to me.  Because of all that, I think the purpose of the church is the single most important thing going on here on the big blue marble called earth.

Often I think the most important thing I can do to help the church is simply to love her and her people.  

As a young(er) person I would (like many) watch "Cheers".  I think one of the things I (and likely many others) liked about that show was that idea that despite all the stuff that is going on in life there was a place of friends you could go to be together and hang out.  

I have always really like the theme song from Cheers written by Gary Portnoy , the show only ever played the first verse of the song, but here's the whole song.


Makin' your way in the world today
Takes everything you've got
Taking a break from all your worries
Sure would help a lot
Wouldn't you like to get away?

All those nights when you've got no lights
The check is in the mail
And your little angel
Hung the cat up by it's tail
And your third fiance didn't show

Sometimes you wanna go
Where Everybody Knows Your Name
And they're always glad you came
You wanna be where you can see
Our troubles are all the same
You wanna be Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Climbing the walls when no one calls
You've lost at love again
And the more you're down and out
The more you need a friend
When you long to hear a kind hello

Roll out of bed, Mr. Coffee's dead
The morning's looking bright
And your shrink ran off to Europe
And didn't even write
And your husband wants to be a girl

Be glad there's one place in the world
Where Everybody Knows Your Name
And they're always glad you came
You wanna go where people know
People are all the same
You wanna go Where Everybody Knows Your Name 

I think the song is a longing, a desire to go somewhere where people accept you as is.  Where you can just 'be'.  I think that's my prayer for the church.  That we would be like Cheers, no, not in the womanizing beer drinking way, but in the way where people can come and gather and be accepted, and dare I say, even loved, as disfunctional and as messed up as we are.  To me that's the great promise of the gospel; that I'm loved just as I am, and more than that Jesus loves me so much he doesn't leave me where I am but helps me grow and become more.

I hope these ramblings make sense to another mind besides my own...



Here's the song (or a part of it anyways)