Thursday, December 31, 2009

On church...

It is surely a fact of inexhaustible significance that what our Lord left behind Him was not a book, nor a creed, nor a system of thought, nor a rule of life, but a visible community. He committed the entire work of salvation to that community. It was not that a community gathered round an idea, so that the idea was primary and the community secondary. It was that a community called together by the deliberate choice of the Lord Himself, and re-created in Him, gradually sought - and is seeking - to make explicit who He is and what He has done. The actual community is primary; the understanding of what it is comes second.

Leslie Newbigin, Household of God

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Jesus Talks About His Church

This article was passed on to me this morning. Perhaps it's a little tongue in cheek but I think it gets the point across.

Jesus Talks About His Church

Brian Proffit interviewed Jesus of Nazareth, also called The Christ, founder of the Christian faith, about the church that has claimed his name.

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Jesus. There was a lot going on with your birthday and all, and I appreciate you setting aside this time.

Photo of Jesus not availableI did not come to be served, but to serve.1

That's a great attitude, and we really want to thank you because this has been a difficult period economically, but in general many of us still have it really good. We finally figured out this whole thing about you owning the cattle on a thousand hills and our Father knowing how to give good gifts.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is there your heart will be also.2

Well yeah, but you want us to have the desires of our heart, right? And prosperity...

Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possesions.3

Maybe we should move on. Much has been said lately about a movement; some call it being externally focused, some call it missional. What do you think about this?

You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.4

And a light hidden inside a church building can't be seen, I get it. Glad we're on the right track there. Well, we're certainly known more in the outside world. We've got people picketing abortion clinics, people invading funerals of gays, and lots more. There's even a yard display in California of somebody dressed up like you blowing Santa Claus away with a double-barrel shotgun!

You may have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.5

Oh...well, of course we still love. Our church is the friendliest in town. We have a pot luck together every week, and shake hands with each other every Sunday.

If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?6

Well sure, we try to love everyone. But there are always going to be conflicts. And at least we come together on Sunday and give our 10...well, you know, we try to give a little something to the church and we sing songs to you.

If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.7

That's asking a lot there, Jesus. I mean some people just really get under your skin, you know?

If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.8

Yeah, well, it's not like there's that much to forgive. There have been some significant scandals among people in the church, and at least you won't find me in that list.

Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: "God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get."

But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, "God have mercy on me, a sinner."

I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.9

But we don't hang out with all those depraved people out there. We meet for church and for Bible study and for small group and try to keep each other safe from the world.

It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice.” I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.10

There's a lot of tough stuff here, Jesus. A lot of it was significant when you were on earth, but isn't really relevant in the 21st century, right? I mean, the world is different now so that doesn't all still apply, right?

Hello? Jesus? Hmm, we must have gotten disconnected...

1Mark 10:45
2Matt. 6:19-21
3Luke 12:15
4Matt. 5:13-16
5Matt. 5:43-45
6Matt. 5:46-47
7Matt. 5:23-24
8Matt. 6:14
9Luke 18:10-14
10Matt. 9:12-13

Copyright © 2009, BP Resources, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

"I know God will not give me anything I cannot handle. I just wish He didn't trust me so much."

~ Mother Teresa

True story.

Monday, December 28, 2009


I have spent the last couple of days, the Christmas holidays, with my family on my parents' acreage just outside of Stony Plain. It is good to spend time with family. More about that later, I'm sure. One of the added bonuses to the whole things is that being there makes it easy to unplug. I don't really need my phones (yes, plural) because, well, I'm on holidays. To make it even better, Mom and Dad are on dial up internet. Now, for those of you don't know the horrors of dial up, consider yourself lucky. It is honestly painful. Truly. So, since there was nothing that pressing (no offense to any of you who I did not connect with over those couple of days) that required me to submit myself to that kind of torture, I just didn't. No computer. No email. No any of it. And it was really nice.

That said, I'm back and ready to go again. I've got some posting to do. See you again soon.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

“It’s not so much the gospel that is the secret to reaching people…but the clothes in which we dress our Lord.” (Arnell Arn Tessoni, former church planting director with the American Baptist Churches)

This got me thinking a bit about (again) what picture of Jesus we are portraying. I'm sure I've said this before but when I read scripture, I see Jesus as someone who was attractive in his values and his practices to people who knew him, barring the pharisees of course. He drew crowds wherever he went. People left their homes, dropped what they were doing, forgot their lunch and hung on his every word.

Today we hear more about people hurt and disillusioned by what they know of Jesus.

Since he hasn't changed, it makes me curious what kind of picture they're seeing. Seems to me it might just be a bit distorted.
I stumbled on another great blog this morning, this one from a couple of pastors who lead a church in Las Vegas who are really searching out what it means to live out the grace of Jesus and be the People of the Second Chance.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

"If we are to love our neighbors, before doing anything else we must see our neighbors. With our imagination as well as our eyes, that is to say like artists, we must see not just their faces but the life behind and within their faces. Here it is love that is the frame we see them in."

~ Frederick Buechner

Saturday, December 19, 2009

A couple of years ago, Time magazine put out a list of the 7 essential Christmas programs to watch.

Here's the list:


Two things that I noticed. First, why seven!? Second, does anyone else think it's a bit weird that the yule log is on the list? Really? Why not Frosty the Snowman? Or really, just about anything else. The Yule Log!? Come on.

Want another list courtesy of Time? How about the top 10 Disney Controversies? Thanks to their most rescent, The Princess and The Frog, featuring a black princess (can I say that I'm sad that that's controversial and still be reasonably politically correct?), Disney has again made headlines. Some of the other ones are just plain funny.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Okay, so one thing leads to another and I'm looking at a bunch of the new trailers released this week.

Like Alice in Wonderland. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. Need I say more!?

Or how about Robin Hood. Another potential Ridley Scott of epic proportions?

Then there's Sherlock Holmes. What can I say? I can't wait.

Most of the time I shy away from all the hype but not this time. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus has just way too many great actors and seems way too fun to ignore.

I like spy/thriller/espionage/puzzle movies. Salt could be one of those. Or not. Not sure.

I like movies.

I like good websites that help me find good movies. Found a new one tonight.

Anyone heard of anything else fun to look forward to?

A fun blog

Thanks to a friend of mine, I've been introduced to a fun blog called 22 Words. It's a self proclaimed experiment in getting to the point. I don't know that I'd be all that good at it.

Oh boy! Oh boy! Oh boy!

The first trailer for Iron Man 2 has been released and yes, I am excited. I've probably said it before but I'm a bit of a boy when it comes to my movies and I don't care. I mean, come on. Iron Man AND Don Cheadle. Seriously.

Marvel prefaces the trailer with this: "Robert Downey Jr. reprises his role as billionaire industrialist Tony Stark, aka the super hero Iron Man in this sequel to the 2008 blockbuster. RDJ, Paltrow, Cheadle and Rockwell are joined by Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Mickey Rourke as Whiplash. Jon Favreau once again takes up the directorial reins for Marvel's armored avenger."

Now all I have to do is wait till May 7.

Your terrible Christmas joke for today

Thursday, December 10, 2009

So that's a teaser of one of my favorite Christmas shows. Of course, then there's the grinch...and Rudolf the Rednosed Reindeer...and the Polar Express...Oh, Christmas specials...

What are some of your favorites?

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Waiting for Christmas continued

Okay, so normally, I post and then, once it's out there, it's said and, well, gone. I think about it as I'm writing and the process helps me work through whatever is going on. The first Waiting on Christmas post got me thinking though. I haven't really been able to let it go. What you're about it get is the rest of the story.

Okay. Here goes...

It’s easy to live in survival mode. I know. I do it. It’s easy to get stuck in the mundane of the every day or, worse yet, in the difficulties of life and end up looking down instead of forward. It’s tiring. Exhausting even. If I were to give that survival state a color, it would be grey. Tiring, dreary gray.

One of the things I’ve been struck with as we enter this Christmas season is the contrast the season brings. We wait for Christmas. We live in expectation and anticipation. As soon as Halloween and Thanksgiving have passed us, we start up the decorating, the music , the baking, and the festivities. Parents play the “how many more sleeps game” with their kids and gift givers hold onto their secret purchases to be revealed. We make plans and parties. We take time and make preparations. Let the count down to Christmas begin.

There’s something healthy, even life giving, about anticipation. There’s the hope of something better than today – even if today isn’t half bad – and exciting. We look forward. We lift up our eyes passed what we’re experiencing right now and move forward, giving us a reason to live through today.

Perhaps that’s part of the magic, the gift, of Christmas. And why shouldn’t it be? The first Christmas was rich with anticipation. Hundreds of years of promise were fulfilled with the birth of a baby in a manger. All the potential that people dreamed of hung rich in the air. The hope of a better tomorrow, even if they didn’t know what that tomorrow looked like, filled hearts and minds and kept people living in a state of anticipation.

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.” Isaiah 9:6-7

That sounds a lot like they were waiting for something great to me…and that was a declaration of faith made hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth!

Then there’s the events surrounding His birth.

Joseph. An angel shows up to him and tells him that the child his fiancĂ© is expecting is the Son of God, the promised one. Matthew records the encounter this way: “An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you ware to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet.” (Matthew 1:20-22) It gives the impression that this conversation came after Joseph found out Mary was expecting. I bet those days prior to the angel’s visit were some rough days, days filled with dread, fear, anger and resentment. Ever have one of those days? God didn’t want to leave him in that state though. He turned it around. I imagine the whole idea took a little getting used to but can only imagine the anticipation that would have entered after he understood the fullness of the angel’s words.

Mary. If you’re a mother, you understand Mary’s anticipation in a way the rest of us don’t. Nine months of preparation and anticipation. Nine months of changes. Nine months of new experiences leading to a lifetime of unknown. The movement of the child inside you. Loving the little one even before they arrive. Mary would have shared those emotions. Add an angels visit and the promise of prophecy she had waited for with her kinsmen all her fulfilled through her and one can only guess what she was feeling. We catch a glimpse of it in the book of Luke as she sings a song of praise and expectation (Luke 1:46-55). There is hope and awe in her words.

And there were others. The shepherds. The wise men. The whole of Israel waiting for the promised King, their redeemer.

Two thousand plus years later, we have the privilege of waiting in much the same way. Like Joseph, life sometimes – or most of the time – doesn’t turn out the way we want it to. It’s hard. There’s a whole range of emotions we wad through. But God doesn’t want to leave us there. He has a promise of something far better for us, wrapped up in the life of the same tiny baby, now a man, a King, Jesus.

Like Mary, we can hold to promises of what is to come. From the moment of Jesus’ resurrection, the we “wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:13)

I feel like so much of the promised return of Christ is an echo of his Christmas appearance in the human story. People waiting while living a life they didn’t plan, sometimes just surviving, anticipating the promise of a fulfillment of a promise.

And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

I’m trying to look forward to that. To anticipate not just what could be but what will be. Waiting for Christmas and then some. We live as people who have seen a promise fulfilled – in Christ’s birth, life and death - and await the next in his resurrection.

Maybe that’s why Christmas makes me so excited. For a few weeks, I’m reminded to live in anticipation mode, a state of being full of color and life and energy, the way I truly want to live all year long. But it's hard. There's still those gray survival mode moments or even seasons.

I guess what I'm wondering now is how do I make the anticipation of Christmas and what I know to be the bigger story part of the rest of the year in those gray seasons.

Can Christmas be the start of something and not just a break from the ordinary?

Keepin' It Simple

If anyone wonders why I follow Jesus, I'm pretty sure all you need to do is hang around for one my passionate rants about the true simplicity of the Christian life. There aren’t a lot of rules, regulations and limitations to faith. In fact, I'd suggest that there's freedom to it if you really look at what's at the core. If you ask me, our job as Christians, as followers of Christ, as Jesus’ reflection to the world, is to love God and love people. Everything we do in life can and should be measured to that standard.

As a church body, I think our job is the same.

Love God.

Love people.

Each other. Our neighbors. Our coworker. Our boss. The mailman. The doctor. The dentist. Our teachers. Coaches. Fellow drivers on the Deerfoot.

Okay, maybe it’s not as simple as it sounds.

Sometimes I don’t want to love ‘those’ people. Sometimes it’s inconvenient. Sometimes it requires sacrifice and giving up things I don’t want to give up.

It does, however, free me up to be the person God has created me to be and to use the gifts that God has created me to use.

Living motivated by love for God and people seems much more simple and freeing than being motivated by rule keeping and ‘living within the lines.” I think that’s the way that Jesus wanted it.

In Matthew 11, Jesus reminds his listeners of this saying: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Right after saying this, he has a run in with the Pharisees, the religious leaders of the day, who were making faith about the rules instead about true heart of the matter (see Matthew 12). It seems to matter a lot to him that we focus on first things first and let that, his yoke or example of love, inform the way that we live, both for our own good and the good of those around us.

So as I live each day in interaction with the people around me, I'm trying to be look through the lens of love. I'm trying to simply be me, loving people, in spite of how I'm treated, how it might just come back to bite me in the bottom or what people expect or assume should be my response. I'm not there yet, at least not all the time, but I'm getting there. You know what I'm learning? It IS freeing. I don't have to play the games that I see being played around me. I don't have to wonder what my response should be. I don't have to second guess motives and no one has to second guess mine. I like that.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Current Read

Sepulchre, Kate Mosse

Waiting for Christmas To Come

Okay, so everyone that knows me knows that I LOVE Christmas. It's my favorite time of year. I love the music, the food, the time with family, thinking of good gifts to give, the celebration, the decorations...I love Christmas. Most of all, I love the reason to celebrate. I love to yearly take time to revel in the heart of it all.

This year, though, I'm finding that it just doesn't "feel" like Christmas. I'm not sure how to describe it. I've been listening to Christmas music and drinking eggnog. I've got gifts waiting to be wrapped. This weekend is set aside for cookie baking...and I've already gone through the first batch of caramel corn. The neighbors have their Christmas lights up although I must admit, my fear of cold has kept me from putting up any even though a) I know it's not cold out...not really and b) it is my first Christmas in my new house so I feel like I should.

Is this what happens as we get older? Does the "magic" of the season really go away...or am I just expecting it to happen too early?

Or perhaps it's part of a bigger question I've been wrestling with lately: where is joy found? I know it's part of the fruit of the Spirit. I know that Joy is found in Christ alone. In my head, I know where joy is found. What I want to know is how, in the busyness of life, does joy take up residence in my heart and in my life? When I'm tired and discouraged, how am I filled with joy?

For months, I've been confronted on what seems like every side with conversations and questions about what it means to live well. It's got me reflecting a lot on how I live my life. I admit it. I work a lot. As hard (and sad) as it is to admit, I don't really know what to do with myself when I'm not working. It's a good thing I enjoy both of my jobs most of the time. But is that what it means to live well? What things would I want as a part of my life when I think of living my life well? Are there things that I would change? What things fill me and fuel me so that I can approach the day to day "grind" with joy...not necessarily happiness but real deep joy and peace?

In the middle of all of this, I've been confronted with tragedy...and it's taken the conversation to a whole new level. Three beautiful girls were killed far too young, one of whom has had a great impact on my life and whom I am grateful to have been able to call a friend. She lived life well, in my opinion, and continues to impact lives in her death the way that she did in her life. Her memorial was a beautiful testimony to a live lived vibrantly, with an undeniable spark, and lived faithfully to her God. She was small but she lived big. Her life was short but her impact was of lasting influence. If I wasn't thinking about all of this before, I'm thinking about it now: what does it mean to live well?

So here I am, December 1, approaching the Christmas season, feeling a little bit tired, hoping that I am living well, and looking for a little bit of magic this season.

I know people make fun of me. Yes, I've been listening to Christmas music since November 1 and it was a moment of great excitement when I found Christmas at Starbucks. I love the decorations in the stores and the music through the speakers. I love shortbread and gingerbread and caramel popcorn, even if it means a few extra pounds. I love parties with friends and families...lots of get-togethers, laughing, stories and memories. I love that I can speak the name of Jesus as the reason that I celebrate in a very unique way throughout the season. I love Christmas. I'm waiting for Christmas to come.

As I'm writing this, it's dawned on me that maybe this is why: Christmas seems to be the season that gives me permission to live well and holds glimpses of the way that I want to live all year long. During the Christmas season, it seems like we all take a step towards living well, living better.

There is magic to be found. There is something to this season. There is a reason to be waiting for Christmas and to be praying that the things we learn and the things we love about the season can invade our every day, day to day lives.







To everyone out there...thanks!

It's a little weird to think that there's people that actually read what I post on here.

Out of curiosity, I added a tracker to my blog months ago. It just tells me how many people visit the blog each day (which in turn tells me how many people I need to apologize to for my mostly mindless posting!) and where they're from. I rarely check it but thought it would be fun today. You know what I found out? Not only do people read it but they're spread all over the globe! Cities and countries I've never visited. Places I don't think I know people.

How bizarre!

I'm not sure how y'all found me but thanks! I'll try to post a few more things worth reading in the near future!!

The Power of Pruning

Pruning. In my opinion there is very little about this word that is pleasant. Nearly every connotation that the word creates in my head is negative. The actual definition of the word, “to lop off or cut off,” is scary. At you can look up related words like the pruning hook, pruning shears, pruning saw and the pruning knife. No thank you—I think. Pruning is a mysterious process. You would think that if you cut back a shrub or tree that it would suffer from the process. Not so! About a month ago, I purposefully lopped off some branches on a potted basil plant I keep on the back patio. The new growth that the pruning created was nothing short of incredible. That little plant was transformed.

On a more personal note, some of the greatest pruning seasons of my life have produced some of the greatest growth periods of my life. To experience a lopping off or some measure of cutting back is never pleasant. But when those seasons are submitted to the Creator, this mysterious process often produces growth. And to the open and submissive recipient, the pruning can be truly transformational on many levels.

Here are some truths I’ve leaned in the midst of being cut back, cut off or pruned.

1. There are some truths that can only be learned in seasons of lack. You cannot learn them at any other time. They are not available to you in any other season.

2. These rare and precious truths are scattered and just under the surface of the dry and barren soils of lack. If you are paying attention, you will discover them and they will serve you well for the rest of your life.

3. These truths are like pure gold that pay exponential dividends. They guide us in the lean times and bless us in times of plenty.

4. Whining and complaining about your lack or having been pruned blinds you to the presence of these truths. You’ll never see them and you’ll miss the transformational riches that would have provided you with new growth.

There is much that we can learn about ourselves, others and our God in the pruning season. The truth is the pruning process is a necessary process in order for us to blossom and flourish in our relationship with Him and with others.

Simply Missional

Written by Ed Stetzer and Eric Geiger

It was early in the morning when they came. There were two short knocks at the door and, when it opened, a polite greeting from one of the police officers standing in the stairwell.

Dell Computers has shattered the warehouse myth. Most companies love big warehouses. They feel safe with lots of inventory on large shelves in massive warehouses, always ready for that next order. In their minds, the well-stocked warehouse confirms the belief that they will always be able to meet customer demands and customer expectations.

Dell disagrees with the warehouse approach. In the technology business, the product literally rots in value on the shelves. Because Dell does not want their best resources on the shelves, they only keep two hours of inventory. Which means that if you order a PC on, the parts will not arrive to Dell until two hours before your PC is shipped to you.

Dell wants their resources out there, on the street. Not in the warehouse, where the resources merely gather dust and produce no impact. So Dell has designed a very strategic process to move their resources to the street. Sadly, many churches are betting their futures on the warehouse myth.

Most churches build big warehouses and shelve a bunch of Christians (those rows look suspiciously like shelves). They design attractive programs to "retain" people in the sacred warehouse, keep precise records of how much inventory (people) is on the shelves and brag about their warehouses being constantly open. And warehouse managers love to show other warehouse managers their newest warehouses while dreaming together of bigger and better warehouses.

God is calling churches to shatter the warehouse myth, to change their warehouses into strategic distribution centers, where people are distributed as salt and light to the world. Some churches are strategically challenging their people to be out there, and these churches have a simple process that moves people from the warehouse to the street. These churches are simple and missional.

They are simply missional. We are often asked if there is a relationship between our two books, Breaking the Missional Code and Simple Church. Is there a relationship between a church being missional and a church being simple? Read Full Story »

Current Read

Walking with God, John Eldredge
"Shared laughter creates a bond of friendship. When people laugh together, they cease to be young and old, master and pupils, worker and driver. They become a single group of human beings, enjoying their existence."
W. Grant Lee

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Advent starts this Sunday. That's right, the countdown to Christmas is OFFICIALLY on! Just to make sure we're all prepared and have the facts straight, I've posted this video a friend of mine passed on. Enjoy!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Current Read

The Silver Hand, Stephen Lawhead
"Heaven is full of forgiven people. Hell is full of forgiven people. Heaven is full of people God loves, whom Jesus died for. Hell is full of forgiven people God loves, whom Jesus died for. The difference is how we choose to live, which story we choose to live in, which version of reality we trust. Ours or God's."
- Rob Bell

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What would happen if all of us discovered our God-given dreams? To live our lives in such a way that everything we did – every choice, every act – was used to fulfill those dreams. If all of us began to live "wide awake," the world would never be the same.

Erwin McManus

Just think about that for a minute. What would it look like if every single God oriented person lived with the reality of God's best dreams for them in mind? If everyone was freed from their fears, insecurities and doubt to reach for His good purposes and plans, plans to prosper them and not to harm them, to give them hope and a future what kind of world would it be?

I've talked about it a lot, living in the sweet spot where you're living and doing exactly what you were created for. I know I'm not there yet. I've had moments, but I'm not consistently there. More often I feel restless and discontented, striving for something "more" without even really knowing what that "more" is. I wish I could somehow capture those quality moments and figure out just what it is that makes them so sweet. What is it that, if I could put my finger on it, I would be able to say with certainty is the dream God has put on my heart, the dream God dreams for me? What gifts and abilities do I possess that I MUST use in order to be feeling fully satisfied and freed to be me?

Somehow I need to capture that because I know that it's as I'm searching that out and living it out more completely that I will be able to help others around me find and live out what it is for them. I think it would be absolutely world changing to have a whole bunch of people living completely as they were intended and created to live, 100% true to their uniquenesses and purposes.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I've been enjoying this song lately - for many reasons - so i thought I'd share. Love the lyrics. Enjoying his voice. Great harmony potential.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Missional church.

In 1995 Australian theologian Charles Ringma offered this description:

"The missional church vision is not a programmatic response to the crisis of relevance, purpose and identity that the church in the Western World is facing, but a recapturing of biblical views of the Church all too frequently abandoned, ignored, or obscured through long periods of church history. It is a renewed theological vision of the church in mission, which redefines the nature, the mission and the organization of the local church around Jesus' proclamation of the good news of the Kingdom. Missional Churches seek to respond to God's invitation to join Him in His mission in and for the world, as a sign, a servant and a foretaste of His Kingdom."

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Current Read

Deja Dead, Kathy Reichs

I picked it up because of Reichs. She's the author behind the TV show "Bones" which I've been enjoying recently. I have to either read it in small doses or finish it quick though I haven't decided yet which one is the solution. It's got me so wrapped up in the plot that it's freakin' me out a little bit...
Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand.
Chinese Proverb
I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living.
-Dr. Seuss

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Current Read

Furious Longing of God, Brennan Manning
The Gospel can be summed up by saying that
it is the tremendous, tender, compassionate,
gentle, extraordinary, explosive,
revolutionary revelation of Christ's love.

Catherine de Hueck Doherty in The Gospel Without Compromise
"In our society, we tend to swear unyielding allegiance to a rigid position, confusing that action with finding an authentic connection to a life-giving Spirit. We miss the gospel of Christ; the good news that, although the holy and all-powerful God knows we are dust, He still stoops to breathe into us the breath of life - to bring to our wounds the balm of acceptance and love."

Rich Mullins.

Monday, October 19, 2009

It's that time of year

The Barn
People seem to be getting the idea that we have something to offer to the world around us. We seem to be getting that not everyone has what we have, whether it be time, money, relationship or skills, but that if we share what we have, the world WILL be better for all of us. I hope, too, that we're starting to get that starting close to home makes sense. This morning I caught wind of a volunteer organization called iParticipate. It's been endorsed by all sorts of celebrities and, yes, it does have Canadian volunteer opportunities. So, if you want to volunteer, to give back, but aren't really sure where or how, here's another way to get connected with some great opportunities.

Making the World a Better Placek

Pearls Before Swine

I wonder how often we actually live that way. If only people would treat us better, if only "they" would make the first move, if only they would be less selfish and think about others, then the world would be a better place. If only. What if it's up to us to break the cycle? Would the world, then, be a better place? Just thinking...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Current Read

Think Orange, Reggie Joiner

It's supposed to be one of the top books regarding children's ministry right now. It's certainly the most talked about. People are finally getting on board with the idea that churches and families are more effective when they work together, that Sunday morning children's ministry are not sufficient to provide the whole of a child's spiritual formation but are rather a tool and a supplement to that which the family already provides and that working together we are stronger and better equipped than working apart.

Tee hee.

A bunch of Calgary fans were flaunting this pic after their 5-3 victory over the Nucks last Friday night which, I might add, was also the night that both the Oilers and the Eskimos won their games.
A friend of mine shared this video with me the other day while we were sitting in the theatre waiting for our movie to start. I know. Handy dandy new fangled iphone technology. Anyway, it's a good listen - might just have to go get my hands on the album - and a fun video.

"An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity."

Martin Luther King

"It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision." ~Helen Keller

Thanks, Dayna, for sharing.

Monday, October 12, 2009

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. ~Thornton Wilder

Be conscious of our treasures. Be thankful. Be alive.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Monday, October 05, 2009

"Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness."

Mother Teresa

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Current Read

People of Sparks, Jeanne DuPrau

A little bit of this and a little bit of that...

It feels like it has been absolutely forever since I "actually" posted here. I feel like life has been a bunch of bits and pieces lately. What better than to write a post that reflects that?!

* I've fallen in love with my newly acquired swifer. If you don't have one, I recommend you get one. They clean crazy good!

*I miss my flip flops already. I don't like that I've turned the heat on in my house. I'm not a fan of the snow that fell today even if it did melt. I feel like our seasons have been all messed up this year. Spring. Summer (short). Fall. Summer (in September. short). Fall (short again). Winter. One week I'm wearing t-shirts and the next week I'm wearing big vests and jackets. One of the ladies at church today was laughing that she had sweaters and shorts in the same load of laundry from the same week. True story. 35 degrees to 3 degrees in the same week. Why!?

*I've always had a twin bed...until now. When I moved into my new house - yes, I have a new house. I bought a house!!! - I was surprised with a new bed. A queen sized bed. With a pillow top mattress. Then I bought a duvet to go with it. I love it. It makes me happy. Only problem is that it seems like now I have a whole new reason to hate if I needed any more.

*The new Indigo and Starbucks by my house opened up. I don't know whether I should be excited or afraid of this new prospect. When I moved out of my last neighbourhood, the one thing I was sad about not having anymore was the Starbucks and Chapters that I used to work at. Then I found out about this one going in. Two of my favorite things nice and close.

So I was there the other day. I noticed something I hadn't noticed before. It caught me so off guard that I had to take a picture of it.

Check out the sign:

Perhaps it's just me being all linear and stuff but I see a pattern. If you're looking for any books, gifts or kids it seems that Indigo is the place!

*Question: when CFL season and NHL season overlap, which game do you watch!?

*I'm learning that I value steadiness. My jobs - both the pool and the church - have been somewhat "flexible" since I started. This fall, however, has seemed different. More harried. More random. More "shift" work. Last school year, I taught school boards at the pool. What that meant is lessons Monday to Friday, 9ish until noon-ish and, some weeks, 1 until 3. Perhaps I'd pick up a couple guard shifts a week. Essentially, though, I had a schedule of sorts for the pool. Generally, it worked, then, that I could have a reasonably set schedule at the church too. Even if I was working a ton of hours during the week, at least I had some schedule...some rhythm...some routine.

This year, however, I'm not teaching school boards on a regular basis. It means no guaranteed hours and even less guaranteed shedule. I'm thankful that work is still coming - I'm learning to trust God in a whole new way to provide for what I need - and that everyone at the church has been gracious about me needing a little extra flexibility to make things work right now but I'm beat. It's funny. I'm working the same number of hours as I was before but I'm finding this much harder to keep up.

It's teaching me something about myself. Even though I need variety in my life, something I knew before, I also need stability.

So now the question is how to find the stability I need in the current season of life I'm living in. For the record, I don't want to quit either job. That's not the answer. Thanks for the advice.

*My car was broken into again. It's a crappy, old, rusty Sunfire. There was nothing visible in it. I'd parked along the building, under a streetlight between the hours of 8pm and 10:30pm. Why on earth would my car, then be a target?! Ever feel like you do everything right and still can't get anywhere? That's a little how I've been a lot of areas of life, to be honest. It doesn't seem to matter how hard I work, how much I do right, it's still not enough.

And it's when I really start thinking like this, that I'm somehow reminded that it's true.

It doesn't matter. It's not all about me.

There's trust. There's faith. There's more. It doesn't all make sense. Sometimes it REALLY doesn't make sense. REALLY. I recognize, however, that I am not in control. Someone far more able is.

*The learning curve continues. In my new house, I have a gas stove. Whoever might say gas and electric cook the same is CRAZY. I'm really enjoying the way the stove top heats. I am, however, having a bit of trouble with the oven. I haven't burned anything but I have slightly overcooked a few things. Baking has been tricky. If someone can tell me the difference between cooking times, I'd appreciate it. Until then, it's all trial and error. Lots and lots of practice.

What else? What else? What else? I'm sure there's more but that's all I've got for now. Hopefully I'll be back soon.

Current Read

Forgotten God, Reversing our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit, Francis Chan
We may as well face it; the whole level of spirituality among us is low. We have measured ourselves by ourselves until the incentive to seek higher plateaus in the things of the Spirit is all but gone...[We] have imitated the world, sought popular favor, manufactured delights to substitute for the joy of the Lord and produced a cheap and synthetic power to substitute for the power of the Holy Ghost.

A. W. Tozer
The Christian's life in all its aspects - intellectual and ethical, devotional and relational, upsurging in worship and outgoing in witness - is supernatural; only the Spirit can initiate and sustain it. So apart from him, not only will there be no lively believers and no lively congregations, there will be no believers and no congregations at all.

J. I. Packer

Current Read

City of Ember, Jeanne DuPrau

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"We don't have to know the future in order to be prepared for it. Organizations and communities that learn to work together, that know how to learn together, that trust one another, and that become more expansive and inclusive, develop the capacity to deal with the unknown. They create a capacity for working and thinking together that enables them to respond quickly and intelligently to whatever the future presents."

Margaret Wheatley
The Servant-Leader interview, 2001

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

A friend of mine posted this the other day and I thought I'd steal I did.

Keep on beginning and failing. Each time you fail, start all over again, and you will grow stronger until you have accomplished a purpose - not the one you began with perhaps, but one you'll be glad to remember.

-- Anne Sullivan

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Day camp 2009 video

We had a team from MCC, a church in Ohio, come join us for day camp this past July. They were awesome! One of the guys made up this video to share with their church and sent it to me as well.

MCC Canada Missions Trip Recap Video from Miamisburg Christian Church on Vimeo.

I miss them.

Crazy that you can miss a group of people that you've only spent a week with. Granted, it was an intense week of full days but it was still only a week. They have become friends, family even. I was reminded again of the power of the community of God's people and the shared bond we have as brothers and sisters in Christ. It doesn't matter that we are from different countries or have entirely different backgrounds. When followers of Jesus get together, there is a shared experience, a starting point, that builds a firm foundation to our relationships. Not to mention that we had a common goal, a common purpose, that we were working towards. It takes an army of passionate people to pull together a camp like that and I figure that 5 days, 8 am to 5 pm, laughing, crying, running, playing and herding children all day is bound to force you to work together.

It was a privilege to work together. It is right. It is good. It is what the church is about.

I am thankful for friends in Ohio. I hope they come back next year!

Current Read

Son of a Witch, Gregory McGuire


Every once in a while I get a forward that I think is just funny. Usually they come from my cousin. Anyway, this is one of those lists that you read and nod to the whole way through while at the same time wondering who actually had the time to write them down but wishing it was you 'cause it's actually kind of funny in an ironically obvious sort of way. phew. I enjoyed it.


there is a great need for "sarcasm" font ..

I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

More often than not, when someone is telling me a story all I can think about is that I can't wait for them to finish so that I can tell my own story that's not only better, but also more directly involves me.

Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

I don't understand the purpose of the line, "I don't need to drink to have fun." Great, no one does. But why start a fire with flint and sticks when they've invented the lighter?

Have you ever been walking down the street and realized that you're going in the complete opposite direction of where you are supposed to be going? But instead of just turning a 180 and walking back in the direction from which you came, you have to first do something like check your watch or phone or make a grand arm gesture and mutter to yourself to ensure that no one in the surrounding area thinks you're crazy by randomly switching directions on the sidewalk.

I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

Is it just me, or are 80% of the people in the "people you may know" feature on Facebook people that I do know, but I deliberately choose not to be friends with?

Do you remember when you were a kid, playing Nintendo and it wouldn't work? You take the cartridge out, blow in it and that would magically fix the problem. Every kid in America did that, but how did we all know how to fix the problem? There was no internet or message boards or FAQ's. We just figured it out. Today's kids are soft.

Sometimes, I'll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what was going on when I first saw it.

I think everyone has a movie that they love so much, it actually becomes stressful to watch it with other people. I'll end up wasting 90 minutes shiftily glancing around to confirm that everyone's laughing at the right parts, then making sure I laugh just a little bit harder (and a millisecond earlier) to prove that I'm still the only one who really, really gets it.

How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

I would rather try to carry 10 plastic grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries in.

I think part of a best friend's job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

The only time I look forward to a red light is when I'm trying to finish a text.

Was learning cursive really necessary?

Lol has gone from meaning, "laugh out loud" to "I have nothing else to say".

I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

Answering the same letter three times or more in a row on a multiple choice test is absolutely petrifying.

My brother's Municipal League baseball team is named the Stepdads. Seeing as none of the guys on the team are actual stepdads, I inquired about the name. He explained, "Cuz we beat you, and you hate us." Classy, bro.

Whenever someone says "I'm not book smart, but I'm street smart", all I hear is "I'm not real smart, but I'm imaginary smart".

How many times is it appropriate to say "What?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear what they said?

I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars teams up to prevent some jackass from cutting in at the front. Stay strong, brothers!

Every time I have to spell a word over the phone using 'as in' examples, I will undoubtedly draw a blank and sound like a complete idiot. Today I had to spell my boss's last name to an attorney and said "Yes that's G as in...(10 second lapse)..ummm...Goonies"

What would happen if I hired two private investigators to follow each other?

MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5. Pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

I find it hard to believe there are actually people who get in the shower first and THEN turn on the water.

Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind of tired.

Bad decisions make good stories

Whenever I'm Facebook stalking someone and I find out that their profile is public I feel like a kid on Christmas morning who just got the Red Ryder BB gun that I always wanted. 546 pictures? Don't mind if I do!

Is it just me or do high school girls get sluttier & sluttier every year?

If Carmen San Diego and Waldo ever got together, their offspring would probably just be completely invisible.

Why is it that during an ice-breaker, when the whole room has to go around and say their name and where they are from, I get so incredibly nervous? I know my name, I know where I'm from, this shouldn't be a problem...

You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you've made up your mind that you just aren't doing anything productive for the rest of the day.

Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after DVDs? I don't want to have to restart my collection.

There's no worse feeling than that millisecond you're sure you are going to die after leaning your chair back a little too far.

I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.

"Do not machine wash or tumble dry" means I will never wash this ever.

I hate being the one with the remote in a room full of people watching TV. There's so much pressure. 'I love this show, but will they judge me if I keep it on? I bet everyone is wishing we weren't watching this. It's only a matter of time before they all get up and leave the room. Will we still be friends after this?'

I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Dammit!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voicemail. What'd you do after I didn't answer? Drop the phone and run away?

I hate leaving my house confident and looking good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day. What a waste.

When I meet a new girl, I'm terrified of mentioning something she hasn't already told me but that I have learned from some light internet stalking.

I like all of the music in my iTunes, except when it's on shuffle, then I like about one in every fifteen songs in my iTunes.

Why is a school zone 20 mph? That seems like the optimal cruising speed for pedophiles...

As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation, I always hate cyclists.

Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

-It should probably be called Unplanned Parenthood.

I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

Even if I knew your social security number, I wouldn't know what do to with it.

My 4-year old son asked me in the car the other day "Dad what would happen if you ran over a ninja?" How the hell do I respond to that?

It really pisses me off when I want to read a story on and the link takes me to a video instead of text.

I wonder if cops ever get pissed off at the fact that everyone they drive behind obeys the speed limit.

I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

The other night I ordered takeout, and when I looked in the bag, saw they had included four sets of plastic silverware. In other words, someone at the restaurant packed my order, took a second to think about it, and then estimated that there must be at least four people eating to require such a large amount of food. Too bad I was eating by myself. There's nothing like being made to feel like a fat bastard before dinner.

How true!

Prince Charming

Many laughs were shared by all of us at the pool at this guy's expense...or perhaps it was at my expense...

And there you have it, folks. From frog to, well, to my prince charming.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Bottomless Coffee

Another Song that Speaks

Jeremy Riddle - The Now And Not Yet

Okay, this isn't an album review. It's more of a "music that speaks to me" sort of post. It just so happens that this whole album, start to finish, has had that effect on me lately.

Two songs in particular have been standing out. The first is called Prayers for the Church. Its seems very apt in my current context lately, as I've been praying big prayers for my church.
Prayers For The Church

Where she is weak Strengthen arms now, steady feet That she would care for, she would seek Welcoming Your lost and wounded sheep Coming home to You

Where she is stained
Bring Your healing, bring Your rain
Wash away now her disgrace
'Till she shines in white, she radiates
She now mirrors You

(We're praying)
No more compromises, no more moral crises
Tonight may she move and act as You
No more small divisions
No more lack of wisdom
Tonight may she move and act as You

Where she is right give her courage for the fight
Full of salt now, full of light
Standing firm where truth and love collide
She remains in You

Now she's shining
Her light is blinding as she sings Your name
Now she's beauty
Up from the ashes, Your love is on her face

Where she is strong, keep her moving, pressing on
Bringing justice, righting wrongs
Demonstrating now Your Kingdom come
She's in step with You

The second is more personal but just as much resonating with me as a prayer.

To Be Like You

Holy You are
Perfect and pure You are
Everything right You are
Yes, You are

Broken am I
Full of discord am I
Hungry for change am I
Oh, am I

Oh, to be like You
Oh, to reflect the God I know
The love You've shown
This is my longing
This is my deepest, strongest plea
Lord, change me

Would You change me?
Would You change me?

Love You are
Spirit and truth You are
Everything right/good You are
Yes, You are

Humbled am I
Contrite of spirit am I
Open to You am I
Oh, am I

Those are just two. The rest of the album is just as good though.

Perfect packing music.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

High Seas Expedition

While it's fun to look back at what's been, and our Crocodile Dock daycamp was fun, and while I still have wrap up stuff to do, it's also exciting to look forward. In July 2010, Journey Kids are going to go on a High Seas Expedition in Cranston. It's going to be swell...get it? Swell? Seas? Oh boy...

Okay, enough of my shenanigans. Here's a video preview.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Power of Cold

I don't like the cold. I know, I know. This isn't a revolutionary discovery for anyone. If you know me, you know this. That said, today I was reminded of the power of cold...of ice, really. I had a killer headache. I mean head throbbing, near vomit inducing, dizzy spell, eyeball aching kind of headache. I admit it, my first instinct was that by this point maybe painkillers would be a good idea. Second instinct, that followed shortly after the first, was my first aid training. When in doubt, use ice. Seriously, within half an hour, the headache was nearly gone and I was back to work, chatting with people at the pool, and plugging away. I decided that ice really is the new miracle cure.

So now we know. If it hurts, use ice.

I wonder if ice cream works the same way. I could get a lot of mileage out of that one...

Current Read

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Gregory Maguire

My advice, for what it's worth, is to not read this around the same time that you're planning on taking a road trip that happens to coincide with one of the worst wind/rain/electrical storms of the year. Does funny things to the mind...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Croc Dock

We're 2 days into day camp and I'm loving it. I've got a lot to say and will *hopefully* use this space to process it later on. It's been so much fun! Great kids. Fantastic people to do it with. Fun songs. Good games. Field trips. Oh man!!

Day 1 - God is with us. Fear not!! Science Center for the afternoon

Day 2 - God is powerful. Fear not! Then it was off to the zoo!

Cool story. We had one little boy who had to leave at lunch time to go and have some allergy testing done. He's wearing his camp t-shirt and so the nurse asks him what it's all about. He tells her, in detail, about what he's been learning at camp. Songs about Jesus. How God is always with us. Some of the God sightings we talked about. His mom says he's a little bit ADD with things like that but was shocked at how much he remembered, in detail, and how excited he is about it. Just cool.

For me, it's been another one of those moments where I just feel like I've hit the sweet spot. A bit like the tours but in a different way. I love the kids. I love the energy. I love working with the people I'm working with. I love the role I get to play. I love leading the songs and doing the silly dances...and not worrying what anyone thinks because that's not the point. And I feel like I'm doing a descent job at it. All that said, it's humbling too. I watch things go on around me and I know it's not all me. I recognize the fantastic job the team is doing and all the work that each one of them is doing. I see the different skills each one brings and I know that they are bringing things to the table that I never could. I know that there is much more going on than I ever could have orchestrated and that someone much bigger than me is in charge. It's good. It's just good.

God is with us. Fear not!


By Maya Angelou

A woman's heart should be so hidden in Christ
That a man should have to seek Him first to find her.'

When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not shouting 'I'm clean living,'
I'm whispering 'I was lost, Now I'm found and forgiven.'

When I say... 'I am a Christian' I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble and need Christ to be my guide.

When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak and need His strength to carry on.

When I say.. 'I am a Christian' I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed and need God to clean my mess.

When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible, but God believes I am worth it.

When I say... 'I am a Christian' I still feel the sting of pain...
I have my share of heartaches, so I call upon His name.

When I say... 'I am a Christian' I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner Who received God's good grace, somehow!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

What I'm Up to...

Hosted By Journey Church
July 20-25, 2009
in the community of Cranston
Elementary (9-4:30) and Preschool Programming (9-12)

Spots are still available if you're in Calgary and have kids that would like to join us. Check here for more information.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Guess who's coming to the big screen...

They are!! Can't wait until 2010!!
This is what you do when you've worked too many 12-15 hour days and your brain's turning to mush...

1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc. on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
4. Have Fun!

Moment of Surrender (U2)

Live to Find (Mobile)

Supposed to Be (Jack Johnson)

Meet in the Middle (Diamond Rio)

God Made Me (Chantal Kreviazuk)

Be Thou My Vision (Leigh Nash)

Neon (John Mayer)

Never Do Anything (Barenaked Ladies)

The Tourist (Radiohead)

Mirrorball (Elbow)

Say It Ain't So (Weezer)

It's in Our Hands (Bjork)

Even When (Jeremy Camp)

Make a Mistake With Me (Brad Paisley)

New Law (Derek Webb)

Don't Think I Won't (Mark Wills)

Everlasting (Brian Doerksen)

Peace (Third Day)