Friday, March 30, 2012

My Prayer

Give ear to my cry, O Lord!
Hear the desperate words of my heart.

Forgive me of my sin;
cleanse me from my iniquity.

Thank you for your steadfast love.

Bring your blessing to my requests;
look up on me with favour.

Bring honour and healing to my house,
that your name might be exalted.

More than anything I ask for you to guide us.

Our delight is in you;
your way is pure and good.

May your name be known;
may my house glorify your great name.

Blessing and honour belongs to you.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Why Some Leave the Faith

A friend of mine shared this video and I found it very helpful in framing what the faith is and isn't; and why some ways we approach our faith drives people away.

Church: "Why the mass exit?" from Ed Burton on Vimeo.
More teens are leaving the church now than ever before. Ever wonder why? Skye Jethani makes it simple and clear in this video. He goes beyond pointing out the flaws.. he offers up an answer as well.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday Mashup

Haven't blogged in eleven days due to busyness and higher priorities, so get ready for a schwack of stuff.  

Ruby went to visit her Island Nana for a week.  That meant Charlie ruled the roost while the queen was away... a role he quite enjoyed.  I enjoyed spending more solo time with him.  We went to the park, walked to the goats, and rode his bike.

I'm also glad to announce that I still hold the record for Parkside's shortest sermon (14 minutes). Isaac tried to challenge the record last Sunday, but lost by six minutes!  I assigned him the "fun" and awkward passage on circumcision.  It reminds me of the time I stayed over at my grandparents and in the morning they asked me to read their morning Scripture aloud to them as they ate breakfast.  Their text that morning just so happened to be one of the juicy bits from Song of Solomon.

On Monday night we had our first hermeneutics club meeting.  Nine folks showed up and we had a great time.  We read the text that I will be preaching from this Sunday, asked questions arising from the text, and then began some more research into the text.  I also enjoyed getting to know everyone a bit more.  We found out that Vaughan W. was literally stoned when he and his family were missionaries in Brazil!  We went for almost two hours.  The club is open to any and all (sporadic attendance is allowed)!  We'll meet again this Monday at 7:00pm.

I've been enjoying our new delegation and empowering process with our Church council.  You may remember a while back me communicating that our Church council would be moving from serving solely in an advisory capacity to adding on an administrative capacity.  Our journey through Acts (specifically Acts 6:1-7) inspired this change and it will take about another six months or so to fully implement.

This change in Council has already been a blessing to me and our Church family.  Here's how.  Last week, Cindy (our Office Administrator) dropped a stack of papers on my desk that contained our 'chart of accounts' so that I could proof them (we are in the process of changing our accounting software and system). Without batting an eye, I gave them back to her and instructed her to give them to Nicole (our Treasurer). Nicole took them and is doing a better job than I ever did of proofing them.  The next day, I sent an email to Chad (our Council Secretary) to begin the process of planning his first Council meeting.  I gave him the agenda items that I needed to be there and instructions on the other components.  What usually takes one to two hours in prepping all the documents for the meeting is now off my plate.  I have no doubt that Chad will do a better job than I ever did.

What did I do with the spare time?  I was able to give more time to my role of 'prayer and the ministry of the word'.  I have been able to read and study more Scripture.  I was able to start the hermeneutics club which will teach others how to "feed" themselves and others.  I was also able to spend more time in prayer.  The overall result has been that I have drawn closer to Jesus.  Our Church and community will benefit from my drawing closer to Christ.  Our Church and community will benefit from more people studying and applying Scripture.  Our Church and community will benefit from Chad and Nicole using their gifts because they will do it better than me and they will grow closer to Jesus through their service to Him. 

This serving thing is starting to catch on around here too!  This week Cliff came in and replaced four old sink basins in our main washrooms.  Lynn volunteered to oversee our food service for the Easter brunch.  Dave is serving communion at our community Good Friday service. Monica and Aaron are going to town with Easter Brunch decor and set-up plans.  That's in addition to all the others who serve so generously week in, week out!

Last night, our Elders met to begin a series of meetings aimed at reflecting and seeking the Lord.  It is a process of discovering what our Church in Mission, BC and on planet Earth needs to look like, how we look now, and then what steps we need to take to get to there.  This process was initiated in a desire to see our baptism tank never dry.  We long to see more people meet and follow Jesus.  We know that the byproduct of this will be a community and world with less chaos, less selfishness, more love, and more justice.  We know that we are called to go and make disciples and that we need to become better at doing that!  Now, it's not too difficult to figure out the 'where we are' and 'where we need to go' part, it's the 'how do we get there' part that requires listening to the Spirit and following Him in faith.  I'm excited to begin this journey as I believe it will result in us becoming better followers of Jesus and therefore more people coming to know Him.

That brings us to today.  It's sunny and Spring is here!  I look forward to a season filled with power-raking my moss out, over-seeding, trimming, and mowing.  Our vacuum died this week so I'm on the hunt for a new one.  I am supervising a course tomorrow at the College.  I am looking forward to our gathering this Sunday. 

Angela's starting to feel a bit better so I'm happy for her.  She gets an extra week off this round for Easter!!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Merry Monday

Merry Monday to you!  I hope you had a good weekend where you were able to find rest so that you can do the good works God has prepared just for you.

Angela begins her fifth round of chemo today.  This round will be four weeks long as we're taking an extra week off from chemo for Easter.  That means that there are only seven weeks left of chemo before we take a significant break and do some more tests.  At that time, Angela will get a scope (camera down her throat) and a PET scan (indicates places of significant cell reproduction). The last CT scan revealed that there hasn't been any new growth (at least that they can see with this kind of scan), so that's been good news for us.

I didn't end up going on the mini-retreat with students from the College so I got some other work done while Angela was away with the kids at her parents.  We played hooky from Church yesterday and while we missed being with our Church family, it was good for us to challenge our external religious tendencies.  We slept in (I'm a big fan of 'Fall Back', but I hate 'Spring Ahead'), had brunch at ABC, went to Walmart and picked up Ruby's new car seat (she's been a good eater and is finally at 40lbs), popped into Ikea and bought a few things, then caught 'The Lorax' at the theatre.  We came home, ate some leftover pizza (tried out the new Ricardo's by the Church building... not too shabby), bathed the kids and put them to bed.

I'm watching the kids today.  It's not even mid afternoon and we've already built a tower taller than Charlie, fed the neighbour's goats a few apples, rode our bikes, spilled hot chocolate all over the kitchen, and watched a few episodes of dinosaur train.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Christians & Kony 2012

Facebook is all a buzz about Kony 2012 (watch this video to see what people are buzzing about:  The question for us is how should we respond?

It seems to me like a lot of Christians are jumping on the Kony 2012 bandwagon.  At the same time with success comes an onslaught of backlash.  So, before ordering their 'action kit' or slandering Invisible Children (organization behind Kony 2012) we should first research the organization and the project then respond biblically.

If we take Invisible Children at their word (which we should unless otherwise proven), we see that they are primarily concerned about raising awareness in hopes that the populous will pressure political powers to assist local governments in arresting Kony and disarming his army. They are also funding some practical programs to help locals organize and bring restoration to broken communities and people.  Their spending reflects these priorities.  Their own release in response to the backlash helps explain this and other popular thoughts/accusations (read that publication here:

So what should the Church do?  As always, we go and make disciples.  Really?  Yes.  If all we did is combat the symptoms of sin, not only would we never get ahead of evil, we'd see both offender and victim spend an eternity in Hell.  That being said, God often leads us to communicate the Good News through acts of kindness (responding to symptoms... bringing social justice).  For example, we will be lead to help a village install a well and then talk about the spring of water welling up to eternal life (Jn. 4).

The next question is how do we 'go and make disciples' in this situation?  The answer is we don't; unless we are invited.  Our Churches need to talk with local Churches in afflicted and surrounding areas so we can discover if assistance is needed, and if so, what type of assistance will be appreciated.  I know of one solid Christian leader in the Congo that is an active missionary and a national (i.e. not looking at things from Western eyes).  He spoke at our Church last year.  My plan is to contact him along with our National and International offices to see what local Churches are requesting in terms of support.

We can pray (often undervalued and under-utilized) for all parties involved and send words of encouragement to local Churches.  Local Churches will hopefully add specifics that we can add to our prayers.  Regarding our response to Kony 2012, local Churches in afflicted areas may say that Kony 2012 is a great thing, a 'couldn't hurt' thing, or a bad thing.  They may also have better organizations to accomplish the saving of many and the ending of Kony's social injustice.  They could also request the sending of resources such as funds for projects, ministry training, curriculum, manpower, etc.  From here we can respond appropriately.

My prayer is that wisdom and discernment would be given to both Churches here and there. My prayer is that the Church in afflicted areas will rise up in boldness to take the Gospel to Kony and his soldiers.  My prayer is that the Church in afflicted areas will rise up with strength to love, comfort, defend, and help the hurting.  My prayer is that hearts would be softened to God and one another.  My prayer is that Christ in us would break our hearts for the lost and the hurting.

To turn up the heat on discussing the big questions this situation raises (we should be discussing them and thinking biblically about every situation)... if the Church backs a war on someone who kills children, what is the Church to do about abortion doctors and policy makers?  Every situation requires a unique response.  Let's turn to Scripture, listen to the Holy Spirit, talk with those involved on the front lines, develop a biblical plan (which might be supporting Kony 2012), and then act.

This is my response to Kony 2012.  And to think that Kony's actions are just a scratch on the surface of a world filled with death and despair.  May I seek the Lord and be obedient to His will.


Articles for or on the Kony 2012 backlash (added 3/14/2012) (added 3/16/2012)

Articles on Christians & War

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Is Your Marriage Worth Fighting For?

Week 6 - Love at the movies: Taking out the Trash (03.04.12 - Dan Richardson) from The Crosscurrent on Vimeo.

Dan Richardson pastors The Crosscurrent Church here in town and they produced this video to encourage spouses to fight for their marriage.  It's really good and so I wanted to pass it on to you.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Strange Rite of Passage

In a spontaneous moment of parenting, Angela and I decided that our kids wouldn't be allowed to taste pop or gum until they were five.  It was created as a joke, but then stuck around to become an official rite of passage.  Ruby turned five yesterday and experienced the bubbles of Coke and sweetness of bubble gum.  She enjoyed both.

In addition to this new experience we hosted our first birthday party at McDonald's.  Due to Angela's energy level and the hyper nature of five-year-olds it made for a perfect venue.  We also discovered the beauty of Rhoda.  Rhoda is an elderly lady who works the lobby at the Mission McDonald's and she really knows how to host a birthday party!

Today we gathered with our Church and it was awesome.   I love our Church and I love what God is doing in and through us.  I was encouraged through the conversations I had with a few people at how God is doing His good work.  One reported on a couple family members that are coming to faith in Christ.  Another on a ministry that blends their passion/hobby with people that don't yet know Christ.  And then another with a young man that is seeking to find answers to tough questions so that his faith and his answers would be solid for his friends at school.

Lately, I've been working on living life closer to my priorities and not happen stance.  It has resulted in more exercise, more prayer, more reflection on Scripture, longer conversations with others, and more apologies to my wife.  It has been really good.

I will be around the College this week and then away with some students for a weekend retreat. Catherine is preaching on Sunday from the next part in Acts.  I hope you have a great week, living not by sight, but by faith!