Sunday, June 17, 2012

Gamut of Emotions

The last few days we have experienced just about every emotion possible. We're in the middle of potty training, celebrated our seventh anniversary, saw prayers answered, celebrated the return of a prodigal son, participated in an all-night relay, and grieved with close friends.


Charlie is enjoying his big boy underpants, but likes to try out yoga positions while using his potty. I won't go into detail, but let's just say the carpet cleaner is earning its keep. One morning he peed 15 times in two hours!! Today, he left a nice little puddle in the dollar store.  Nothing like cleaning up your son's urine in the middle of a busy aisle.


Earlier in the week, Angela and I hit up the River Rock Casino for our anniversary. It has a nice hotel and sweet breakfast buffet. Since we'd never been in a casino before we did a walk through and found it thoroughly depressing. Nothing like seeing hundreds of people, most in isolation, throwing away their time and money. At the same time, what a great opportunity for ministry! I'd bet 90% of the people in there are dying to share their life and struggle with someone who is simply willing to listen and be a friend.

Since it was our anniversary we spent our time sharing in each others likes. I endured fabric and sewing shops. Angela endured the Regent College Bookstore. I finally got to try the Red Wagon (on Hastings).  Had the pulled-pork pancakes and it was delicious.


On top of that, Angela and I had two "silly" desires/prayers answered. While out on our anniversary, Angela wanted to buy an ice cream maker, but it wasn't in the budget. A couple days later a friend from Church said to Angela, "I have a brand new ice cream maker from our wedding that we've never opened and I'll never use it... you want it?" The next night I was eating homemade strawberry ice cream!

The other desire had to do with a trailer and a truck. A couple months ago I really wanted to buy a trailer to haul all my projects and junk around for the home and Church. I started looking around at stores and on Craigslist, but wasn't able to find any good deals that worked with the budget. I put that desire on the back burner and then figured it would be better to save for a truck that could fit the kids. Earlier this week I got a facebook message from a friend who wrote, "I have a truck that's been sitting unused for the last year, if you want it, I'll give it to you!" We looked at it yesterday and it will fit the kids and my needs perfectly.

I don't write these things from the perspective that God is a genie who grants us our every wish. I live life with the understanding that God 'gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too'.  I also live life with the understanding that 'whatever is good and perfect comes to us from God above', I have to praise him for these two gifts... an ice cream maker and a truck.  There are more times than not that I've had desires go unmet or even thought that I was entitled to certain gifts, but never received. And so, I choose to live life in a place of trusting and praising God no matter what comes my way.


In a much more serious area, we experienced unmet desires as well. Our friends, Renee and Josh (they gave me permission to write this), lost their baby. Renee was 16 weeks along when she began to detect signs that something wasn't right. After having doctors try to intervene and spending much time in desperate prayer, the baby died. Through a series of conversations with God while all this was going on, God told Renee that her baby was a boy and that she was to name him Solomon. Solomon wasn't her first choice for a name and didn't think that the baby would be a boy, but she let it play out.

So she looked up the name Solomon and found the meaning of this time to be comforting. She discovered that the name, Solomon, comes from the root (shalem) meaning to be complete or sound. Upon further study she observed that a derivative of shalem is shalom, which means peace.

On Sunday evening, when she gave birth to him, she could not stop thinking how perfect and complete he was. She said, "My time in the hospital was not a time of sadness (I was sad, don't get me wrong), but a time of soaking in the peace that only the One who made us can offer."

We rarely understand, on this side of eternity, how and why God allows painful things to happen. I don't have an answer that will perfectly satisfy you. I don't know why in some situations God does the miraculous and in others, what appears to be, nothing. There are pieces that answer parts of our questions, but not enough to make a complete picture. At the end of the day, our response to God is still one that requires faith. Faith to see what our flesh can't.

Like a plant that is forced to grow deeper roots during times of drought, tough times cause our faith to grow deeper. We also know that, with God, there is always a Spring and Summer season ahead!

Can I ask you, as Church family, to pray for Josh & Renee? They don't need a theological lecture, passive-aggressive faith correction, or medical advice. They need your love and support.


On Friday night, Angela and I joined with ten others from our Church family and we participated in the "Relay for Life". It's a fundraising event for the Canadian Cancer Society. When I first signed up I assumed it was during the day and then later found out that it went through the night (7pm - 7am). I was dreading it to say the least. Angela's parents watched the kids and we spent the night walking and hanging out the good folks on our team. At one point, Angela and I stole away and slept in the car for a few hours. Never comfortable, but better than staying awake... I think. We woke up to rain, a pancake breakfast, and an MC that could not be stopped. In hindsight it was actually a lot of fun (because of the people) and a good event.

We spent Saturday in a groggy state and went to bed early. I was super proud of Tony O. for helping host the "Swap for Lina" at our Church building on Saturday. He served from 8:30am - 4:00pm and did an amazing job getting the building ready for Sunday.


I really enjoyed our gathering this morning. Tony and team lead us in beautiful praise. We played a funny video of our Parkside Kids answering the question, "why do you love your dad?" Our Elders ordained Dave Parsons. Isaac preached a challenging 17 minute sermon! His challenge to the Church was that going and making disciples should be a scary endeavour, but that God's got our back.


I hope you have a great week filled with prayer and love.  Get filled by God then go out and share His love.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday Potpourri

Really enjoyed our gathering today.  Chad and the music team did a bang-up job of leading us in worship. Our time sharing in communion moved me. Our Sunday School teachers served so graciously... again. Then Rob & Donna George shared their story and involvement with the Christian Motorcyclists Association (CMA). Every summer they give most of their weekends to traveling to wherever bikers gather and then spending their time in loving and sharing the Gospel. Following the service, CMA hosted a hot dog lunch and the 'dogs' were delicious.

I'm already looking forward to next Sunday! Folks from our Freedom Session series will be sharing about their experience. Eugene & Catherine have generously served as leaders of this worthy, but costly, investment. In fact, as I look at the speaking schedule, I see that the next three Sundays will be covered by Freedom Sessions, Isaac, and Dave. This means that I don't get to preach until July 1st. What I love about this is that: 1) it allows a different voice to share God's Word; 2) we become less leader-centered and more Jesus-centered; 3) it gives new speakers an opportunity to grow; and 4) it allows me to work on some other projects.

We've also set a date for our celebration night to praise Jesus for His good work in Angela's body. We will be gathering on Sunday, June 24th, 7:00pm at our Church building. We'll share some Scripture, sing songs, and end in prayer for outstanding prayer items. It will be a good night and everyone is invited.

On Saturday we did a bunch of miscellaneous stuff. Ang took the kids down to Heritage Park and Ruby fell in the creek (see photo above). It was only about knee deep, but due to her panicking, got much more wet. She kept screaming... "Aaaaahhh, duck poo's in the water!"

I had another successful experience towards getting rid of my two years of poor conversation skills. (For those that didn't hear the message from last Sunday, I proposed that most people have two years of poor conversations that just need to be worked out before we turn the corner and getter better at this part of life.) I engaged a stranger in conversation at the hardware store by sarcastically commenting on his nice purse. I thought he was holding a purse for his wife (who I presumed was the woman standing next to him), but it turns out it was his 'medicine bag'. I tried to back pedal, but it didn't go so well. Thinking I could cut my losses and hoping that I would never see these people again, a girl I know comes around the corner and says, "Oh! Hi, Clint. Have you met my parents? [pointing to the people I offended]. This is Clint, my Pastor at Parkside Church!"

In other news, we have a new cat in the neighbourhood that comes over to our yard way too often. I'm racking my brain to try and come up with a Christian way of getting rid of the cat... nothing yet.

I created Isaac's summer to-do list tonight. This is the second summer that he will be working for our Church as an intern. I'm changing up a few things this year to facilitate his maturing as a leader. Contrary to popular suggestion, he will not be doing more manual labour than last year. One big change is that he will no longer be given a work schedule.  Last year he had to check-in and check-out according to a weekly schedule. This year, he will be given a set of tasks and objectives, but no schedule. He will need to learn how to manage and track his time. This will teach him the critical life and leadership lessons of prioritizing, self-starting, and self-managing. We'll touch base each week to review and recalibrate. I have no doubt that he will do well.  He is a gift to me, our Church, and our world.

Newly licensed Dave Parsons solemnized (love using that word) his first wedding on Saturday! I heard it went very well. We will have a formal time of ordination in front our Church family during our morning gathering on Sunday, June 17th. Dave has a call of God on his life for Church leadership, has been faithful to develop that calling, and it is with great joy that we get to facilitate this formal step towards the next step of his calling. Dave is a gracious servant to our Church family. He serves us as an elder, council member, Sunday school teacher, preacher, after-service coffee server, and kid's camp councilor. All as a volunteer! Wow!!

I hope you have an amazing week filled with trust in God and awkward, but necessary, conversations!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday Mashup

I hope you had a great week filled with God's grace and power! This week was real mashup of College, Church, and personal activities. Throughout the week I tuned in to the Foursquare US's Convention in Phoenix, AZ. It featured speakers like Wayne Cordeiro, Ted Olbrich, Ed Stetzer and many more. I was really encouraged by their example and their words.

On Wednesday, Angela and I met with her oncologist and stomach scope doctor (still not sure what he's supposed to be called). They both reiterated how rare her response was. The oncologist said this is what they call a 'complete response' and is rarely seen. The new path we are on is to go in for a CT and stomach scope every three months to monitor the body. They did not recommend having her stomach removed (we were told before this might be their recommendation). We left both appointments relieved and encouraged (see photo above).  No more chemo!  Our Church is planning a night of celebration and it looks to be on June 24th.

At the College, a volunteer demolition team from Northgate Foursquare completed their good work of tearing down the old facade of the dormitory building. A construction crew has now descended and has begun the new look.

Last night I picked up my old joiner from a friend who was storing it for me. I am also storing a few tools for another friend so I have a pretty sweet wood-shop now. On second thought, I don't think that this new reality is a good thing for the 'Honey Do List'.

I met with Calvin this morning for coffee and we had a good chat about the future of his role with YFC/Youth Unlimited here in town. I met with Isaac for lunch and we planned out his summer internship with our Church. He'll be doing everything from maintenance to preaching.  The rest of the day consisted of calling in the Bugman (pavement ants near the Church kitchen), emailing, planning, and scheduling.

Hope you have a great weekend!  If you're in town this Sunday, stop by our Church family at 10:00am and join us!