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Showing posts from 2009

God & Limitations

So the thought that has been stirring in my heart as of late is the whole idea of Almighty God choosing to put limits on Himself.  Here is what I mean, Jesus (fully God and fully human) could have at any point chose to rescue Himself from death on a cross, but He chose not to...He chose to limit Himself.  If you look at some of the miracles Jesus performed you see this similar theme.  Take the feeding miracles for example.  In these instances Jesus chooses to use what His disciples and others provide in order to make the miracle happen.  We're talking about Almighty God here, and in these instances He chooses to limit His power and influence.  Why is that I wonder?

There is an age old argument of free will vs. predestination; the idea of having the freedom to make your own choices vs. the notion that all the choices we make are predetermined.  I don't really want to re-hash hundreds of years worth of theological arguments here, but I do what to ask a question to those of you w…

Entitlement Kills

I heard a stat the other day that floored me.  During this holiday season, the average amount spent is $1000 per adult in the province of Alberta.  $1000 is the average.  Calgary's population sits at just over a million.  Roughly 650,000 of that number are considered adults.  That means that as a city, we potentially spent about 65 million dollars this Christmas season.  Crazy right?

You know what's even more crazy??  Entitlement.  These numbers of what we may have spent this holiday season seem staggering (and they are!!), but what's even more staggering is the attitude that drives this spending. We believe we have the right to "do what we want" in a sense.  While it is true that we have the freedom to choose how we live and how we spend, do not be disillusioned, at some point we will need to be accountable for our actions.  For instance, if we rack up huge debt on our credit card, at some point the creditor will come collecting what they are owed...and that can …

Intentional Generosity

The Christmas season seems to be filled with a quest for intentional generosity...and I think this can be a good thing.  Yes I've heard the frustrations regarding the pursuit of materialism (which I share), but the desire to be kind and generous, although it has its' flaws, I believe is at least somewhat filled with good intentions.

We have a tradition in our family to be intentionally generous to another family during this Christmas season instead of showering ourselves with more stuff we don't need.  What I'm learning more and more about is how this spirit of generosity needs to permeate my life beyond this Christmas season.  Generosity needs to be a family value; something that we live out on a daily moment by moment basis.  Generosity can play a role in purchasing someone's coffee, donating some time to help someone out of the ditch, and/or giving up clothes that we do not need in order to give to those who are in need.

I stumbled upon this verse from Proverbs …

Popularity - A Casual Affair

Tonight is family craft night, so we decided to toss on some tunes while we were attempting to be artistic!!  I opened itunes and clicked on the 90s music icon to rock out to songs of yester year.  Soon our ears were flooded with the melodies of a band called Tonic and a song entitled Casual Affair.  One line from the chorus stuck out to me.

"It's a casual affair when everybody loves you."

My mind began to race...how true is this above statement?  I believe it may be more true than we might be willing to admit.  Popularity, everybody loving you, is a fleeting thought...a casual affair.  Pleasing people is exhausting.  You're always seeking to do something to be noticed and appreciated by those who's opinions you value.  Once you begin the process of people-pleasing, you are in constant need of having to engage in the game of one-ups-manship with yourself!!  You're constantly trying to outdo yourself and gain more credibility while attempting to maintain the ce…

Thoughts on a Friday

With 2009 coming to a close in a couple of weeks, I find it interesting how my heart and mind wander into reflection mode almost naturally.  In celebration of a new year upon us we usually look back over the past year to remember what has happened, and at times we are glad at what we find and in others we aren't so thrilled.  We rattle off some resolutions for the new year, and then it's off to the races yet again.

I'm only 29, but in light of recent events that have shaped our December as a family I find myself in more of an introspective moment today.  2009 brought to us our son, Cannon, more memories, a bunch of firsts and a lot of life lessons.  As I begin this process of looking back and reflecting upon what was and what I've learned from this past year, I'm searching for something in which to measure success.  For some this can mean how much money was earned, or spent, or stuff was accumulated.  For others it may mean what sort of challenges were overcome or …

For God so LOVED...

Bonny has been teaching our daughter Saydie, who is only 2, the verse John 3:16.  I'm sure we've all heard it in one form or another, but for reference here it is again.

"For God so loved the world that He sent His one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

The key phrase that is rocking my world lately is "For God so LOVED the world."  Often times we may here preachers or other Christians say that we are called to be in the world but not of it.  The earth is only our temporary home, not our final destination and other common catch phrases.  While each of these statements is true, in the past these statements have been used to segregate Christians from the rest of the world.  We've even used them to justify our actions (some good and some bad) at certain points in time.  What I'm learning about more and more is that God loves the world.  And if God loves the world, as His child, I need to love the world. …

Paralyzed

Have you ever been so overwhelmed by a situation that you just froze up and couldn't do anything?  I've had many experiences like this in my life.  In fact, I used one such experience to pen a song.  Here are the lyrics.


In Silence

What can I do?
I’m staring at you and I’ve got nothing to say.
No rhyming this time.
I’m walking the line between nothing at all.
Inside I am screaming out loud; I’m burning up.
My heart it pounds, but I’m just standing here afraid to move again.
So much unsaid and too much regret to linger here.
I’m overwhelmed; caught in this web of fraility.
In silence I am bound to be still.
It’s deafening and hard to breathe.
Will I ever be the same?


This whole idea of paralysis is rocking my world lately.  We can become to overwhelmed to the point of neglect.  What I mean is that we can see a need, whether personal or otherwise, and be overwhelmed at the hugeness of the need that we can simply be frozen in time, neglecting to act.  


What I need to remember, and what I belie…

The Enduring Kingdom

I'm working my way through the book of Daniel in my personal devotions and there are so many things that I am learning about Christ, faith and life for the first time even thought I've read through this portion of the bible before.  Daniel is one of those interesting reads.  Some people call Daniel the Revelation of the new testament as it is chalked full of imagery, prophecy and other forms of writing that can sometimes make it a difficult book to study.

A few verses from Daniel 2 are standing out to me today.  Daniel 2 contains the portion of Daniel's story where he is being used by God to interact with King Nebuchadnezzar in regards to interpreting a dream the king had.  As Daniel begins to interpret this dream, of which he has no prior knowledge, he first gives credit to God for revealing His truth through his servant Daniel.  As the chapter unfolds and Daniel begins to wrap up his conversation with the king, verse 44 sums up the root of the truth from the king's …

Where You Lead Me...I Will Follow

I had a great conversation with a parent in our ministry today.  We spoke about an inquiry I had made regarding her potential involvement in youth ministry as a small group leader.  She had been praying about this subject for a few weeks and finally felt it was time to share with me what God was saying to her regarding youth ministry.  She mentioned that as much as she loves students and values what God is using us as a ministry (Centre Street Church Youth Ministries) to do with this generation, God is calling her to invest herself in another area of ministry.

This was the third in a series of a similar type of conversations I have had with another prospective leaders in youth ministries over the last month or so.  Often times we only celebrate the moments when our leadership vacancies are filled and we forget to stop and thank God for the moments when they aren't.  If any of these three individuals had responded to our inquiries to serve in youth ministries, they would have been …

Lessons from a Legend

On Friday morning Bonny's Grandpa Joe passed away.  I had only met the man a handful of times, but what I saw in him sticks with me even now as I'm typing up this blog.

Lesson #1 - Generosity...every time I met Grandpa Joe, I left his presence with something in my hand...money, stories, time spent, a firm handshake and random stuff from his house.  The great memory I have of him is from our wedding.  Grandpa Joe had been really sick every since I knew him, but even though it was a challenge for him to be at our wedding, he was there.  Pulling me aside, he shoved $300 in my hand and asked me to by Bonny a nice sandwich.  This was one of the many moments where Grandpa Joe showed his love and care for others by giving them stuff.  As my father in-law was going through his dad's things after his passing, he found out that Grandpa Joe had been sponsoring 4 kids through World Vision for the last 10 years without anyone knowing.  That was Grandpa Joe...giving to people and not ga…

In like a Lion...about like a ??

There is the old saying that if winter comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb.  As December sat down on us a couple of days ago, and we here in Calgary were greeted with snow and cold, this old saying came to mind.

What also came to mind was my own personal spiritual journey with Christ.  I understand that there are natural rhythms in life.  We have seasons of growth, seasons of maturity and seasons of struggle that seem to intertwine themselves along with the daily grind.  This old saying about the weather made me think about what others or even myself would say about my relationship with Christ.  Did I start out strong only to fade at the end of my life?  Did ever year I lived here on earth help me to gain momentum in my faith journey?  How many mountains have I climbed and how many valleys have I wallowed in?

I'm not sure what will be said about my life at the end of it, but what I can influence is what is being said about my life right now.  When people look at who I am…

Appreciation - Moments of Growth

Isn't it true that all of us crave appreciation? Craving compliments isn't a bad thing, but when our cravings are the only thing that fuels our self-confidence, that can be scary!!

Our words are a gift that we can use to build each other up, or tear each other down. There are so many moments and memories that I can recall of times when I used my words for good and times when I used them for evil. Today I was asked the question, "if you could have a super power, what would you choose?" As I answered the question, many of these growth moments came to mind. If I chose time-travel, perhaps I could go back in time and undo the wrongs in my life...I could change what I said when I said it. It seems like a great idea, doesn't it? But the truth is, without these short-comings in my life, I'm not sure I would have been able to learn the lessons Christ intended for me to experience through the pain, suffering and grief I experienced when I made a mistake.

It's…

AAA Spirituality

Last night I got home from an amazing time spent with an outstanding bunch of students at one of our grade 8&9 Super Groups and began to debrief the evening with my wife Bonny.

As our conversation continued onto the later hours of the night, I began sharing with her 3 different things that I have been observed about Christianity, faith and spirituality: Aesthetic, Apathy and Affluence. These three A-words summed up conversations I had been having with students and parents about what they see in church. Usually AAA is a good grade to give something, like beef for instance. But in this case AAA is the killer for authentic and relevant faith in our world today. I see three categories emerging that we need to be aware of in order to combat in an effective and efficient manner.

Aesthetic - This kind of faith is summarized as something that looks good on the inside, but reeks of rot on the inside. Basically, this category refers to keeping up appearances; making sure others' opinions …

Monday Mayhem

Have you ever noticed that Mondays are often chaotic and frustrating days? I can remember waking up to my alarm clock in high school to hear a local radio station playing a song that summed up my experience of Mondays..."Monday it bites the big one". Perhaps you have heard that song...or maybe you're more familiar with the Office Space line of "Looks like someone has a case of the Mondays!!"

In any case, Monday seems to be a tough day in the week, for me at least. My motivation isn't too high and my energy level is often low. I've learned over the years that on Monday I need to do smaller projects rather than anything that takes too much thought power, energy or effort. This doesn't mean that I'm lazy, but this does mean that I am learning to understand there is a certain rhythm and pace to life and specifically to how God has created me to function.

If you look back to the story of creation, you can see this very idea of rhythm and pace inc…

Balance & Restoration

As a family, we have five values: balance, authenticity, simplicity, genorosity and diversity. There are moments in life when I can lose sight of what is important and I can become jaded in my perspective.

When my schedule starts filling up and the "busyness" of life and ministry begins to take over, I sometimes need a remember of what balance is all about. I've seen many friends and family members fall into the trap of the Canadian rat race...the pursuit of more stuff...power, money, possessions, relationships and status. I too have found myself flirting with the grasp of what I'm beginning to call the Canadian dream!!

My family is a great source of balance for me in life. My wife and my kids help me to understand when I'm reaching my limits. My attitude and demeanor change, my values shift and my priorities begin to reflect this unhealthy realignment.

Yesterday was one of these reminder moments for my life. Sitting in staff meeting I began to feel burdened a…

Thoughts on Team

I was sitting through a staff meeting today and began to dream about the elements that make a team successful. The first thing that came to mind is the word proximity. Proximity refers to closeness, connection and commonness. Without proximity, I do not believe a team can exist.

There were four other words that came to mind regarding team as well. The first is trust. In order to function like a team, you need to trust your teammates. Whether your team is in the business world, the church world or in a recreational sport...if you don't trust each other, you are not a team. Trust means releasing responsibility to others and knowing that the task will be completed. Trust doesn't mean making everyone do things in the same way. Trust leaves room for uniqueness, creativity and collaboration. Trust also comes with a deadline. Trust is broken and hindered when responsibility is not taken seriously or is not dealt with in a timely manner.

A second word to describe team is authenticity. T…

Sweatin' the Details

This past retreat weekend with Jr. & Sr. High students was amazing. There are so many stories to share that I don't know where to begin.

One of the largest lessons that I learned this weekend was that it's not about me. God is so much larger than all of the details, and yet God is always working in the little details and taking care of everything behind the scenes and in front of things so that His will and purpose are accomplished.

As a youth worker, I'm learning more about what it means to partner with what God is already doing. This was never more evident than during this past weekend. Hearing and seeing students respond to the love of Christ was all it took for me to understand, yet again, that my role is about letting go and letting God. Sometimes I can get in the way of what God wants to do simply because I'm trying to rescue things or trying to make things look and feel a certain way. While it is good to plan and to focus and to pursue excellence, when…

Freedom

Today being remembrance day, it seems fitting to blog about freedom. When I was a little boy I always thought that the men and women who died in service to our country were so much older than I was. While many veterans are much older than I, the reality in our world today is that many more men and women are dying at younger ages in service to our country. Yesterday our church held the funeral for the gunner who was killed in action in Afghanistan. My sister was in his graduating class...he was only 25.

Our freedom has come with a price. Now that we have freedom, what do we do with it? The same can be said of life in Christ. Jesus came to grant us freedom, and now that we enjoy living in freedom, what are we doing with it?

Freedom comes with responsibility. I think living free means learning to fight against injustice in the world around us. I think it means standing the gap for those who do not have a voice, and fighting for basics rights for all humankind. So again I ask, wha…

Reshape

I spent the weekend hanging out with youth workers and students as we attempted to reshape our thoughts on evangelism by studying the word and engaging in creative learning experiences.

After this time away I have found clarity in more than one area. First of all, I am more convinced than ever that being a part of God's family extends beyond the boundaries and borders of time, space and government. The language our brothers and sisters were using mimicked what the Spirit seems to be saying to the church in Calgary as well. God is stirring in the heart of this generation...there is something HUGE on the horizon. I pray that we as youth workers don't snuff out the fire!!

My second conclusion is that the bonds of friendship are forged in the fires of time, trust and hardship. My good friend Matt and I travelled together to Vancity for this conference. We enjoy a 15+ year friendship. It's good to be completely real and honest with others. This level of connection only co…

Listen & Pray

I'm coming to the realization that I can maybe only offer two things to another person in a relational connection: 1. An ear & 2. a prayer partner.

Having been immersed in a new ministry context for the last few months, I've learned more about these two things than ever before. I'm starting to think that this is also the best thing I can offer students as a youth pastor as well.

Last night the family and I were hanging out in the mall. I was so thankful for the chance to catch up with Bonny and shoot the breeze a little bit together. She shared a concern with me, and I immediately put on my "pastor" hat and began trying to find a solution for her. I'm so quick to try and solve problems that I forget to listen and I forget to take the issue to the one that can actually do something about it. Bonny finally injected herself into my rant and said, "Hey, I'm not asking you to solve this issue, I just want you to listen."

Huh, who would have thought …

Thoughts on Church

I've been involved in church in one way, shape or form for the last 28 years...basically, my entire life. I've had the chance to see a lot of traditions come and go, and other stay for one reason or another. Perhaps the most intriguing thoughts on church that captivate my heart and mind are the few accounts we have of what church looked like when it first began from the book of Acts.

In particular, Acts 2:42-47 is a favorite of mine. These few short verses contain an immense amount of depth in terms of vision and mission for church. There are four themes that are often taken from these verses: teaching, community (fellowship), breaking bread (generosity or hospitality) and prayer. The theme that I would like to share a thought on today is teaching.

Verse 42 says, "they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching." They refers to the fellowship of believers, or the early church. The apostles is a reference to Jesus' 12 disciples, those whom He walked th…

Peace, Complexity and Simplicity

Today the family and I had the opportunity to celebrate the life of a friend of ours, Winnie Grebe. Her memorial service was a moment of reflection for myself. What struck me the most during this time is the connection between the words peace, complexity and simplicity.

Plainly said, there is no peace in complexity...there is only peace in simplicity. Consider what this statement is referring to. Think of the chaos and stress that surrounds pulling off something that is complex in nature, be it an event, trip or experience of some kind. Each of the details can bring frustration, joy, discontent and stress!! Now think of engaging in an activity, experience or event that is derived from simplicity. Let it stew in your heart and in your mind. Get past the notion of needing to fill time and space with stuff, and really embrace the idea of this simple approach to whatever memory or experience you've decided to create.

I'll tell you something. After doing this simple exercise…

Balance

One of my favorite verses is John 10:10. Here Jesus says that He has come to grant us as His followers life to the full. Last night this verse got me to thinking...what does full really mean?

In the church, we seem to do a great job at keeping our calendar "full" of stuff. Much of this program based routine is our attempt to spiritually form people. But what happens when the programs don't measure up to their original intent? What happens when the programs begin to detract from true spiritual growth?

Jesus came to give us life to the full. I believe His reference was directed towards the heart, not the bank balance or day planner. I've heard a lot of talk about divine appointments in my life. While I do agree that God sets things in motion to bring people across our paths so that we can impact and be impacted, I don't believe that God operates out of chaos or busyness. God is not lazy, but God does not how and when to rest. Think about this for a moment. …

Gifts & Passions

One of my favorite things to do is go grocery shopping. Call me crazy, but I like seeing how much food I can get within our budget. It's a challenge...go figure, I like strategy!! I slap on the old ipod and rock out to the mix that filters in my ears all the while seeking to ensure that I get a variety of goodies for my family without breaking the bank.

On my ipod I have a bunch of music that I recorded; songs that I had written when I lived under the delusion of being a rockstar. As these sweet melodies and guitar riffs rattled through my brain, it got me to thinking. Gifts and passions manifest themselves in two different ways...personal and community. Some of the things that I'm gifted in and enjoy are for my own personal growth and maturity in my faith journey with Christ. Others are meant to be shared within the context of community and relationship. The challenge is discerning which gifts are meant to be personal and which are meant to be shared in community...on …

It's been too long

Sorry I haven't updated my thoughts lately...seems like that plate gets more full each day! Today was a good day. I pulled off an incredible dangle (according to my standards!!) at hockey in the morning, and then got to hear how God has been working in the hearts of my teammates and colleagues at work for the major portion of my day. Also got cracked by the chiropractor and am now hoping that the work benefits from this new job actually pay for medical expenses...cough, cough.

One thing that stood out to me today was hearing the story of one of the dudes I play hockey with. His name is Kevin. My buddy Tony and I were chatting about a mutual friend of ours who has been trying to find a full-time ministry position and the challenges that he has been facing. Kevin, a non-churched individual, piped in with his thoughts about communication which got me to thinking.

Kevin shared about how it's better to over-communicate than under communicate. He shared about what it felt like …

Listening & Obedience

I am learning so much every day about what it means to be dad, and where I can improve on how I communicate with my kids and with others.

One thing that has been impacting me as of late is the notion of listening and obedience. As I child I can remember getting in trouble for not listening to my parents. But now as an adult, I'm beginning to understand that there is a separation between listening and obedience. What I was getting in trouble for as a child wasn't about listening, it was about obedience. There is a huge difference between these two words. To listen to someone means to hear what they are saying. To obey some means to do what they have asked you to do. These are two totally different things.

Unfortunately, I think we've confused these two words. We get frustrated when people don't listen to us, but I wonder if it's because we're expecting obedience instead of listening.

I'm learning this concept with my daughter Saydie. She often hears wh…

Be Real

I stumbled across a song by Butterfly Boucher thanks to good old iTunes. I bought the song cause of the sound and because the lyrics posed an interesting question that is rattling around in my brain today.

"It's scary to be fragile"

As a youth pastor, I evaluate my success in ministry based on two criteria: 1. Love for God and 2. Love for others. Looking at the life of Jesus, He focused on two things when building into His team, the disciples: 1. Environment and 2. Experience.

Worded a different way, as a youth pastor I need to be focused and evaluating success in ministry based upon what sort of environments and experiences I help to foster and create for students.

Now take into account the lyric from this song, "It's scray to be fragile." There is a lot of truth in this statement. Being real is scary. It's scary because of the environments and experiences we've been exposed to. When we "put ourselves out there" and we didn't recei…

A Little Grace

Fridays are grocery shopping day. I haul my butt out of bed as close to 7am as I can and make my way to Superstore to beat the daily rush. Bonny had this great suggestion a few weeks ago. She told me I should bring our ipod in order to be able to listen to tuneage as I shop. It was a stroke of genuis...let me tell you!!

This morning as I was putting our groceries away, Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars began to play. I've listened to this song numerous times before, but this time a lyric jumped out and grabbed my attention.

I need your grace
to remind me
to find my own

I really think this simple lyric is brilliant. There is so much depth here when you analyze these words in the context of your spiritual walk with Christ. Not only do we need continual grace flowing from God the Father in our lives, we also need to be agents of grace by extending God's love and compassion to others. The gospel must not only be proclaimed, but must also be demonstrated in tangible ways that point…

Destination: IMPACT

Each of us longs to have some sort of signficance and impact in life. We want to be important to someone. Being a dad has taught me so much about this. I wanted my children to be around me.

This morning as I was getting ready for work, Saydie was following me around. It made me feel important that she wanted to be with me and near me. I was glad that I had some sort of signifcance in her life.

This got me to thinking (boy does my brain hurt!!) that the sum of my personal significance is defined by what I give to others in terms of relationship. True relationship is motivated by love, not results. Saydie and Cannon are my children. Regardless of their desire to be around me or not, I am their dad, and my significance in their life is measured by the love that I give to them. They are times when they disagree very passionately about what may be happening to them (that comes with the territory of us as humans wanting and needing to be our own boss!!). Regardless of the circumstan…

My name is...

All of us have names, and our names tell a story. For instance, my name Jason means healer. My middle name, Dale, was given to me because my dad's first name is Dale. That is the simple story of my name.

We were making lunch today and getting Saydie to help us wash grapes and cut up from strawberries. Being her Dad, I'm always bugging her and trying to get her to smile and interact with me...making memories is what I call it!! I can't remember how our conversation started, but I said something about her name and she said, "Saydie...that's me!!" She knows that is her name...she owns it.

The book of Revelation talks about names being written in the book of life. These names are the list of people who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and will receive the gift of eternal life once their physical life on earth is over.

What struck me about my daughter's simple comment today was this whole idea of ownership. Do I really own my name? What I m…

Takeout Spirituality

It always amazes me that we as humans interact with spirituality using a drive-thru mentality. We pull ourselves up to our favorite spiritual watering hole (church, para-church, faith community or small group) and place our order for one of many spiritual combos offered up. Sometimes we even have the gumpstion to order something off the menu. Perhaps we even try to weasle in some extra bonus spiritual bites or tidbits if we up-size our biggie-blessing combo!

I realize the above description may seem somewhat ludacris, and perhaps even outlandish...but I also think it is somewhat true. We've often looked to church or to faith as a service to us, instead of a place to serve, to give and to belong. We can become so blinded by our need to "feed" that we shudder at the thought of not have our spiritual needs met at our earliest convenience. And yet when you think about it, truly living in a relationship with God and with others is so not convenient!!

Relationships are mess…

Hey Jealousy

Have you ever wondered why we fall victim to jealousy so easily? I mean if there is something that has absolutely no positive aspect to anything it is pursuing jealousy.

Jealousy leads to anger, and anger to hatred...and it's a slippery slope, that's for sure.

I've found myself thinking the most selfish thoughts as I've let my heart and mind be filled with jealousy and anger towards others. I've even caught myself engaging in activities that encourage my jealousy to flourish instead of diminish.

So why is that? Why can't we simply celebrate the successes of others instead of longing for our own moments of glory and recognition? The sad reality is that we even do this in church. We become jealous of another faith community because of what is happening in and through this part of the body of Christ; wishing all the while the part we may be connected to would be experiencing similar or greater growth.

So what do we do in the face of jealousy? We end up seeking t…

Still Captivating

I had the chance to connect with my Oma today as she just so happened to be in town. She lives in Saskatchewan, so we rarely have the chance to connect face to face. This was also her first time getting to meet Cannon face to face as well, so it was a special day.

My Oma always likes to shoot the breeze about a variety of subjects, and being the good grandson that I am (cough, cough), I tried my best to oblige her today. We began our usual chat and then she began to share with me about her spiritual journey with Christ. As an 83 year old, my Oma has walked with Christ for over 70 years. That's a long time!! The best part of my conversation with her today was how full of life she became as she talked about what God was teaching her. Dedicating the majority of her life to the study of God's word, I listened to my Oma share with me about how God's story still captivates her heart. She spoke about how each time she opens the Bible she learns something new about God and …

A love kick

I'm working on some projects today, so I decided to strap on my ipod for the "ride" that is papework!!

This one song on my playlist stuck out to me unlike before. The song is You Wanted More by Tonic. These lyrics in particuarly hit me in the face today.

Love is color
Love is love
Love is never saying you're too proud
Love is trusting
Love is honest
Love is not a hand that holds you down

There is no separation in the sacred and secular...Christ can be found in the midst of the chaos. I don't know about the spiritual health of this band, but I know that these few lyrics depict the struggle of pursuing and living out love in the way God intended.

I hope the love I am pursuing reflects the qualities painted by this lyrical collage of emotion and experience.

Gotta love to laugh

I totally believe that Jesus loved to laugh. Humor is such a big part of working on a team. I think that a team that laughs together learns to work together more effectively and efficiently. Think about it like this...if you never laughed with your friends, don't you think you'd be missing a component in your relationship with them?

What's got me busting my gut lately is trying to learn to dance...something that would make my Grama shudder I'm sure!! Growing up I was always taught that dancing was sinful....yet another reason to make sure that we actually teach biblical principles and don't simply hand down human made traditions.

Anyways, back to my reason for writing. I'm attempting to groove with a handful of peers, and it's got me literally rolling on the floor with laughter. Laughter eases tension, it brings joy to the heart and soul, and it also reminds us to not take ourselves too seriously.

Genuine laughter is absolutely essential in regards to le…

At the End of My Rope

I don't know what it is, but most of the titles I use for my blog entries are ripped off from song titles...point in case this latest blog, brought to you by a little known band called Seventh Day Slumber. Oh the memories... :)

Why is it that sometimes we need to run into brick walls before we realize they are there? I don't know about you, but it seems like I've been hitting my fair share today. Shortly after I got to work my car was broken into. The culprits stole a letter that I needed to mail, but nothing other than that. $250, some frustrated moments, some words I'd like to take back and a headache later I found myself evaluating whether or not I can run through walls.

I'm not saying there is something super spiritual about my car getting busted into or anything like that, but I do believe there is something to say about pursuing balance in life. Pursuing God means learning to live life according to His design and rhythm. The foundation of this design is …

I'm a Yes Man...I hope

Jim Carrey stars in a flick entitled Yes Man. The basic premise of the movie is to begin saying yes to a variety of opporunities in order to live life, instead of having it pass you by. As you can imagine, saying yes to everything can definitely lead to some interesting situations.

Today I read through an article entited "Found in Darfur" from Relevant Magazine. If there is one magazine I would reccommend anyone getting, it would be this one. I have not seen a better un-biased piece of journalism from a Christian perspective.

This article contains the story of a woman who does relief work in Darfur. If you know anything about Darfur, you know that it's one of the most deadly places on earth. Conflict has engulfed the region for quite some time. Fights break out over almost everything. Islam is the dominant faith in the area, so being a Christian in this kind of space can be challenging, as you may well imagine. There were two comments this woman made that inspired me. The …

Entertaining Angels

Flashback...the Newsboys put out a song with this very same title on the Step Up to the Microphone album...ah, nostalgia, gotta love it!!

Today was a day chalked full of different experiences. I had planned on doing some work around the house (tiling and fence repair), but had no idea what God would have in store for me. I was finishing up odds and ends in regards to my to-do list when something unique happened. Bonny & I recycle (as should you all!!). I haven't had the chance to take our bottles and cans in for some time now, so I mentioned to Bonny the other day that I would really like to bless someone who digs in the garbage for cans with our lot in the basement.

I was just coming into the house when I heard the unmistakeable sounds of someone riding on their bike with cans in bags. I quickly ran down into the basement and threw our recycling into bags hoping to catch up with this person. I made my way outside to see this individual stopped beside our garbage bin. I …

Authenticity

I'm reading the book "Prodigal God" by Timothy Keller right now, so many of these thoughts in this blog are borrowed from his ideas.

The basic premise of the book is examing in detail the parable of the man who had two sons in Luke 15. We often refer to this parable as the prodigal son, but in doing so we miss the impact of the elder son's role in this story as well. I encourage you to re-read this story before reading any further.

One son chooses to walk away from his father, while the other chooses to play it safe and do everything "right." But what is impacting me the most in regards to these two sons is that they were both after the same thing...control over their father's resources. One chose to demand his inheritance up front, while the other kept 'slaving away' in order to ensure he achieved the 'good son' label. The end of the story sees the father welcome back his younger son into his home with a huge party. The elder son re…

Just Singing About Jesus

There are so many moments about being a dad that I hope I never forget...the first time I held Saydie after she was born and whispered her name to her after planting a big kiss on her lips. The first time I held my son Cannon and whispered to him that he was home. The first words, the first steps, the first roll, the first laugh...all of these are etched in my heart and in my mind.

Tonight was yet another moment I hope I don't quickly forget. Following bath time we were gathered as a family in Saydie's room while Bonny was wrestling with her to get her dressed for bed time. Saydie was jumping on her bad and singing and babbling to herself when Bonny asked her what she was singing about. Saydie replied, "I'm just singing about Jesus." Now I'm not a softy by any stretch of the imagination...I'm able to feel things, but I don't usually become overwhelmed with emotion. But listening to my little girl sing about her Jesus, even as a one year old in a langua…

Getting Hungry

My stomach is like clock work. Every day when I wake up in the morning, the grumbling in my belly signals that it is time to 'feed the beast.' I scarf down whatever my hands come across (excluding pineapple or anything else too fruity!!), and I am satisfied only until this same sequence begins again.

Thinking about this today, with being hungry and all, I began to think of what my life would be like if I craved God's presence and God's word on a consistent basis. There are times when life gets so busy that we begin to squeeze out our time connecting with God or with others.

I think part of living like Jesus means learning to grow in our hunger for Christ, His presnce, the Word and our time spent with Him. I know that last night before I went to sleep I just needed to pray with Bonny in a spirit of thankfulness for who God is. I expressed my fleeting desire to move only in His rhythm and grace, knowing that there will be moments in each and every day where I begin to…

Generation United

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I've been involved in vocational ministry for just over eight years, and been in the church in one way, shape or form for 28 years. In my church experience I have seen a lot of different seasons of ministry. I've seen seasons of growth, seasons of death, seasons of change, seasons of hope and seasons of heartbreak. Through all of these seasons, one thing has remained constant...Jesus and His love for humankind.

I've been waking up each day this past week with a new perspective on life and ministry in general. It is truly a privilege to serve in and be a part of the body of Christ. Last night, in particular, I was overwhelmed by the magnitude of the opportunity that we as the church in Canada, and specifically in Calgary, have during this upcoming season in our lives. Two pictures came to mind that kept me up a good portion of the night. The first was the celebration that took place within the nation of Israel recorded in chapter 3 in the book of Ezra. Having endured exile i…

Anger & Compassion

I came home from work today to my family, whom I love dearly. As I walked through the door I was greeted with the ever so pleasant sounds of two little kids who seemed to have had a long day...and then I saw my wife and the look on her face which reaffirmed this assumption. Neither of the kids had napped very well and all 3 of my family members seemed pushed beyond the boundaries of exhaustion in this moment.

Having sat in meetings all day I felt a little drained myself. I jumped in to be dad in the moment and tried my best to engage and help out where I could. I took my son upstairs and finally got him to sleep after 45 minutes of coaxing. I then sent Bonny upstairs to get a cat nap in while I headed out into the garden with Saydie to "dig carrots Daddy!!"

As the evening rolled on I found myself getting more and more depleted and less and less filled with compassion in my interactions with my family. My answers to questions were short and pointed. My actions were preci…