Saturday, August 29, 2009

Generation United

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 in a foreign country, the people of Israel were finally given their freedom, and together they pursued rebuilding their nation and more importantly, their place of worship...the temple of God. This happened in two phases, the rebuilding of the altar, and then the rebuilding of the temple itself. The entire project would have come out looking something like this following photograph.

After completing this project, the nation gathered together to celebrate. The young people shouted for joy while the older generations broke down in tears. As I was picturing this unfolding in my mind, I couldn't help but wonder what it would have felt like to be a part of the older generation in this moment. To witness restoration firsthand would indeed be overwhelming and would definitely push me towards brokenness as well.

As I was pondering this thought, lyrics to the Delirious song, Did You Feel the Mountains Tremble, began scrolling through my head. There were two word pictures in particular that captured my fascination: Young and Old will turn to up the doors and let the music play, let the streets resound with singing, songs that bring your hope, songs that bring your joy, dancers who dance upon injustice.

This to me is a picture of the living, breathing, body of Christ uniting for a common purpose...the love of Christ. Compelled by love, I believe the church can and will do amazing things in and through Jesus. I believe we are entering a season where we will begin to see these word pictures recorded in the book of Israel and in the lyrics of this song come to life again. I sense God is calling the church into a greater relationship with Him...and this call extends beyond generational boundaries. I believe God desires the parts of His body to engage the world around them with tenacity, vigilence, determination and love in action. The change we desire to see in our world will come in and through us as we seek to become the church that Christ sacrificed His life for each and every day.

The time has come for generation united...people of all ages gathered together to partner with the mission of God. The world around us needs hope, joy and people who will stand against injustice. The call of Christ compels us to act and to intervene and to demonstrate His love with an ever increasing awareness of compassion in our world today.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

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 precise and strategic...and inside my heart anger begain to swell. I was frustrated that things weren't going easy or right in my opinion. I was overwhelmed with my own emotions and the emotions of my family members. I grew more agitated with my own growing frustration and before I knew it the vicious circle was in full swing.

During this experience I failed to realize that I was trying to do things on my own. I'm a bit of a rebel in this way. I don't like the status quo, I love to push the envelope and not to settle for what is, but to strive for increasing obedience in Christ. Tonight I missed the mark. I missed the entire point of what it means to be a dad, a father, a husband and a friend. I was trying to manage the situation in my own strength and I forgot to simply be present in these moments. My heart broke during this realization. Sure I had gotten a lot of things compelted (including this blog) but I think I might have missed out on the greater things God had in store for me tonight.

I apologized to my family and asked for their forgiveness. I apologized to Christ for the foolishness of my heart to believe that I could do this whole family thing in my own strength. In this broken place is where I found strength to be who God created me to be and to love my wife and kids with the love that Christ poured out for me on the cross.

Starfield has an album entitled "Beauty in the Broken." I've caught a glimpse of what this means before, but tonight I truly experienced it on a different level. I hope that I continue to learn from this experience and do things differently next time. Somehow I know there will be another opportunity for me to test my 'metal' again in the near future. This time I'll be prepared, knowing that there is no way I can do this alone. Only with Christ living in and through me will I be able to serve my family in the way they deserve.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Monuments & Memories

Ok, I plagerized the title of this post from one of my favorite bands,'s the name of their latest album. However, this title seems fitting for what's rattling around in my head and heart today.

Today marks our fifth wedding anniversary as a married couple. Bonny & I are going to celebrate with lunch out, a favorite dinner and perhaps some time down by the river with the kids.

As I began reflecting even yesterday about our anniversary, my mind immediately shifted towards my spiritual journey with Christ. I started to recall instances of triumph and failure; moments of celebration and sadness; mystery and wonder. The more I began to digest these parts of my life, the more I was drawn to a desire to remember and to celebrate my own personal spiritual journey. Wedding anniversaries mark a day each year on the calendar when, as a married couple, you can pull away and celebrate your relationship. These days should be filled with memories, stories, monuments and more. It's highly important to the health of your marriage relationship to take time to celebrate together. I think it's just as important, if not more so, to take time to celebrate in our spiritual lives as well. I know that I am sometimes hesitant to share with others about the miracles that God has done in my life for fear that I may be seen as a know-it-all or self-involved. But I think this hesitation is just another attack we face from Satan and his crew aimed at destroying the joy and celebration of faith in Christ.

We need to share our stories of hope, life, failure and love. We need to celebrate together in the richness and goodness of God's grace. We need to share out of the intimacies of our own lives about the power of Christ in and through us.

Maybe some of you can't recall a day when your relationship with Jesus began, and that's ok. My relationship with my wife began long before our wedding day. But our anniversary gives us a moment in time, a monument to remember and to celebrate God and each other.

Take time to celebrate who you are becoming in Christ. Focus on the moments and create monuments that remind you of His goodness and mercy. Living a life to the full should mean living a life full of celebration.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I'm learning more and more about what it means for us as followers of Jesus to be relevant in our world today. I'm not talking about being influenced by the world or by culture, but simply to be in-tune with it and to be the influencers instead of the influencees!!

Faith that is relevant is faith that is active. Each of us should consider on a daily basis what we can do to live out our faith, our love for God and love for others, in a way that begins to shape the world around us.

The moment I think I've grasped what it means to have a relevant faith is the moment that I learn there is so much more for me to learn and to accomplish through God's mercy and grace working in and through my life.

I'm learning to lean; I'm learning to give and I'm learning to trust. I wonder what tomorrow will bring.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


I think action is my favorite movie genre. I love a good story...I like seeing the good guy triumph over evil, and if some stuff gets blown up along the way...BONUS!! :)

I've been reviewing my faith journey lately with all that has been going on in my life, and I have come to the conclusion that action is my favorite part of spirituality and following Jesus. Action means that I need to get my hands dirty, I need to get involved in life and in love and in learning to walk in the steps of Jesus by embracing his values, rhythms and graces for myself and for others. Action flies in the face of 'couch-potato' or spectator Christianity. Instead of observing life and faith from a distance, action demands an intentional response and commitment to learning and to doing.

Watching my kids grow and develop has taught me even more about this biblical principle of putting faith into practice. When Saydie was a newborn, the public health nurses were concerned that her tongue would need to be clipped because they believed she wasn't able to stick it out far enough in order to latch on for feeding properly. They suggested that we teach her to stick her tongue out as far as she could by holding her in our lap and sticking our own tongue out at her. I remember doing this the first few times and feeling like quite the idiot...sticking my tongue out a my little baby girl. Saydie would just stare intently at my face and try to figure out what was going on. After a couple of weeks, Saydie begin to mimic our behavior. When we would stick our tongues out at her, she would stick her tongue out at us...stretching it and helping her to learn to create a more effecient latch for feeding.

I think a relationship with Jesus is all about learning to copy His actions; doing what Jesus did. We can read the Bible to see and hear stories of how Jesus lived, but sometimes the most profound influence of Christ in our world is the Christ that is found in us. When other people can see how Jesus has shaped the way we live, in our actions and in our words, I believe the gospel is proclaimed. Evangelism isn't about articulating a perfect theological response to a probing question. Evangelism is about walking in faith every day and allowing others to see into the very core and fibre of your life; it's letting your actions do the talking.

What would happen if Christians decided to speak with their actions and change the world through walking in faith? I think we can see a glimpse of this radical way of life in our world even now...

My life matters. Your life matters. My kids' lives matter. The significance we have is in how we choose to live. Action is rooted in identity; and as Christians our identity is found in Jesus. In Jesus we cannot help but fall into active, radical faith living.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Is love alive?

Ok, so I'm a closet So You Think You Can Dance fan. My wife and my daughter are really into the arts...especially creative movement!!

Not only has SYTYCD introduced me to a variety of new dancing styles, it has also been a showcase for new musical artists as well. One such artist, Sara Bareilles has captured my least momentarily!! One of the lyrics from her song entitled 'Winter Song' as performed by herself and Ingrid Michaelson has literally blown my mind lately. This lyric asks a simple question, is love alive?

When I think about love being alive I think about the church and those who claim to be followers of Jesus. I think this is perhaps the most profound question we can ask ourselves to gauge our spiritual health and relevance as the body of Christ. Is love alive? Are the arms, the hands, the feet and the heart of Jesus alive and active in our world? Recently, there has been a renewed passion and vigor to engage the world around us with compassion, mercy and hope. Our quest to partner with God's act of restoration in our world is exactly the answer to this simple question that we need to own. If we truly desire to the world around us to change for the better and perhaps for the eternal, then I would like to suggest that love needs to be the guiding force behind what we do and why we do it.

It's a simple question, but one with profound ramifications. Is love alive in your life? Is love alive in mine? My hope and prayer is that as I experience the love of my Heavenly Father in greater ways, I become inspired to be an agent of love in the lives of others.

Love is alive because Christ is alive. Christ in me and Christ in you will change the world in which we live for the better. It's a revolution baby!!