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Showing posts from November, 2009

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…