Archive for February, 2006

The kids are home!

Tuesday, February 28th, 2006

Sometimes all things change and nothing changes.

For most of this past year we have been empty nesters.  Our children have been elsewehere in the world and we have been focused here in Kindersley.

Life becomes rather staid, if not almost predictable.  We arise and shine around 8:00 or so – move about our daily activities and head to bed without much commotion!

Allison arrived here on Monday afternoon.  She decided to wander down after talking to her brother in the morning.  He is here with us so this is the perfect time to get to see each other.  Our grandson accompanied Allison.  He loves to smile and is quite active although not irritatingly so.

So the house has noise, the activities are anything but predictable and we feel like we are at “home”.

Ah, the pleasures of life in the parent lane!!

Sing it one more time!!

Sunday, February 26th, 2006

The richest man in Australia died on Boxing Day.  His name was Kerry Packer.  A memorial service was held in mid-February.  A number of dignitaries and celebrities showed up.

There is a short video of the singing of the cricket anthem – Come on Aussie, Come on, done at this memorial service.

I thought church services and choruses could go on and on.  Experience the change of key, the acappella section, the full orchestra in this rousing rendition of worship to one of the world’s richest men (formerly one of the richest – we all die sometime!).  See Tom Cruise and Russell Crowe “live”.   Sing the chorus at least 13 times with an encore!!

Check here for a short article on Kerry Packer.

200 kilometers and a way to go!

Sunday, February 26th, 2006

Saturday we headed into Saskatoon to pick up our son.

Tim had travelled to Vegas to take in the Cirque de Soliel.  He would like to work for them in the future.  His resume has the stipulated requirements, now he’s just waiting to see whether they will accept his application. 

The Cirque shows were stunning.  The production superb.  Even Tim, a theatre techie, was wowed!!

We brought him back to Kindersley yesterday.

So, I’ve been thinking, can Kindersley measure up to a Vegas?  Obviously we’re not as large.  Nor do we have extensive tourist attractions. But, Saturday we experienced one of our claims to fame!

The Amati String quartet out of the University of Saskatchewan! 

OK, the connections is a little indirect!  The Amati string instruments (created in the 1600’s) were acquired by a farmer, Stephen Kolbinson, who lived just outside of Kindersley.  My father went to school with his son.

Saturday night the Amatis were on view.  The instruments are priceless.    And here they were, In Kindersley!

The two violins, a viola and a cello resonated with equisite tones.  Many from our community had come to fill our local arts centre.  A number of the Kolbinson family relatives were there to hear Hayden, Beethoven and Tschaikovsky.

The concert was satisfying (we bought tickets as Valentine’s Day presents).  The instruments were aged to perfection, their tone mellow and soothing.  This was a slice of history played before our eyes!

Not to boast — Vegas has nothing on Kindersley!!

Not to boast, but . . .

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

On Wednesday night I almost won!!

Well, not really me!  I had helped a seven year old put together a model racing car.  We started with a block of wood.  Then we shaped, sanded, painted, detailed, glued, set the wheels, weighted the car and generally raced it along the floor to be sure it worked.

Then the big night came. 

Dagen and I were hoping for a good finish — at least 7th or so.  In the initial run the car placed first.  And for the next three runs the same finish.  Soon the other kids were cheering him on with “Dagen, Dagen, Dagen.”  The fifth run the car bounced and placed last.  The other three runs we hit first place again.

When the scores were tallied we placed second! 

               

OK, so its not really we!  Dagen got second, and I got honorable mention – next year the other fathers will be out to beat me!!

Yesterday two pastors popped in for lunch!

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

With a little detour on their way to Edmonton, two Free Methodist pastors dropped in to see us Wednesday.  One of them, Daniel, is a good friend of mine from Prince Albert.  The other, Bob, has a father whom I knew from year’s past.  Both were on their way to their SPN (a great name for a pastor’s small group!!)

We took a tour of our house and basked in the sunlight as we talked over lunch.

As we sat around the table (Jill, my wife and the best cook in the world, made a great pea soup and we had ham buns to top it off) we discussed our families and friends.  Daniel’s son is almost 1 year old – I was at Wesley’s baptism this past year.  His wife is working at home – they are trying to balance having more job offers than what she can accomodate!

We tossed around our personal approaches to sermon preparation time.  We all agree its a week long task that sees the hours of preparation downsized to a few minutes on Sunday.  We agonized over the place of relationships in pastoring a church.  We all agreed that that’s what its all about – the church of Jesus Christ is people!!  All three of us are basically introverts who are learning to be relational – some of us have progressed further along, so we were all encouraging one another. 

As we were departing, the topic arose — John Wesley and sanctification.  For those of us who stick to words we can handle, that’s really just about being more like Jesus every day, until the core of our being reflects who Jesus is. 

Unfortunately that tangent will have to wait for another day.  But, it’s a good excuse to get back together!! 

Thinking ahead

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2006

It’s that time of year!  When plans begin to take shape for the coming year.  I still work on the academic year – September through June, so the six month itch is beginning to manifest itself now.

This year I’m searching for a sense of direction for the church I’m working with, as well as for my wife and I as we complete our first year of being “empty-nesters.”  We see no reason to consider another venue.  As a matter of fact, there has been no lifting of the original sense that we should be here.

But how do we do and listen at the same time?

I’m reading and hearing from others who are in the same space.  We all know that God is there and is not silent.  But right now the clarity of His voice is just a little off frequency – prayer starts that tuning in process, other people add their signals and in the end the message will be clear.

Over the years I have seen this cycle repeated.  I know God will speak.  I know He will speak in His own time. 

But, I’d still like Him to hurry up so I can wait!

Baker motors Australia TV ads

Tuesday, February 21st, 2006

So, I’m surfing the web.  I put in Baker. 

Out comes a car sales dealership in Australia.  With some interesting videos!  Try out the “Taxi Driver”.

They take a while to load but are well done.  And they have the BAKER name attached!

Oh, and by the way.  I couldn’t get a website domain at ronbaker.com because another car salesperson had already snatched it up.

Amazing what you find on the web!!

Planes and buses!

Monday, February 20th, 2006

24 hours!

Our son, Tim, arrived in Saskatoon Sunday morning at 12:52.  The flight was delayed 1 1/2 hours.  For the sake of being awake on the way home, I laid down on the airport seats.  Actually got a few minutes power nap.  No problem driving the two hours home!  But the 7:50 in the morning to get to church was a bit of a shove!

Tim wants to work with the “Cirque de Soliel” in Vegas.  Few theatre jobs are steady work with top quality production.  Cirque de Soliel is one of the few!  To experience their shows, Tim booked a flight to Vegas. 

From Edmonton.  

Monday. 

At 1:00 pm.

Somehow between Sunday morning and Monday afternoon, Tim needed to travel to Edmonton.  Alternatives were discussed: maybe a quick trip (4 1/2 hours one way) for us, or meet a friend 1/2 way, or just take the bus.

The bus won!   At 1:10 this morning (that’s just after midnight!) we put him on the bus.  He’ll be back, but tonight he’ll be seeing the bright lights of Vegas!

And hopefully I’ll be seeing no lights as I sleep!

What I have written!

Saturday, February 18th, 2006

This morning I was searching my computer for a file that I couldn’t quite place.  In the scheme of things, the file was for Sunday School and not one of those “State of the Nation” papers.

As I wandered through my files, I came across some essays I have written.  Just getting out of my system what’s in my system.

In April of 2003 I created 10 statements from my reading of Exodus and Deuteronomy.  Things like this:

Numbers 21– While out wandering —  Interestingly, in the 40 years in the desert, the people were not just wandering around. They actually took over cities, conquered people, and settled in. In the end, two of the tribes found that this land was great, so they petitioned Moses to stay. This became their inheritance.  — When we feel that we have been turned aside from a great victory (entering a promised land), we may still be involved in the continuation of the conquest as wander in the wilderness.

There were other files.  I have a story on Joshua – an older man who has new neighbours move in – with two adorable children.  The family is strangely Christian, unlike other Christians he has met before.  The story goes on from there — but right now it’s still not done!

At the same time as I’m looking over my files, my wife and I start discussing an article in the Times (of London, of course) on people changing how they spend their money, moving from possessions to experience (via). 

I started to stretch the thought.  Church people are affected by the “experience” culture we live in.  In one sense, people used to come to church for the product, the dogma, the theology that was the structure (possession) we wanted for our lives.  Unfortunately many people figured as long as they had the “possession”, they were home free!  No need for a church or the experience of working together as Christians. 

Now most people want to come to church for relationships (experience).  The journey is important and the “possessions” you pick up along the way are insignificant, not as important as the sense of an experience of God.  In fact, you can walk out of the mall of life without picking up any “possessions”, as long as you have a good life and identify with a group of people who are “like-minded”.

Which begs the question —  

Do experience and theology have to intersect for most people today?  Have we now moved to both a “churchless” faith, and a “contentless” faith?  Is that really any faith at all??

Those long but good days!

Thursday, February 16th, 2006

I started the day with three other ministerial people.  At -30 or so, and some coming from out of town, I wasn’t surprised that the usual 10 or so were not there!  Next month we inherit a new pastor at the Lutheran church.

Then off to the church to write a sermon and clean up my bookshelves.  Touched base with two of our parishioners who have cancer. 

The evening held a premarital session – Jill and I do this together.  We start with a meal with the engaged couple.  Then our discussions flow naturally into the topic for the evening.  Somehow the camaraderie and ability to just talk really lets us examine the topics and get the couple thinking.

As they left, the temperature is once again down to -31.

The day may be freezing but the opportunity for relationships has been warm.