Archive for April, 2006

We're back!

Friday, April 28th, 2006

Almost three days away!

Two days we spent time with short visits with Lloyd and Lynn.  They are both in need of support, while at the same time providing encouragement to us. 

I asked them how they had been able to live their lives as salt and light in Kindersley over the past 30 years.  They gave some practical thoughts.  Be yourself; be sincere; accept others from who they are; know people’s limitations and live with that instead of dismissing them out of hand, be involved in the community; don’t force things – really care about people and be content where you are!  Not a bad summary!

On the way there and back we passed a great little community called Marengo – the following is not a paid political announement, nor is it designed by “Tourism Marengo” – nevertheless you may want to check this place out someday!

  

Off to Calgary!

Tuesday, April 25th, 2006

Some times you just go!

Our friend Lloyd and his wife Lynn are in Calgary — four hours from home.  Lloyd is there for cancer treatments.  How are things?  On a scale of 1 – 10, indications are that this is not a 10! 

Sometimes you just need to be there.  To support each other even though you can’t humanly “fix things.”

This weekend a group is hoping to head down as well.  For that I have nothing but commendations! 

I have been a pastor for a number of years.  This commitment to a friend is a true indication of what a local church about. 

NHL playoffs!

Monday, April 24th, 2006

The other night Jill asked who CAR was.  They were playing Montreal in the Stanley Cup playoffs (which drag on until June!).

I honestly didn’t know.  The wrong answer was Calgary.  They would be CGY or CAL 

We both thought further. The name Hurricanes came up. 

“It’s not Kansas, Toto!”

We figured out it was Carolina. 

Back in the six team days we knew all the names and didn’t use three letter anagrams.  We may even have grown up with some of the players.  Now we have artificial ice plants that make Florida water freeze.  And Mighty Ducks (granted, name changes can happen) along with devils and other creatures.

So, why haven’t I been a hockey watcher? 

I played in a church hockey league.  I love the thrill of  a perfectly executed rush, from one end of the rink to the other.  And the slap of a stick on the ice is a beautiful thing.

I guess I’m trying to work out the question of sports as purely entertainment.  Somehow it used to be that hockey was a question of picking a side and staying with the team that I perceived were out to win, or at least that wanted my support.  Now I feel like it’s all entertainment – just like wrestling (one of my favourite high school sports) has now become the most theatrically choreographed event held in a small square ring in the center of a colossal stadium of rabid ticket holders.

OK, that sounds cynical.  Am I the only one who is a little jaded?

Songs that work!

Monday, April 24th, 2006

Last night at one of the senior’s complexes in town, my wife and I led a hymn sing.  For many there this is a time of reminiscing in old comfort zones. 

The world stands still for many of us.  Last night I heard one of the people tell about an event when they were four years old.  He told it like it was yesterday.  In his mind, it was.  He is now in his 80’s. 

I’ve heard teens tell stories of when they were eight years old.  As if it were yesterday.

So, when we sing hymns memories grow in a room.  Pushing out the faded voices and crackling melodies.  We join in remembering how the song affected us – personally.  My hope is that often that memory will return us to a time when our God awareness was keener.  When our obedience was stronger.  When our vision of telling others about God was consuming.

Those are songs that work!

Sound Alliance revisited

Saturday, April 22nd, 2006

In the 1974/75 academic year I sang full-time with a music group called Sound Alliance.  The music was contemporary and done to music tracks.  Of course, what was contemporary then is now “70’s”.  And the use of tracks, although a new innovation then, would now be considered Karaoke that anyone can do!

A friend emailed me today.  He was asking some questions about Sound Alliance.

The nostalgia mill whirred into high gear.  There were some difficult times (one day two members were literally yelling at each other – and had one of the two not been a martial arts afficionado there might have been blows!). 

But there were many more good times.  This email mentioned how Sound Alliance had affected his life as he considered music and ministry.  He now works as a concert pianist and administrates the touring of a world renowned operatic tenor.

That’s when you think that what you have done may have been worth it!

It's 9:00 and the weather is shirt sleeve!

Thursday, April 20th, 2006

Now, that’s what I call God’s country.

Where the air is calm, the sun sets peacefully, and the day closes with God’s blessing.

Just in case you didn’t know.  This is Kindersley. 

God’s country!!

Tim Keller on the gospel

Thursday, April 20th, 2006

I ran across Tim Keller today!

OK, so actually I hit a blog site of a friend of a friend of a friend.  One of the links took me to a session he gave at The Gathering in 2005.  Not often will I listen to an hour long session “on tape” (or is that MP3 or podcast??).  This one captured me.

So I found a site that carries an “online bibliography” (actually a bunch of links) to a number of Tim Keller’s articles, sermons, etc.  I wandered around a bit on the web and was impressed by his approach to the gospel.

Keller speaks of irreligious people (including secular and postmodern), of religious people (who sit beside me at church), and of those who have truly caught the gospel (they actually believe that we are saved by grace through Jesus Christ).  Religious people obey God’s law to be accepted — Gospel people are accepted by God through Jesus and thus obey.  Religious people obey so they will not be rejected by God, Gospel people obey because they would not want to bring harm to the one they love.

The thoughts go on and on.  The more I read, the more I see that he is touching on our world — the context in which I live. 

When I read the beatitudes, I wonder if Jesus didn’t have a good idea.  Start off the sermon on the mount by telling people they are accepted!  The poor in spirit, the mourners, the ones who are hard on themselves and others, the ones who are perfectionists.  Let them all know they are accepted and blessed by God.  Then let them know what it means to be true followers as they seek to obey what God would want them to do (the “law”). 

Accepted first, then obey because!

Income tax seems to live on!

Wednesday, April 19th, 2006

I remember years ago reading that the Department of Agriculture began the income tax system back during the First World War.  I’ve tucked that in the back of my mind and some day I’ll even check up to see if its true.

But for the moment it makes a great story.  I had to phone the CRA today (Canada Revenue Agency for those not acquainted with the Canadian approach).  A previous employer had to amend my T4 (OK, that’s the form that tells what I earned and got deducted).  I was told to phone and confirm this so that a reassessment could be done.

Carol answered and guided me quite graciously through the system.  I only had to wait about 4 minutes to get off the automated system.  She said I could fill out at T1 (reassessment request).  But first I would have to have the amended T4 to send in with the T1.  I could do this on the website but would need my 9 digit SIN (Social Insurance Number).  Then, there is an 8 week wait period.

Or I can phone back in a few weeks once the proper documents have arrived in their office. 

Guess what I’m going to do?  Phone the Department of Agriculture next time I need to get my income tax straigthened out!!

2005 bestsellers!

Tuesday, April 18th, 2006

The Book Standard booklist for 2005 has some interesting books in their top twenty books.

Two books by Dan Brown – the DaVinci Code and Angels and DemonsA million little pieces — originally considered to be non-fiction but shown to contain a lot of fiction – a personal biography embellished by James Frey who seems to rival Dan Brown’s own approach to fact and fiction.

You’ll also find Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life and Joel Osteen’s Your Best Life Now – both Christian approaches to life.

And just for the healthy types – You:  The Owner’s Manual by Mehmet Oz, and French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Builiano.

History also seems to get a nod with 1776 by David McCullough and The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman.

Do you see a pattern here??

The Beatitudes from Dallas Willard

Monday, April 17th, 2006

I’m working on a sermon for this Sunday.  Jumping into the Sermon on the Mount

So, I’m rereading Dallas Willard’s “Divine Conspiracy”, a great book on the whole sermon.  Here is his approach to the beatitudes:

The Beatitudes simply cannot be “good news” if they are understood as a set of “how-tos” for achieving blessedness.  They would then amount to a new legalism.  They would not serve to throw open the kingdom — anything but.  They would impose a new brand of Phariseeism, a new way of closing the door.  (p. 106).