Archive for December, 2006


Saturday, December 16th, 2006

 My memory is not what it used to be!

I was praying for someone this past week and forgot their name.  I used all sorts of other adjectives to describe them in the prayer.  They appreciated my talk with God!   And God knows who I was talking about!!

So, I’m updating areas where I might forget!  Things like passwords for online banking and blog site access (if you aren’t reading this, I’ve forgotten my password).  I’ve stored them away so my wife can find them — it I die, or get burnt out, or simply forget.  Now all I need to do is remember to tell her where I put them!

Here’s to memory!

Four out of five!

Friday, December 15th, 2006

Tonight was the fourth meal this week.  They have all been good.  If I were to rate them, I would surely get in to trouble!!

Was it the chicken cordon bleu?  Or the Japanese cuisine?  Or the marvelous casserole with pickled beets?  Or maybe — just maybe — it was my favourite, hot dogs!!

Each meal has had its theme, and all bring me back to Christmas.  The small group who are working through a study together, the seniors who enjoy and cherish the traditions of Christmas, the Grades 5-7 who just enjoy life and birthdays, and the high school students who caught a glimpse of another culture’s approach to Christmas.

Here is the eager crowd for tonight’s gathering — a Japanese dinner seated on the floor and using chop sticks.  I have a new appreciation for knees and wooden dowels!

Christmas Eve hits Sunday!

Wednesday, December 13th, 2006

Planning for Christmas Eve day has been interesting.

By interesting, I mean a bit wierd feeling.

Over the years I have been a part of planning for the night before Christmas.  I have files of services that I have helped plan.  Literally hundreds of songs have been sung and played, along with scriptures and stories read.

This year the service will be held in the morning.  Sunshine will be streaming in the windows of the church.  Where a lit candle would seem to illuminate all of the area, the sunshine will still be out (OK, maybe clouds will be the touch of the day).

My internal clock will feel just a little off.

But, the core of the day will still remain the same.  Jesus, whose life was spent mostly in Nazareth, was born a baby.  He lived as a man — but yet was God with other men and women.  His death was more than just another spirit departing.  And his resurrection was death defying and life giving.  Not a bad start for a celebration of Christmas.

Listing to the right

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

So, our boarder who came for a few weeks and will have been here two months, found a house!  A private sale, close to work and school.  They (his wife Annette and their three children) will move down the end of December.  The new year will see them enjoying the delights of Kindersley!

For the last few months John has been checking our realty listings as often as possible.  He has explored local hamlets and villages.  His car can find roads that others haven’t seen for a while.

These listings have been complemented by private listings that are kept in the heads of friends, colleagues, and anyone else who might be helpful.  In the end the network paid off!

Now, what if our lives were made up of listings?  Lists of things to do, places to go, people to see.

Guess what, I am affected by lists.  I’ve yet to be persuaded that we are “list”less people. 

The real matter, then, is — what lists are we going to follow? 

I tend to think that we need to be listing to the right!

And for all you boat people — the ship is not going to sink!  If you can keep you life on an even keel, your list will be just right!

Christmas card transitions

Monday, December 11th, 2006

Have you noticed?

Christmas cards are predominately being delivered by email!  We still have some cards arriving brimming with the update for the past year.  Usually we would have had two strings of cards already on our wall.

This year I think I count three cards.

As with any transition, there are certain traditions it is hard to leave behind.  I enjoyed the color of the Christmas card strings.  I appreciated the people who took time to write.  I never tired of the sagas that unfold in the yearly update.

Oh, the updates are still there, and people do take time to write.  But, for all my forays into the technological age (and I do love computers and gadgets), I still miss the tangible feel of card stock.  I miss the handwritten signatures and the little P.S.’s at the end of the photocopied letter. 

I still remember a remark made when I was taking my Master of Library Science.  “Paper will never be replaced.”  I’m not so sure that is true, but I understand the sentiment.  I still want to hold those paper packages.  I haven’t yet figured out how to hold onto bits and bytes of digital input!!

Ideas to develop!

Sunday, December 10th, 2006

I preached a sermon this morning.  Like I do every Sunday (except when I don’t!). 

The sermon today was on peace.  I talked a bit about peace brought by the world around us.  This peace includes racism (of the benevolent type where we separate warring factions); religion (let everyone develop their own approaches to God); rationalism (the world around us is a closed system, just figure it out and make peace with it); and righteousness (tip the scales of good and bad hoping that enough good is good enough).

On the other hand, Jesus provides peace.  All Christians are brothers and sisters together with Jesus — we have an obligation to work together.  There is one way to God — Jesus is the Lord of all.  The world contains mystery because we are not God — we can have the mind of Christ to help us know God.  One wrong thing is a conviction of evil — but Jesus provides forgiveness of sins.

When we live in the ambiance of either system, we begin to develop actions and activities that reflect that system.  A worldly system will lack trust and a sense of truth, a lack of mystery and people who seek to do good only for the sake of overcoming what they do wrong.

A Christian system works from trust, is based in certainty, invites God and his activities into our daily lives and does good because we love others.

Quite a contrast that needs further development. 

Cavendish, 1843 and PEI

Saturday, December 9th, 2006

20 years ago I was researching archives for a book some professors were writing.  I just saw a footnote for the book in a recent article.  I guess someone is still reading books published in the 1980’s (tangent — who reads books now that the internet is here?  Well, I do, but there is a great share of my reading that is done on the Net — a point a computer friend of mine made a decade ago — libraries will soon become “bookless.”)

The book (getting back to where I started) was called Birth of a Vision.  The theme was the life and thought of Albert Benjamin Simpson.

Simpson was the founder of a society called the “Christian and Missionary Alliance”, so named in 1893 after a decade of existence as two separate societies.  The society has moved on to become an international family of churches.  The largest national group of churches is actually said to be in Vietnam.

Where did this man start?  Believe it or not (and Ripley would love this), he was born in Prince Edward Island in Canada.  I understand his father was in the ship building business.  When there was a depression in that business shortly after Albert was born, the family moved to outside of Chatham, Ontario.  His father was said to be a poor farmer.  At the same time he took seriously his responsibility to lead his family in spiritual matters.  Albert knew Scripture and the Westminster Cathecism.

Why mention this?  First, I am a strong Canadian and alway willing to celebrate our native sons!  Second, there is a resurgence of Reformed thinking in response to what is often called the Emerging Church.

I think the North American church would be well served to examine Simpson’s life.  You will find that he echoes the stability of theology brought about by his upbringing.  At the same time, he was aware of the immigrant population, social stirrings, and the emerging life of the country.

A challenge for some of you if you have time!!

I've discovered the New World

Friday, December 8th, 2006

I wonder how life on the PInta would have been.  No, I’m not referring to the good, old PInto car of the 1970’s.  I’m going back further to the 1490’s.

I’ve been handpicked to sail a boat.  I’ve struggled for weeks to stay afloat both physically and emotionally.  This is not a familiar voyage.  We are just headed “that way” every day.  And every day begins to look the same.  Oh, there are weather changes.  But no green meadows or rolling hills, no new friends while the old companions on the voyage wear thin.

The day land is sighted, I silently cry in excitement and curse in confusion.  The habit of awakening to the same horizon confuses me when new pieces are added.  And yet, at the same time, I’m excited because boredom saps life from living souls.  Small routines, done just to do them, become huge lifesavers.

And in the irony of a conquest achieved,when I see land, I immediately wonder how the return voyage will go.  Will we see familiar faces when we return?  Will we return or will we be tossed aside by an uncharted sea? 

A sailor’s life is complicated and yet simple — stay afloat and get where you are going.  Simple directions with a multitude of reasons you will never see home again!

Well, that’s my story!  I wonder how the centuries will see me??

Three wise men

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

Three conversations with men.  One around their job, one around their family and one around their church.

None of  them  would profess to be spiritual
stereotypes.  They have no Bible College background.  They
have been small town boys.  They live life as life comes.

I was refreshed.  A breath of air steals into a room when you
least expect it.  You don’t know where the wind is coming
from.  Nor do you quite understand how it escapes.

But standing in the room, you know.  You know life has replaced
staleness.  You know movement that replaces rigidity.  You
know the clarity of the unseen replacing the haziness of the seen.

Thanks for the opportunity to hear of life and decisions, directions
and deviations, the down and dirty of life — conversations that are
more than talk about the weather.  I listened, I prayed, I
advised, I blessed — and I was blessed.

May your tribe increase!

Banquet Season!

Monday, December 4th, 2006

Next week we have four seasonal meals (pig-out sessions is more like it!!). 

I’m already practicing to see how much I can eat (or is it the how little I can eat?).

Stay tuned for menus (yea, right, like that’s going to happen — this is a guy writing this), activities (lots of food, a little fun and some talks to fill out the programs), and fellowship (a great word for sitting and chatting and getting to know each other).