Monthly Archives: February 2007

Birthday parties!

Yesterday was long term marriage commitments.

Today is birthdays into the 90’s.

Our heritage manor holds monthly birthday parties.  The residents are level 3 and 4 health care.  That means particularly that this facility has a number of dimentia and alzheimer patients.

I talked to the seven celebrating.  One was from Ontario, another from British Columbia, some from the area.  Each had their own memories — a heritage that has build our society. 

Often circulating among those with short term memory can be depressing.  You could wish for their greater understanding of current circumstances.  I would like to give them back bodies that work well and minds that live in the past and present.

But, today I sat with them.  Listened to stories.  Made jokes.  And watched their eyes brighten.

May God use this time today to encourage, uplift and brighten their days!

62 to 1, or, How long married?

Our seniors group, the XYZ of life, had Valentine’s today.

We recognize this is not Valentine’s, but its a good excuse.

Three couples were asked to share how they met, and finally got married.  The oldest couple are over 60 years married, the middle couple were married in the ’60’s, and the youngest couple’s ages combined don’t even add up to 60.

All saw God’s hand in it all.  The youngest couple met at school, the oldest couple’s wife was a school teacher, and the midde couple believe in school.

What struck me — beyond the inspiration that was given (and I do mean inspiration — I was blown away by married love!).

One couple was married on November 4th.  He was a farmer.  My dad was a farmer – he married my mom on November 3rd.  Something there about hard work and appropriate seasons!  Another couple ended up as farmers, even though the wife thought she would never marry one.  And the last couple met at an agricultural school — no need to explain about farming around here!

At the meeting I ran across another couple who’s family descendents have lived on the homesteaded farm for 101 years.  Almost makes me want to run out and buy my grandfather’s old farmstead (which in actual kilometers is closer to my current work than where we currently live).  I wonder if I could sell that to my wife — NOT!

Back to the church!

The shape of the church is a centuries old discussion.

My ancestors, in the middle of the last millenium, found themselves pushed out of both the Catholic church and the emerging Protestant Church.  We now call them the Radical Reformation — they were anabaptists.

I’m not sure what their church services were like.  I understand they practiced baptism, communion of some type, there was lots of preaching and indoctrination because of the “radicalness” of their approach.  They met in churhes (where permitted), in forests, at homes — wherever they could.  Perhaps for that reason I am not frustrated by those who have been pushed outside the institutional church. 

OK — there is some frustration!  I watch some people isolate themselves.  They are no earthly good in a society that needs “salt and light.”  I watch others maintain “victim” status, never dealing with real and perceived hurt, needing ministry and not giving ministry.  I even wonder when people will realize that everything has a structure — the question is not — “Let’s start a group without structure, or discipline, or expectations!” — ain’t gonna happen!!

Greg, your previous comment regarding the church in China is well worth considering — “ the hunger of believers to exercise their faith in community with worship, Word and sacraments overcame the loss of their ‘structure’. ” 

The current struggle within the Salvation Army church is also worth considering.  The Salvation Army dispensed with sacraments (baptism and communion) and kept worship and word — calling their meetings holiness meetings.  Now, a century or more later they are asking if sacraments need to be reinstated.  Or was worship and word enough?

AWANA car time!

Last year I worked with Dagen Armstrong to prepare an “AWANA” car.

You begin with a block of wood, a proposed design, some old paint, drills, planes and general woodworking tools.  The shape begins to emerge from the wood.

Our previous design was a race car with flame stripes surrounding the side panels.  We (note the “we” — I guess I’m taking a little more credit than I should) placed second in the race — a sloped track with four cars racing side by side.

This year we decided to work on this once again. 

This time the idea was to create a tank.  We chose a picture or two off the Net.  Google images provided sites to view — within seconds we had a design and colour scheme.

To the basement we proceeded.  The drill whirred, the plane scraped and the jig saw chomped off all the pieces that didn’t fit.  We then primed the shell and chose our paints from leftovers stashed behind a wall.  Monday we will paint again.  By the end of the week I’ll be displaying the marvel of a “car” on this website!  Tune in then!!

What constitutes a church?

Is a small group a church?  Do you have to have a management structure to be a church?  Is church just people without reference to a building?

Our denominational president, Franklin Pyles, has a blog with the following

One of the respondents asked for a fuller presentation of the Marks of the Church. Thomas Oden’s Systematic Theology, Life in the Spirit, Vol. 3, gives an excellent summary. The Reformed tradition identifies Word (true teaching), Sacrament (proper celebration of Lord’s Supper and Baptism), and Discipline. Earlier creeds identified the church by Unity (founded in Jesus Christ – 2 or 3 gathered in his name…), Holiness (set apart from the world), Catholicity (not bound to a particular place or time) and Apostolicity (grew out of and continues the teaching and ministry of the Apostles). Oden combines the two streams into a “consolidating thesis: That ekklesia in which the Word is rightly preached and sacraments rightly administered and discipline rightly ordered will be one, holy, catholic and apostolic.”

This is very important because we have those who say that we should do mission first, that is, simply proclaim the gospel, and not worry at all about what comes out of it, i.e., the church. At first glance this may seem attractive. But in fact the church begins at Pentecost and it begins with the true preaching of the apostles, with baptism and the breaking of bread, with unity, for as the converts scattered they understood their continuing unity in the Holy Spirit, and with holiness.

This is the core. If we recapture it, then we can stop wasting ink telling each other that a church can be a church even if it meets in a cave or a garage and even if it uses a different format and on and on. Of course it can. But, it can’t be the church without the above marks. So I would beg you that when we talk about how the church needs to change etc. that we start here with the historic understanding of what is being talked about when we say “church.” From here the discussion has promise of being very fruitful.


Marge Ingram dies

A few days ago, Marge Ingram died.

We had not seen Marge for some years.  We will remember her for her godliness — a true Christian lady.

Marge was married to Ross Ingram, Jill’s pastor and preaching mentor.  My wife grew up with their kids.  Marge kept an immaculate house and passed on a real sense of what is proper.  Fashionable in the good sense would be the way I would characterize Marge.

Ross was officiating minister at our wedding.  Suffice it to say, for Ross the balance of his wife made them a welcome and welcoming couple.  Where Ross could be a little mischievious, Marge could keep order and propriety.  The last few years Ross had cared for Marge as only a devoted husband can — her memory and even some basic abilities were gone.

Truly we can say, “rest in peace.”


Consider the Lilies!

OK, so the lilies are still underground.  And not in any rush to emerge.

Which is just the point.  When I awoke this morning the weather suggested a return to the warmth of a duvet.  My wife is fighting a cold so she took up the call of the duvet.  Until 10:00 this morning when the light was bright and all was right in the world.

Except its cold.

Now, a hardy prairie boy shouldn’t complain. 

But I will. 

I sat with another prairie boy this evening.  We had on sweaters and bunny hugs (which designation shows our age!).  The parkas remained on for minutes into our time together. 

All this to say, look out for the deep freeze.  And when you see the lilies come striding over the garden patch, break out the party hats and shed the sweaters — spring is just around the corner.

Out for the night!

Yes, I was out.

Out of the house — to join with our club 756.  They are rambunctious kids ranging from Grade 5-7.  They love hard playing, strong singing, and biblical devotions.  One of the fun times of the week.

Tonight we were home by 9:00 and I continued a project of mixdown.  In the audio world that means taking a number of recorded “tracks” and trying to make them sound good.  Last week we “put down” some vocal tracks and today I put them together with instrumentals.  The draft CD still needs a few more instrumentals but its coming.

The time is now 11:13 . . . time to wrap up.  See you tomorrow!

Sending out Wedding Pictures

This past week we began to announce our daughter’s wedding.  With vigor.

Our local paper has an announcement section.  So we included a wedding picture, much like I have on the blog here.  Then we added some words just to let people know the parents names.

Now, Jill has made up some nice announcements to send out to friends around the country and globe.  She is carefully addressing them right now.  And soon the mails will carry them across time zones and locations.