Archive for November, 2008

Sermon online

Sunday, November 30th, 2008

Advent #1 – Waiting.

Today I tried something a little different.  I used a story to illustrate waiting — basically creating a fictional blog site to illustrate the four characters of the Bible who were waiting as Jesus was about to be born.  They are all illustrated in Luke 1 – 2.  You can find the blog at www.revronbaker.wordpress.com.  Check it out to follow the story line!

Youth and foreign lands

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

So, life is interesting — a cliche that really says nothing.

Imagine eating new food.  Life is interesting.

Imagine escaping from police.  Life is interesting.

Imagine expressing your religion in a country where your religion is not accepted.  Life is interesting.

Yesterday we tried to impress upon our youth these very scenarios.  You see, a young lady who has been working with our youth is going to a country where all of these things may happen.  We role played the possibilities.  There was running and storytelling and vomiting (OK, someone just spit the food on the floor). 

The statement, “life is interesting,” just didn’t seem acceptable once we were done.  Maybe scary, maybe unexpected, maybe fearful.  But just “interesting?”  I think not!

Tea time

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Mike has been a friend for decades.  When his wife passed away recently, I performed the funeral.  He has dropped his van at our house while he takes the bus to family or friends (the depot is a block or so away).

This winter he will winter with his daughter, and probably remain there permanently (there is slight possibility he would come back to Eatonia to live, but only very, very slight).  This weekend he packs up to leave.

We decided to have tea with him this morning.  The time around the table in the Tea and Tassel Tea room on First in Eatonia was  treat.  We blessed Mike as we prayed for him.  We discussed some of his life jobs and even the fantastic deal he got in buying his house decades ago.  Now the house if for sale, and I am saddened that he is going.  May God indeed pour his fullest blessings on him.

Oh, and if you are ever in Eatonia, consider tea at the Tea and Tassel!  Here are some of the things you can look forward to:

Tea & Tassel on First

Eatonia, Saskatchewan

111 1st Avenue West

Phone: (306) 967-2822

Hours:

Open February through December 23, Wednesday through Sunday 10am to 5pm.

Reservations recommended


* Victorian style.
* Located in a gift shop.
* A good cuppa any time.
* Loose leaf teas and teabags prepared in a teapot.
* Iced teas, caffeine-free selections.
* Vegetarian menu choices.
* Take-out available.
* Smoke-free.
* Private parties for adults and children.
* Outdoor seating.
* Credit cards accepted.

Please call if you would like to make reservations.


SPN finished

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

Pastor’s together.  Talking, watching instructional DVD’s, eating, praying, more eating, bowling (thank goodness for a scheduled chiropractic appointment today).  All good, in the midst of the recognition that this world is not all good.

SPN nov 24-25 2008

The making of a menu

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Tomorrow is our SPN – Senior Pastor’s Network.  We gather a few times a year.  To inspire one another, to learn, to push ourselves, to support and encourage.  Generally we do this in a 24 hour period.

My turn to host is tomorrow — or should I say, my wife will serve as our hostess.

So, tonight we went over the meals.  They will be great!  And we will house the three other pastors who will be here.  Our basement suite suits beautifully.

The menu is great.  Thanks to my very gracious wife!

And so, I’ll eat, drink and enjoy the “fellow”ship we journey on from noon to lunch the next day!!

International Worker’s Sunday

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

Sounds like an awesome day!  And it was.

Ross spoke of working in a country we do not know.  Working with people we can not name.  The work is tangible and the people are real.  But to name names and places could create problems.

For many this type of visionary work is exactly what spurs them on. 

A mission that is worth living and dying for.  That is the Christian vision. 

Life here and now will continue in the after forever.  There really is no dying — just a new lease on life.  And that’s the same place we want everyone to exist — now and eternally.  So we push on  in mission to bring people to that life.

Where that mission takes us, we do not know.  And what we will go through, we cannot fathom.  But this we do know, this visionary work is worth the final landscape we will see someday!

Yesterday

Saturday, November 22nd, 2008

You think you can survive a mere ache in the back.  You try to adjust your daily walk, quite literally.  But the backache continues.  So, you add muscle relaxants and keep going.

By yesterday I realized — you can’t go full steam and come out the other end standing tall!  I also realized I was to be out with a group of youth in the evening, planning outdoor games and indoor refreshments.

Therefore, in good logical sense, using <if> <then> statements I spend the day in bed resting my back.  The evening went well — with 20-25 people playing hide and seek, and capture the flag.  I walked and ran slowly and had a great time.  This morning I’m a bit stiff and may have to rest a bit more.

A tidbit from yesterday — working with Muslim people to bring them to Jesus usually takes about seven years of relational interaction.  I wonder how long it takes to bring a secular or “turned off church” person in Canada to Jesus through relational interaction?  Some of our church people would say they are still working on some people 40 years later!!

Forming our values

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

In California the state ballot on November 4, 2008 reveals that consistent standards (left/right wing) are not to be expected from voters.  If anything, you never know what will be the final outcome — don’t count your chickens before they hatch.  Or on the other side of things — even if God revealed the standards for right living, voters would probably differ!

While California voted to change the state constitution so that same-sex marriage is not allowed, they also voted for proper “cages” for animals (standards for confining farm animals), against more money to pay for renewable energy projects (cars, cities, solar), against notifying parents of the termination (abortion) of a minor’s child — and that’s not all. 

The vote that received the highest percentage vote was the vote against police and law enforcement funding and criminal penalties and laws (69.4%).   This vote included voting negatively against the following —

  • Requires minimum of $965,000,000 each year to be allocated from state General Fund for police, sheriffs, district attorneys, adult probation, jails and juvenile probation facilities. Some of this funding will increase in following years according to California Consumer Price Index.
  • Makes approximately 30 revisions to California criminal law, many of which cover gang-related offenses. Revisions create multiple new crimes and additional penalties, some with the potential for new life sentences.
  • Increases penalties for violating a gang-related injunction and for felons carrying guns under certain conditions.

Read the California state proposition vote outcomes here .

On "fuelless" fuel

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Still trucking along on Krishnan’s book — The conquest of inner space!

To bring you into the book’s dialogue —  What is the miracle of the burning bush experienced by Moses in the wilderness?  As you may remember in Exodus 2 Moses was tending sheep and saw a bush that was burning  but did not burn up.

So Moses thought, ‘I will go over and see this strange sight – why the bush does not burn up.’ (Ex. 3:3)

OK, so to really get this you have to understand where Moses is at!  He was no longer the young man with a mission and vision — to deliver his people who were being oppressed by the Egytians.  His passion had faded after his attempts to fulfil his mission were wrongly interpreted and his life put in jeopardy.  He was living in a “desert place” and his purpose in life seems to have merely become survival.  He married, tended sheep and kept his nose clean.

Moses wanders over to the bush that is burning and hears a voice (Ex. 3:6-10).  “Go, I am sending you to Pharoah to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”  (Just a little aside here — ask Jews what is one of, if not the most important, event in Jewish history.  They will answer the Exodus, whose initial impetus was found on a patch of ground in a deserted place with a bush burning without fuel!). 

So, here’s Moses.  His mission, passion and purpose were pretty well sapped and zapped.  He couldn’t get a thing going if he tried.  He had done the ministry thing (tried to accomplish getting the Jews out of Egypt on his own — failed!).  He had settled for a good life (with a good wife and kids and a steady job).  And he was surviving.

He had no fuel to fire a revolution!  His fire was pretty well out.  If this was going to happen the fuel would have to come from somewhere else.

A burning bush would burn out in seconds — I’ve watched a tumble weed grab a spark, ignite in flames, explode in light and equally as quickly subside into ashes.  Had Moses just seen the bush glow large and then implode in ashes it would be just another event in an uneventful day.

But the bush was not the fuel.  The bush was merely the receptor.  And the bush remained to bring the light to the desert.  And when God said he wanted Moses to be the light and the saviour, Moses could see (imagination) that God could do the impossible.  Moses was not the fuel, God was.  God’s purpose, vision, mission and passion were the things that would keep the fire going.  And so we pray to see God’s will done, to know God’s purpose, to be attached to his plan, to imagine his imagination!

As Krishnan quotes Eugene Peterson:

we require an act of imagination that enables us to see that the world of God is large — far larger than the world of kings and princes, prime-ministers and presidents, far larger than the worlds reported by newspapers and television, far larger than the world described in books by nuclear physicists and military historians.  We need to imagine – to see – that the world of God’s ruling word is not an afterthought of stock exchange, rocket launchings and summit diplomacy but itself contains them . . . if we fail here, prayer will be stunted; we will pray huddled and cowering.  Our prayers will whimper.” (p. 19)

Krishnan includes a prayer guide for some of these thoughts in his book.  Here is one question to ponder — “If God were to light a fire in your heart that did not need you as fuel anymore, what would that mean?”  What obstacles would God have to overcome to ignite your passion, vision, mission and purpose to do what God wants you to do?

Krishnan on Burnout

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Could it be that burnout, as we know it, is not so much a matter of too much work as it is working without listening to God, so that our work is not rooted in His coventantal purposes for us and the world?  (Sunder Krishnan, The Conquest of Inner Space, p. 12)