Archive for November, 2008

Reading: The conquest of inner space – Sunder Krishnan – Part #2

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Yesterday was into listening to God — prayer priority #1!

Now, let’s talk a bit about imagination.  Sunder is a pastor who wants to see the will of his listeners changed to conform to God’s will.  This he has done through intellectual integrity, excellent delivery (I speak from experience) and a sincere desire to speak God’s words.  And yet, there seems to be another approach to reaching the will of the hearer.  As his brother-in-law, Ravi Zacharias, said, “Imagination has the power to bypass the intellect and get directly at the will.” (p. 16).

“If I was to be obedient to my calling as a preacher of the Word, it was not enough that I take God seriously as a theologian and offer my mind to Him; it wasn’t enough to take people seriously and listen carefully; I had to take words seriously and begin to exercise my imagination.  I have never regretted that decision.  Not that I have abandoned intellect.  It will remain my primary forte.  But it is being increasingly empowered by the imagination. (p. 17)

And so, two mental operations (as Krishnan quotes Eugene Peterson) work in tandem — Explanation and Imagination.  Most of us have grown up with a strong dose of explanation.  We pin things down so we can handle them, we define and restrict things to understandable chunks, we keep our feet on the ground so we can get work done.  On the other hand, we may have missed imagination that opens us up so we grow into maturity — we worship, honor, trust and obey; we risk and expand our thinking, we lift our heads into the clouds and live with mystery. 

I’m not one inclined to imagination, although when I let go I can certainly think outside the box, and even outside the warehouse!  But, because these two mental faculties balance one another the great discipline of the mind is to discern where I am on the tetter-totter!  When my prayers merely become recitation of the mundane, then I need to risk the impossible.  And where my prayers become foolish flights of fancy I need to ground them in God’s Word which is past, present and future unchangeable!

Well, there’s a start.  Looks like a good book.

Reading: The conquest of inner space – Sunder Krishnan

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Just before holidays a propitious (“propitious” — ‘likely to result in or show signs of success’ ) event/book jumped onto my reading table .

A book arrived at the church.  The author is an acquaintance of ours.  He has pastored a church for two decades or more, was once working for Atomic Energy of Canada, and is a truly intelligent, wise and discerning man.

The book’s subtitle is “learning the language of prayer.”  In reality the content is basically taking the Jewish Psalms and using them as triggers, prompters, and any other word you wish to use, to prayer. 

In the introduction, Sunder makes a clear statement that the first two chapters are paramount for the understanding of the book.  These chapters are not about the Psalms, but about listening to God.

First — Who speaks first? 

The Word of God is, and always was, intended to be the Voice of God that pulled hearers into dialogue with Him, permanently affecting them in the process, by either hardening or softening their hearts. (p. 5).

With the invention of the printing press (which meant we read individually instead of hearing corporately) and a shift in teaching methods (from dialogue, dispute and modelling to the current dispensing of datum) we lost something.

Hence the scriptures are no longer a Voice that pulls us into relationship with the Lord but something to be read to obtain data. Given what the Word says about itself, we have to reverse the shift.  Reading the scriptures must somehow be seen as a means of listening in order to relate to the speaker. (p. 6)

Quoting Henri Nouwen, Krishnan makes the following summary —

For Jesus, the order was always communion with God, which drew a community around Him and through which he accomplished ministry.  We, however, usually follow the opposite order.  We desperately try to accomplish something (ministry).  When we fail, we try to get people to help us (community), and when that fails, we pray (communion).  (page eight)

You might see where this is headed!!  I’ll blog on the second chapter in my next post!

First day of holidays

Monday, November 17th, 2008

I’ve set aside 4 1/2 days for holidays.  As I awoke this morning, I didn’t rush anywhere.  I did spend time doing something I like — rearranging things! 

And when the phone rang, I let it ring.  An answering machine is a marvelous thing!!

Now, I’m off to some soup for lunch and an unhurried afternoon.

The quiz team

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

November 14-15 we took teams in to Saskatoon for Bible quizzing.  The team I coached placed 9 out of 13 teams and almost made it into the elimination finals (at least our enthusiasm was great).  The other two teams took first and third in their divisions.

team A B nov 2008 small

team C nov 2008 small

Andrew Murray on going beyond the beginning

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

I have just picked up a book called “Teach me to pray” by Andrew Murray, 365 thoughts for daily devotional insights.  January 1st begins with this thought:

The more I think of and pray about the religious situation in our country, the deeper my conviction becomes that Christians do not realize that the aim of conversion is to bring them into daily fellowship with the Father in heaven.

It is not enough at conversion to accept forgiveness of sins or even to surrender to God.  That is only the beginning.   We must understand that we have no power of our own to maintain spiritual life.  We need to receive daily new grace from  heaven through fellowship with the Lord Jesus.  This cannot be obtained by a hasty prayer or a superficial reading of a few verses from God’s Word.  We must take time to come into God’s presence, to feel our weakness and our need, and to wait on God through His Holy Spirit to renew fellowship with Him.  Then we may expect to be kept by the power of Christ throughout the day.

Lo tech in a high tech world

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

On Sunday I preached on James 4.  A part of this passage of Christian Scripture talks about the relationship between where we stand with God and how we can get closer to God. 

I had thought of putting together a slide show, powerpoint or movie.  Maybe an audio file.  Or perhaps find a YouTube idea.  Then I thought perhaps there was a tool which brings things closer together — as you move one item the other automatically comes closer.  Checked with a friend and came up with a “comealong”  — a great tool much like a winch.  Not quite what we were looking for but a start.  So he grabbed a pen and began to sketch out an idea.  First we thought of pulleys, or perhaps wood pieces.  I left our time together thinking of all sorts of ideas.

Well, if necessity is the mother of invention, then simplicity is the mother of useful inventions.  So, below is the final product!  Maaterials used?  Sheets of paper, a stand on which a coroplast (plastic) background was placed, two weights, string, tape, pushpins.  When you pull the knotted string in the middle both “me” and “God” get closer together!

Photo_111208_001

Day off

Monday, November 10th, 2008

I awoke this morning to the remembrance — day off!

Trying to switch time and thinking is becoming easier.  I guess as you regularly set up days off you begin to actually think that way.

So, I’ve already cleaned calcium deposited kettles – bright and polished shine!  Listened to some music and now seated at the computer.

As I read my email, three people informed us that a friend had die.  Fridolf Durell was a great crockinole player, a former Industrial Arts teacher (back when that was what we called it), and an inspirational man to be around.  The funeral is on Wednesday in Prince Albert at 2:00 pm.  Unfortunately our other commitments make it impossible to attend, but may God go with the family during this time.

Promise Keepers 2008

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

We’re back from Regina.  The last 30 hours have been great.  Getting to know men from our church.  Learning from great teachers.  Enjoying hospitality from willing hosts.  Missing from the picture are Bill Wingrove, Brian Ohlheiser, Chris Gramlich and Lloyd Pierce!

pk gang Nov 7, 8 2008

For all you Rockers

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

And by that I don’t necessarily mean those who sit at home and rock back and forth in a comfortable chair!

I was reading the PC Magazine and came across a listing of top unknown websites.  Great fun!

On of those was a site of live concerts.  Mostly rock concerts from past years.  For live recordings, they are not bad!

You can hear some of those concerts that you missed when you were growing up (either you were not yet born, or you were but couldn’t afford to attend).  Everything from Alabama to Crosby, Still, Nash and Young.  Check it out — click here.

Bob Willoughby

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

A few days ago Bob Willoughby died (don’t have the exact date).

My recollections are of the Willoughby’s in Moose Jaw.  This was in my first decade of life, as I remember it.  Funny how you remember going across a gravelled school yard to end up at their house.  They had kids our age (we had a family of six at that time so the age spread was quite wide!).

Bob was the pastor of our local church.  Later he served as a professor at a school I attended.  His scholarly abilities were apparent.  But I suppose what really impressed me was his pastoral heart which was more than sufficient to take in the deep concerns of his parishioners. 

Bob’s stature may not have been that of an NBA player, but in my books he could rung rings around them and stood miles above them.