Archive for May, 2009

Learning Excel

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

I’ve been switching over to a number of Microsoft software programs lately.  They tend to be more universally used and (I must admit) do the job.

Today was a learning curve on Excel – a spreadsheet program.  Amazing the things “Help” provides!  As I went through, I figured out how to color rows and columns, how to increase and decrease the print area and even how to change the page setup.

I didn’t figure out how to get all the information inputted without typing it in myself.  I was working with small sheets of scrap paper and full sheets of foolscap.  Thankfully there was time, which helped my learning curve immensely.

I wonder what program comes next?

Early morning starts

Friday, May 15th, 2009

For a number of months Friday has started early.

There is a 7:00 am men’s study group and then an 8:30 pastor’s group.

By noon my day is more than half over! 

But I wouldn’t trade it.  Not for a bit more sleep.  Or for a delicious breakfast. 

These times are sharing and support times.  The men read and reflect on scripture in an open and unassuming way.  The pastors reflect on their lives and ministries — often with such openness and honesty that we even surprise ourselves.

In the end, I am then prepared to meet the coming weekend.  As final preparation for a sermon comes to a head, as a church service progresses and we seek to hear God’s voice, as the local church revolves around Jesus — these moments on Friday help me to prepare. 

That was the particular prayer of the pastor’s group today — that we would be prepared for this weekend.  And that is my prayer for you as you move towards this week-end.  May you find God’s voice speaking to you in the hidden moments, the quiet concerns, the compassionate relationships, the tense deadlines, the unexpected compliments, and the painful interactions — so that you are tenderhearted, humble and open to His ministry to you this weekend.

1/2 day

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Our journey to Calgary began 12 hours before it finished.   This was a journey for medical purposes for a friend of mine – I was the chauffeur.

The conversation was enjoyable — actually we both expressed our enjoyment in being able to be together.  We talked about our lives.  What happens over decades can barely be summed up in a few hours, but the general sense of one’s life can be expressed.

In the end, I was sorry the day came to an end.  And that is a good thing!

Off to Calgary

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Last week a friend of mine asked if I could drive him down to Calgary.  The ride is four hours one way. 

The reason?  To get an MRI.

So, tomorrow I head off in the morning and will be back in the later evening.

In some ways, this is variety — which is the spice of life.  I will be away from most of my regular day’s activities.  I can be reached by cell phone, but don’t expect exceptional activity there.  I will take books to read related to work, but as much as I get read is what I get read.  All in all, I’ll enjoy this.

And as a side light, I get to watch he beauty of the prairies as they blossom from spring into winter.  From the flat prairie, to the gullies of Drumheller to the distant foothills one can see from Calgary.  That’s the side blessing!!

The look of grey breeze

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

There are skies that impact you subconsciously.   They create emotions you don’t realize until you are rummaging around in the cupboard for comfort food, or gathering your sunscreen for protection.

The days I find awkward are those where the sky is split and the wind both whispers and whips. 

Today began with those sunny skies and calm winds.  I was ready to walk the around town.  Then the grey began to descend and the breezes increased in velocity.  I was ready to stay inside and hunker down in my reading chair.

And I hear it may snow tonight somewhere in this beautiful province called Saskatchewan.

Who wouldn’t want to live here!!

Yard Work

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Yesterday ushered in 4 1/2 hours of yard work. The exhilarating thing was that I went without much of a break – a few gulps of water, but pretty much steady work. Compared to last year at this time when I had to watch my wife clean up the yard, this is a higher plane!

The work to be done was simple. Dethatch the grass, rake up the clippings and cut down some branches off the willow in our back yard. I keep forgetting to wear a mask, so I could taste the grit of the dust gathering in our drought stricken land.

Since spring arrived, we have not had a steady downpour of rain. A few cloudbursts, but no gusher. So today will see some watering of the lawn.

Then we will await the miracle of growth!

Translation please!

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

In my eagerness, or stupidity — one or the other — I have chosen to translate from the Greek the passages I will be preaching on in the next two months.

This evening I sat on our sunlit porch and for an hour worked over 4 verses.  The final product is somewhat simplistic — I’ll hone it during the week.

What I found unexpected was that I had fun.  Not since my days of seminary (over 20 years ago) have I done such extended translation.  Flashes of those days came back in an instant.  The thrill of finding just the right English expression to capture the intent of the Greek.  The frustration of parsing verbs — thank goodness for analytical lexicons.  The joy of finding the core thoughts in a sentence.

Some people think I enjoy words.  And that is true.  But my real enjoyment is to find a way for words to form together in such a way that they open our eyes to a new perspective.  Not necessarily a new truth.  But a new way of delving into the truth!

And that brings joy! 

Breakfast out

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

7:30 was bright and early as we set up skillets and cutting boards.  When the service of the food came at 8:30, the pancakes and waffles were great,  sitting next in line to the ham and scrambled eggs.  Fruit salad with cheese and muffins snuggled in nicely, filling up the counter space.  Juices, tea and coffee rounded out the assortment of food.

More food than I eat most mornings.  Delicious!

The conversation with around a dozen guys was easy and informative.  We learned a bit more about each other, and particularly about a new church-planting pastor in town, Scott Holloway.

And thinking is already being done about another breakfast.  Perhaps the end of June?  We’ll see.

A new story

Friday, May 8th, 2009

The health food store is right next to a liquor store on one side and an adult book store on the other. Both of those stores have large sliding doors that invite everyone in. In the middle of these stores is an inviting store called “The Way”.

So starts my latest story held on my wordpress blog.  Check it out and see what you think.  Click here.

The Trinity

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

For the past few years I have been on a quiet, patient search for a fuller understanding of the Trinity, which is the unique feature of the Christian faith.  The other two Abrahamic faiths (Judaism and Islam) both deny one or another aspect of the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – three in one – all God!

This has been furthered by the writing of the book, The Shack, by Paul Williams.  Paul was a classmate of mine in my undergraduate years.  Then I’ve been spending time working through David Eckman’s books – he strongly looks at the Trinity for counselling and dealing with such things as addictions.

Today I grabbed a few articles and did some further thinking.  I would have to say that I’m seeing what I’ve always seen, but getting a better picture.  And I’m becoming more convinced that this is a crucial part of the puzzle of living the way God intended us to live.  A Father who loves us, a Son who died for the forgiveness of our sins and the Holy Spirit who helps us to be conformed to the likeness of Jesus.  Put into a full picture, that’s a life without guilt, lived in freedom before God and able to serve others with joy.

Not a bad place to start!