Archive for May, 2011


Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Some days my sermons kick me back – or just give me a kick in the back!  An illustration took me back a few years.

I’d forgotten about the house of my dreams.  In 1994 we entered Prince Albert to buy a house.  I had a job offer on the table and we needed accommodations.

Our realtor showed us some pictures.  She steered us to probable boxed homes.  Nothing out of the ordinary, but comfortable.

My eyes lit upon an interested configuration in the blandness of the listings.  Two stories with what looked like an attic style of roof.  In fact, this had the grace of a mansion.

And so it was.  A professional’s home, built in the early part of the century.  Although not currently a heritage designation, the house had a good chance of being designated as such.  Along with that would come some funding.  And also come restrictions.  Restore the home to it’s former self!!

Over this past decade and a half, I’ve wondered what that would have been like.  Curved stairs, a rounded china cabinet, a huge conservatory, a shelf lined library, oak flooring.  A friend estimated the cost to just do basic repairs would have taken up to $300-500 thousand of today’s dollars.

But dreams die hard.  And maybe dreams are the best place to leave this!  Maybe my mansion in heaven will look something like it!!

O yes, if you want to see how this illustration fits into my sermon, check out church at the Kindersley Alliance at 11:00 tomorrow morning, or find the sermon on our website at

The changing face of Heritage Manor

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

I suppose every town has a seniors home.  Perhaps it is only a house where a family member attends to their parent.  Or maybe a private home with three or four residents.  Perhaps even an institution.

Kindersley had a Sunset Lodge many years ago.  That was housing for many different levels of care.  Couples could remain together.  The staff were multi-functional people, who lived with Alzheimer patients as well as handicapped, and perhaps even some who were quite nimble but enjoyed a bit of assisted living.

Then a newer facility was built, and then apartments throughout the town and finally a high rise apartment building with over ninety apartments and meals provided in the rent.

The Heritage Manor is now decades old.  And in good shape.

Not so the people. This has become, in the past few years, the place for level 3-4 care patients – many with extra needs.  A lady who enter about a decade ago, has a nimble mind and is still somewhat active is now surrounded by those whose level of care has become progressively greater.

So today, as we led a hymn sing amongst them, I reminisced to myself.  Six years ago, when we arrived in town, most of the residents would sing heartily and were quite aware of their surroundings.  Many still sing lustily, but the memory and attention spans are much less.  Which means a sermon or even a short devotional thought is difficult to follow.

Music is often the last thing to go.  So we sing heartily, I joke a bit and we sense God’s presence in the midst.  Not all encounters with God require you to excel  academically, physically and emotionally.  Somehow being there can be enough – God reaches us where we are, as we are!!


Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

Perhaps it is the time of year.  Perhaps the time of the decade.  Perhaps an end is about to begin.

I listened to a prediction of the end of the world.  That didn’t happen.  And has now been revised.  In this case I’m sure the prediction is man-made, not God-based.

Nevertheless, the tornado season has been strong – destroying towns and making even the strong heart faint. 

Which reminds me to check out my own time clock.  How close is the end?  Just around the corner?

I add to these considerations the stories of friends with cancer and other physically debilitating diseases.  Life is only alive by the grace and sustenance of God. 

That’s not a bad thing.  In fact, I would say that is a reassuring thing.  When this life ends, if we are in God’s hands through the wounded hands of Jesus, we are headed to a great beginning. 

Doesn’t make the leaving any easier.  Does make the reunion even sweeter!

Credit Card woes

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Good thing that you can do electronic checks online.  I was just skimming my credit card statement and staring at me was a high amount.  More than usual!

Well, somehow a Paypal charge was put on my Visa.  Well, actually my wife’s Visa.  Who has never used Paypal. 

So, right now we are going through the fun (agony?) of getting the charge reversed.  Soon a new card will arrive for my wife.

On TV tonight reporters talked about PIN machines being swiped (quite literally).  The plastic money of today can really be a pain.  The TV reporter finished by suggesting that we all return to cash if we don’t want our finances stolen. 

OK, you can counterfeit money!  And you can’t guarantee a hotel room with cash.  And online purchases can’t be fulfilled by sending reassurance over the internet that the “money is in the mail.”

So, I guess we are stuck with plastic money.  And hopefully as enjoyable service representatives as ours was tonight.  Perhaps his name was a sign!  He was called Emmanuel – “God with us.”

What sticks?

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

What can you remember from years gone by?  I admit every once in awhile I have a picture flash across my memory.  Caused by a smell, or a series of events that link to the picture, or a voice, or . . .

But, what makes certain word phrases stick? 

I suppose repetition.  I have Bible verses memorized that just come back.  It took a while to learn them but I’m not sure I’ll ever lose them.  My mother, who has Alzheimer’s, still can recite verses once a phrase is presented to her.

I suppose music.  When I hear a chord progression or a lyric line, the words flood back.  This also relates to poetry, which has a rhythmic feel to it.  Again, Alzheimer’s doesn’t erase that ability!

I suppose fear.  When I was young I need to know my phone number, just in case.  I can still recite one – 692-6833.  That was in my early elementary years.

I suppose hope.  When a vision has been cast, whether for church, work or personal – I remember the phrases.  One church I was in used four words – Connect, Grow, Reach, Serve. 

I suppose simple.  I remember short acronyms that roll out into phrases.  SGI – Small Group Initiatives.  AMP – Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose.

What helps you to remember?

Emptying the file cabinet

Monday, May 16th, 2011

On my day off, I am cleaning out the downstairs filing cabinet.  Of old tax forms, sermons and generally unusable paper. 

The fun of it all is that you feel rather cleansed as you go.  The shredder has gotten overheated more than once.  After a short cooling off time, we start again.

And in the end, two full file drawers will go the the recyclable bin in the next few days!! 

Good stuff!


Friday, May 13th, 2011

I was listening today to a video on working with other people.  The point was made that the idea is great, the option is a good idea, but the actual implementation is often unfulfilled.  We see it as an option, wanted but not necessarily needed.

My question is often the prior question.  Why are we collaborating with others?  In the Scripture of Christians the point is made that we will be known as Christians by their love for one another.  Presumably this means that we work together. 

Gabe Lyons points out in his book called “The Next Christians” that choosing embodiment and not division will be one of the distinguishing marks of the Christian in this generation.  Other generations had certain areas of emphases – some regarding slavery, others regarding child labor.  These were proper concerns – and still remain as justice concerns within our society.  But, we must step back and look at a North American Christian community that has often become indistinguishable from the society around us.  When that happens, the grounds for credibility when we call for change become less than compelling.

How are we to be a separate people and yet part of the current society?  That must be determined, not with superficial answers but with foundational principles that are worked out in daily life.  Gabe Lyons brings five daily life activities into view (immersed in Scripture – not entertainment; observing the sabbath – not productivity; fasting in simplicity – not consumerism; embodiment – not division; and postured in prayer – not power).  They come from the principles of engagement over condemnation; grace over judgment; courage over comfort and faithfulness over reputation.

Of course, this is in short-hand.  The main focus will always start with Jesus.  From there – I’m still working this through, but I sense there is a definite kernel of truth to much of what Lyons says.


Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Prevent Alcohol and Risk related Trauma in Youth – a program that is hands on to get high school youth to see the result of poor choices!  Tomorrow I will go with a group of youth as they progress through the day.  Each step, from a mock crash to trying to eat lunch with a “handicap”, is designed to impress on them the need to stay away from drunkenness and making poor choices.

I’m not sure all that will entail – there was some training but the actual day is often full of surprises.  So, surprise, I’m off to bed soon in order to be up fresh and ready in the morning.  Should be a good experience – we’ll see how it goes!!


Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

There comes some days when things that are happening just happen.  You can’t title or categorize or sequentialize the happenings. 

I would like to!

Then things would be in my control.  I am in charge.

But I’m not! 

As a Christian I’m still learning what it means to surrender.  I am crucified with Christ.  What a strange statement.  And yet liberating.  Because I go first to God.

Maybe we need to start a “Surrender First” movement.  Would that work?

Cross and the Switchblade author dies

Saturday, May 7th, 2011

A week or so ago, April 27, 2011, David Wilkerson died. The cause was a car crash in Texas.

For those of you who haven’t run across this name let me give you some background. In the 1970’s a book was in vogue amongst church goers. Called the Cross and the Switchblade, it talked about gangs and drug addicts, and the changeover that can happen when Christ affects members lives. Wilkerson wrote this book about Nicki Cruz. He later formed a rehab center/network called TEEN CHALLENGE. We have one just down the road in a town called Allen, Saskatchewan (OK, it’s over two hours away, but in Saskatchewan that’s not that far!). A loss to family and friends, but he certainly birthed in the lives of many others a Christianity that survives the worst to bring the best!