Archive for November, 2012

Enjoyable times

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

One of the “perks” of being a pastor is getting to pray at civic functions.  Yesterday I was asked to be a part of the swearing in of our new town council. 

Being a part meant leading “O Canada” and then praying for direction for the new council.  I have met each of the councilors over this last while and I do pray that they will serve our community well.

Here is the prayer I prayed:

I pray a blessing upon this new town council of Kindersley.  May their decisions be formed through unity and a desire for the good of this community.  May you give to them health and strength that their minds and souls may have clarity and a concise sense of direction needed.  May the concerns that touch upon the life of this community touch the heart of each councilor, and may you give to them wisdom as they approach both the work of this evening and throughout their term of office.  These things I pray in the name of God, our heavenly Father.  AMEN.

Here is a picture of the mayor and those councilors who were able to be present.

Kindersley Town Council swearing in - Nov 14, 2012

Family and Friends

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Yesterday was a touch base day.  In the midst of the many changes in my life, I am thankful for friends and family. 

There is a perspective from each of them that ranges widely.  Much like the larger world in which I circulate, I find that the closer circle magnifies the opinions and guidance I hear from the larger world.

At lunch I enjoyed a young family’s banter and questions.  Later in the day my son chatted over the internet.  The afternoon saw the opportunity to touch base with three college friends.  And the evening included a chat with the gal I’m courting.

I am coming to believe that wisdom flows from many angles.  The trouble is that not all of these thoughts and desires that are expressed by others seem to be the same.  And so I’m praying widely and largely for the wisdom that James spoke of in his book in the Bible.

5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone.

I spoke a while ago on risk.  Risk may not mean doing something different, nor does it necessarily mean staying in the same place.  The point of the sermon was that God is in control.  We risk, with the balance of focusing on Jesus, and with the realization that God has the last word.  I’m looking to God as I listen to others.  May his wisdom be mine today, as I pray that his wisdom will also invade your life this day.

The day of rest

Sunday, November 11th, 2012

I couldn’t help but feel this morning.

I feel alive.  That term is not so much about blood coursing through veins as a  sense of purpose and an enjoyment in life.

I feel tentative.  That term is not so much about despair in the overwhelming parts of life as about hope that carries confidence.

I feel comfortable.  That term is not so much about the mushiness of relationships as about living with strength (the true definition of comfort).

I feel dissatisfied.  That term is not so much about anger and rage as about knowing there is a greater good for me.

I feel the need for God.  I feel the reassuring presence of God’s Holy Spirit.  I feel the outpouring of Jesus’ redeeming work for me.

This is restful and a great life in which to live!

Friendship with Dead Guys

Saturday, November 10th, 2012

That’s my title for this Sunday’s sermon.

I’ve been contemplating the matter of being friends in the larger arena of life.  Hebrews 12 says that we are surrounded with a great crowd of witnesses.  Imagine if we were able to wade into that crowd and ask questions. 

Well, I guess we are.

We can read the Bible.  We can read biographies.  Nowadays we have videos.

And so, Jabez, a mere two verses in the Bible, gets pages and pages of thought in these past decades.  And of course David, the Jewish King, has had volumes written to help us understand him.

I am concerned that all we read is what other people prepare for us to read.  The best idea is to go to the original documents (the archivist in me speaking).  Read the Bible about Joseph, and Paul and Peter.  Enjoy others thoughts on them, but read the unique words first place in the Bible.

Pick a dead guy who isn’t like any of your friends.  Expand your understanding.  Right now I’m trying to make closer friends with David, the Jewish King.  He is not a lot like me.  Way too emotional.  Way to spontaneous.  Way to “out there”.

But maybe it’s time for me to explore with my friend a new side to life.  God blessed David as a man after His own heart.  I’m more than willing to run alongside David to see what that means!  Wonder what my life will look like a year from now??

Gone Courting

Friday, November 9th, 2012

I guess it’s starting to be public knowledge.

I have been courting a lady who is thrilling my heart.  I mentioned to her that I would not want to carve out a place for her in my heart – as though I had to cut out all parts that relate to Jill.  Instead, God is enlarging my heart to let another enter.

And I love it!

Because of the current use of the word “dating”, I’m a little reluctant to splash it over a page on this blog.  With terms such as hook up, one night stand and multiple partners in vogue when people date, I want to be very clear.

I enter this relationship with the intent of marriage. 

I have enjoyed being around a number of single women in this last while.  They have helped me to laugh, played piano for me at seniors homes, delivered meals to me, counseled me and been a great comfort in time of sorrow.  These women are amazing, but not marriage partners from my perspective.  Not to say that  fleeting emotions have not arisen as I have been immersed in this “single” thing.

But, this time around, I sense a deeper attraction and desire.  And not to defraud her in any way, I fairly quickly told her my intention to explore the possibility of marriage.  The journey so far has been . . . I wish I knew the word to describe an exciting unknown.  I don’t.

We are seeking to be purposeful, thorough and careful as we work through this new normal in both our lives.  As one friend said – Pursue . . . Pray . . .

Her name is Cynthia.

The essentials

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

I worked for eight years in a post-secondary institution.  There were many great debates and faculty discussions over time.  Below is a quote which rang home with me – almost two decades after completing my service in that institution.

“”When someone asks that the essence of a Christian education is ‘excellence’ or ‘service’ or even ‘small class sizes with personal attention,’ I have to ask what is distinctively Christian about such an essence?  Can’t someone from another faith tradition do those things?   What are distinctively Christian are the gospel, the Scriptures, and the church.”  (p. 92, Christianity Today, November 2012).

I think this talks to truth, community and relationship. 

Imagine if we Christians were to “unsugar coat” our talk and start with the hard things out front.  This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ – Creation, Fall, Redemption and Restoration.  This is the Scriptures – verifiable words that point to truth.  This is the Church – lived out lives showing a new kingdom.

On Presidential Inaugurations

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

Thought today would be a good day to reflect on Presidents. 

Last Thursday I attended the inauguration of the President of our denominational school.  Gordon T. Smith is a friend, fellow student, former colleague for over 40 years.

I first remember Gordon – amazing how pictures stick  in your mind – from the first day in residence at Canadian Bible College.  I had worked the summer painting in the dorms.  Now, I was standing outside the dorms as a new resident – about to begin my first semester of school.

I was early – probably following the pattern of being there early to paint over the summer.  Gordon comes around the corner, I believe with a steamer trunk in tow, and approaches the dorms.  I probably said something profound, like “Hi.”  He probably said something profound, like “Hi.”

We did not become close friends, but we have at least kept a friendship over the years.  And so, it was my privilege to be present for the inauguration.  This was not the first time Gordon’s name had been bandied about for President.   I saw a certain sense of purpose at this point in his life that will carry him well into this role.  May God bless!

Gordon T Smith - Nov 1, 2012 small

On driving in the fog

Sunday, November 4th, 2012

I’m back home from a week of driving.  First to Saskatoon (2 hour drive) and to Calgary (usual 4 hour drive).   The Saskatoon drive was somewhat uneventful.

The Calgary drive?  A little less uneventful – in other words . . .

Ever try driving in fog for hours?  And then find patches of ice that the freezing rain has just been deposited?

I began to become philosophical as  I drove (you start to think that being philosophical is much wiser than becoming overwhelmed and erratic!).

I know that my life is guided by Jesus.  But most days I’m in the clear and how I steer my life is fairly constant and hum drum.  In fact, I could just let the wheel go and I wouldn’t worry.  The country side would pass by and I would have enjoyed the day.

But when fog surrounds you, you are still left hold the steering wheel.   But this time you pray for protection and trust that the road in front of you is one that the maker had in mind (no potholes, bridges out or lack of guardrails).  The white and yellow lines certainly help.  And the signs that pop out of the fog.  And the few feet illumined in your headlights.

Beyond that it is trust. 

Believe it or not, I enjoyed my travels.  I was not frightened – I trusted the roadbuilder.  I arrived at my destination safely. 

Fear is best combated by faith!