Archive for January, 2013

Initiative

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

I am reading Erwin McManus’ book called Chasing Daylight:  Seize the Power of Every Moment. 

He begins the book by calling us to chose to live.  “Somehow we all know that to play it safe is to lose the game.”  The emphasis is on opening our lives up to God through Jesus, and in so doing we can live our lives wide open.   Lives wide open one moment at a time.  Don’t get stuck in a moment, live beyond a moment and make this moment a choice.

Be like Caleb from the Bible, who in a moment of truth for his life says (Joshua 14:10-12):

Today I am eighty-five years old. 11 I am as strong now as I was when Moses sent me on that journey, and I can still travel and fight as well as I could then. 12 So give me the hill country that the Lord promised me. You will remember that as scouts we found the descendants of Anak living there in great, walled towns. But if the Lord is with me, I will drive them out of the land, just as the Lord said.”

In the second chapter, we hit the thought of initiative.  Don’t be passive, but be passionate.  Don’t live in neutral.

This is the point at which I sat up (actually I was riding my exercise bike!), as McManus made the point:  “To put it crassly, when you are madly in love with God, you can do whatever you want.  I am convinced this may be the best contemporary translation of Psalm 37:4″ (p. 50).

“There is a direct relationship between passion and initiative.  The more passionate you are, the more proactive you will tend to be. . . Here’s where the dilemma lies:  this can actually be paralyzing for a sincere follower of Jesus Christ.  You don’t want to passionately do the wrong thing.  You desperately want to do what’s on God’s heart, not just on your heart.  Here’s the liberating reality:  when you are passionate about God, you can trust your passions.   God uses our passions as a compass to guide us.” (p. 50)

Now, I can hardly wait to read the rest of the book!!

The wind doth blow

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

Awakening this morning meant hearing the wind.  Not just a little bit, but one of those “big bits!”

Accompanying the wind was a small bit of snow.  Just enough to cover the driveway and the sidewalk.  As I shoveled, I realized that this was not the usual direction of wind.  Instead of heaving shovelfuls of snow into the wind, the wind was assisting me.

All fine and well if I was not on a corner lot.  The wind began to find ways to enter my parka.  A sneak breath of cold air here.  An unexpected pinch there.  Nothing you couldn’t handle.  If you only stayed outside for a few minutes.

I quickly wrapped up the morning’s exercise and got back inside.  Thankful that this was not a full blown blizzard, although full blown it was! 

I live in a country where the heat was on when I stepped inside.  The shower will be warm.  And I can drive on roads that are cleared.  After hearing a story of gypsies in Romania this past Sunday, I want to be sure my mind and heart both give thanks for all I have. 

A little breeze can blow in a reminder of a hurricane of blessings!

Timing

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Last night’s conversation was along the lines of timing.  Being engaged with a distance between means that the quick face-to-face is four hours one way!

But F2F (now I’m starting to get into the texting mode here!!) is important.  Skype or Google+ are helpful, but more often than not distracting for me.  I have trouble when a voice is not always synced with the mouth that is speaking.  I might as well just phone!  Of course, some days it can work well, but others . . .

So, yesterday meant that we tried to set up some times when we would be together over the next months prior to marriage.  Our rule of thumb (I’ve wondered if there is a rule of the toe!) is to try twice a month to touch base.  Setting these dates to coincide with special days – grads, Valentine’s Day, Easter, etc. – gives another reason to be together.

Now, with the scrap of paper in hand, I will try to put this into a calendar.  Not sure everything will come together, but best to plan ahead.

I wonder if other areas of life sometimes get left behind because we don’t plan ahead.  When the pen comes to paper – or is that keyboard ends in a spreadsheet – action often follows! 

At least that’s the way I find life!

Income tax time

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

Yesterday afternoon I sat with forms in hand.

Working through this past year has been a new experience.  For 35 years I lived a shared life.  The paper trail of taxes over the years showed a time of building a new life, a time of studies, a time of parenthood and lately a time of exploring greater opportunities for giving.

But this year, I am preparing returns on my own.  With figures that remind me of God’s grace in my life. 

I have monies (that’s what income tax is all about) that have been a blessing to me.  I live with comfort. 

I have been able to use my monies to help others.  I looked over charitable giving and am thankful for the opportunities I have had.  I cast my mind to other opportunities to give that will never show up as a charitable deduction on the annual income tax form.

God is good.  And I am thankful.

The Fare of War

Friday, January 25th, 2013

I was talking with a fellow on Wednesday.  He mentioned how his Christmas Eve was surrounded by service to others, family together and celebration of Christmas.  In the midst of all this an oppressive sense of loneliness descended on him.  No reason – other than the fare of war in the spiritual realm. 

I related to that type of loneliness – just such a sense had descended on me just hours prior to our discussion.  My life is filled with friendships and service, but this unbeckoned emotion just arrived.

We know that there will be things happen around us that are beyond physical, psychological and even emotional control.  And often, we go our merry way each day, tending to forget this!

As I understand my Christian approach to life, nothing happens without God’s knowledge.  Our response should be to seek out God, get in on the happenings, and fight for the God’s kingdom in all the realms of life.

Which has me thinking!  Perhaps joining with others in spiritual warfare is the immediate call for those who are touching the borders of the evil one.  Perhaps my own prayers are more needed than I know.

A few reflections on chatting with a friend.

Garbage bags and providence

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

So, I’m driving on our highway that goes through town.  I see a garbage bag in the lane ahead of me.  No cars ahead of me for blocks.

Thinking that hitting the bag of garbage would not be good for me or for others, I pulled over.  Jumping out of the car I retrieved the bag. 

The bag was not full of garbage!  Rather, the contents were cans and recyclables.  All the better!

You see, our children’s club is in the middle of a bottle drive.  We leaders are attempting to get more cans than the clubbers.  And so far, we are winning – and now for sure we can push to the top!

How is it that doing a good deed can end up being to your benefit? 

I believe that we need to do what is right (righteous) and leave the rest up to God.  Not a bad way to live!

For the sake of others

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Jesus stressed that leadership was for the sake of others.  We are to be servants. 

When we work together  in community, we are in a “body” that must depend on others.  This requires being open to serving others.  No part is greater than another part – some have more prominence but each part contributes.

One of the first questions that couples should ask as they look are courting is, “what are you expecting?”  If the only answer (deep inside) is physical fulfilment, or someone to provide support, or even just someone to show off – you have missed the point. 

Where lies the depth of marriage is in being willing to serve each other.  Practically this is exhibited in being sure the other person is the very best person that God has created them to be. 

That is not an easy answer to give.  And fulfilling that purpose is not easy either.  There are days in which placing another person’s needs ahead of your own needs doesn’t seem to make sense.  But in the long run (and that’s what marriage is about), serving another person is God’s priority.  That makes sense. 

Where God directs – always good to take that path!!

Things discussed look different on paper

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

I’ve lasted long enough in life to know that plans become very real when they sit on paper.  As I have been courting, the plans we discussed have covered the basic areas of excitement and concern – both our own and others.

Yesterday we sat, taking snippets of thoughts and scraps of paper, and put things into some type of order on paper.  We discussed timelines more thoroughly.  We looked at contacts and talked about moving – all topics we had touched on in our conversations and now were pulling together.

To-do lists are great.  They give direction.  They can also put a whole new perspective on life.  When things are laid out in front of you, you realize that, “we are really going to do this, aren’t we.” 

I’m enjoying taking one step at a time.  Note that I did not say that I always like the next step.  Sometimes the tough – against the flow – type of advance feels just that, tough.  But I do not want to become a stagnant pool, so one step at a time it is!

Now, where is that list??

Prayer in perspective

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

For the last while I have approached the miraculous with a very close view. 

I asked God to heal me – and I watch every day as he gives me strength and daily health.  I no longer take medications and trust God for physical vitality. 

I listened to God a few years ago talk about 2×2.  This was the idea, now in a very real way reality, of seeing a congregation, in two years, grow in Sunday service attendance from around 60 or 65 to double that amount. 

A few years ago we, as  a church, we watched the unexpected happen.  We had wanted an intern, but for five years we could not find one.  Then God gave us the unexpected (which resulted in a full time staff member), and we continue to watch to see where our staffing will go next. 

I had asked for years for healing for my wife Jill, and God chose to provide a complete healing.  And for me, God has given an enlarged heart as I look forward to a new marriage.

So, I’m trying to process what should just be common knowledge.  God answers prayer.  In both the small and the big.

And I ask myself as I consider prayer with God – what world should I live in – a small one of little hope, or a big one where God speaks and creation is born?

Engaged

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

OK, couldn’t hold back! 

I am now officially engaged to be married to Cynthia Bellamy!  Now, if I say much more you won’t have any questions or comments for me.  Nevertheless, a slight further detail – wedding set for Kindersley, Saskatchewan on July 13th.

cynthia and ron engagment photo - Janaury 18, 2013