Archive for April, 2014

What will preaching look like in the future?

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

I came across a blog that asked the question – what will presentations look like in the future?  Of course, this is given in a business context.

This relates to preaching.  For many, the sermon is the presentation that links a church meeting together.  A sermon is just a presentation.  An important presentation, but a presentation nonetheless.

Many of the comments are helpful as we consider how people will be listening in the future.  The very unusual person is able to capture an audience for a long period of time.  Most of us will appreciate what is said, that presentations will be shorter and fewer words.

Bui, here is the comment that I found most interesting:

Amy Veltman, Principal at On Your Feet: Improvisation for Business

"Information and facts will be so readily available that the primary measure of a great presenter will be the depth of the relationship she creates with her audience."

I am seeing this already.  In fact, any good presenter has always recognized this.  We tell jokes on ourselves.  We use homegrown illustrations.  We let people know who we are.

In the end the content must be true and compelling.  But the presenter will need to spend time establishing their presence in another person’s life. 

Not a bad thing – Jesus had great content – but notice that he often asked people what they wanted, or enquired about their lives, or had a God given sense of what was happening in their lives.  In that way his speeches were present in people’s lives. 

Yes – not a bad thing!

A Time for Everything

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

The sun is up as I arise.  Not that that is unusual.  This is sign of God’s faithfulness.  God hasn’t missed a day so far!

On the advice of others and my own recognition, I am taking today as a day of rest – a sabbath.

As a pastor there is always another thing to do, another person to contact, another activity to be involved in.  I watch our oil patch workers and see the same pattern of too many days work, not enough rest.  I watch our society and wonder how long constant days running a business, town or country without some form of rest will last.

Thus the proliferation of Christian books regarding the Sabbath and rest.  I don’t remember hearing of books on sabbath when there was a “Lord’s day” and even, in our small town, Wednesday afternoons retail stores were not open.

Of course, this has meant a lot of scheduling and preparation.  And a mental attitude for today.  I will jot down thoughts pertaining to work and leave them until tomorrow. 

If I do need to pull an animal out of a well, I will do that – but I’m hoping that doesn’t have to happen!  I remember the last time I was around someone who pulled a cow out of a well, the animal was dead and bloated, and the water was not drinkable for some time.  Good reason to rescue the animal before death occurs.

So, off to work, . . . oops, rest I go!

Into a new age?

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

With the dawning of the computer, one thing seems to be certain.  We cannot live without change.

Not that change hasn’t always been around.  All is flux is a standard statement penned millenia ago.

Of course, I didn’t live millenia ago. 

The thought of stepping into a stream and seeing the water flow by, with a particle of water never passing the same way twice – or of a snowflake being unique – that type of thought is easy to grasp.  Not so easy to grasp is the idea that I am involved deeply in a moment’s change.

I would like to think that I can handle it.  But even as I type this, the shift key to make capital letters is slightly smaller than yesterday’s key.  And so my capital letters are constantly needing corrected.  \here is how a sentence usually starts!!  \i’ve just hit the wrong key to create a capital letter.

What necessitated this change.  A company who has found maintaining older software is difficult.  New programs and progress have made the old obsolete.  I have had to upgrade to a new computer with the new software on it – cheaper than fixing the old computer.

Interestingly, in the midst of much transition in my life, a pattern for dealing with grief and change is starting to emerge.  I’m not happy, but neither am I discouraged.  As the new day and old day touch each other, a new day is forming.  In that hope I am thankful.

Weakness

Monday, April 7th, 2014

There are many terms for weakness.  Brokenness speaks to the whole area of dashed hope.  Grieving speaks of absence of loved ones and erased desires.  Even depression can be a symptom of weakness exposed.

We often think that this is a matter of failure.  If success is found in keeping ourselves “above water,” then most of us will have swallowed a good bit of the blue stuff, and may even be going under.

I awoke yesterday morning with a sense of tiredness.  I could say that I was weak.  As I prayed with my wife, there was a wall that was there.  The wall holds up all sorts of posters of doubt. 

The best prayer is to admit weakness and turn to God for strength. 

That’s the best that I could do. 

To release control and to trust God!

And the best was for the best.  Not a bad way to start the day and to end the day. 

Two mothers-in-law

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

I am blessed with two.  I say that with sincerity and disregard for all the mother-in-law jokes I hear.

Over the past years, some of my great moments of discussion and encouragement have come from my “married into” relations.  I have recipes and great baking.  I have a regard for those who wisdom is held in 85 year old bodies but whose minds are still 16.

I wonder what would happen if we turned our thinking to the wisdom found in those older than ourselves.  As we look at the possibility of getting a new senior pastor here, our seniors have mentioned the need to look for someone who understands seniors.

I’m slowly coming to see the meaning in that statement.  It’s not about having to change who a minister is.  Rather, a minister must be able to both understand progress (which a younger group requires) and finality (which an older group understands).

World War II provided us with a baby boom.  That boom resulted in amazing progress in the decades following.  Now the daily news reveals an increasing desire to understand death.

Both of my mothers-in-law have suffered the death of a loved one.  Deeply!  And both of them, as they approach their final years, are imparting life to me – in friendship, advice and in a desire to continue to live for God. 

I like having two mothers-in-law.

Happy Birthday – mom Cooper!!

Safeway, Sobeys and Club Cards

Friday, April 4th, 2014

Well, I understand that Safeway has been taken over by Sobeys.  And the Club Cards are going to be discontinued. 

Not that this affects us much.  We do have a club card, but we do not have a Safeway in town.  The card gets used infrequently on visits out of town – helpful for getting discounts but not much else.

The thing that struck me is the connection my head makes to Safeway.

In my teen years my church youth sponsor was a manager for a Safeway store in Regina.  Bob Kinnie just lived over a block or two from us.  As an impetuous teen, I had a few run-ins with Bob.  But, as I look back, his love for me and his desire to make sure we all followed hard after Jesus sticks out!

Bob later went on to become the President of Safeway Canada.  He mentored a number of young men who have been influential in Christian ministry.  His legacy is around us.  And is a part of my history.

My thanks to Safeway for hiring, and placing a young father in the same town.  Just for a few years.  But a few years are enough!

What we drink

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

On the morning show the host was talking to a business analyst.

The topic turned to drinks.  The sale of what used to be called soda drinks, now called pop, is declining.  In its stead, energy drinks and caffeinated drink sales are rising.

The host made a somewhat side comment, but probably most telling of our society.

She asked if we were just not resting enough.  Perhaps we are too busy.

And maybe she is right.  There are many things that we can blame for that – the retirement of a large segment of baby boomers, technology’s underbelly of constant change, constant open hours for stores, higher expectations in output for lower wages, . . the list could go on.

Of course, a more gracious society, one that is forgiving and that requires rest would be a good start.  That’s where a Judeo-Christian view of the cycle of life can create a place for rest. 

Now, can we make that shift?