Archive for September, 2016

Brother-in-laws who preach

Monday, September 26th, 2016

I have a brother-in-law, Tim Barton, who preaches and ministers at the Canby Alliance Church in Canby, Oregon (www.canbyalliance.org).  He sends out his sermon notes every week.  This week he’s beginning sermons on mental health.  Good stuff.  Here is quote from part of his sermon that I pulled out regarding a prophet from the Old Testament who struggled with debilitating mental health issues.

Remember, Elijah had run away from his calling. Deserted the people God sent him to. God’s grace covered his failure. God hadn’t given up on Elijah even though Elijah had given up on himself. Phil Ryken, “His life still had a kingdom purpose. So does ours: not matter how discouraged we are today, God still has a bright plan for our tomorrow.”

Last thought – Elijah’s tree and Jesus’ cross.

Over 100 years ago the German preacher F. W. Krummacher compared Elijah’s broom tree to the cross where Jesus died. I end with his eloquent, insightful, and encouraging words, “Listen. As often as it will seem to you as if it were enough, as if the burden of life is no longer to be borne, do as Elijah did. Flee, you, too to the silence of solitude, and I will show you a tree, and there you will cast yourself down. It is the cross. Yes, a tree covered with thorns and barbs that pierce the soul, girded about with nails that wound the heart and cause pain and suffering. But this tree also has a scent that refreshes the soul. In the presence of the cross you no longer think of complaining about the greatness of your sufferings. For the love of God in Jesus Christ for you poor sinner will soon draw all your thoughts and reflections away from everything else. Under the cross our complaining will soon be absorbed in the peace of the Lord.”

Goods and delivery

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

I suppose back in the old days people had horses that carried goods to retail outlets and prospective clients.  After they were done for the day, the horses would be placed in the livery – the place where they lived. 

I imagine as they trotted out the next morning, they had to head out from “de-livery” to do their job.

And so, off they went on their merry way, thankful to be doing their delivery of the day.

But what did they have in their care?  What were they to deliver?  The “goods” from the wholesaler or the retailer, the farm or the royal bakery. 

What would have happened if the produce had been bad?  Would a person have become sick from the “bads” that were delivered?  Not a pleasant thought for one’s bodily organs.

All that to say, if you see a horse, headed down the road just a carryin’ a load – perhaps they are attempting to do bring de “goods” for “de-liver-y”.

And next blog I’ll have to ask my wife to edit for humour – or lack thereof!!

When city status fails . . .

Monday, September 19th, 2016

Well, Kindersley applied for city status in Saskatchewan.  The bottom line seems to be a head count of 5,000 people.  An early census had pegged us at less than the minimum numbers.  Alternative attempts at counting Kindersley residents would place us over the top.

The ministry of the government of Saskatchewan has informed the Town of Kindersley that they won’t be a city – at least not in the near future.  Appeals will certainly be made – perhaps to sympathetic ears.

What about being proactive? 

Open up an expanded birthing wing in the hospital.  Encourage all couples to have more children.  One person had suggested just having more children around would add up!

Of course, senior couples might find this a little tough.  Maybe they could have their grandchildren visit on an extended basis.  The more the merrier!

Parents with teenage and 20/30-somethings can encourage their children to live in Kindersley and help create a baby boom. 

With a booming population, we can become the town, . . . oops, the city of the future!

The first-day-of-school essay

Friday, September 2nd, 2016

Remember going to the first day of elementary school after a summer of fun?  The mandatory essay on “My summer” helped us learn to write, or maybe not!  Here is my summer essay – written in grade school style.

I had a fun summer.  We went to lots of places.  I got to meet some relatives that I hadn’t seen since I was younger.  That was nice.

I went to Calgary, Regina, Birch Hills, Prince Albert, Georgetown, Shakespeare, Trenton, Toronto, Gravelbourg, Moose Jaw, and Lucky Lake.  They are nice towns.  I went to Las Vegas on my winter holiday.  My mom says they are vacations but I don’t know why.

I met some uncles and aunts, and some cousins and some other relatives. Some of them were very old.  Some of them were just born.  They were all very nice.  Especially when they didn’t cry.

It is nice to be home.

Ranting–the fun of interchange

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Every once-in-a-while I write something in an email that I think may actually be interesting and worth sharing with others.  Below is one such rant!

The older I get, the more I realize that our society has written out most "biblical" allusions and Christian terms from their vocabulary – or redefined them.

At one time, Limited Atonement may have been meant to portray God’s steadfast love for those who were willing to fear and obey Him.  Unfortunately the term now strikes ears who hear only that they may have been (probably are) excluded from God’s love.  So they don’t seek the remedy for their sin and for a personal relationship with God because they don’t think there is one coming from the Christian subculture.

I realize that any specialized profession (theology being our profession) has their own language.  For precision’s sake, we learn that language so that those in the profession are speaking the same language.  For the outsider to the profession (and this includes all sorts of professions), we do "outreach" (a term that I find interesting – borrowed from Christian roots??).  This includes finding similarities in our two languages so that we (the professional and the outsider) can "listen" to each other.

In relation to Limited Atonement, our society’s language is full of words of inclusion – we must find ways to express God’s love for everyone.  At the same time, we must find ways to express exclusion that make sense to them. 

And that is where the Holy Spirit has his work cut out for him.  While we can argue, explain and reason – there is something about conversion that is mysterious and reaches into the heart of people – where we as professionals can’t go.  God’s Spirit must witness to a person’s spirit – to speak that person’s heart language in such a way that they are willing to go another direction (repent).   With that conversion, they suddenly begin to understand the deeper things of their profession of Christ.

Should we abandon our specialized language of theology?  No.  Should we press in harder to understand our society?  Yes.

"Speaking fish" is a good way to describe how we have to relearn our vocabulary.   You can’t fish until you find the water where the fish are.  You can’t fish unless you have the nets/lines/hooks to reel them in.  Matthew understood the Jewish mindset.  Paul got the Gentile approach to life.  John heard the heart cries of unloved people.  Luke understood those who had a strong "spiritual" side to their lives.  The content doesn’t change – the delivery does.