How do you know what purple is?

Some of our musicians want to explore different worship experiences and I've encouraged them to plan something for the church.

I crashed the meeting today.

I realized again just how difficult it can be, to plan something new, when all you know is the old.

So I was a bit of a pain in the rump-roast, because I wanted them to go deeper, think bigger, and (forgive me please,) to think outside the box.

But, how do you know what heaven is like, if you've only known earth? How do you know what purple is if you've always been blind? How do you know what chicken soup tastes like, if you've only known beef? How do you know Bach or Bono, if you've always been deaf?

How do you go places you've never been, but you suspect and hope that some of what you long for, is over there.

How do you run a revolution, or a reformation.

It's really hard work, and I respect them and appreciate that they're willing to do the work needed.
May God speak and lead and direct our paths, even though it can sometimes be just plain hard.

Half Baked?!?

I always thought I was half-baked. Now I have proof, I took the test. Thanks Bene Diction.





hlfbaked
You are half baked !!!
A mellow medley of emotions and a pleasant
personality. You get even the busiest of bees
to stop and smell the roses. Rock on !


What Ben and Jerrys ice cream flavor are you ?
brought to you by Quizilla


Depends where you sit

I've been a pastor for, oh some 17 years or so now, and I KNOW that there are always at least two sides to every story, but this, this is craziness.




Three Different Perspectives


Deepikaglobal (India)

Eleven Pakistani terrorists and six security force personnel were killed in a fierce gunbattle in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir this afternoon, police sources said.

PakTribune

Eleven freedom fighters and six Indian force personnel were killed in a fierce gunbattle in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday afternoon, police sources claimed.

ABC (Aus)

Eleven suspected Islamic militants and six Indian soldiers have died in a bloody clash in southern Kashmir's Doda district today.



Taken from The Command Post



Perspective means alot these days. The coverage that CNN gave to the war was often tiresome, so I would change to BBC -less "experts" less graphics, less, well just less.


Then there's this from Yahoo News



U.S. broadcasters' coverage of the Iraq war was so unquestioningly patriotic and so lacking in impartiality that it threatened the credibility of America's electronic media, the head of the BBC says.

"Personally, I was shocked while in the United States by how unquestioning the broadcast news media was during this war," Dyke said in a speech at a University of London conference on Thursday.

"If Iraq proved anything, it was that the BBC cannot afford to mix patriotism and journalism. This is happening in the United States and if it continues, will undermine the credibility of the U.S. electronic news media."





Yeah, I know, CNN (and hundreds like her) are not in business to broadcast the news, they're in business to make money.

When did everything start being about money? I must have missed the memo.

Ok, time for a reality check.

Here's a blog from a small family who's wife and mom has been diagnosed with cancer. Unless Jesus does something the Doctors can't, she only has months with her family. They are the Palmers, Mark, Jennifer, and Micah. (Yeah, a Micah, just like mine)



Ok, now tell me, What's important in your busy life?

Thus we arrive at the extreme blessing and frustration of organizing a church.

Volunteers.

Volunteers are a strange animal. In the northern Canadian prairies, the Northern Groused Volunteer is hardly ever seen. He hide in caves and holes in the ground, keeping his head below radar, so as not to get it shot off. When he tentatively comes forward from his safe place, he needs plenty of coaxing and calming that all will be well.

Because his personal safety is a prime concern for him, he doesn't tend to commit - to a great degree. He will attend, if he has time, if he's not busy, or if there isn't hockey on the CBC. He's somewhat difficult to train, because he knows he can't get fired from this position, and, for that matter, he's one of the bosses.

I know brave, strong men who work in parachurch organizations, who have communicated to me that this is the exact reason they won't enter into church work, the dreaded Volunteer.

When a Northern Groused Volunteer can be captured at a young, willing age, they can be trained and formed into the work that they do. Their enthusiasm and eagerness can be contagious, but they need to be kept away from the older Volunteers, because they begin to loose hope, and become discouraged in their ministry.

Some churches have dealt with this by bringing in even rarer Tie Crested Hire-lings. These Tie Crested Hire-lings can only be seen in larger churches, because they are so costly and rare. The Hire-ling you can train, and, if he doesn't work out, you can fire them.

I have long suspected that the best way is to create a safe reserve where the Northern Groused Volunteer can grow and try new things in a safe zone. A place of warm reception and constant care. A place where hunters are unwelcome, and traps and snares are not allowed. Thus the Volunteer can explore ministry opportunities that will, infact, help the whole ecosystem to grow and flourish.

Alas, our over hunting and use of big guns has diminished their population among us. Soon we will have to create reserves of safety, just to replenish their numbers. This writer deeply hopes we can do it before they become extinct.

Lauralea Turns 40

Well, it's been a busy week. Lauralea turned 40 on Thursday to be exact.
I've been planning a good party for about 4 months now, and we had some fun. First her sister Sylvia had a company here in town put 40 Penguins on the lawn early in the morning, very cool!

Lauralea and her 40 Penguins!

Check out a bigger pic here.

Then the kids gave her their presents, a Norah Jones CD, a fold-able lawn-chair, a jar of flavoured vinegar, and a beaded bracelet. All well thought-out gifts! Very considerate kids.

Then I surprised her by taking her away for the night in Saskatoon at the Delta Bessborough.




We went to her favourite restaurant in Saskatoon, "The Jasmine" and had a Tai lunch. Then we rooted around the McNally Robinson bookstore and picked up a few good purchases.

We found the Hotel and checked in to our room, overlooking the river. Then we found our-way down to the Signature Club Lounge, and ate some Sushi and other exotic treats.

At 9 we met up with my brother Jeff and my sister, Gaylene, and we went to the movies at the Rainbow (Cheap theater) and had a blast. We went through Wendy's late night drive-through on our way back to the hotel and ate and watched Will and Grace.

Today we hit the new Starbucks in Saskatoon, (Can you say "Swwweeet") and I got a new shiny travel mug, (So I can look cool like the cool pastors at the pastors meetings always do!!) We went to Parables Book store and then headed home.

It was a real blast, and we were in serious need of some time without any children around. Lauralea had a great time too, and, well now I'm tired.

So good night blogworld. Thanks for reading.

Easter Sunday

Well, all went well yesterday.

It all started on the riverbank at 5:55am with a sunrise service. The weather was perfect, the sun rose over the river, mixed among the pine trees, really quite beautiful, and moving. Now if we could get the sun to rise just a bit later...

Easter service went well. We celebrated at 10 am with a kind of coffee/ light breakfast fellowship time together. Then at 11 we celebrated more formally upstairs.

After the service most of the extended Friesen family met at the van Kuik family farm, in Hepburn SK for supper. The weather was beautiful, we sat outside for most of the time, and enjoyed a BBQ supper. Most excellent! (Here are some pic's if you are interested.)

Then, we got back and I was asleep by 10:30.

A good easter day.

Grief, it's much to hard being a suburbanite.

I just spent the whole day, raking and cleaning and putting away the winter stuff and getting out the summer stuff!

Last year, the snow fell in September, so we never were able to rake and clean up the yard. This spring the lawn was still covered with dead leaves, molding, and decomposing. Today I raked and raked and raked and I only got the back yard done. I'm all for paving the whole lot, then adding turf to it and never cutting it again. Oh sure, once and a while I would hose it down, keep it nice and clean like. But no more cutting and raking and weeding and etc. etc.

Very cool. Very green. Very easy.

And I'm very tired. And I hurt in places that were unused all winter. I'm off to the shower, then to bed.

g'nite.

20 years together

Yesterday, April 18th, was really Good Friday, and not only for the historical sense!

(Well, I guess this is a bit historical too...)

20 years ago, April 18, Lauralea and I started "Goin together," dating if you will. We became exclusive, a pair, a match, usually made in heaven.

Were we not the happiest looking pair?

Randall and Lauralea sittin in a chair...
Ain't we cute?



20 years...

That's 7300 days.
175,200 hours.
10,512,000 minutes
630,720,000 seconds.


And to think, in all that time we've never gone hang gliding together.

Go figure.


 

Got sand in your shorts??

Thanks to Jonny Baker for making my mouth drool over a very cool worship experience at Cityside, and for Mark Pierson for telling about it.


Saturday we wheelbarrowed 10 cubic metres/yards (15 tonnes/tons) of beach sand into Cityside on our first step toward creating a NZ coastal Gethsemane Garden. Had our Palm Sanday worship and community commitment service whilst lounging on deck chairs and rugs. Young and old built sandcastles. Anything you dropped got lost!

Yesterday we hung and lit 14 pieces of art on frames along paths through the sand. Contemporary interpretations of the traditional Stations of the Cross. Video, sculpture, painting, etc.

Today we carried 150 trees and grasses in and placed them around the art and the waterfall.

Tommorrow we open to the public and then on Easter Sunday we'll bring in the bbq's and celebrate Jesus cooking fish on the beach with his followers.

Monday we start to reverse the process.




Hmm, now where can I find some sand...

Huf huf huf...

... rushing the kids... to ... (huff) biblestudy.

then, getting to parent teachers interviews ... for child number one.

then running to put in an appearance at the (50+) biblestudy group !!

.... been goin since 6 am.

loosing ....

.....strength....
.
.
.
.
.

Carlo Urbani


Saint Carlo

Carlo Urbani. Carlo Urbani. A name to remember, to mourn and forever to honour.
Dr Carlo Urbani, an Italian doctor we grievously remember now, gave his life for us and died at the age of 46.

We know him as Dr Urbani, but it would seem proper and inevitable that future generations will come to know him as Saint Carlo. For if ever a saint was alive and practising in my time, Dr Urbani was it.





Check out the rest of this thought provoking Letter from America by Alistair Cooke.

Mr. Interesting says...

D'ya ever notice how when British people say "Mr. Blair" it actually sounds like "Mr. Blaaaaa"

Leighton Trebay

Talking about the changes that are happening in the church...

Leighton Tebay has been doing some good, deep thinking about it all lately, and he's been blogging his thoughts and responses.

Let's take over the USA, again.

Canada-U.S. rift costing business: poll
"Small companies suffer
"


Hmm. So now this international childish spat between Canada and the USA has people in a bit of a tizzy eh?

I have an idea. Let's invade America.

Yeah. While America's fighting forces are occupied in other areas of the world, lets just move in and take over, like a cousin from out of town, let's just show up at the door and hang around and never go home. We could move in before their army could even make it back home!!

Let's get the people who have been laid off because of this spat and those who lost their jobs because of trade disputes, (There's thousands out of work because of the Softwood Lumber dispute, and they're ticked off!!) and let's give them all pointy sticks and torches, and let em chase the border guards all the way back to Washington. Maybe, with a little luck, we can get all the way to the White-house, and burn it to the ground, . . . . again.


We could teach them to be a kinder, gentler nation, helping them to question their national identity, -what makes them Americans.

We could make them all wear toques and help them to learn the value of a well placed "Eh."

We can help them to laugh a bit more, especially at themselves.

We could take back our NHL Hockey teams, but hey, we're not ruthless, we would leave them Celine Dion!


I think Canada is humble enough to be a World Superpower. And I think the world would be ready for a Super Power that put's cheese curds and gravy on it's french fries. A place where people unroll the edge of their paper coffee cups to see if it's been a good day or not. How threatening could that be !?!


But I think we need to move fast, Mexico isn't going to wait around forever!


And, if it all doesn't work out, hey, we can do what we do best, we can say, "Sorry boouut that!"





More than soft seats and a drum set

Mr. Heresy, Leighton Tebay writes;


"I've realized that I can't go back. Everytime I try to go back, to jump back in to the establishment I find myself repulsed. I feel sick inside. 10 years ago I had a deep and passionate commitment to church and my local church. It's not like I didn't try, for years. The more I'm in the system the more I realize that this isn't what I signed up for. I spent 10 months reading scripture before I entered a church. I read enough to know that what I saw in the gospels is not what I saw on Sunday. Because of this I've never been satisifed. I don't expect church to be perfect, I just expect us to resemble Jesus and those who have been transformed in to his likeness. The most common forms of Christianity resemble Christ little on the outside and even less on the inside."



And that's why it's not about changing the style of the songs we sing, or adding drums and guitars to our worship services. It's not about adding small groups or self help sermons, or coffee times or childcare. (Although ALL those things are needed and are welcome additions!)

If we wanted to grow our church numbers, we would do many things. I often teased my church leaders we should offer free pizza and beer after the service and really see the thing take off. But it was never about those things.

It was, and is about a basic difference in how we view the world we live in. And it's a difference in how we view and obey the Word of God, and follow Jesus.

When we were involved in church-planting, I always died a bit inside when the new christians would meet up with older christians. The older christians would speak to them about "When you've been a christian for a while, you'll understand why we do things the way we do."

The new believers were seen as to idealistic, to shiny. "Let the sheen wear off, then they'll be just like us". Get them into a discipleship course that would have the basic effect of dulling their enthusiasm by teaching them how to "behave" like Christians. Help them discover their gift, train em a bit and slot them in their place. Then the church continues on, with enough people to turn the big wheels that need to be kept moving.


No, the real needs are deeper than soft seats and a drum set up front.

And yeah Leighton, I hear ya.

I don't expect the church to be perfect either, I've been around it to long. I just expect us to resemble Jesus as those who have been transformed in to his likeness. Is that to much to hope for?


Could we have a bit of authenticity around here please?

Cost of war $

Hmm, two interesting ideas from Deathkills blog...

1. A northern Iraqi rural FAMILY makes around $80 a month. The white house has estimated that the bill for this war will be around $75 Billion (cnn). If you take $75 000 000 000. Billion and divide it by the Iraqi Population of 24,001,816 it would come out to $3124.76 per person. I assure you that if we sent representatives of our country around and gave our $3125. to every PERSON (not family, every PERSON, meaning a family of five would receive $15,625.) the need for bombs and bullets falling on Baghdad would not exist.


2. Take the $75 000 000 000. Covertly send information to the hit men and mercenaries of the world that the first person to neutralize the Saddam government with no civilian casualties gets the whole amount. Or hire 20 mercenaries (covertly) and offer them 30 million each to take out Saddam and 20 million for each of his close and trusted allies.




Party Planners?

This year Lauralea turns 40. Yes, tis true, I married above my station in life.

That's a significant milestone, at least in my humble opinion and I've wanted to plan something special for her this year but I'm just not as creative as she is. It's probably not a good plan to ask her to arrange her own surprise 40th birthday party... so I've been thinking until it hurts.

Therefore I'm going global. Most of the five of you semi-regular readers know Lauralea. What do you think would be a grand surprise type celebration for her? Think big, think deep, just remember:

-We are, by choice, a one income family. (So don't even mention a trip to Mexico!)
-Her old friends are scattered throughout North America (And Mexico)
-She doesn't swoon over big presents. (I take that back, she would faint over a VW Beetle)

Well, it's a start. And don't worry, I don't think see reads this page on a regular basis, at least I don't think she does. But then again, if she does, mebe she can email me and make a suggestion!

I do have a few ideas, but I'm open to others.
Just click on my name below this post, and email me your ideas.

The winner will be properly honoured!!

Finding Jesus

From The Cathy J Weblog

Last evening's service was amazing. Darkness. Candles. Voices singing. God's Spirit moving among and within the people. When the opportunity came for the sacraments, people flooded in, wanting to share with each other. Some offered communion to each other, some asked for prayer for physical or emotional healing. People were praying for blessings for each other, and many were washing the feet of someone they wanted to honor. I had helped set up the sacraments, and was getting fresh water for the basins and making sure people could find the sacrament they were looking for. Then a longtime friend came up to me and asked if she could wash my feet. I was overwhelmed.


Wow. Just wow.
It's is a picture of life, of community, a snapshot of faith.

Check out the rest here. Be prepared for a hunger in your spirit, a desire for the kind of connecting they are doing over there.

If it's true what Paul says in Colossians, that the life of Jesus flows through the joints and connections of the body of Christ, then Cathy and her friends are finding Jesus - God.

...or not!

Well, we were going to head out at 3:30 pm and get to Medicine Hat for the night, but this crappy weather made it just a miserable risk to take. We talked of going around the storm, but that would have added hours and hours to an already tight schedule. We talked about going through it, but some of the roads were closed and travel was really not recommended at all. So the only solution? Stay home.

Sigh. I will miss the connections, and coffee's. The people, the meals, and the beautiful weather in Nelson. But I will pray that you all have a great time, and that God surprises you, in a most wonderful way.

Now, as it stands, I don't have to preach or lead or teach on Sunday morning, an I got my work done so that I could go. So I have a reading day tomorrow, a catch-up day, while everyone thinks I am in BC.

(I wonder if I could buy off my kids so that I could sleep in on Sunday ....)

...and tomorrow I'm off to our conference Annual Meeting in Nelson BC.

Four of us in a smaller car. Could be a bit of a long trip I think.
I hope for a bit of a change, a rest, the warm BC air, and interesting people to meet!

Ciao for now

Why will people sacrifice family and friends?

Today I visited an elderly lady in the hospital. She has suffered sudden illness and finds herself alone in a city hospital. She is conscious, but can't feed herself or control herself which is why they had to tie her arms down I suppose. She has a feeding tube entering her nose.

I walked up to her bed and she excitedly caught my eye, trying to communicate to me with words that would not come. She grabbed my fingers, like a baby would, and she held them tight, drifting in and out of sleep. The holding of my hands seemed to bring her comfort, she could rest.

I prayed over her and for her as she slept, oh how I prayed. I asked God to be with her, to be her comfort so she could sleep. I stayed with her a while and then slipped my hand from hers and left the room.

Now, I've been around enough to know that there are ALWAYS two sides to every story, but this one bugs me. She moved to town to be near her kids. Then, her kids moved away to work in other cities.


Why do we continue to disconnect and isolate ourselves from other human beings, especially those who love us and know us. We leave a trail of abandoned relationships in some mad dash for more. More work, more money, more stuff.

Come'on, there are some things we are wrong to sacrifice. We're trading our relationships and connections for cash and a better place in the sun.

Breakfast at Hepburn

My "Virtual" became "Reality" today, as I had breakfast with Leighton Tebay.

He was most gracious as I was over 30 min. late for our appointment, then I met an old friend at Bethany which made me even more late! To his credit, he took it all in stride.

He said that I didn't look like he thought I would, (I forgot to pursue that thought!!) But it was a surprise to me too as I, (at 6' 3") always expect people to be shorter than I am, and Leighton towers over me by a couple of inches. He is tall, dark, and handsome. He's a quick wit, and a deep thinker, and .... oh look at that, he put me on his blogroll!

Anyway, turns out he grew up a few blocks (and years) away from my old house in Saskatoon, he went to the same Elementary School and High School as I did, and was involved in some of the same things as I was in High School. Kinda twilight zone-ish I think.

I had a great time. Lost a couple of hours talking, listening, comparing. It was real good. One thing does concern me though, he doesn't seem to drink coffee, hmmm......