Off to hear God

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Well, the girls are off tomorrow, and, as it happens, so am I.

Leighton and a few others are getting away to listen and talk and pray and be still. Pray for us as we go.

Pray for Lauralea and the kids as they stay.

I'll be praying for you.

And if you think of it, give Lauralea a phone call!    (306-764-0701) 


Finally CHIC

After years of planning and fundraising, after prayer after prayer and bottle drive after silent auction, the kids are off to Knoxville Tennessee tomorrow for the national youth convention called, CHIC.


Johanna and Hillary fit the age requirements, so they are able to go.


Tomorrow at 9:30am we will meet the other 5 kids and their parents at the church. They will drive to Saskatoon for a 2pm flight and get into Tennessee in the early evening for 8 days of God and kids and noise and challenge.


Father, cover them as they travel, bless the border crossings with ease, provide for them what they need to see and hear from you. God, will you speak loudly to them, so that they can hear you through the noise and haze of their daily lives. Would you make this a milemarker in their lives, a place of settling some of the deeper issues of life.


Cover the place with your sweet presence. Release your ministering spirits to guide and keep them safe, blessed, and ministered to. Return them to us bigger people, bolder people, people who have given you room in their lives for the amazing and awesome Glory of God to dwell.


Please Lord, speak into each one of their hearts, in a way that they will know it's you, and you alone. Create the connections of the bloodlines. Create a place to meet with them, and love them.





Well well well, isn't this a fine how-do-you-do.

I've been planning to head out on retreat with LT and the boys for a couple of months now, really looking forward to it. I'm going up there tomorrow.

The Crap?

I just got a call from my brother in Saskatoon. He has a free ticket to Crosby, Stills, and Nash, TOMORROW NIGHT in Saskatoon.

That was a hard test.

I hope I passed.


1 Trillion Dollars

Linea writes: "We received a summary of a speach given by Joan Chittister from a friend of ours. Wow, it contains a powerful message!"


She ain't kidding. The part that caught my eye is what you can do with 1 Trillion Dollars.

I quote: 

Churches minister every day to hurting families on the verge of financial collapse, she said, but no one speaks about the loss of industries to Third World countries whose people are reduced to industrial slavery.

Seldom mentioned are seniors losing Medicare benefits; the one in six Americans who can't afford insurance; the fact that more money is put into weapons of mass destruction than in human development.

"Let's put it this way," Chittister said. "If you were to count one trillion $1 bills, one per second, 24 hours a day, it would take you 32 years to finish counting. But with that trillion dollars, you could buy a $100,000 house for every family in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Iowa and you could put a $10,000 car in the garage of every one of those homes. Then there would be enough money left to build 250
$10 million libraries and 250 $10 million hospitals for every city in those states. And after that, there would still be enough money left over to put in the bank and, from the interest alone, pay 10,000 nurses and 10,000 teachers and still give a $5,000 bonus to ever family in those five states. That's what one trillion dollars will buy in this country today.

"But Star Wars, the 'death star' weapon being sold as a defense system but which most credible scientists say can't possibly work, now - this morning, while we sit here - has already cost more than that. And, the Brookings Institution tells us, nuclear weaponry alone already carries a price tag of over $5 trillion."

Such demons, Chittister told her listeners, are not driven out by insight, vision, contemplation and compassion, nor by organizational niceties, canon law or clericalism.

"This kind is driven out only by prayer," she said, "by 'putting on the mind of Christ,' not by putting on more titles, or roles, or uniforms, or offices, or money. This kind is driven out by soul-sightedness, only by risk, only by courage, only by a care that supersedes cost, only by a heart devoted to causes rather than to symptoms.




Mick @ 60

So, Mick Jagger turned 60 this weekend.

Hmm. My mom is 60 (sorry mom!), and she doesn't move like the narrow hipped, big lipped wonder does.

I'm turning 40 (may God help us) next week, and I can hardly move around the stage AND SING, when I'm worship leading. Mick runs around the stage, singing and dancing (or whatever it is that he does).

Well, God Bless him anyway, and may he live and sing long enough to move around the stage with a walker. That will be something to see!

I like his latest CD, especially this song.


Oh joy, love you bring
Oh joy make my heart sing

And I drove across the desert
I was in my four wheel drive
I was looking for the Buddha
And I saw Jesus Christ

He smiled and shrugged his shoulder
And lit a cigarette
Said jump for joy
Make some noise
Remember what I said

My soul is a like a ruby
And I threw it in the earth
But now my hands are bleeding
From scrabbling in the dirt
And I look up to the heavens
And a light is on my face
I never never never
Thought I'd find a state of grace

Hey joy
Love you bring
Oh joy
Make my heart sing
Oh joy
Joy in everything

Joy joy joy oh joy
Joy joy joy oh joy

I was drowning in the darkness
As I drove down to the sea

And I looked up to the mountain
And the light burst over me
Joy joy joy oh oh joy

You make me sing

Oh joy
The love you bring
You make me sing
Oh joy
In everything

Jump for joy

When was the last time you jumped for joy? Better try it today, before you end up using a walker.



Round pastors in a square holed church

Monday, July 28, 2003

In a comment left on "Leading Dying Churches"  Leighton Trebay wrote:

I've had a handful of my friends go in to youth ministry. Most of them came out spiritually compromised and deeply disillusioned with church. I know these people weren't lazy and I'm not sure bad pastoral theology would kill you in 18 months. In my denomination it seems about 1/2 of the people who try to get in to pastoral ministry are out forever within 3 years.

I can't speak to the issues of pastoral laziness because I haven't really seen things from that side. If pastors are lazy, they sure don't let me know, they all seem to be quite busy to me. Maybe that is part of the problem. Church does make it difficult for people to be real, and pastors are often very isolated people. Combine that with unrealistic expectations from church people and throw in a little politics and it seems clear to me how that can be a dangerous spiritual environment.

In an odd twist I find that the people who subscribe to modern leadership ideals are the ones who survive in ministry. I can't speak for their spirituality, but their survival is evident. From my perspective I don't think I could survive in ministry without compromising on my ideals and going for the J. Maxwell kind of stuff.

Your thoughts?


I think that much of the trouble comes from expectations placed on pastors.

I agree that I think we've exchanged our understanding and desire for a pastor, for one of a "Leader." This may also be as a result of creating large churches.

I suspect that Pastors/shepherds hearts were made to care and help a few, some, not 500 or 1000 people. The large churches needed managers, or "Leaders" -administrative guys with a heart for Jesus.

Since larger is always better (Just check your spam email to confirm this!) the smaller churches began looking for the guys who whould help them get bigger. Pastor/Leaders. Expectations were created.

And, since pastors/shepherds are concerned for the 12, or whatever the small number may be, they couldn't fit the expectations any longer, and fall away.

"North American Evangelicalism" has geared it's pastoral ministry towards "Pastor/Leaders" as opposed to "Pastor/shepherds." The stress of being gifted as a pastor/shepherd and trying to live in that shadow can be unbelieveable.

And, as Leighton concludes; "Combine that with unrealistic expectations from church people and throw in a little politics and it seems clear to me how that can be a dangerous spiritual environment."

Burnout is the next stop on that train ride.


The work's never done

Sunday, July 27, 2003
You know how, when you're a pastor, and you're at a get together where no one knows you're a pastor, and you're all having a great time laughing, talking, etc. Then someone mentions that you're a pastor, everything suddenly changes, and the party kinda crashes??


Well ok, maybe you don't know how that happens. But it sure does, I assure you!!


Well, a similar problem develops when you're a Doctor, it seems.


At supper tonight at Linea's home, one of the attendees wanted her ears checked, so Linea's husband, Dr. Leo, offered!! All was well, in fact he reported being able to see Linea when he looked through her right ear!!


It was a great evening. Thanks guys.







On Call

Saturday, July 26, 2003
I haven't mentioned it yet but this week I've been the On Call Chaplin at the hospital, evenings and weekends.

Tonight around 11:45 pm a call came in so I got up and headed out.

Turned out to be a man in his 50's. Him and his wife were at a wedding reception, dancing the night away. Suddenly, he collapsed into her arms, falling to the ground.

He never made it.

He lived 2 years longer than the Doctors said he would. And, they lived life as fully as they could.

I prayed with his wife and friends and listened to them, gently coaxing the stories and memories to the surface.

We waited for the kids who had a ways to travel. Then we told them the news. That never gets easy.

More friends arrived, beginning to care for them. The farming community is very close here. They are like a family. Already they were telling his wife that they would get the crops off the field in autumn.

And after assuring them of my prayers, I slipped into the night.
You know, leaving this world in the arms of the one you love is not a bad way to go at all.

I think it's time I learned how to dance.

Evening Prayers

Tonights prayers are from the website Universalis. There are set scriptures and prayers for three times during the day. The Compline (Night Prayer) is one that is spoken in the evening. I like to do it just before bed.

If you're not familiar with it, give it a try. Read it, pray it to God, who will hear you. Written prayers can hold a wealth of grace and insight, giving us words when our own words fail us. Join me...


O God, come to my aid.
O Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
 as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
 world without end.
Amen. Alleluia.

Psalm 4 

Take pity on me, Lord, and listen to my prayer. Alleluia.
When I called out, he heard me, the God of my righteousness.
When I was in trouble, you gave me freedom:
 now, take pity on me and listen to my prayer.

Sons of men, how long will your hearts be heavy?
 Why do you seek for vain things?
 Why do you run after illusions?
Know that the Lord has done marvellous things
 for those he has chosen.
When I call upon the Lord, he will hear me.

Be vigorous, but do not sin:
 speak in the silence of your heart,
 in your bed, be at rest.
Offer righteousness as a sacrifice,
 and put your trust in the Lord.

Many are saying, Who will give us good things?
Let your face shine on us, Lord,
 let the light of your face be a sign.
You have given me a greater joy
 than the others receive
 from abundance of wheat and of wine.
In peace shall I sleep, Lord, in peace shall I rest:
 firm in the hope you have given me.

Take pity on me, Lord, and listen to my prayer. Alleluia.

Psalm 133 (134) 
Bless the Lord through the night. Alleluia.
Come, bless the Lord,
 all you servants of the Lord
 who stand through the night in the house of the Lord!
Lift up your arms to the sanctuary
 and bless the Lord!

May the Lord bless you from Sion ?
 the Lord, who made heaven and earth.


Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.
- Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.
You have redeemed us, Lord, God of faithfulness.
- Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
- Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.

Keep us safe, Lord, while we are awake, and guard us as we sleep, so that we can keep watch with Christ and rest in peace. Alleluia.
Now, Master, you let your servant go in peace.
 You have fulfilled your promise.
My own eyes have seen your salvation,
 which you have prepared in the sight of all peoples.
A light to bring the Gentiles from darkness;
 the glory of your people Israel.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
 as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
 world without end.

Come to us, Lord, this night, and give us the strength to rise at dawn rejoicing in the resurrection of your Anointed, who lives and reigns for ever and ever, Amen.

May the almighty Lord grant us a quiet night and a perfect end.


And may God grant you a quiet night and His perfect peace.


Ahhhhh BBC 3

I just spent the most relaxing hour of this entire summer.

Lauralea and I, outside with our feet up, in the shade, drinking some tea. Ahhhhh, that's wonderful. But then it turned into a piece of heaven.

We had the radio with us outside and were listening to our own radio station, FriesenFM 97.3 (This is a small transmitter plugged into the computer, broadcasting to a range of about half a block around our home!)

The heaven part? We were listening to BBC 3 which was broadcasting a live concert from The Proms, in Royal Albert Hall, in London.

Sitting in the shade, sipping a cool drink, listening to a live concert on the other side of the world, in Stereo. Ahhhhh, I love this technology!!!


911 blogging

Friday, July 25, 2003

In the spirit of Jordon Cooper's Night Cop Blogging, I bring you this blog.


About 15 minutes ago (1:10 am) after failure at falling asleep, I got up and wandered towards the kitchen thinking perhaps my inability to sleep was due to my hungry stomach.


As I passed by the living room, my eye caught movement out the large window. I did a double take and saw that huge columns of smoke were rolling into the night sky. It looked like a dumpster was on fire across the street at the rink. I grabbed the phone and called 911. Then followed a bit of an interrogation by the operator as she dispatched the Fire Service.


Her: "What's the nature of your problem?"


Me: (In a strong male voice) "fffiiirre"


Her: "You need the fire department?"


Me: "Uh huh."


Her: "What's the location of the fire?"


Me: "East End Rink, across from... from... Hey Laura, what's our address?"


Her: "Is there any danger to nearby buildings?"


Me: "Nuh uh"


Her: "What's your name?"


Me: "R a n d a l l  F r i e s e n"


Her: "And your phone number?"


Me: "Um 793 49 3.... Laura, what's our phone num..."


Her: "They're on the way and should be there shortly."


Me: "Thanks"




Well, it wasn't that bad, but I did have to work to remember my phone number.


We pulled up a couple of chairs to the front window and, in 5 to 7 minutes, we had a textbook example on how to extinguish a dumpster fire.


We now return you to our regularly scheduled blogging.


Good night.


What Protocol does Heaven run?

Thursday, July 24, 2003
I just reread the last entry, and it just struck me. I've always assumed it, but I suddenly wondered, does God read internet pages?


Just wanted to say thanks to those of you who may have been praying for us lately.


The heaviness of a few days ago, when I had had enough, seems to have lifted allot. There is a sense of confidence around the corner, not fear. There is peace, not turmoil. So thanks, you are making a difference.


Speaking of prayer, last Friday or so, Toni left this message on the Comments:

"God bless you and I'll be back in a couple of weeks to bring havoc to your blog!"

To which I replied:

"Have a good one. We'll pray for you."

So hey, let's pray for him and his family, on holiday in Greece I believe. (Try not to pray with a covetous heart.  I know but try anyway!! :-))


Father, thanks that Toni and his family could take this break this summer. Thanks for blessing them with this trip. Now bless them even more with your presence. Open their eyes to see the kinds of things that Paul saw and loved when he walked those streets. Open their hearts to the secrets you want to show them, tell them the things you want them to hear.


Bless their day to day connections with one another with the oil of patience and love. Give them big eyes to drink in all the sights, and mouths able to taste the treats of Greece.


Grant them safety as they travel, and make provision for each and every need they may have these days.


Most of all, grant them the sweetness of your closeness. Holy Spirit, be all over them, keeping, blessing, watching, loving, uniting them as a family. And give them a sense of rest, ready to come home, ready to pick up where they left off, ready to go again, in your strength.


Just Bless em Father.





Wednesday, July 23, 2003

I've been working this week on a major paper I need to complete to become a Covenant pastor (Minister). It's my last piece of work and the church has given me a reading week to work on it.

It's Wednesday night, late, and I just finished the first part of it, the Autobiographical Section. I've got alot more to write for the Theological/Doctrinal section of the paper, but everythings a bit fuzzy right now. I'll go home and sleep then see how much more I can do on this.

It's been so hot this week that I have trouble concentrating, and writing. Tonight it started to cool down nicely, so I headed to the office to work. I've got a good start on it now, and it's about 4 am, so I'm off for home.



Randall has left the building.



Had a bit of a long, hot day have we?

Click on this link and go to the BBC 3 site and listen to tonight's Evensong, recorded in Eaton College.

It's the perfect ending to a long, long day.

Let's just say I have it on right now. It's beautiful.



Just about enough

Tuesday, July 22, 2003
Lauralea and I have been back and forthing it for some time about moving to a different house.


The fact is that we like where we live. Hunt's Fine Foods is near by, Micah's school is across the street, and it's close to the church. We like the back yard, with only one close neighbour, the rest is park like and nature-ly peaceful. But growing four big kids in a 800 and some square foot home with four bedrooms is well a bit tense at times. So far our attitude has been, let's just hold on till they get through with us and are on their way in the world. This has been enough to keep us content, till now.


I'm getting less and less content at the direction Prince Albert and especially the East Flat section of town is going.


In the past years here we've had four bikes stolen, one huge Canadian flag, along with it's flagpole taken from our yard!!! Our ladder is gone and some other things went away too. Fine, I've put that behind me, I think.


Our girls get verbally accosted doing their School's fire Hall run where they have to run along the beautiful riverbank and back to the school. They're told to ignore the "abusers."


A couple of weeks ago, after I was in bed, I was disturbed by a noise and got up, only to find a couple of guys sneaking up to our front door with a bag of liquid of some kind. (I hope it was water, think it was paint, and I don't even want to think about if it was gasoline.) I saw them sneaking up to the front door, I flipped on the light and swung the door open and boy howdy they headed for the hills.


Last week I awoke to find our Patio table pulled up to Hillary's window, the one she sleeps under. But the legs fell off the table in the move so I guess that plan was thwarted


And, last night, I was sleeping lightly, (as I'm doing allot of these days, for these very reasons) listening to the outside noises. At two am there are kids out on the street in front of our house, exchanging small packets and placing them in their pockets.


Now today, I received word that a friend of mine was downtown and got the crap beaten out of his face. The ambulance had to be called.


Then Micah told me, as I was driving him to play at a friends place, that in the morning when he was on his way home from "Math Camp" a guy stopped him and asked him where 7th street was. Micah didn't know and then the guy asked him if he had any money!?!?


I'm very frustrated right now. I don't want to be chased out of a previously good neighbourhood. We are considered a part of this community. We fit here and belong here. We are known here by name and what we do and have done. Do we become closed and fenced? Do we abandon the place to the power of the few?


I've got allot of questions right now, and not allot of clear answers.


Update: Ok, after finally falling asleep sometime after 2:30 am, by 3 am a car goes screaming down the street, screeching around our corner, to be followed closely by a cop car with lights and siren, going like stink. So now we've got exciting high speed chases too!


Take a trip: Get new glasses.

The real voyage of discovery
consists not in seeking new landscapes,
But in having new eyes.
~  Marcel Proust


Sask. Bloggers unite to take over the World

Well, last night Lauralea and I got to the SaskaBlogging event of  the year, BlogParty2003. It was held at the World Headquarters of and it was a real blast. It was great to finally meet some of the people behind some of those deep, insightful, (though sometimes off in left field!) blog entries.


One interesting thing was that the faces I had given these bloggers in my head, didn't match up to their real faces. I guess they'll have to undergo reconstructive surgery.


And if you take a dictionary and look up the word Hospitality, you'll find a picture of Jordon and Wendy, standing there together. They were great. Thanks again.


The Community continues to grow and expand.


The day at a glance

Sunday, July 20, 2003

It's about 7:40 pm and I have a headache as big as all outdoors.


Sundays are so tiring to me, I really notice a difference when I don't have to do anything for Sunday morning service. Those few and far between days find me at church, worshipping the God I love, chatting in relaxed tones with others along the way. I get home after church with enough energy to enjoy my afternoon, what ever it holds.


When I preach or lead worship, my day starts early. I want to get to the church building and spend some alone time with God. My own worship time if you will. Then we practice with the band and get ready for worship. Finally, we draw all the pieces from all the people together to create this moment or hour of worship. It's good but usually leaves me exhausted.


So, tonight I have a huge tired headache.


Anyway, this morning was cool. I wore some old jeans and a tee-shirt and talked about culture and how will we ever reach different cultures if we demand that they accept our culture, along with our Jesus.


I felt allot of freedom and comfort, I wasn't distracted by the comfortlessness of my dress clothes. It was sweet. A side benefit is that in my jeans, I can kneel for a long time and not worry about the knees!! Today I even did some serious carpet time and relaxed in what God was doing, because I wasn't distracted by my clothes. It was very good. I warned the church that it felt good....


Then, Steve and Lisa came over for lunch. We made and ate pizza, and had a good time.


It was really a good day, now if I could only shake this pain on the neck.


And now for something completely Larry Normanish

Saturday, July 19, 2003

This old one from Larry Norman has been rattling round my head for the past few days. Maybe if I get it out, it will move on.


Larry Norman, circa 1973, The Great American Novel

I was born and raised an orphan in a land that once was free
in a land that poured its love out on the moon.
And I grew up in the shadows of your silos filled with grain
but you never helped me fill my empty spoon.
And when I was ten you murdered law with courtroom politics
and you learned to make a lie sound just like truth.
But I know you better now and I don't fall for all your tricks
and you've lost the one advantage of my youth.
You kill a black man at midnight just for talking to your daughter,
then you make his wife your mistress and you leave her without water.
And the sheet you wear upon your face is the sheet your children sleep on,
at every meal you say a prayer you don't believe but still you keep on.
And your money says, "In God we trust", but its against the law to pray in school
You say we beat the Russians to the moon, and I say you starved your children to do it.
You are far across the ocean in a war that's not your own
and while you're winning theirs you're gonna lose the one at home.
Do you really think the only way to bring about peace
is to sacrifice your children and kill all your enemies?
The politicians all make speeches while the newsmen all take notes
And they exaggerate the issue as they shove it down our throats.
Is it really up to them whether this country sinks or floats?
Well, I wonder who would lead us if none of us would vote.
Well my phone is tapped and my lips are chapped from whispering through the fence
You know every move I make or is that just coincidence?
Will you try to make my way of life a little less like jail
if I promise to make tapes and slides and send them through the mail?

You say all men are equal, all men are brothers,
then why are the rich more equal than others?
Don't ask me for the answers, I've only got one
that a man leaves his darkness when he follows the Son.


Some Soccer Saturday

Well. Steve and Lisa, our youth worker and his family were moving today. They have purchased a house and today is moving day. I got there around, 11 am to help a bit and discovered that I was the only non-family member there. There wasn't anyone from the church helping either. I was a bit embarrassed and sad. Nothing says "You belong with us" like someone helping you move house. It is a great way to show commitment, love and all that other stuff that sez you're a part of this community.


I got to the office and discovered that my planning for tomorrow wasn't going to work afterall. The group I was hoping would sing, are not able to do it for us. But God was there too and another idea fell into place. I've been thinking about culture allot and how there are many more cultures or subcultures around us today than there were in the 50's or 60's. How will we reach those cultures with the good news? By asking them to change to our culture? I hope not.


Let's just say that tomorrow's service involves my worst looking jeans and tee-shirt...


Anyway after a few hours I got tomorrow on the right path, then Micah and I headed of to a Soccer game. I've a friend who plays for the Prince Albert Celtics, a girls team and today they were playing the Regina team. Both teams were undefeated, till today. I'm pleased to announce that the Celtics are still undefeated!!


I really quite enjoy Soccer (Ok Football for our friends across the Big Water) There just isn't allot to watch up here in Prince Albert. And it's an easy game to understand! (Not like that Cricket thing with the flat bats and no gloves!! I don't get that at all, but I do try.) You kick a ball into the other teams goal. Easy peasy.


Suppers calling, I better go. I think it's turkey, and you know how I feel about Turkey.


Psalm 27

Friday, July 18, 2003

Let these words wash over you as you prepare for rest tonight. Drink them in, let them comfort you, bless you, and give you peace. His peace.

A psalm of David.

    The LORD is my light and my salvation--
        so why should I be afraid?
    The LORD protects me from danger--
        so why should I tremble?
    When evil people come to destroy me,
        when my enemies and foes attack me,
        they will stumble and fall.
    Though a mighty army surrounds me,
        my heart will know no fear.
    Even if they attack me,
        I remain confident.
    The one thing I ask of the LORD--
        the thing I seek most--
    is to live in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,
        delighting in the LORD's perfections
        and meditating in his Temple.
    For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
        he will hide me in his sanctuary.
        He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
    Then I will hold my head high,
        above my enemies who surround me.
    At his Tabernacle I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
        singing and praising the LORD with music.
    Listen to my pleading, O LORD.
        Be merciful and answer me!
    My heart has heard you say, "Come and talk with me."
        And my heart responds, "LORD, I am coming."
    Do not hide yourself from me.
        Do not reject your servant in anger.
        You have always been my helper.
    Don't leave me now; don't abandon me,
        O God of my salvation!
    Even if my father and mother abandon me,
        the LORD will hold me close.
    Teach me how to live, O LORD.
        Lead me along the path of honesty,
        for my enemies are waiting for me to fall.
    Do not let me fall into their hands.
        For they accuse me of things I've never done
        and breathe out violence against me.
    Yet I am confident that I will see the LORD's goodness
        while I am here in the land of the living.
    Wait patiently for the LORD.
        Be brave and courageous.
        Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.

Good night, and be blessed.



Dog days of Summer

Thursday, July 17, 2003
Well, we are done with July 17. Hard to believe that we are so far into summer.


The girls are getting ready to head out with for a huge youth gathering called CHIC down in Tennessee. (They think it's humid and hot here! Just wait till they hit the South!)


And I'm getting ready for next week. I've got a two week study leave and I need to finish a major study paper. It's my final effort for being a Covenant Pastor. I need to do the paper, and have two more interviews, and I'm in. A covenant pastor. The course load has been enjoyable, it's taken me back into the classroom, which I haven't been in for a few years, so it's been good to be back in school. Having said that, it'll be good to be done.


The second week I'm trying to retreat a bit. In Winnipeg I was able to get away for a few days at a time just to fast and pray and wait on God. It was in those times that I experienced God most profoundly. I'm going to try to get away for a few days.


In August it's holiday time. I don't think we're going anywhere, but it will be SO GOOD to be out of the office and the pulpit etc. etc. It feels like I'm just hanging on till...  I hope the break will be enough. Enough to fill my tank. Enough to make me want to go back. Just enough, you know?


In August I will also be moving on from the age of 39, to the next one. I seem to be finding this one particularly difficult. I'm not sure why. I started in the ministry in my early 20's and was always considered older than I really was. I always disliked that, people thinkin I was older than I really was. I was mature enough to pastor at the age of 23, but I was still 23. Now that I'm getting older, and have been hanging around Lauralea for 20some years, I'm starting to loosen up, and relax a bit. I can't do it all, and there may be some value in enjoying the ride, not just goin for the gold all the time.  I never really thought this pastoring gig would turn into a lifetime thing you know? And, I suppose it's not a lifetime yet but, you know.


(And Sylvia, don't even think of putting 40 penguins on my lawn this year!!!!!)


So, that the dope, todate.


Blessings on you all tonight.


Morning Prayer

Wednesday, July 16, 2003
One of the hardest things I do during my week is the GateCrashers Prayer Time, Wednesday mornings at 6:30 am.


Tuesday night is usually worship practice, so I get home later on, and I'm not able to sleep much before midnight. So when the 5:30 alarm goes off, it's really a difficult thing to crawl out of bed, to go and pray.


Still, I do it. I do it because I believe in it. I have seen amazing things happen as a result of prayer. Before my eyes, the sick have become well, the nearly dead have walked again. Lost children have been found, the hungry have received food.


The spiritually dead have come back to life again. The enemy of my soul has been pushed back into his place. The lost have found hope in Jesus.


The bills have been paid. My deathly sick children have been returned to me whole. I was given a car. Lauralea and I travelled to the United Kingdom.


I was given the love of a good woman, blessed with four children who are mostly a blessing. And I get to work with His people.


All as a result of prayer.


This morning, only Linea and I showed up for prayer, a rare occurrence (Not Linea coming, but only 2 people out!!) And we were able to pray. Allot of people got prayed for today. While they were waking from their sleep, we were calling out to God on their behalf, and he heard us. He's good that way.


Wednesday mornings are always hard to get started with, but I'm always glad I come.


Someone once said that "History belongs to the Intercessors." I have come to believe that this is true.




Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Our worst sin is prayerlessnss, because of what it says about who we really think is in charge of the church and the universe. God save us from the people who would renew the church and bring justice in the world without praying. Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power, they are more dangerous than the wrongs they would set right. They will replace old evils with new evils, themselves. -- P. T. Forsyth



Another one bites the dust

Monday, July 14, 2003
Well that wedding went well.


The groom had the rings, he arrived on time, in a car that worked. The bride was stunning, radiant, composed. The Maid of Honour was a little jittery, we nearly lost her midway through the service, but she held on, bless her heart.


The Groom was the most nervous of the whole gang. Just before we went up he asked me to repeat the whole service order because he just went blank, again!


We got the whole gang up to the front, after an unsettled nervous silence from the CD player. (It wouldn't play upon request!!) And I led them through the event. It was fun. They were able to concentrate on each other, and that was good.


After telling the best man to take the rings out of their boxes before we went up, so he wouldn't drop them up front, I fumbled and nearly dropped them, as I was receiving them.


All in all, it was a beautiful day.


In a few minutes we're off to the reception. Cocktails at 6 and supper at 7, then a dance to follow. I'm good to go on the cocktails (What kind of a name is that?!?) but, forget about the dancing!! Period.


I've got to remember to drop off the papers in the mail on the way out.




Do you ever get so tired that you can't sleep?


Last night, I fell into bed, every part of my body aching, hurting, tired. My muscles all tense, ready for more. I was exhausted.


I expected to fall and fall hard into a deep wonderful sleep. But I couldn't find the way.


Eyes closed, comfortable bed, and I couldn't sleep. Weird.


I watched a little TV then tried again. Thankfully it came.


Today I've got a wedding to perform (Is perform the right word here?)


So I'm off to do all the paperwork. More later.


Ding dong, Jehovah's Witnesses calling

Saturday, July 12, 2003

"They" were at my door again this morning.

They shared some scripture, placed it within my context as a caring father, encouraged me, left me some stuff to read, and were gone. Nice job, evangelistically speaking.

They "Remembered" my name from the last time they went past the house. They "Remembered" what I had been doing, how my kids were involved, what they had shared with me the last time. Last time was last year!!!

That blew it right there. "AH HAH" I wanted to holler "You just blew it!" "You're not a caring friend who dropped in to see how things were going, you're keeping notes on me and my family. You've got records on my choices and interests, my name and my kids. I'm a number in your book, your database, not your buddy!"

At least, that's what I was gonna say, then they were gone.


A lesson to me, on how not to save souls.


Tears of the Sun

I saw this movie yesterday. I needed Kleenex.


The reviews it received when it first came out were less than favourable, I think around 36% of reviewers thought it was any good. But then I looked at their reviews. Most were about the quality of the movie making etc. Toss that lot out.


Some of the reviews were against the pro-American, black Africa cheering US policy, political kinds of views the movie espoused. And, I can agree with allot of that.


But, the biggest impact for me was the story, the visuals, the images. We hear these things happen on the dark continent, but we never have a front row seat. And yes, I understand that some of the plot and setup for the movie were just to unreal to believe, but I'm willing to accept that. The trade off was seeing and hearing some of the things that do happen there.


Of course, the thing that brings it all home is the fact that I have some of those Africans as friends. One still has the physical bullet wounds and the emotional scars of a husband shot in front of her. We're still trying to get her 12 yr old daughter out of Africa.


I would like to show this movie to the church. With all it's language and violence and evil. With it's ability to twist and make the wrong seem right and the right turns into wrong. I would like them to catch a glimpse of what our brothers and sisters are living through, over there.


Maybe it would motivate us to action.


Prince William I presume?

Thursday, July 10, 2003
Alright you flower people out there (and I mean that in the most positive sense possible)


P WillyIs this a picture of a Prince William, or not?


As you may remember, I don't have a green thumb (remember, I kill cactuses, cacti or whatever), and I really don't mind taking pictures of them, but when I gotta name them, well that's to crazy to even consider. I watch Alan Titchmarsh on the "Ground Force" show spew out Latin names of things and my jaw just drops open. Now that's amazing.


Anyway, anybody tell me, is this a perfect example of a Prince William, or not.


Leave your comments.


Gramma's everywhere

Weeeell, looks like Linea is a Grandma!! Woooo Hoooo!!!!  In a related story,  that would make Leo a Grandpa!!

In an unrelated story, Lauralea went to talk with the neighbour lady and she was introduced by the neighbours little boy, to his mom, as "Micah's Grandma"

Intensive care is continuing.


What kind of an animal are you?!

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Well well well, at least I'm not a bunny.

What Is Your Animal Personality?

brought to you by Quizilla


Go take the test, and leave a comment with what you are. I especially want to hear from the gerbils, bunnys, and unicorns out there.

Lunch is over, back to work.



Que the theme music from The Twilight Zone

Did I tell you what happened at the funeral the other day?

When the casket was being closed, the funeral director took some of the roses and the family placed them inside the casket, a normal occurrence.

They took one rose, more of a bud than a flower, and placed it in her folded hands. They then watched in some surprise, as the Rose "bud" opened up it´s petals.

The more I´m in this "business", the less I really know.

"Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now."

I'm getting Crabb-y

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

In a recent Christianity Today article about Larry Crabb, I read something that was exactly what I have been feeling like. I've taken it from this article


Several years ago, when Crabb was reading Evangelicalism and the Future of Christianity (IVP, 1995) by Oxford University professor of historical theology Alister McGrath, a warning leapt off the page: "Evangelicalism is the slumbering giant of the world of spirituality. It needs to wake up." At the time, Crabb was losing faith in what he had experienced as "the standard 'evangelical' means of spiritual growth."

"Daily devotions, no drinking, faithful church attendance, busyness with church programs, performance-oriented Sunday worship and preaching," he says, didn't lead him to "a dynamic enjoyment of God." In fact, they seemed to be interfering. "I was finding water for my thirsty soul in classic Catholic writings."

But reading McGrath gave him a renewed vigor to explore evangelical essentials. Soon, they became the building blocks in his uniquely evangelical basis for spiritual direction. These days, Crabb is tugging at the sleeve of the sleeping giant.

He goes on to talk about  Spiritual Direction as one way to grow and mature in the faith, in Jesus.

I wonder if we haven't made some of these things our faith? Daily devotions, no drinking, faithful church attendance, busyness with church programs, performance-oriented Sunday worship and preaching. Have we preached these things so much as to make them our faith? The only expression of our faith?

And now I meet people who believe passionately in these things, and practice them "Religiously" thinking that these kinds of activities are the way to God. That if you do them, you are a Christian, your ticket is stamped and you're ready to go.

Crabb is calling us back to relationship, connectedness, with God, and with each other, through to Jesus Christ and God.

I think Paul agreed. Colossians 2 says:

16Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you for the prize. Such a person goes into great detail about what he has seen, and his unspiritual mind puffs him up with idle notions. 19He has lost connection with the Head, from whom the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.

The growth and life we are to experience comes to us from God, through the joint and ligaments and sinews that exist within the Body of Christ. What are those joint and ligaments and sinews? In the human body they are the points at which two body parts connect. In the body of Christ, they are also the points at which the two body parts connect. That is called the "Relationship," our connection with each other. Through our connections, we experience the growth God has for us.

So, let's have done with the things that appear spiritual, and move to him that is the real thing, Jesus Christ.


Food like it was meant to be eaten

Sunday, July 06, 2003
Tonight we went to a friends place for supper.


My oh my oh my, she really put it on. Light mashed potatoes with turkey gravy that melted in your mouth. Mixed peas and carrots that tasted like peas and carrots. Dressing and cranberry sauce, salad and buns. But the best? The best was the Turkey she roasted, it was perfect, just the way I love it. I ate as much as I could. It was an amazing thing of beauty. Then came dessert and tea.


It was, without a doubt, the best turkey dinner I've had in a very very long time. She expressed her love for us in deep caring ways, and I went away feeling absolutely cared for.


It is in the pleasure of enjoying just such a meal, that I become keenly aware of God's love for me and his blessing on my life. To enjoy the taste of something, what a simple yet profound blessing.


Thank you for loving us so well tonight J.


Remember the Palmers

It's been awhile since I came across the Palmers. Remember them? Mark, Jennifer, and Micah. Jennifer has cancer, and it seems to be progressing;

The scans showed that the cancer has doubled in size, and has spread further in a very aggressive way. Because of this, Jennifer will not be continuing her current form of treatment. The doctor also did not want her to continue eating any longer, because of the damage it could cause to her digestive system. So yesterday, Jennifer was admitted to the hospital to begin receiving TPN, which is nutrition that is fed through the central line in her chest.

They celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary a few days ago. I guess little Micah continues to grow up with this all going on.

Take a minute and call out their names to God, right now, right where you are at. And be bold, ask God to put His hands on her and heal her.


Janet's Garden

Saturday, July 05, 2003

Well you'll be pleased to know (well, you may be pleased to know) that I've been working on this hobby thing. As per our previous discussion, I'm trying out photography.


This Canada Day, (July 1) we went over to some friends of ours, Phil and Janet's house for a while. Poor Phil was on a business trip to that poor, broken-down, tired place called Victoria. So, while Lauralea and Janet were inside, I was in Janet's garden happily snapping away.


These then are the first official results of my official hobby. (I'm feelin relaxed already!! Ahhhh) Appropriately entitled, Janet's Garden.



Farters Beware

Friday, July 04, 2003

K, you think you've heard it all? Noooooo you haven't. Ananova reports this:

School bans farting in public

A Chinese school has introduced a new rule to ban pupils from farting in public.

Children caught breaking wind at Hu Zhuang Elementary School in Beijing are fined about 50p.

Zhang, a school teacher, said: " We use the regulation to help students get rid of their bad habits. And nobody has been fined so far."

However, not all of the teachers agree with the new rule, reports Sina News.

Gao, a senior teacher, said: "To form good habits is important. But according to Department of Education regulations, schools have no right to fine."

The school has also introduced rules forbidding pupils to drop litter or cough without covering their mouths.


I know some people who could benefit from a semester or two at Hu Zhuang High!

Thanks Darren for the link. (I think)


All is well

Well, we made it through the day, allot tired, but good.


The funeral went well. The family came for a viewing at 11 am, and after that I had prepared a small communion service just for them. It was kinda nice.


We got out to the Cemetery and I wasn't able to communicate with the piper when I wanted him to start, exactly, so I sent a funeral director to tell him to hit it, when the balloons were released into the air. Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.  I was trying to complete a statement about what the balloons actually represented in the whole thing, and The Piper just let er rip. I'm yelling this sentimental stuff as loud as I can, while still trying to sound sincere. I wondered what he was doing so far away, then he started playing. Oh brother, it was loud.


The kids released the balloons into the air, and they went into the trees! They fought for freedom, most got loose and headed for the sky as The Piper wailed away over yonder on Amazing Grace.


But all in all it was a nice day. This is the part of pastoring that I like, walking with people through these difficult moments of life. They are moments when you can make a huge impact on peoples lives and they will remember you, for good and for bad. I've had some real neat opportunities to speak into peoples lives as a result of meeting them through a wedding or funeral.


So, that's today.


Tomorrow I gotta get ready for Sunday. This week left me short one day, plus the funeral I worked on, now leaves me with tomorrow to plan Sunday. Hmm, it's Communion Sunday so I won't have lot's of time to preach. Where should we go...


Well well well.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Cool story of the day?

Turns out that my fuel pump was shot on the car, the fuel pump they just replaced on the car in May! So they put a new one in the car, no cost, no charges pending, gratis.

That's $500 ahead of the game. And most of that cost is for labour. So, good on Perry's Automotive.

Now, if I could just put that $500 which I gained today, against the plastic on which I placed the original, I'd really be ahead of the game.

Now, back to the Balloons and the Piper...


Welcome to summer

Wednesday, July 02, 2003
Life seems to be ripping by this week. Monday and Tuesday off, well, practically off.

There was a death of an elderly church member who hasn't been at church since I've been here in the past five years. I've visited her at her home and at the hospital, but Friday she finished her course. So, I've been meeting with the family.

I've never done a funeral with a Balloon Service before, or a Piper, but it's all gonna happen this week.

In unrelated news, I've been sleeping fitfully, restlessly. It's been feeling like something's in the air, something foreboding. So I've been praying in the evenings and nights. Just kinda laying in bed, unable to sleep, trying to find words for the burden I'm feeling, calling out to God for safety, protection, peace.

Last night I was still at it till, oh 2am ish, and fell into a light sleep till just before 4am. At 4, fire trucks started shooting past our house (Do they really need full sirens in the middle of the night???) Lauralea got up and tried to see, they stopped near our house. It looked like they were working on the school, our school, Princess Margaret School. So I got up and threw on some pants and a shirt and went out into the misty morning air. I walked around the school and saw that they were working at the back of Hunt's Fine Foods. My heart fell as this realization sank in. Our friends own it and went through a terrible fire just a few years ago. I ran up and met the owner and his son and their wive's all standing at the front of the store. Someone had started the huge garbage container next to the store on fire. It had been a very close call. To, to close for all concerned. And the son and his wife and family live above the store. Good grief.

By now it's nearly 5 am and my alarm goes off at 5:30. Crap.

So, I'm up and off with 2-3 hours sleep.

Prayer time at 6:30, at the hospital by 8:30 visiting people, the day moving well, I should have lot's of time to prep for the funeral, leave the hospital lot, gotta get to the office,  car stalls. Dead. Crap, Crap.

Call towtruck, get the car towed to my garage, where the owner see's me and says, "Morning Randall!" You know it's bad when your mechanic knows your first name.

He can work on it tomorrow. But, bless him (Perry's Automotive Prince Albert), he gives me a ride home.

And thus began my bike riding day.


My backside hurts, my wallet will hurt real bad tomorrow, and I'm T I R E D.

So, that's enough for today, Wednesday, July 2, 2003


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