Fuzzy...

Well, first Sunday back. It was good to be back but I was Soooo tired afterward.


We got home and I crashed. I last saw the time at 2:30 pm. I woke up around 6:30 pm. Four hours, and I'm still fuzzy. But I should be better tomorrow.


Let's hope.

A Franciscan Benediction

A Franciscan Benediction


May God bless you with Discomfort...
at Easy Answers, Half-Truths, and Superficial Relationships,
so that you may live Deep Within Your Heart.


May God bless you with Anger...
at Injustice, Oppression, and Exploitation of People,
so that you may work for Justice, Freedom, and Peace.


May God bless you with Tears...
to shed for those who suffer from Pain, Rejection, Starvation, and War,
So that You may reach out Your Hand to Comfort them and to turn their Pain into Joy.


And may God bless you with enough foolishness...
to Believe that You can Make a Difference in this World, so that You can DO
what others claim cannot be Done.

Update completed ...I think

Alrighty then,


I think all my pages now match one another. If you find any problems with any pages, leave me a nasty comment. Please.


(I don't always ask for nasty comments, so here's your big chance. - And thanks again for not stealing my BBQ!!)


I find I'm really enjoying the creative aspects of web design and learning the code necessary to make it work. But being a bit of a perfectionist, I tend to labour long over the finer details. This can find me up very late or early, as the case may be. I'm learning not to start anything new during the evenings!


And this PrairieFusion stuff is great. Some really cool features.

Far away friends

Lauralea and I just spent an hour talking with a friend who lives in th UK. She's been through alot of crap lately and life is tough. But we are able to encourage one another as we journey towards eternity.


Technology is a great thing, in that it lets us listen and talk and express care and love, at least verbally. But it is frustrating too. It doesn't let us touch, hug or look into one anothers eyes.


After our initial greetings she said in jest, "Well, I should put the tea on then." Phones are great, but they don't do tea. They don't do, "I'll wash up the dishes while you go lie down a bit" or, "I can pick that up on my way over." They don't let you sit at a table for three hours eating pasta and garlic bread and a good red wine.


Anyway, I am glad that we are able to talk, and pray together. I'm glad God doesn't Yahoo, and that he isn't limited by space or time.


And I'm glad for friends.

Yeah. C. S. Lewis


"Indeed, if we consider the unblushing promises of reward and the staggering nature of the rewards promised in the Gospels, it would seem that our Lord finds our desires, not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."


C.S. Lewis


 


Thanks Mark, and Happy Birthday!

The Wizardry of Os

A couple of years ago, I got to hear Os Guinness speak when I was in Chicago. He was great, or should I say, it was great.


Here's an insiteful interview with Os. Check it all out. ( Thanks Brad.)



Evangelicalism has never chased relevance more determinedly than it does now. And yet, we've never been more irrelevant. That could be purely accidental, and other factors are behind it, but I would argue that we've pursued the wrong type of relevance. We've fallen captive to modern views of time, progress, timeliness, and relevance. They're leading us down a garden path


In this craze to be relevant and in using words like "reinventing," we've got to ask, What are we really doing? When I first came to the faith, if the church was in bad shape, there would be prayer for revival. Today if the church is in bad shape, we talk about reinvention. But what the church needs is revival, not reinvention. It's not something we do by getting up-to-date, it's something the Lord does by bringing us back to the power of his truth and his spirit.





Cruise Weekend

(WARNING: Sorry to those with dial-up's... pictures ahead)


 


One of the reasons we went to Saskatoon on the weekend was to see all the hot cars, and hot they were! Over 4000 of them I believe.


 


Here's Thomas and Micah looking cool and relaxed.


 


Here's the collection of the Saskatchewan British Car Club (That's what I said!)


 


 


 


 


 



 


 


 


 


 


Here's one I took for Lauralea, she's a Karmen Ghia lover from way back. (She used to own one! and not this pretty!)


 


 


 


And no show is complete without the faithful VW's.


 


 


Now I gotta go practice un-coveting.

Cops, Cops, everywhere

So, this morning around 8:30am, I took off from work to give Hillary a ride to her new school. When I was coming back to the East Flat area of Prince Albert, there were cops everywhere. I've never seen so many police cars crusin this area. The church sits on the Hi-way heading east out of town. The police had a roadblock set up there and each car was stopped and searched.


I was wondering what in the world... then I checked Linea's Blog and there you go.


Roger should have used his Hi-Karate on the escaping inmate!

I'm back


Lord, your mercy fills the heavens, your faithfulness rises to the sky.
Your justice is like the mountains of God, your judgement are like the deeps of the sea. Lord, you protect both men and beasts.

How precious is your kindness, O God! The sons of men will take shelter under your wings;
they will eat their fill from the riches of your house, drink all they want from the stream of your joy.
For with you is the spring of life-giving water, in your light we see true light.

Hold out your mercy to those who know you, offer your justice to the upright in heart.
Let me not be crushed under the heels of the proud, nor dispossessed by the hands of sinners.
The doers of evil have fallen where they stood, they are cast down and cannot rise.


It's interesting how I'm dealing with going back to the office today, I couldn't sleep last night.


I'm nervous, like I'm starting over. I'm so aware of my inadequacies, my inability to do anything of lasting value. I'm aware of my ability to get in God's way and take anything of fruitfulness and call it mine.


I'm aware of huge expectations on me, mostly they're my expectations. Expectations to see fruitfulness, to see people change, to see God work in our midst. I've become aware of the deadness of that weight on me and in my more lucid moments, it's not a problem. When I'm not clear, well, I tend to carry as much as possible.


But I also carry a burden to pray. I wish and hope and pray for that couple who is without a job right now. I think about that kid who's playing with drugs they shouldn't touch because it's going to sidetrack them, maybe for the rest of their lives. I wonder how the widow is doing, without her lifemate beside her.


These are the things I carry in my spirit, night and day. Hoping, praying, watching for a chance to help, to encourage, to counsel, to point to God.


And so I will call on the One who alone is able to strengthen me, and carry the weight of my life.



How precious is your kindness, O God! The sons of men will take shelter under your wings;
they will eat their fill from the riches of your house, drink all they want from the stream of your joy.
For with you is the spring of life-giving water, in your light we see true light.



The Poor

She is someone I care about deeply. A few short years ago, they lived in a nice home, with a pool. He had a good job, and she worked part time at a local store. They loved to travel by car, and visit their kids and grandkids across the country.

Then her husband got sick. Too sick to work. Too sick to even care for himself. He had to quit working because of his health, and she had to quit working so that she could care for him. They were not yet 60 years of age.

Today the struggle to live is a daily one. They now live in government housing, with a small disability income. It's hardly enough to provide for them, yet they are so grateful to even have these gifts. And they continue on, seeking to make a meaningful life for one another. And God is there, watching, helping, caring.

Last month they went on a little trip they had been planning all year, to a family reunion of sorts. They had saved and planned and went and had a wonderful time, till they were on the way home. On their way, the brakes gave out on their 16 year old car. They stopped at a garage, and a $700 bill later, with arrangements made to pay it, they left for home. Home saw them with another $100 surprise bill, and a broken tooth that needed a filling. Still they didn't complain.

Well, a few weeks ago, she prayed to God for some Bacon. You see, he loves bacon and tomato sandwiches, and he doesn't always have an appetite, so she likes to get what he loves to eat. And she was asking for bacon.

She went to the store to get a few things. Walking past the bacon shelf her eyes did a double take as she saw the price of the bacon, 5 cents. It was priced at 5 cents! So she picked up 2 packages thinking it was a mistake on the pricing, and she took them up to the check out girl expecting to be turned down. The checkout was being worked by a teenage girl who didn't even blink an eye as she slid the meat under the scanner, and asked for 10 cents. My amazed friend walked back and picked up the last package of bacon and took it up to purchase it as well. This time the checkout was staffed by an older woman who caught the problem, she gasped, "Five cents?!" My friend was willing to leave it, but the checkout lady wouldn't hear of it, it had been mis-priced and it was their mistake. She went home with three packages of bacon, and a smile on her face.

A few days later she was hungry for some cucumbers, so, she prayed out her request for them.

An hour later the phone rang. It was an old friend who had some cucumbers for her. My friends reply? "I was waiting for a call..."

I've been thinking allot this summer on how we as churches and Christians care for the poor.

I have a picture of Jesus, out there with the poor, caring for them, dropping the price of bacon, giving an abundance of cucumbers, watching out for them. He's looking for the one who's getting lost, the ones who can't find their way through the darkness and the hopelessness of need. He's out there searching, doing all he can for his lost ones, his loved ones. While the 99 are safe and sound and watching out for themselves, in the barn.

This passage from Acts has really been bugging me. It's in Acts 10.

At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.
...Suddenly a man in shining clothes stood before me and said, 'Cornelius, God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor.

This man was considered devout and God fearing, he was a generous giver to those in need. In fact, it was God who remembered his gifts to the poor. God remembered his gifts to the poor . . .

We collect our tithes for our churches, raising funds for many worthwhile projects .... but the poor, what are we doing about the poor? Does God remember my gifts to the poor? Have I given any gifts to the poor?

The passage doesn't say God remembered his gifts to the temple, he may not have even offered those kinds of gifts. But the poor, God remembered his gifts to the poor.

I don't know about you, but I wouldn't mind being "Remembered by God" in similar ways. And I know, first hand, that there are poor among us. People on the verge of hopelessness. People who don't know how they will pay the bills this month. People who eat a little less so their kids can have a little more. People who can't buy their kids new runners at the start of a new school year.

And I know that Jesus is out there with them, loving and caring, and helping.

And, (God help me) that's where I want to be too.

Dawdling

Micah woke us this morning with the announcement that there was a man at the door, and could he speak to Lauralea or myself.

 

Well, as we were just waking up and things were fuzzy, we told him to communicate to the man that we were still in bed. Off he went to do this, and as our heads started to clear we began to realize the implications of what we had done. In the mind of this man we could be considered either lazy beggars or sex maniacs!! Well, it turned out to be a friend.

 

Anyway, with a cool end-of-summer breeze blowing in the bedroom window we got up to see that the time was 10am. Laura got the shower first and I lay about, not wishing the day to begin. The second last day of my holidays, the last week of August, of summer, of warm outdoor opportunities.

 

I dawdled though a long shower. I think I was trying to make time to slow down. To make it stop for just a few more days of summer. Drying off, I saw on the clock that time hadn't stood still for me.

 

I turned on the news as I dressed, trying to get up to speed for the day. On the TV was an interview with Chantal Kreviazuk, and I thought again of one of her songs that I like the best. Time.

 



Time, where did you go?
Why did you leave me here alone?
Wait, don't go so fast
I'm missing the moments as they pass
Now I've looked in the mirror and the worlds getting clearer
So wait for me this time
I'm down I'm down on my knees I'm begging for all your sympathy
But you (I'm just an illusion) you don't seem to care (I wish that I could)
You humble people everywhere (I don't mean to hurt you)
Now I've looked in the mirror and the worlds getting clearer
I'll take what you give me. Please know that I'm learning
So wait for me this time
I should've know better
I shouldn't have wasted those days
And afternoons and mornings
I threw them all away
Now this is my time
I'm going to make this moment mine.
(I shouldn't have wasted those days)
I'll take what you give me. Please know that I'm learning
I've looked in the mirror
My world's getting clearer
So wait for me this time

 




Remember your award!

Alrighty, some of you asked to know when we would be away again so you could help yourself to my BBQ.


Today we are off to Saskatoon to catch up on family stuff. So...


 

RSS

For those of you who use it, randallfriesen.com now offers RSS.


Enjoy.

A major discovery

When you type "Eggnog and Coke" into Google, I'm the fifth item up.


I must use this power for good.

Standby...

Alright, let's try it again.


If you find any problems, gimme a shout.

Watch the wet paint

Well, wadda ya think?


I've worked on this page only so far. The rest can wait till tomorro... later on today.


Cheers and, watch your step.

Yada Yada Yada

Tonight Lauralea and I went to the new (old) Bonanza restaurant here in town.

 

It used to be open but got really dirty and lame, then closed up. Well it reopened last week, and, well, the graffiti in the men's washroom is still the same as it used to be. There, enough said.

 

Next Wednesday or Thursday is the day that the planet Mars will be the closest to the earth in some 64,000 years. If you look at it in the evening, it's got a bit of a red flicker to it even now. I would love to get my hands on a Telescope for a day or two, and just spend a night outside, gazing into the night sky. It always inspires awe in me when I spend an evening looking up.

 

P.A. isn't a hotbed for Astronomy let alone telescopes! And, the kind of Telescope that would be needed would be out of my price range, that's for sure!!

 

Under the topic of Coolness, Bob Smietana, a writer for the Covenant Companion called me today and interviewed me a bit about this page and basic pastoral care/prayer/ministry on the Internet. That's right up my alley, so I didn't shut up. I am convinced about the possibilities of extending care and ministry over these wires. People can shut off the computer and feel closer to God and others, because of this place. (The Internet, not randallfriesen.com).

 

I met Bob last January when I was in Chicago attending class at North Park University. I wandered over to the Covenant Head Offices, and had the pleasure of meeting Bob in person, after reading his work for the past while. That was cool.

 

 

This flashback led to another flashback ....... discovering the cafeteria at North Park U.

 



Wednesday, January 29, 2003


HEAVEN FOUND...

The other day I found a wormhole in the cosmos, and I think it's a part of Heaven. Yes, the real heaven!!

I found it behind a door marked "Cafeteria"

Behind this door, I found all kinds of food to eat ...White Turkey Breast, mashed potatoes with gravy, varieties of veggies, tacos, cheeseburgers and fries, all manner of sugar coated breakfast cereals, bagels, bread, toasted or plain, with peanut butter and jelly or honey.

I found racks of cakes and puddings and cookies and sweets. Tubs of different kinds of soups with hosts of crackers. Four different kinds of Ice Cream, with 8 kinds of soda, and 2 colours of milk.

I saw 25 feet of salads and veggies with sauces and dips to reward any longsuffering heart.

I started with a turkey dinner (with Cherry Coke) and progressed to some token peas and carrots. Then for dessert I went for the Cheeseburger platter with fries.

Sweet mercy, and there were all kinds and colors of people in the room, eating and laughing together, as one. I sat down at a table of blonds (male and female!) and realized I didn't understand a thing they were saying. Turns out they were from Sweden. See, Swedes in heaven too.

To Cool.

I may go back to heaven tonight ....pray for me!!




posted by: Randall Friesen | 3:12 PM     





Home again


Well, we made it home! And a big congratulations to all you readers out there!! You're not crooks.

 

You're not burglars, robbers, thieves, or general bad guys. Not that I ever thought you were...

 

This holiday was actually a test of the integrity of the readers of randallfriesen.com. You and you alone knew we were out of the house for the past week, and I'm glad to report that none of you sucame succumbed?  ... gave in to temptation to come to my house and rob me blind!!

 

Congratulations, you passed the test. The new BBQ is still here, the lawn chairs are here, the lawn mower is still here, all the bikes are here too. My complete collection of Faulty Towers videos is still with us, as is my one black suit (For funerals and such), my rowing machine, and our computer.

 

I always knew you were people of integrity, people of your word, and now, when you're boss or spouse asks you what kind of person you think you are, stand up proudly and declare, "I am a person of integrity, and I have an award to prove it!"

 

In the immortal words of an old Italian boss of mine, (who used to want to commend me for a job well done) "I recommend you!"




Dreams

I honestly don't know what the deal is, but I seem to be dreaming again.


Or, should I say, I'm remembering my dreams? I don't know which is right.


Anyway, this morning I had a wierd dream that I went back to college for a class or two. I had left my family at home, except for Micah. He came with me to take a class as well. (Remember, it's a dream!!) He really seemed to enjoy the College level Art class he was involved with.


All I remember was making new friendships, and connecting with people on an equal basis, again. It was kinda a fun dream.


But yesterday's dream was one of those real, real dreams. You know, the kind that get stuck in your spirit kinda dream.


In it, there was an earthly Tumult (I don't think I've ever used that word before!!) The earth actually changed it's shape. Whole cities were lost, people were lost and the continents were all changed. The lows were high and the highs were low, kinda thing.


And I had this group of young people I was trying to care for. We hiked and walked to find home, but it was all gone, we couldn't find it at all. We went up new mountains and came down new valleys. And my task was to get them all safely to where we were going.


Oddly, there was no sorrow or pain over those who were gone, just the trek or journey we were on. I'm still workin that one through.


I usually don't remember my dreams, if I have any at all. Now I'm on holidays and I start to dream again? Weird. Just plain weird.


Anyway, I'm back to work in a week, so I may get a few more before then.


 


 

Toni's Blogging

Well, looks like we've got that great conversationalist Toni, Blogging finally. I can't wait till he gets the comments going!!


He's got a good start, exploring teenage depression and how it may be linked to a first sexual experience.


Check him out here.


And, Linea's has gone whole-domain-hog-wild. She's moved over to Linealanoie.com, (Warning, advertising ahead) hosted with the ever helpful and cost effective PrairieFusion.com!


She's doing some more amazing writing.  Like this:



"When I have time and a good book and lots of opportunity to sit and talk to God, I begin to feel at one with this earth.  The magnitude of all God has created coupled with the smallness of me make me more acutely aware of the greatness of his sacrifice and full of wonder that he did it for me." 


So go check her out too.


As for me, I'm still trying to stay cool. Southern Saskatchewan has been in a bit of a heat wave these days. Every day brings the promise that Tomorrow will be cooler, only to see tomorrow come and the intense heat come with it.


So, tomorrow is promised us a high of 20 C. I'll believe it when I see it. I hope it is because tomorrow we start for home.


 

Night Psalm


Turn your ear to me, Lord, and hear me,
 for I am poor and destitute.
Keep my life safe, for I am faithful;
 O God, save your servant, who trusts in you.

Take pity upon me, O Lord,
 for I call to you all the day long.
Make your servant´s heart glad,
 for to you, O Lord, I have raised it.
For you, Lord, are gentle and mild:
 you are kind to all those who call on you.

Let your ears hear my prayer, O Lord!
 Turn to the voice of my pleading!
In my time of trouble I call on you,
 for you, O Lord, will hear me.

No other god is like you, O Lord,
 and nothing compares with your works.
All people ? all nations you made ?
 will come and worship before you;
 they will give glory to your name.
For you are great, you work wonders:
 you alone are God.

O Lord, teach me your paths,
 and I will come to your truth.
Make my heart simple and guileless,
 so that it honours your name.
I will proclaim you, Lord my God,
 and give you praise with all my heart.
I will give glory to your name for ever,
 for your great kindness is upon me:
 you have rescued me from the deepest depths.


Amen.

Small Prairie Town

You know you're in a small prairie town, when the only place you can rent a video is at the local Coop gas station, and the guy says; "Just bring it back tomorrow." No ID, phone number, nothin.

Eighteen is a big number

Today, 18 years ago, Lauralea married me.

I'm more stunned by that fact today, then I ever had a clue of, back in 1985. I'm also more thankful than I've ever been, that we are together.

I wrote the following on a cold February night while I was in Chicago, far away from her. I don't like being far away from her, and the reason? Because I love her.

Andy's Jazz Club

As I sit in this smoky jazz club,
a quartette is playing.
People are relaxed, enjoying the sounds.
Over at a corner table sits a young couple,
obviously in love. The music plays,
yet they cannot seem to take their eyes off of each other.
They sit close, almost as one. She kisses him,
he strokes her hair, they notice no one else.
They are alone in the world.
And as the music plays a background to their love,
the night slips away.

And all I can think of, is you.

Prairie Pastors

Lauralea's dad is a pastor in a small prairie town, and coming back to visit her folks always grounds me. It get's me back to the values I esteemed when I followed God's call into the ministry.

These small town prairie pastors amaze me. Week by week, in the searing heat or frozen cold, they work hard to be more than just a town chaplain. They weekly pull off a Sunday morning service without musical resources, singing 1970's choruses on a circa 1970 overhead projector, (If they're lucky). In a small hot or cold church building that hasn't been filled since old man Fillintheblank died 8 years ago and the whole town showed up.

They get called to the hospital night and day because someone is in a crisis. Then they get to go to the care home to visit the elderly, (all the elderly,) because they are the only pastor in town.

They have to be at the local coffee shop at 10 am and around 2:30 pm and a final stop, if needed, at 8pm. This is so that they can connect with the people they feel called to reach with the Gospel of Good News. The ones who won't go to church, but they will chat at the local coffee hole. That's where you make some of your best and deepest contacts.

There are no mission boards in church, no committees to run things. While this can look good, it isn't, because these things are expected by those who attend. Someone has to plan the Sunday School program, the Fowl Supper, the outreach ideas, and that someone is, the pastor.

To shovel and sweep, to clean and lead singing, to preach and visit the sick, to marry the young who leave town, and bury the dead who will complain no longer.

And they do all this with little or no church budget.
They also do all this with a small personal income. So small that sometimes you have to do other things to help pay the bills. Deliver mail or drive a school bus. You grow a huge garden in the Hot summers, so that you will have extra food to get you through the winter.

There are no continuing education programs. There's no mileage or book fund to draw from. Not a lot of security at all. Still, they keep on.

They keep on, seeking to be faithful to the Call they feel in their belly. They are ready and willing to give their lives away doing this day by day. Being Christ to a small, often closed community. Introducing the spiritually homeless to a God who won't let them be homeless again, ever.

I always see God in this sacrifice. In the pain and tension of faithfulness to God, despite the circumstances, irregardless of the duty, these men and women of God continue on, pouring out their lives for the ones who often reject them, the ones they are called to love.

I see the love of God through their brokenness. And I am humbled by their sacrifice, this gift they offer up to God each week, each day, of obedience, of faithfulness.

and I head home again, grounded, centered, clearer, willing.

Brad picks a fight with CANADA

So, Brad's in a bit of a mood eh. It sounds like he wants to pick a little fight with Canada. I quote:



NO ANIMOSITY
You Canadians need to know that we hold absolutely no animosity toward your fine nation ("first in hockey, best part of North America") for causing the largest black-out in US history. None whatsoever. We understand. Accidents happen.


The rest of his shove is here.


 

Evening Prayers

Join me for the Compline, or Night Prayer, from Universalis tonight.


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 87 (88)
(The prayer of one gravely ill )
I cry out to you, Lord, by day and by night. Alleluia.
Lord God, my saviour,
 I have cried out to you by day and by night.
Let my prayer come before you:
 turn your ear to my request.


For my soul is full of evils,
 my life has come close to its end.
I am counted with those who go down to the pit:
 I am left without help.
I am one of the dead,
 like the murdered who sleep in their tombs,
who lie there forgotten,
 cut off from your care.


You have thrust me down into the pit,
 to the gloom and the shadow of death.
Your anger weighs heavy upon me;
 you have drowned me under your waves.


You have taken my friends away from me:
 you have made me hateful in their sight,
 I am shut in, I may not go out.
My eyes are weak from my sufferings.
I have called to you, Lord, all the day;
 I have stretched out my hands to you.
Is it for the dead that you perform your wonders?
 Will the ghosts rise up and proclaim you?
In the tomb, will they tell of your kindness?
 Will they tell of your faithfulness in the place of the lost?
Will your wonders be known in the darkness,
 or your righteousness in the land of oblivion?


And so I have called out to you, Lord,
 and in the morning my prayer will come before you.
With what purpose, Lord, do you reject my soul?
 Why do you hide your face from me?
I am poor; from my youth I have been dying;
 I have borne the terrors you sent, I am lost in confusion.
Your anger has overrun me, your terrors have broken me:
 they have flowed round me like water,
 they have besieged me all the day long.
You have taken my friends and those close to me:
 all I have left is shadows.


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.


~Let's remember those who are hurting because of illness, and death, and seperation. Remember Mark and Micah, and the rest of Jennifer's family and friends.



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

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.


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


Good night, Beloved.

W.W.J.D Redux

Back in early June I gave you a quiz on What Would Jesus Do. It got no comments. I choose to believe there were no comments, because the internet was shut down for the whole day, then the next, then the next. Then I just busied myself with some other project.


I thought today might be a good day to revisit that empty silence. Maybe there are no answers. Maybe we don't know what to say to it. Anyway, here it is, reprinted. What do you think?


 



Yeah, it´s somewhat fashionable to wear a bracelet or have a sticker on your car with "What Would Jesus Do" emblazoned on it. I don´t know if we´re telling the world that that´s exactly how we try to behave or what. I have my doubts that it´s any more than a fancy decoration and some good branding.


Take a short quiz


1.) If your church treasurer was stealing from the gifts and donations occasionally, and you as the leader knew about it, what would you do?


WWJD? Apparently leave the man in his position.


But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples?the one who would betray him?said, [5] "That perfume was worth a small fortune. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor." [6] Not that he cared for the poor?he was a thief who was in charge of the disciples' funds, and he often took some for his own use. John 12:4-6 (NLT)


2.) If your "Church group" was getting so large that your income would increase and you would need to build a huge new building, what would you do?


WWJD? Say something provocative and scare away most of your followers.


Jesus knew within himself that his disciples were complaining, so he said to them, "Does this offend you? [62] Then what will you think if you see me, the Son of Man, return to heaven again? [63] It is the Spirit who gives eternal life. Human effort accomplishes nothing. And the very words I have spoken to you are spirit and life. [64] But some of you don't believe me." (For Jesus knew from the beginning who didn't believe, and he knew who would betray him.) [65] Then he said, "That is what I meant when I said that people can't come to me unless the Father brings them to me." [66] At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him.   John 6:61-66 (NLT)


3.) Your pastor gets a reputation for being a drunkard and hanging out with the worst of the worst.


WWJD? Keep hanging with them in spite of the reputation, and possibly loose any income you had.


And I, the Son of Man, feast and drink, and you say, 'He's a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of the worst sort of sinners!' But wisdom is shown to be right by what results from it." Matthew 11:19 (NLT)



Alright, your turn. Include your quiz questions in the comments box.


I am curious, What Would Jesus Do.


What Would You Do.


 

The

The P word is prayer, please.


Tomorrow we are off to stay at Lauralea's folks place for a day or two. It should be ok, except I'm nervous about the heat.


It's forecast to be in the 30's for the next while, and that alone can make anybody a bit crazy. But if you add to that the nine people (4 teens) in one smaller home, with 1, count it, 1 bathroom, well, as you see, the odds of bloodshed rise dramatically.


Thus my request for some light prayer coverage pleeze.  I don't wish to spend my retirement years doing 5 to 10.


Play nice while I'm gone. I'll check in.


And if you want to reach me, hey just leave a comment.


Blessings.


 


 

H

o  t .


 


h           o                t .


 


h                            o                                    t  .


 


h                                                                  o                                                                              t  .

Jennifer's home

I've occasionally asked you and reminded you to pray for Jennifer Palmer, her husband of some 5 years, Mark, and their little son Micah.


Jennifer's had sudden cancer that has been untreatable. She passed away this morning, early.


Keep praying for Mark and Micah, they're going to need it.


The Palmers page is here

Friends 2

I've been thinking about friendships lately.

 

A week or two ago we had some people over who have been a part of the church for some 18 years. After the visit, they commented that that had been the first time they had ever been invited to anyone's home. I nearly died.

 

Now, understand that they are not needy, nor do they have leprosy, (I gather) but they have never been invited to another home.

 

Why are they still here?

 

Well, because they grew up here I suppose. And when you grow up with something, you often don't know what you're missing.

 

Hmm, so, a church which you attend, with no friends in it.

Shouldn't the church be a place for friends?

 

Now, we are a friendly church, I hear that comment all the time. So why this major failure? I suspect it's because the worst enemy of friendships is friendliness.

 

Friendliness allows us to keep things fairly surface. Friendliness helps us to hide what's going on inside. It protects us from possible harm. Keeps us from going deeper, into the areas of our lives in which we need to go, in order to grow, heal, develop, love.

 

I'm starting to wonder if the enemy of friendships isn't aloneness it's friendliness.

 

Most of us have been in discussions before with friends when things have gotten tense because we disagree. Our quick response is to move the chat up to the safe level again.

 

Sometimes it's love that motivates us back to the safe ground, but usually it's fear. And when our friendships are based on fear rather than love, well, what kind of friendship is it anyway. It just turns into some hollow friendliness thing. And friendship dies.

 

A friendly church, without friends, is a church on palliative care. It's death is just down the road. Go home and get your affairs in order because you're gonna die.

 

The only hope is if the church is willing and able to create some new friendships. If it can become a church of friends.

 

Unfortunately, that is as likely as a man with cancer living through his sickness. It can happen, but it's a miracle if it does.

 
Fortunately, our God still does miracles.



Friends

We have some old (not that they're old, but our friendship does go back a ways!) friends over these days. Allan and Susan are joining us as we seek to enjoy these hot days.


It's good renewing long distance friendships, kinda able to pick up where you left off good.


Like on the first cold night of Fall, pulling a fav old quilt from the back of the closet and wraping yourself in it, kind of friends.


Anyway, tonight is BBQ steak. Then off to the coffee house and finally we will pull out the Guinness. Looks like a great day in the works. Wish you were here.


 

On how the Covenant is growing so fast.

Great little article over here exploring why the Covenant Church is growing so fast. Here's a clip:



The Covenant has grown from a handful of congregations to 725, with about 143,000 people attending on a typical Sunday, according to Walter. That growth includes a whopping 43 percent expansion in the past decade. About 11,000 people became Christians last year as a result of services and outreaches by Covenant congregations.


The Covenant now starts 20-25 new congregations a year, about 90 percent of which survive ? an unusually high rate.


That's nearly one new church every two weeks. Cool.


Thanks Brad.

Cal Thomas Quote:


An Episcopalian friend of mine, reacting to the elevation of an openly homosexual priest to the office of bishop, said to me, "If you're a heterosexual clergyman and you're having sex outside marriage, you can be expelled. But if you're a homosexual clergyman having sex outside marriage, they rejoice."


 


Thanks to Brad for the link.

Off to church

Hmm, today I get to pick any church I want to attend!!


I am the Religious Uber-Consumer, out looking for the best religious gig in town. And when I tire of that I will toss it aside like a piece of consumed goods and move on to the next best gig.


I shall live like this for the rest of my ....holidays.


I'm off to the P.A. Alliance Church today.

Lesson's my kids taught me

My kids teach me so much about God and his relationship with me.


Yesterday, I wanted to get some yard work done, so I invited the available, often willing one to come and join me. I wanted to spend time with him, doing something together. I was thinking of going to get a treat after the hard work, to celebrate what we'd done.


I didn't want him to do it just for the treat, because then he get's fixated on the treat, and not on the enjoyment we could get from just finishing a hard task together. So I only hinted at the treat, after the hard work.


Well, I started the hard weeding and he started cutting the lawn.


The sun got hotter, the work got harder, and he was loosing hope. I tried to encourage him, but finally he gave out. I was a bit disappointed that he didn't get it all done, but I love him, he's my son. So I let him go in and have a shower.


Then his brother came out and was willing to take up where his brother left off - till his friends came round. But I held him to his offer to finish. And he did.


Some lessons?


Sometimes I get so fixated on the reward that I miss the joy of the journey, walking and working with Him.
Sometimes I wanna quit working with Him, cause I'm sick and tired of it all.
If I loose hope and quit, he still loves me, I'm His boy, but my reward may be different.
He's still out there, looking for the lost 1, with the 99 safe, inside, not working with Him.
The one who starts when the work is almost done gets the same reward as the one who worked all day.


Just some low-key thoughts, from a pastor on holidays.

CHIC

As I said yesterday, the girls got home from CHIC, and seemed to have quite enjoyed it.


Brad mentioned it yesterday too.



The impact was tremendous on all who attended. It was without pressure or manipulation. The focus from beginning to end was on Jesus and his lordship of our lives. Worship dominated the musical presentations totally. It's rare I sit through a whole conference and not put mental correctives on what is happening in the program. This one had me brushing away many tears as the call to follow Christ was given.


Check out the rest, here. (Sorry, the link isn't working. Scroll down to HOME FROM CHIC)

Saskatoon Police

Hey, for all you Saskatoon readers (and those of you around the world who are interested,) Here's a link to a page that broadcasts Saskatoon Police, Fire and EMS transmissions, live on the net.


I've been listening for a few days and it ranges from exciting high drama (Tense whisper: "Officer ______ you're in the line of fire, move north 50 feet immediately!") to the comical ("Yeah, the guy here has some plastic he considers his window, and it's broken and he wants us to replace it. We don't have any plastic and we are not driving to Home Hardware, so unless you have some plastic on you, please don't send us here again. Over").


 It's running on a Shoutcast server, I believe, and the format is .pls. Winamp runs it nicely.


So, for some summertime fun and occasional excitement, check it out here.

Woo Hoo Holidays


Well, you may notice it's a bit quiet round here for the next few week, we just started our holidays yesterday. YaaHoooo.


Or, you may notice more up here, because I have more to write about, and the time to do it.


But I suspect that for the first part of the holiday it will be quieter, or the topics will be mundane things like what's better, licorice cigars or pipes?


Then, as the holiday progresses, it will get deeper, asking questions like, what's better, Mennonites or Baptists.



Last night I stayed at my brother Jeff's new apartment in Saskatoon. We went and saw Xmen2, then we found a pizza place in the back of a bar on 8th street and took home matching pizza's and watched my personal favorite, "So I Married and Axe Murderer" with Mike Myers, the good Canadian boy.


Oh how we laughed. "Charlie, light a match!!" "Heed, paperrrr now"


I guess you had to be there.


Then this morning we hit The coffee place,  Starbucks, and had a Columbian. (Coffee, for the uninitiated)


It's cool having a brother, you know?



Then we picked up the girls who flew in from Tennessee, and now we're all back under one roof, safe and sound and a little better off, I think.


Our holidays will consist of having a few guests over from out of town, checking in with both our parents, but mostly it will be about hiding out here at the homestead, chillin.



So, feel free to comment when the mood strikes, talk to me or other comment-ers, and let's us have a great holiday


Blessings.

You know you're getting old when...

In celebration of my 40th, let's have a laugh.



~ Everything hurts and what doesn't hurt doesn't work.
~ The gleam in your eyes is from the sun hitting your bi-focals.
~ You keep repeating yourself.
~ You feel like the morning after and you haven't been anywhere.
~ Your children begin to look middle aged.
~ You keep repeating yourself.
~ You finally reach the top of the ladder and find it leaning against the wrong wall.
~ Your mind makes contracts your body can't meet.
~ You look forward to a dull evening.
~ You turn out the lights for economic rather than romantic reasons.
~ You sit in a rocking chair and can't get it going.
~ Your knees buckle, and your belt won't.
~ You have too much room in the house and not enough in the medicine cabinet.
~ You know all the answers, but nobody asks you the questions.
~ You're asleep, but others worry that you're dead.
~ You're proud of your lawn mower.
~ You would rather go to work than stay home sick.
~ You make an appointment to see the dentist.
~ People call at 9 pm and ask, "Did I wake you?"
~ You have a dream about prunes.
~ You answer a question with, "Because I said so."
~ You send money to PBS.
~ The end of your tie doesn't come anywhere near the top of your pants.
~ You take a metal detector to the beach.
~ You wear black socks with sandals.
~ You can't remember the last time you laid on the floor to watch TV.
~ Your ears and nose are hairier than your head.


Cheers.

NEWS - DATELINE PRINCE ALBERT:

In what appears to be a deliberate act of evil perpetrated against the owner of the home at 1179 4th St. East, Randall Friesen was shocked to arrive home last evening from a celebration involving his Birthday and Rene Zellweger only to find Black streamers and balloons strewn across his yard.


Mr. Friesen was quoted as saying: "When I first saw it, I though it could only be the work of that criminal genius, STRONG BAD."


"But then I remembered that he's only a flash cartoon and so I disregarded him. My second thought was that it was the work of the mastermind Tracy A-------"


"Since my sons were home at the time, I placed them under extreme pressure by threatening to take away their allowance. After three hours, they cracked, confirming my suspicions."


Mr. Friesen continued; "What am I suppose to do now that the whole neighborhood knows I'm 40?? I'll have to start acting my age. Half my CD collection will have to go and I'll have to start worrying about that growing clear patch on the top of my head."


Randall Friesen was last heard mumbling something about having to go and get his name on the list for a room at the Herb Basset home, a local old age care facility.


Police are continuing the investigation.


 


 

Party on guys

Well well well, she pulls off a party after all!


Ever since I turned 30 and Lauralea surprised me by getting my two closest buddies in High School to come to Winnipeg and surprise me with a party, I don't sleep well the night before my birthday.


Tonight after supper we went out for "Coffee" with some friends. When we got to Shananigan's there was party going on!!


(Since it was a Surprise party, I was not equipped with my digital camera. However, I found these pictures on the internet which should give you a real impression of how the party was progressing!! Enjoy!)


We arrived and the party was in full swing, they sang Happy Birthday and gave me a bunch of presents! cards.


Bob and Virginia were cuttin the rug, and Lowell and Jodine were in the corner drinking good looking  blue and orange drinks!
Tammy (The Younger) was there as was Melody (The Older) and Alecia (The Strong and Silent). And Phil (with his white polyester suit) and Janet were rocking the place out.



 


We soon tired of the coffee and squares, so we moved the party over to Phil and Janet's where it really got going. You can see Janet in this picture being the perfect hostess.


We had strawberry juice and fizzy stuff and Janet had made these lovely little pancakes that tasted great.


 


Here we are just enjoying ourselves. I think Bob just told a joke!!


All in all, it was a fine evening, thanks to everyone for the lovely gifts cards and the fun evening.


Let's do it again next year, and I'll bring the camera, just in case.


You guys are great.


 


(Ok, this wasn't exactly as it happened, Phil's suit wasn't really white. Sorry.)

My Life Thus Far

"Randall Friesen is just a guy, husband of Lauralea, father of Johanna, Hillary, Thomas & Micah, pastor of gateway covenant church, lover of strong coffee (two creams,) eggnog with coke in it, Nigel Kennedy, the colour orange, God...."

I remember at the young age of 6, I was thinking what life would be like at the age of forty, when my life would be half over.

It's hard to believe but that day has finally arrived. Here I am at forty.
It's not to bad, yet, although while I was in the shower I picked up a bottle and read "Shampoo" and tried to wash my hair with what was really conditioner. (Why do they insist on putting the two in the same bottles? Am I getting old or what?)

And a minute ago I was going to make coffee, but it took time to find the coffee maker, and I couldn't even find the coffee! How lame is that?
Anyway my life to date.

I was born in Winnipeg Manitoba, raised in Saskatoon, went to college in Alberta, got married in Prince George, BC, had our two daughters in Southern Ontario, pastored my first church in Winnipeg, and now pastor in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
I was blessed to be raised in a home where God was known and worshiped. I recall inviting God to be a part of my life when I was five, after a night time story from my mom. (I have fond memories of my parent reading to us at bed time. In a day and age when fathers were not expected to do much more than bring home the bacon, my dad would read to us the exciting tales of Captain Daley and the gang! So Cool)

I knew God in a childish, simple way, and followed as a child would. At the age of 16 I was baptized upon my confession of faith.
Then followed a few difficult years as a fight raged within me. A fight for control over my own future, my own plans, wants, and desires. I finally lay that down, when I met God anew, maybe for the first time as an adult.

I think that since that time I have sought to live as God has led, seeking his leading in the decisions of life. And this has been the greatest lesson of my short life. Seek first His kingdom, and all these other things will be given to you
The greatest gift God has given me is Lauralea, my best friend, my comfort, confidante, pastor, my only love. The one who has kept me young-er, who has been the lightness to my heavy, introvertednss. She is, in a word, wonderful.

God has also given me four little mirrors who, fortunately or unfortunately, reflect back pretty much exactly what they see.
Johanna, Hillary, Thomas, and Micah.
Each one wonderfully distinctive, yet I see enough of me in them to make me cringe sometimes. It freaks me out, makes me want to live better, and help them to experience a better life too. I guess they are God's hands too, molding me into who He is committed to making me.

I am grateful to have them a part of my life. They are, for the most part, wonderful! Especially when I recall the doctors telling us, before we got married, that children might be difficult for us to, um, conceive of!! (cool play on words friesen!)
Another piece of the puzzle is this calling of God on my life, to minister to the hearts of others.

I have fought with Him about this many times, and presently I'm in a place of acceptance about this that He has called me to. Pastoring.
I confess I'm not a great "Western" pastor. I don't care much about goals and programs, about budgets and structures. I care about people coming to know and love and experience God, His son, Jesus, and the Beloved Holy Spirit.

Pointing people towards Him is a calling I could spend my life pursuing. If there are frustrations in it, they are the unreasonable and sometimes unbiblical expectations of people. So far those expectations have not ground me to dust. So I continue, seeking to be faithful to Him.
Micah asked me today who my boss was, God? To which I replied; "On the good days, yes."

Indeed, His yoke is easy, made to fit for me, and his burden is light. It only gets hard when I wander from my calling.
My calling from God has been from Isaiah 49
Listen to me, all of you in far-off lands! The LORD called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by name. He made my words of judgment as sharp as a sword. He has hidden me in the shadow of his hand. I am like a sharp arrow in his quiver.
He said to me, You are my servant, Israel, and you will bring me glory
I replied, But my work all seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose at all. Yet I leave it all in the Lord's hand; I will trust God for my reward.
...
He says, You will do more than restore the people of Israel to me. I will make you a light to the Gentiles, and you will bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.

I am surrounded today by the evidence of His blessing on my life. Not because of anything I've done, but because of his mercy and love, and the prayers of those who care for me.
Blessed indeed.
Thank you Father.


Words

Linea writes:



"Words. That's what we bloggers mostly deal in. Sometimes they flow out so effortlessly. Sometimes it is hard to say what your heart really feels. And there are times when we write or speak quickly without thought. Once spoken or posted it is hard to take them back."


That woman is an amazing writer. She puts into words the feelings that many of us are working through right now. Check out the rest of the entry, here.

Hot town, summer in the city...

Well, it's after 10 pm and the police are upstairs taking a statement from Lauralea.


Around 10 a whole bunch of fire trucks and cop cars raced past, and, since we care about where we live, we stuck our heads out the door to see if we could see, well, Lauralea did, I was lounging in bed, working on my Ipaq.


Seems a girl came to the house wanting to confess to; break and enter, starting a car on fire, stabbing and beating two girls. She was willing for us to call the police, so I did.


They were in the area already, looking for a car fire etc. So moments later two cars screech to a stop in front of the house.


They helped the girl (Who looked like her hand may have been broken) into the car and were interviewing her. And like I said, Lauralea is upstairs writing out a statement.


And so, the excitement continues.


Just another day in paradise.

Christopher Lake

Well, this afternoon we were off to our annual August long weekend, Sunday at Christopher Lake day. Some friends of ours, Lionel and Tryntje (Dutch!) live on the lake and they invite us down to celebrate Tryntje and my birthdays which are only days apart.


 


 


So we went and ate great steaks and salads and fruit and cake and, and, and...
And then the boys went swimming and worked off that great lunch, while we watched them!


It's always a great time out there, they are so hospitable and generous.


 


They also have a wonderful garden which I took pictures of and so you can see them here.


 


 


All in all it was a great day, and now I'm tired, so enjoy the pics. And thanks L & T for the great time.


 


 

Saturday: salt, light and a BBQ

Because I was retreating last week, I ended up in the office today trying to get ready for tomorrow.
I was struggling with it all. My spirit felt fresher, rested, and I don't want just a regular service. I think that week after week of the same format or structure allows you to slip into neutral mode. You know, you go to church and you know exactly when to look at the screen and sing and when to pray and when to sit nicely and listen to the knowledgeable preacher. It just enters and exits you without any thought or interaction.


That's why, sometimes I will change it up, to get people interacting with what's going on around them.


Well, God's been doing something in me about salt and light and the deeds God is looking for when he asks us to be salt and light. Leighton's got me thinking about the value of a regular salt or light kind of activity in your community, as a regular part of church life. I think God wants to challenge us to get involved in some things bigger than our own churches and worlds. To have friends who don't know Him. To care for the lost, and broken, and as Linsay Martens puts it, "to plant seeds of hope in fields of despair." So, tomorrow we're talking about what it would look like to be salt and light in Prince Albert, today.


That in itself, isn't much of a change. But did I mention that we're moving church out of the sanctuary and into the basement? I didn't mention it? Well there you go!


Micah and I (mostly him!) set up tables and chairs for people in the church basement. We are going to worship God and have Communion without staring at the back of the heads in front of us. We are going to worship God while looking into the faces of those we love (or should love!), across the tables from each other. It will be great.




"Father, make us able and willing to think outside of our normal routines. Show us the brokeness, the darkness and flavorlessness of this world we live in.  Move us into the places of greatest need, and release us, to plant those seeds of hope, in the fields of despair."





Tonight R and T and their kids came over. They're friends from church.


We sat outside and ate barbequed hamburgers and salads and chips and bread with tomato spread. We ate Dad's Cookies (The rings ones, not the other, yucky ones!!) and drank floats and pop and coffee, and we let the evening drift away in the gentle breeze.
It was lots of fun.
Lauralea outdid herself again, and she enjoyed it. I can tell by the smile on her face and her excitement at being able to care for others. She's really good at that.


I gotta shut it down for tonight. Tomorrow will be long and fun, and God will visit us. So I better get some sleep.


Blessings on you all.
g'night.

I'm Baaaack


Ok, just stare at this picture for a bit.


 


Yeah, I thought so, now wipe the drool from your lower lip.


This is what I had to put up with for the past three days. This and prayer and fellowship and visiting and listening and talking and blessing.


Some time ago Leighton invited anyone who wished to, to join him at his Chitek Lake cabin for some good conversation, prayer and friendship. I took him up on it. It was an oasis for me.


Leighton was there, being the gracious host, and Jeremy and his wife Raelynn were up for a while, taking a break from summer camp duties.  Linsay (The Man with the Altoids Camera!) Martens,  and Mark (3:16) Trew came up for Wednesday and we enjoyed a day "Networking" on a houseboat! (Good idea Jeremy!) Then Jordon Cooper came up today and we laughed and laughed, like I needed to laugh.


For me, the only downer was that I prayed that Jer and Raelynn would be able to catch a few fish Thursday night, and they didn't get a nibble. I suppose it's Gods way of keeping me humble. He's probably right in that regard.


But I had a great, refreshing time. The words and prayers and sharing were ointment to my soul.


And I have great confidence in the future of the church. If these young leaders are anything to go by, I do believe the future will be just fine. So keep pressing in you guys, you're Gods best.


And thanks.


(For more Chitek Lake Pic's, click here.)