More Secular than the culture?

Just wanted to post one more item before I lay my tired head down to bed for the night.


We had a 3 hour, hard but good Board meeting tonight. I should have had this before the meeting, we may have shaved off an hour.



More Secular than the culture?
"We have a church in North American that is more secular than the culture. Just when the church adopted a business model, the culture went looking for God. Just when the church embraced strategic planning (linear and Newtonian), the universe shifted to preparedness (loopy and quantum). Just when the church began building recreation centers, the culture began a search for sacred space. Church people still think that secularism holds sway and that people outside the church have trouble connecting to God. The problem is that when people come to church, expecting to find God, they often encounter a religious club holding a meeting where God is conspicuously absent. It may feel like a self-help seminar or even a political rally. But if pre-Christians came expecting to find God -- sorry! They may experience more spiritual energy at a U2 concert or listening to a Creed CD."


Reggie McNeal, The Present Future


via.



The cost of cross cultural missions

We have a cement pad on the lower back part of the church. It's large enough to shoot hoops on, and, skateboard on.


This summer one of the community kids brought a rail and left it out back, so they could practice skating and jumping etc. They were pretty good.


At first I was nervous, about who would come and use it. I was willing for them to use it, if they cared for the space. In fact, I wanted them to have a  good experience with a church. So we didn't scare them off.


Then, one day I came out and saw a hole in the wall. Then another. Then another day I caught a smaller kid, who had attended our children's program, and should know better, sticking something in the Air Conditioning fan blades. I freaked out. I was sure he was gonna get a stick shot back into his eye or something. I hollered. The kid got the message.


Later in the week I found this note which had been posted for the kids to see:



To whom this may concern:


Why have you ------- up this skate spot for us tonight. Why must you disrespect a church that is so rad to let us skate here? By kicking holes in the shed, tearing of shingles and treating this place like a shithole will only get us kicked out for good. Go wreck you own homes not the house of god.


Respect is the key here!


if you have a problem with this...


I am A--- B----. Find me and we will deal with you.


I was surprised by it. I was somewhat surprised that the kids who should have known better, were the one's causing the trouble. I guess there are some in every crowd. I was surprised that the hope that they might have a good experience with a church, maybe paid off.


I was mostly surprised that they thought we were rad.


Now, school has started. The rail is gone. And we'll patch some walls and put up a lick of paint.


Thus ends our summer outreach program for 2004.
Stay tuned for next summer!


 

Dream a little dream...

This morning the clouds are low in the sky, it's raining off and on, and there's a cool breeze blowing. I love days like this, especially on my days off!


A few years ago I saw a documentary about a couple who went over to The Netherlands and bought an older Narrow boat. They replaced the engine and rebuilt the insides, then sailed her over to London where they had her permanently moored. On weekends they would sail her in around the narrow channels and rivers throughout the UK. During the summer they would take her over to the continent and explore the various countries, by river.


And, when I saw that show, I fell in love.


Some months later I found a website that sells narrow boats, and every now and then, like this morning, I wonder over to that site and take a look at what's for sale. I afford myself a little dream, then get on with the details of life.


Today, with the weather the way it is, I'm dreaming a bit too much.


 


 

Boring Bride Gets Bland



POSTED: 9:30 am EDT August 27, 2004
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. -- While single life was Boring, marriage is going to be Bland for one new bride.


Katie Boring married Nathan Bland on June 12.


Boring was actually looking forward to the name change. She said she was subjected to a lot of kidding growing up. But her children may have it better.


She said not many little kids use the word "bland" in conversation. But her friends found Katie anything but boring.


Her sorority sisters started calling her "Katie Exciting," a nickname that stuck. She says she never considered using the hyphenated name Katie Boring-Bland.



Ahh, It's good to be home.

Well, it was sure good to be back at church today. GCC to be exact.


I finished my three weeks of holidays this week, and felt good and ready to get back into the saddle.


Just a struggle to please everyone, you know?


"Let's have more music ok?"


"Let's have more preaching ok?"


"Lets have more ___________ ok?"


Day one and that's the sound I hear.


And I hear them all, all are valid descriptions and desires. We don't all worship God through the exact same routes. But how to do it all in 60 minutes...


So I suggest lengthening the service.


"Lets have a shorter service ok?"


"Let's have a longer ser ........


 

What's a vacation for?

Some time I will tell you all about my summer vacation. For now, have a laugh at Garrison Keillor's idea of a summer vacation.



As a child, I was instructed to look out the window of a moving car and appreciate the beautiful scenery, with the result that now I don't care much for nature. I prefer parks, ones with lots of people with radios and a pop stand selling hot dogs and Eskimo Pies. I believe that most people would agree with me, whether they dare say so or not.


Deserted rocky coastlines are not that interesting, or beaches: you just wind up staring at the ocean, a blank screen, and wondering if you should check your e-mail. Forests are nothing but trees. Deserts are beautiful for about fifteen minutes, but they're always located out in the middle of nowhere. And they're teeming with deadly snakes. As for mountains, an occasional range is nice, but after awhile it becomes a sort of continuous piece of Bad Art, like a painting you'd see at the periodontist's. And mountain people are such a pain. They make you feel bad for coming. Vermonters, Coloradoans, Montanans, Utahovians --- they all tend to be very sniffy about who is worthy to set foot in their midst and use their toilet facilities. In Minnesota, we are astonished and gratified if anyone visits us, we can't do enough for them, but then this is a flat state and we are Christian people.


Read the rest, here.


 

man in search of a support system.

So, I had a visit with a gentleman today who looked considerably healthier and lighter than he has looked for some time.


I commented on it. He was impressed I had noticed, then he told me he was cutting back on the carbs. Lots of fruit and veg.


So, I went home and announced at supper that I need to eat more vegetables and fruits and less carbs. Which met with much encouragement from my family.


"Stop eating sweets"


"I don't eat sweets"


"Start walking to work"


"I need my car during the day to get around for my work"


"Stop drinking pop"


"I don't really drink a lot of pop"


"In fact, I don't eat a lot during the day! Rarely breakfast, sometimes lunch, and always supper!"


Big help they were!


Then, tonight I find this on the internet.


The fruit and vegetables we eat are full of crap! (Or some other equally noxious stuff!) See for yourself. And watch if you ever eat an Apple the same way again! 


carb's carb's i need carb's...


 

Weave With Care


"Like a weaver I have rolled up my life; he cuts me off from the loom; from day to night Thou doest bring me to an end" Isaiah 38:12


A human life is likened to a tapestry that is to be woven. Day by day the shuttle moves back and forth, and the tapestry grows. As thread is laid upon thread the design begins to emerge. A thread is such a tiny thing. And yet the whole tapestry is made up of such threads. If some threads are woven improperly, the whole design will be marred.


A day appears so small and insignificant. And yet, each day is a part of my whole life. If each single day is lived improperly and carelessly, what will this do to the design of my life?


When the tapestry is finished, it is rolled up, and the ends of the threads are cut off. Then it can be woven no more. It is put away until the day when it is placed on exhibition and judged.


Dear God, grant that the tapestry of my life may be properly woven. I give thee the shuttle. Do with me as thou wilt, if only Thy image may some day be the design in my tapestry when the threads of my life are cut off, and the tapestry is judged.


Frederick Wisloff from "Rest a While"


 



resonate.ca

Last week I had a good encouraging chat with a pastor in Australia. Sunday I prayed with a pastor in the UK. Last week we got together with a bunch of bloggers in Saskatoon. One of the extreme pleasures I have found as a result of this blogging thing, is the connection I have made with new people.


These new connections have led to meals, coffees, and retreats with real live people. People who are passionate about many things, including church.


I have enjoyed the ongoing online struggle to see where God is leading his children in these days and I am excited to see what the church will look like in the days ahead. This is because most of the people honestly grappling with the day to day issues of being a church, are intelligent and have a heart after God. 


I am looking forward to being a part of the ongoing online conversation at resonate.ca.



Welcome to Resonate. We are a network of Canadians striving to love God and our neighbors in a changing culture.


As one worldview transitions into another, we realize that we are living in an exciting but challenging time. This transition has had a lot of labels stuck on it, postmodern, emerging church, and a bunch of other labels and clich?s. Around here, we aren't big on labels but we do agree that the world is changing and like any time of transition, courageous people respond to the call to move forward in faith. We are a network of sojourners responding to that call together across Canada.


Resonate exists to facilitate conversations and friendships among people across Canada through both national and regional dialogues.


Next Wednesday, September 1 at 7:00 pm Central we will be hosting our first party, over at Habbo Hotel. We are stocking the cooler and there will be chairs to sit on, and a duck to look at. So get set up at the Hotel with your own mini-you, and check into the Resonate Lounge.



To join us there costs nothing. What you do have to do, is go to the Habbo Hotel and create a Habbo, basically a 3-D version of you. Dress him or her up, create a user name and then show up in the Resonate guest room at 7:00 p.m. Central Time. You can find the Resonate Lounge by clicking on the "guest rooms" tab when you are signed in and searching for "Resonate"


So, drop by the launch party and lets get the conversation going. Maybe we can even get Jordon to do a little dance for us,


eh?


 

The countdown has begun

Whew, I am tired.


Two days left in my holiday and Lauralea takes a liking to cleaning and rearranging the house!


I blame the weather. It's been overcast and rainy the past couple of days, oh and it's been cool out too. I think she thinks autumn is on the way. It wakes her up, she comes alive in Autumn and then there's no stopping her.


So, the kitchen was renewed on Saturday, and today it was the Living room's turn. Tonight she set her sights on the family room in the basement. Me and the boys are exhausted. They are crashed on the couch watching Gilligans Island - good quality programing, and I'm here, checking the email and saying good night.


So, good night.


 

More stuff you probably didn't want to know.

Well, in a very helpful list of the most influential Christians in America (in Church Executive Magazine), I discovered that Rick Warren is a more influential Christian than Bill Hybels!



[8] Rick Warren, Pastor, Saddleback Church, Lake Forest, CA
Rick Warren, who started Saddleback Church in his home, now leads the fastest growing Baptist church in history, with more than 16,000 people in attendance each weekend. While he is best known for his Purpose-Driven model for church health and Pastors.com, Warren made waves in 2002 with his case against the IRS regarding the clergy housing allowance.He has been the most influential person in advancing church growth during the past 10 years. His controversial housing allowance challenge only increased his impact on the American church.


[9] Bill Hybels, Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, IL
Bill Hybels has developed his own standards for church growth, taking into account the reasons people were unchurched - they did not want to make time, or they felt "guilty" when they left services - and appealing to them in a different, edgier way. His model for church growth has taken on a new resurgence, making this Chicago-based pastor an extremely busy man.He is still competing with Rick Warren for the title of "father of the megachurch in America." As a pastor of a growing church, you either learn from Saddleback or Willow Creek.


Ah, thats my struggle then, "As a pastor of a growing church, you either learn from Saddleback or Willow Creek."


That explains so many of my problems.


Well, at least Billy Graham beat em both out at number 7.


Guess who was number 1.


 

More than you may need to know

So, Lauralea came into the bedroom with the laundry basket of clean clothes, and a disgusted look on her face. Seems a new red towel had been in the bottom of the washer, now all her light colors were a lovely shade of pink.


I tried to encourage her with my laughter as she held up a new lovely pink blouse, and teatowls etc.


Then she got even with me. She held up my new pink boxers.


I'm getting in touch with my feminine side, even as I type!!


 

The end is near

Saturdays are great when you don't have to be ready to preach the next day!! Tomorrow is my last Sunday of holidays, so we really tried to enjoy the day.


Lauralea's been getting tired of the Corelle dish set we've been using for over six years now. It just doesn't break, ever!! It just takes a licking and ... whatever. So today over toast I had a great brain conniption. I suggested we put all the Corelle in a box and put it away. Then we went down to the Salvation Army store and got random colorful, funky dishes and bowls and a very cool set of retro smooth crystal glasses with their own metal carrying frame. We picked up a retro chrome breadbox too and headed home paying $11.50 for the lot. Not a bad haul if I do say so myself.


So, we have a new set of dishes that we can break like mad Greek wannabees, or give em back when we are done with em. Cool.


Tonight we had some friends over and played a game or two and ate chips and salsa and laughed. A nice evening.


I think I'm ready to go worship God tomorrow with a bunch of his kids. We are thinking of checkin out the Free Methodist church in town here. Their service starts at 11am, -bonus, I can sleep in!!


Alas the end of holidays draws neigh.


Sigh.


 

Quiet please

Ok, don't bug me for the next two hours.


Lauralea and I are sitting down to watch my favourite movie, "So I Married and Axe Murderer."


 

Micah is now on MSN

And a deep father/son conversation ensues:


Micah says:
hi
Randall says:
hi Micah
Randall says:
you could just come to the stairs to say hi!
Micah says:
what are you doing
Randall says:
talking with you!
Micah says:
bye
Randall says:
bye


 

19 and counting

Yesterday wasn't all about blogfest, but it was about being married 19 years to the same person.


Nineteen years ago I proposed marriage to my best friend, in a Burger King in St. Thomas Ontario. Nineteen years gone by. Hard to believe.


So, yesterday we went on a date the likes of which we haven't had for too long a time.


We hit Saskatoon early in the afternoon, heading straight for Broadway. We love the small food stores and used book places. We visited all our favorites; the Bulk Cheese Warehouse, where we found six year old cheddar. McQuarries on Broadway, where we bought two great untried tea's and looked for parts for our Bodum. Then on to The Broadway Roastery where we purchased a pound of Indian coffee.


Halfway down the street we got caught in a sudden downpour and found an awning to shelter ourselves under. We stood together watching the people run back and forth in the pouring rain, and it was fun. No place to rush to, no time to keep pace with, we took the luxury of just being together, watching as life passed by. We laughed and remember the nineteen years. It was good.


After it stopped raining we continued on to the place I had chosen for supper, the Taj Mahal. Now the name sounds a little corny, but (and its a big but!) the food was incredible. We'd never tasted such good Indian cooking. According to "Where To Eat in Canada" they are considered the best Indian restaurant in Canada! Right there in Saskatoon!  It was a meal to remember, and we will, for a long long time.


And this relationship is one to remember too. Not always perfect, or great, but committed you know? Committed to friendship, to laughter, to love together, whatever comes down the pipe.


And that is truly one of the greatest gifts God has given this ol boy.


 

Blogfest 2k4

Lauralea and I hit the Blogfest in Saskatoon tonight and had a blast.


Becky, who called us to this get together, was in fine form...


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


 


And the rest carried on with the chatting and connections.


Um, Marc, Becky, Leighton, Linea, and Jordon. (Well, his head anyway)


 


 


 


 


 


This is the best part of blogging, meeting those who read you and others you read, with skin on. Really, one of the best parts. These are interesting, quality people.


 


 


As I said, it was a blast. Thanks Becky.


 


 

Happy Anniversary

Yep, guess where I'll be tomorrow night!



Tomorrow night is also Lauralea's and my 19th Anniversary, so I've told her some friends want to put on a little party for us. So could one or two of you bloggers who will be attending also bring along a card or something, just so that she has no doubts about the purpose of the night out!!


 


 


(naw, I didn't. After 19 years she can pretty much read me like a book. Besides, she reads this space.)


:-)


 

Home again, home again, and it all feels good.

10 days on the road and I'm a gonna sleep in my own bed tonight.


Sorry to all of you who communicated a desire to meet with us, and all you who didn't even know we were in Winnipeg and are now feeling like we don't like you!!!


We do, we really do love ya.


Our priorities this time were a family vacation and to try to visit my Aunts and Uncles. They are getting older and, well they are great people, we wanted our kids to see them again. Since we only had a few days, we were not able to see you all.


And now I think I'll go see about that bed.


g'nite.


 

G'nite

Well, as I sit here melting at the inlaws in Broadview, my thoughts and prayers have turned to the North and the worship tomorrow in Prince Albert.


As it is, seems Lauralea has been volunteered to be the band tomorrow - she plays piano. And I have been volunteered to lead the singing.


Grandma and Laura picked the songs:"Come, now is the time to worship", and "We bow down" and "The Steadfast love..."


While I appreciated their spunk, I reminded them that the average age of this congregation of 12 is roughly 372.


So I picked Higher ground, Near the cross, Nothing but the blood, etc.


So, there you go.


And rest assured that as I put my tired little head, onto my giant pilla tonight, I will remind God of you worship leaders and your work tomorrow, and, because He likes you all very much, he'll show up.


g'nite.


 

How do you know when you've suceeded?

Last Sunday, while we were in Winnipeg, we were invited to a reunion of sorts.

Lauralea and I pastored a church plant in Winnipeg for a number of years, the Richmond Gospel Fellowship.  It was a small group of hard working people, who wanted a place to worship God together, in the South end of the city. When we came, we came to a group of about 18ish people.

We worked hard to establish that church. I don't think there was much we didn't do to reach our community with Jesus love and care. But it was hard work. Over the years we reached the dizzying heights of 50, 60, 70, people. Occasionally 80 or 90 would come, but mostly the group remained around 60.

We never owned a building, we never had a huge budget. We used our money in different ways, and we tried to be ok with that. I don't think our parent churches or maybe even our conference ever understood that whole thinking.

But, they grew tired of doing so much. A while after Lauralea and I left, they brought in another pastor to help them out. He didn't last long. Then, after becoming even more tired and discouraged, they decided to close down. Which they did.

Last Sunday, about 60 people made it out to the reunion BBQ. We had a blast, it was so good to see them again. Others phoned to express their desire to come, but they couldn't be there.

A number of them talked with me privately, asking one of life's great questions, "Had they failed?"

Did we fail to do whatever it was we were suppose to do?

I thought for a moment, then started to list off the names of the people, many standing right there, who had found God through our work. I began to list off those who had been physically healed, as a result of God, and our prayers. I recalled the thousands who were fed because our foodbank had been in operation. I looked at the young people who grew up so well, mainly because we couldn't get a youth group going, but our youth had adult friends in the church who watched out for them and loved them, investing in their lives. I recounted the single moms who needed care and got it. The people who moved in from India without a friend, till they found us. The caretakers at the school we rented who we grew to love so that they became a part of things. Then I thought about the children of those who found God through our work. How they too had found God through their parents and their children were serving God too.

Had we failed?

Well, we failed to have our own building. We failed to have a multiple staff, and a very large budget. We also failed to attract other christians to change from their churches to ours, mainly because we failed at the other items. We failed to live to the ripe old age of 50, or a Hundred years. Sometimes we failed to be honest with one another, but in a small group, it's very difficult to hide your personal struggles. And most people knew them anyway.

We failed to plant a church in the "Normal" way, with a building etc. And we failed the expectations of our parent churches.

But, we never failed to BE the church.

We were a church in ways those who believe a building is a church will never understand. We were not a building. We were not a meeting at 11am, Sunday mornings. We were a people, gathered in Jesus name.

And I told them what I truly believe, that we succeeded at being a church. That our time spent being RGF was an opportunity that rarely comes along twice in a lifetime. And that it was a joy and blessing being a church with them.

I realized again just how precious it is to me, just to be the church.

No, RGF was not a failure, but a blessing. A Church.




How to meet Good Mennonite Boys

My sister's makin new friends!


 

I'm back, ...sort of....

Well, I've been busy you know!?


We are just returning from some time in Winnipeg. We actually had a great time, in spite of how many times Winnipegers asked us, "You came to Winnipeg for a holiday?!?!"


Come on, get a little self-confidence will ya Winnipeg?


I know the banjo lovin Bombers are nothing to cheer about, but, hey, you've got the Forks, with the great food (Esp. those fresh, hot little donuts), and now that lovely pointy thing in the river, the foot bridge! Hey, that's a cool million dollar bridge... right beside the other bridge...


And you've got St. Vital Mall, which my children inform me is quite a happening place. (Also, you've got Old Navy which seems significant to teenagers)


And the lovely BDI. That place alone made it worth the trip I tell ya. The ice cream there is amazing.... (words fail me here...)


And the people are great, just awesome.


But, we are getting back online, slow but surely.


I just don't want to rush back from holidays too quickly, know what I mean?


 

In and out

Well, seeing how I'm older and wiser now, and that much closer to Death, we plan on livin large, and see some sites/sights.


So I'll be in and out during the next few days.


Cheers, and thanks again for yesterday.


Oh yeah, for my Birthday I got a Classical music cd, a cup with my favorite beverage, Diana Kralls CD, "Live in Paris," some candy, and a cool little radio. I also got some seriously good raspberry pie.


Not a bad haul!


 

Happy Birthday to Me

Hey look at me, I'm 41.


My vision's not too bad, I can still smell and taste, and, for the most part hear. I don't have major health issues, am not constipated. I have not had any broken bones or surgery.


I'm still on my first wife, we have four kids and I drive a smoking minivan.


My life's work is something I enjoy, usually, and I'm not as balding as my younger brother.


Life is good.


 

Holidays: Day One

Well, I'm hosed. I can't handle many more holidays like this one!!


I started off by renewing randallfriesen.com for another five years! Woo Hoo.


Then I spent some time trying to reach Lauralea who was out there somewhere running errands. I had a vital question for her, (No, not where were my Bermuda shorts!!). We have this cell phone which she forgets to take with her, for just such needy occasions.


Then, I took to mowing the lawn. I did this till The Boy showed his smiling face. Then it wasn't smiling any more. Thomas took over mowing, and I weeded Lauralea's and Hillary's dirt patch. Then I tackled her flowerbed and weeded that.


Not tired yet, I offered to make supper, again. Wow, two days in a row.  I made my growing speciality, Aglio Olio, everybody raves about it, or else I make em wash the dishes... It's a great garlic pasta thing I saw done on the Food Network, and I love it.


Then I settled into the living room for a long, difficult phone meeting. I'm a board member of the Covenant Bible College, and we have some tough stuff to work through. So 2+ hours later and my head is buzzing.


Now, I've completed some paperwork for the meeting, and I think I can go to bed.


Bring on day two.


 

Bono on Religon

"Religion is when God leaves the room and people make up rules to fill the space."  --Bono

via.

Just one smooooooooooooth face

Alright, for those of you pestering me for pics, and to prove there is not a dead chicken sitting on my face, here you go.


Thomas got some pics while I was mowing the lawn.



 


I think I'm doing warm up exercises here, before I mow.


 


 


 


 



 


 


Yeah baby.


Smmooooth.


 


 


 


 


 


 



 


 


I'm wearing my favorite CFL shirt!


 


 


 


 

More? You can't handle more!!

You'll be glad to know that I won't be caught with an unrenewed domain name, this time!


I just renewed randallfriesen.com for five years. That should take me well into the dementia years.


 


All randallfriesen. All the time.


 

hey I only have two hands (And four eyes!)

I'm kind of going into holidays starting tomorrow. I say kind of, because there are a lot of things still up in the air. I was at the office all afternoon today, and got some more done.


But alas, the creative juices are beginning to flow!!


This morning a mood struck me and I shaved off my beard. Now I'm getting sideways glances from all my kids. They think it needs to go back on. Ahh these young ones, fighting change at every opportunity.


I also posted a small box on the left side so you can shoot me an email on our cell phone. Just remember, keep it short and sweet. It ain't easy driving, drinking a Tim Horton's coffee, and reading your email!!


 

A day at the lake

Today we went for our regular August long weekend at Lionel and Tryntje Roy's home on Christopher Lake.


It was a beautiful day, and Tryntje and I usually party hard as our birthdays are 3 days apart.



Here are some more pics of the day!