Why Bother?

I took a long time when I considered starting my own Weblog. Most of the time was spent considering the options, how much to write, how much to leave out, kind of things. And then I stumbled upon a weblog I enjoyed. JordonCooper.com.

Jordon challenged his readers to start writing down their stories online too. He pointed out that most church websites were dead static things in need of a stick of dynamite in the CPU. (My words, not his). And I agreed.

Now, the Internet can be a dark place, filled with all manner of trouble as close as the click of a mouse button. It's a place where reality is easily twisted. (Just look at what your spam email tries to sell you...)

But it can also be a wonderful place of discovery, communication, friendships.

I wanted my corner of the web to be a place where I could tell my story, as it is. That life isn't all easy or all trouble, it is what it is, and God is good. And that just because I am a pastor, it doesn't follow that I always have it all together.

So I began writing, May 17, 2002 to be exact. Since then I've made some cool new friends. And not just online either. The online contacts have led to coffee's and lunches, retreats and worship, studies and prayer.

Some of you appreciate this place, and you let me know, and some of you really dislike what I write. I'm trying to get to the place where that's OK too.

But I really enjoy seeing the Internet redeemed. By that I mean that this can be a place where God reaches people's hearts, - He communicates with them. And one way that happens is through honest stories. Stories of lives lived out, one day at a time.

And that's all I'm trying to do here.

I am honestly surprised at how many of you drop by this place on a daily basis, and so many of you do it quietly.

As I'm always looking for an opportunity to connect, why not drop me a note.

It's as quick as clicking this link.

(well OK, maybe a bit longer...)

Who am i



Indeed.

I really do consider myself just a regular guy. I am the husband of Lauralea, and father to Johanna, Hillary, Thomas and Micah. Pastor of Gateway Covenant Church, lover of strong coffee and tea, (double cream), eggnog with coke in it, a solid radio signal, Nigel Kennedy, the colour orange, and God.

I seem to be becoming a writer, a photographer, a webdesign guy, Spiritual Director, mentor, father of grown up kids, and Lauralea's old man. I'm ok with all that.

The way I've been created and formed has been about prayer and healing. I am a shepherd, caregiver, gatherer, and thus I'm interested and concerned with people living out their lives on this sod. So much of the brokenness people experience comes as a result of trying to do it themselves, rather than the most humbling way of asking for help. I work with those who ask for help, and I enjoy walking with them as they find their way.

Reflection and meditation have become very integral to my life. And because I am a follower of Jesus Christ, I use these tools to connect with him.

This blog has been a growing place of opportunity to explore my areas of giftedness. If you could use someone to bounce some ideas off of, or if you are looking for someone to help with some Spiritual Direction in your life, I welcome your contact.

You can reach me here.
:-)

Auld Lang Syne

Well, here in Saskatchewan it's nearly 2005 and I'm listening to the tick tock of the new clock keeping time. Everything else is quiet.


The kids are at a youth party till late, or should I say early. Lauralea and I and Micah were at a great little party hosted by our small group hosts, the Wiebes. Between my head and stomach, I felt it might be better to be at home, so I got a ride while the other two stayed to party.


So here I am, listening to the clock mark off the seconds and minutes and hours which add up to days and weeks and months and years, and finally a lifetime.


I don't know all that this year will hold for us and ours, but I am confident that God will walk through it with us, as we let him. 04 hasn't been that peachy creamy, and still He is near, closer than I often think he is.


I am excited by the year to come. I'm also nervous, curious, and at peace. It shall unfold before our eyes. I'm just glad that the one whom Time cannot hold has promised to be there, here, and there, with you.


So, from me and my family to you and your families, households, offices, roomfuls, we pray for you God's very best. May this be a year in which you discover more of what it means to really be alive.


Have a Blessed New Year

Big News!!!!

Did I say Big News?  Sorry, I mean BIG NEWS!!!


I just discovered while tuning the ole Radio dial, that CBC Radio 2 is beginning to transmit up here in Prince Albert at 89.1 FM!!!!!!


WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.


After 5 years of letter writing and impatient waiting it's looking like Prince Albert has it's new Radio Station, well, transmitter at least.


CBC Radio 2 broadcasts "Classics and Beyond," Whatever "beyond" means. Finally, another culture other than Top 40 and Country and Western is broadcasting in P.A. This is a day for rejoicing. Good thing I bought a turkey we're roasting to eat tonight. I think a celebration is due us, after 5 years of letters and prodding.


You can listen to it here.


Guess what I'm going to go listen to...

Saskatchewan Blizzard

Big snow and wind in Southern Saskatchewan.


Stay home if you can.


 


 


 

Terminal

We watched the movie The Terminal, with Tom Hanks tonight.


I liked the different stories running throughout the film, kept me interested. 


A good, sad, happy story. And Tom Hanks keeps on surprising me.


 


 

Law and Order's Jerry Orbach, dead at 69

"After a months-long battle with prostate cancer, actor Jerry Orbach has died. Orbach's manager Robert Malcolm confirmed orbach's death. He was 69 and had only recently revealed his battle with cancer.


Orbach died Tuesday night in Manhattan after several weeks of treatment."


 


My favourite actor, on a favourite TV show.


 

Christmas 2004

Well, Christmas 2004 is coming to a close, and it was a beaut!


Yesterday was a fun day. The kids got me tools and Butter Pecan Fudge, and shirts and a duct tape tie. And Lauralea got me a couple favourite DVD's. Then I gave Toni a call and woke him up. That was a most enjoyable treat, getting to talk with him, and meet him kinda in person.


Then we headed into Saskatoon, amid tricky weather and roads, but the ride in was ok. Mom had made the most amazing Turkey, I ate and ate it. The siblings brought the extras, but the Turkey really took the spotlight. Turkey should be in it's own food group, it really is awesome.


Played some games, opened up some presents, ate all afternoon, then headed for home.


And that was a little different. It was kind of raining/misty and -20C. How can those two exist on the same highway?? Well, they did. So the road was slippery, and the windshield covered with ice, and I couldn't see much through the matchbox sized hole the heater was trying to keep open on the windshield. But we made it, later than expected.


Today in church we had a kind of Carol Singing day. People called out their favourites and we sang em. Afterwards we drank coffee and visited. It was really a nice way to worship God, and care for each other. Oh, and a cool part was that someone came to visit the church from Yellowknife, (Well, he didn't come from there for the service...) Gene, who has occasionally visited this page, has been in the city this week visiting, so today he found the church, and that was just very cool. Thanks Gene.


Tomorrow is a larger family supper, which will be a little strange because Grandpa and Grandma won't be there this time...


Some very cool highlights this year: Watching children who like to give gifts, a great sweater from the mom in law, Roasted Turkey, fudge, portraits that the kids had made, corner gas dvd, meeting Toni, meeting Gene, and now, a week of holidays.


Bring it on baby, I can use em.

Twas the night before Christmas...

Well, tonight is here, finally. One more sleep... and I need it, that's for sure.


Tonight we had our candle light service of Carols and Readings, which I always enjoy. And the people seem to enjoy it too.


Tomorrow we will try to get to Saskatoon to see my family a bit. Tonight the roads are bad, it's kinda been raining and snowing, and cold, all at the same time, go figure. Right now the snow is coming down like crazy, and I'm nervous. I can't believe what a nervous nelly I've become. I used to get into a car at college in Northern Alberta, and the weather was -35C, and drive for 60 hours to Southern Ontario for Christmas, through every kind of weather you could imagine. Now I get weird over an hours drive south. Go figure.


I am looking forward to the week of holidays I have left. I'm looking forward to hanging out with the kids and sleeping in and making a few meals again. I think they were forgetting who I was. I'll soon fix that. After I beat them at a few games of Monopoly they'll remember that I am THE MASTER OF THE MONOPOLY UNIVERSE!


Ahem, yeah, like they would say, Whatever...


Been praying for some people that are on my mind today too. Some are here and some out there. Some I see every week, some I haven't seen in years, and some I've never met in person. But God's been stirring them in my heart and sleep and spirit, so I pray. It is good when I feel a burden to pray for someone, and I pray, and God releases the burden as the prayer is being answered. It's good.


Anyway to the title of this post. It is the night before Christmas, so in the words of Luke, spoken by Linus, let us remember what Christmas really is about.



And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; because he was of the house and lineage of David, To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.


And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.


And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.


And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.


Now to you and yours, may God bless you with Grace to receive and understand his great gift given to you.


Peace, God's peace, be upon your homes and hearts this season.

Well, the rush is on

Today as I was going to a lunch hour appointment, I hurt my nose on the cold! Yes, that's what I said. It was so cold here today, I think (-30C before windchill) that just breathing into my nose actually hurt it!! No wonder the van is so cranky.


And if the van is cranky, so am I.


Yeah, been working like a guy with deadlines to meet. Yea Christmas service deadlines, but also end of the year deadlines, and "I'm going on a week of holidays in 7 days and better have everything done before then" deadlines. And the people around here just seem to be getting sicker and sicker, (Thanks Micah!)


But, Christmas is coming and I have one more gift to purchase, something for Lauralea.


Any ideas?


I mean, within a very limited budget kind of thing.


Gotta keep going, I require one more reader for the Christmas Eve Candle Light Service.


Hang in there, we're past the shortest day of the year. Now it starts to stay lighter longer!

Pressure Builds

Last week before you know what, and we have one more gift to purchase for one of our kids. Today we got a short list from said child


I think the kid is trying to be helpful, but sheesh, this is a little bit of pressure.



... Belt. Not plastic, pink, see through. Not plain leather, or leather of any colour other than black. Yes, Black. Leather with silver stars, studs. Not pointy or round studs, just stars. Or a cloth one, any color, more dark blues, etc. But bright colours- Rainbow pattern will do fine.


Actually, the whole list made us laugh out loud. The Child does have a good sense of humor.


Gotta go find a belt... 

Photos Today

Thanks to those of you who came out and partied with us, and thanks to the wack of you who partied along with us online.


5 hours of visiting fun'


11 chairs


ton's (well nearly tons) of food,


one wickedly hot Guacamole dip (Made by moi)


over 50 people,


in two rooms (300 equals ft.)


= one good time.


Thanks Again.

















Welcome to the Party

 LIVE PARTY CAM


Party cam


Welcome to our yearly "Party at the Pastor's", we're glad you could be here!

 

If you are able, come and join us, from 1-4 this afternoon or from 6-9 tonight. The food will be happening, the fire will be burning out in the back yard, and people will be partying.  (1179 4th St. East. Prince Albert, Sk. Canada)

 

Our plan is to share this day with whoever cares to join us, even over the internet.

 

We will be attempting to load a new picture every 2 minutes, so hit reload on your browser to see the next picture. (Hit "Ctrl" and your reload button, F5)

 

If you are within range (about a 1 block radius of our house) you can also pick up some Christmas tunes we will be broadcasting on 97.3 Friesens FM.

 

So, if you can join us, that's great. But if you can't, just get some warm apple cider, some shortbread, and cozy up to the screen. We'll try to include you in the party.

 

Oh and leave us a comment with your name and place, that way you're included too.

Nearly Ready

Well, at least this year I didn't undertake to paint anything, before the open house. (If your memory fails you, see here, and here, and here, and here, and here.)


Lauralea's been baking and cooking like a crazy woman.  Tonight she had a bit of a freak out/meltdown and it involved a bouncing ball... But, we're aiming for bed soon.


I think the cam is ready, been testing it tonight. I think the place is clean and the food is made. Now for tomorrow.


And you dear reader, are welcomed to our humble home. To hang out and connect and eat and enjoy life a bit. You don't have to tell us, just show up and join in!   1179 4th Street East, Prince Albert


Tomorrow from 1pm-4 and then again from 6-9pm.


Or, check in here and have a peek at what's going on. (Remember to hold down the ctrl key and press the F5 key to reload the newest picture.)



Find rest, O my soul, in God alone:
my hope comes from Him.


Come I this night to the Father,
come I this night to the Son,
come I to the Holy Spirit powerful:
come I this night to God.
Come I this night with Christ,
come I with the Spirit of kindness.
Come I to Thee, Jesus.
Jesus, shelter me.


I will lie down and sleep.
I wake again,
because the Lord sustains me.


By day the Lord directs His love;
at night His song is with me -
a prayer to the God of my life.


Be strong and take heart,
all you who hope in the Lord.


This dwelling, O God, by Thee be blest;
and each one who here this night does rest.


May God be in my sleep;
may Christ be in my dreams.
May the Spirit be in my repose,
in my thoughts, in my heart.
In my soul always
may the Sacred Three dwell.

File this under unbelievable!

I was heading downtown for a meeting when I pulled up to a red light. As I came to a stop, I looked over into the small car beside me and there was a lovely family laughing and smiling, heading downtown to do some Christmas shopping.


Dad was driving and mom was laughing in the passenger seat. In the small back seat there were three kids. The two brothers on either side and their young sister stuck in the middle. I was estimating their ages around, oh 10 -12.


The unbelievable part? They were all smoking cigarettes, every one of them.


Yep, mom and dad had lit up, and each kid in the backseat held their own little burning sticks. Three under 13, and having the time of their lives.


Like I said, unbelievable.

Henri Nouwen on Heaven and Hell


Often hell is portrayed as a place of punishment and heaven as a place of reward. But this concept easily leads us to think about God as either a policeman, who tries to catch us when we make a mistake and send us to prison when our mistakes become too big, or a Santa Claus, who counts up all our good deeds and puts a reward in our stocking at the end of the year.


God, however, is neither a policeman nor a Santa Claus. God does not send us to heaven or hell depending on how often we obey or disobey. God is love and only love. In God there is no hatred, desire for revenge, or pleasure in seeing us punished. God wants to forgive, heal, restore, show us endless mercy, and see us come home. But just as the father of the prodigal son let his son make his own decision God gives us the freedom to move away from God's love even at the risk of destroying ourselves. Hell is not God's choice. It is ours.


Henri Nouwen

Prayer



In the shadow of Your wings
I will sing Your praises, O Lord.
The Lord is my light, my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the refuge of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?


In the shadow of Your wings
I will sing Your praises, O Lord.


One thing I ask of the Lord,
one thing I seek;
to dwell in the presence of my God,
to gaze on Your holy place.


In the shadow of Your wings
I will sing Your praises, O Lord.


I believe I shall see the goodness
of the Lord in the land of the living.
O wait for the Lord!
Have courage and wait,
wait for the Lord.


In the shadow of Your wings
I will sing Your praises, O Lord.



Decisions, decisions.

Somehow I booked myself four different activities/meetings to attend tonight. Sheesh, bad setup.


About a month ago, I agreed to participate in a Service of Healing at the local Anglican church. Then we found out it was also Micah's School's Christmas party night, which we normally attend. It was also my turn to lead worship practice, which I was able to delegate to some very good people. And finally, a Nomination Committee meeting, after 8 pm.


The service went great, it was really cool. I liked their approach, and hey, God showed up. Then Sunday's tunes were practiced by the worship team. And the committee meeting went very well. God has answered some fervent prayer over in that area!


The one thing I had to miss was Micah's party. I don't like to do that, but I did. He seemed to have a lot of fun, and discovered skiing for the first time. Now guess what he wants for Christmas... yep.


I've always tried to do ministry without asking my kids to pay all the costs, you know? You take each situation on it's own merit, as it comes. Sometimes you make the right decisions, and sometimes you crap out. But you try.


And, somehow, God is still able to make all grace abound. Somehow, in spite of decisions made right or wrong. He can work through the difficulties of those who love him.


Somehow he does.

Wow. This is getting very cool


Google to scan famous libraries


The libraries of five of the world's most important academic institutions are to be digitised by Google.


Scanned pages from books in the public domain will then be made available for search and reading online.


The full libraries of Michigan and Stanford universities, as well as archives at Harvard, Oxford and the New York Public Library are included.


"The goal of the project is to unlock the wealth of information that is offline and bring it online," said Susan Wojcicki, director of product management at Google.


Via.



Now what...


Your Message To: sk@...
Has been identified as spam:


Subject:


Saskatchewan Environment's Email System detected this message as spam and has
not been delivered to the recipient.


 


Who would have thought it, now I'm a spammer, and a stupid one at that. It seems I haven't received any cash for it.

The Prince of Peace


Whenever we experience something difficult in our personal life, we are tempted to blame God. But we are the ones in the wrong, not God. Blaming God is evidence that we are refusing to let go of some disobedience somewhere in our lives. But as soon as we let go, everything becomes as clear as daylight to us. As long as we try to serve two masters, ourselves and God, there will be difficulties combined with doubt and confusion. Our attitude must be one of complete reliance on God. Once we get to that point, there is nothing easier than living the life of a saint. We encounter difficulties when we try to usurp the authority of the Holy Spirit for our own purposes.


God´s mark of approval, whenever you obey Him, is peace. He sends an immeasurable, deep peace; not a natural peace, "as the world gives," but the peace of Jesus. Whenever peace does not come, wait until it does, or seek to find out why it is not coming. If you are acting on your own impulse, or out of a sense of the heroic, to be seen by others, the peace of Jesus will not exhibit itself. This shows no unity with God or confidence in Him. The spirit of simplicity, clarity, and unity is born through the Holy Spirit, not through your decisions. God counters our self-willed decisions with an appeal for simplicity and unity.


Oswald Chambers



The Clock

This Christmas is going to be very different in one respect, Grandpa and Grandma Friesen won't be around to visit or joke with, or eat fruit soup with. There was a little bit of money that came to us when they passed away, so we've been thinking what to do with it. Today we finalized our decision.


There is a little clock shop here in town with an immigrant owner who seriously knows his way around clocks. I don't suppose he gets a lot of challenging hand made clocks to work on anymore. But two weeks ago I went in there and asked him about the clocks he had available for sale. He started showing me a few quartz things, and ventured into the top end lineup I guess many P.A. people are into, Korean made clocks.


I shook my head and said in a quiet voice, "Do you have any German made clocks?"


You should have seen his face light up like a Christmas Tree. Oh yes, he had some in stock, the best made anywhere, even better than the Korean clocks, although they were very good too. And he was having a Christmas sale, 30% off all clocks.


So, today Lauralea and I went down and bought our last gift from Grandpa and Grandma, a quality, German made Cuckoo Clock.


I've already named the bird "Detier," and he's already made an appearance or two.


The gentle ticktock is kind of a peaceful, restful sound. And it provides a constant gentle rhythm in our home. It's a good thing. I hope that for a long time it will be a reminder of the constant gentle love we enjoyed from two people who loved us unconditionally.


Open House 2004

If you are within reach of our home this Friday, December 17th, Lauralea and I want to invite you to stop by for a bit. From 1-4:30 and from 6-9 we invite you to get yourselves to 1179, 4th Street East, here in Prince Albert.


We usually have some coffee, tea, and hot apple cider, and we run sweets and cookies etc.


Anyway, the point of all this is to say come on down and just hang out with us a bit. It's usually lots of fun and we usually have a blast.


For those of you from some distance away who don't think you want to pay for a plane ticket, it's ok. To show you my good intentions, I'm going to try to run a semi-live webcam during the day, so you can visit online and leave a comment or two. You will have to reload your page to get the updated pic.


So please, if you can come, then do come, otherwise get yourself some shortbread, a warm drink, and cozy up to the webcam. This could be some fun.


 


'UK church faces life underground'


Top cleric sees implosion, persecution coming
Posted: December 11, 2004
4:15 p.m. Eastern


? 2004 WorldNetDaily.com


Christianity in Great Britain is imploding, fragmenting and will soon be driven underground, says a senior adviser to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams.


Jayne Ozanne told Williams and Archbishop of York David Hope that a time of great persecution for the church is coming, reports the Times of London.


In a private report to the pair, Ozanne warned the outlook for the church was not good ? that it would continue to implode and self-destruct over homosexual clergy and other issues. She says that its future will be one of an underground movement comparable to resistance movements during World War II.


"I remain convinced that the only way for the Church to survive the storms that are currently besetting it is to embrace the hard truth with honesty and humility," wrote Ozanne. "Questioning whether Church leaders really believe any more in a God who can move mountains or in a God who can raise the dead, she warns that the Church seems to have forgotten how to meet the cost of being Christian."


She continued: "Sacrificial giving is not a concept that we in the West have either embraced or understood. We are too comfortable and, as a result, too compromised. I see a time of great persecution coming, which will drive Christianity all but underground in the West. I believe that this will primarily take the form of a social and economic persecution, where Christians will be ridiculed for their faith and pressurized into making it a purely private matter."


While the established Church will self-destruct, "fragmenting into various divisions over a range of internal issues", she predicts that a new "Church in England" will take root, consisting of non-denominational cell groups throughout the country.


Via.

Handel is the greatest composer who ever lived. - Ludwig van Beethoven

Tonight we were driving downtown to do some looking for Christmas gifts, listening to a small market distant prairie radio station on AM. They were playing a piece from Handel's Messiah.


Lauralea and I have sung the whole piece before, so we picked up the song like 20 years hadn't elapsed since we last sang it. I don't think the kids were impressed, but they don't know good music when they've had it butchered in front of them!


I remembered and commented to Lauralea that the last time we listened to the whole Messiah, was on a cold November night in London, the city Handel wrote it in. It was a magical evening in that large stone All Hallows Church, and we sat wearing our coats, listening to the New London Symphony and the HighGate Choral Society do the whole thing. I remember during intermission they served wine and cheese and I thought, hmm, the Church of England isn't so bad.


Music is one of those cool memory triggers. You hear a song and it reminds you of places and times and loves. Even over a static-y AM radio out in the middle of the prairies.


And I sometimes think Ludwig had it right.

Reason number 496,748,329 for being alive

Today I discovered another reason to be alive.


Fresh, warm, Butter Pecan Fudge.


 


Oooooooooooooooh Baaaaaaaabbbbbyyyyyyyy.

A Christmas Gift for the readers of randallfriesen.com

The other night I was having trouble sleeping, and I started to think about you, the readers of randallfriesen.com. You are a unique bunch, and generally an encouraging lot. Some of you comment on the comment system, others of you comment via emails, and still others of you comment more by sending notes to my cell phone.

I appreciate you and your care more than you realize, and I pray for you, even you lurkers, (Hey, God knows where you live!)

So, as I lay awake, a brilliant amazingly christmassy idea popped into my head, I would get you all a Christmas gift. Special Christmas Wrapping Paper for your gifts!

Handmade, from the finest of software. Created by a pastor in the Northern Wilds of Canada, as he lay in bed, unable to sleep.

I got out my Ipaq and created four distinct, yet lovely designs. A lit up Christmas tree, (My favourite), a decorated present, a variation on Snoopy's decorated home, and a festive red and white striped paper. They are done in a patchwork style, on white background. One paper even has all the festive images included!

Each paper is created in pdf format, so you should have your acrobat reader installed. Simply download the wrapping paper files to your computer, load it up and print it off. If you're giving items bigger than jewlery this year, you may want to tape some sheets together for your larger gifts.







The Christmas Tree  (400 kbs)







The Present (683 kbs)









Snoopy's House  (390 kbs)









Christmas Stripes (800 kbs)





And Here you can download the paper with all the images combined. (526 kbs).

So there you go. Enjoy your gift giving knowing that randallfriesen.com has done it's part to make Christmas a bit more special this year.

Merrrrrry Christmas.

Met an old co-worker today

We had our Ministerial Christmas luncheon today. It was good to be there and share some time together.


I sat with another pastor I hadn't seen in over a year. He's changed to another church, just out of town, on a reserve.


As we sat and talked I thought about how interesting it is that some people you easily connect with, at deep levels, quickly.  I dunno, spirit connections maybe?


Anyway, that's how it was when I first met this guy many years ago. He leads a church of a different flavour than I do, and it always interested me how and why he came to the church he was at when I first met him. He said he came to that church to do palliative care. I thought he was working with the cancer patients. He corrected me, "Nope, I'm coming to see the church through it's final days."


He was there doing that for 6 years and I really respect him for doing that work.


He worked very hard for those years to see that church live, but in the end, it wanted to be done. Now it is, and they just don't know it yet. A bit like a physical body after the Spirit has left it.


Now he's in a small church on a reserve, a humble work by all accounts, and he's enjoying it.


God is good.

Being a pastor

Well, this one began around 8am and now it's nearly 10pm and I'm finishing up at the office for another day.


Seven visits/connectional things, and two meetings tonight.


I was thinking about the connections throughout the day, and how varied they were.


Today I was a spiritual advisor, a confidante, a friend, someone asking advice, I was a shoulder to weep on,  a mentor, a coworker, a pastor, someone to pray with, a pray-er. I was a burden bearer, a snow shoveler, a driver, a worship leader, an on call crisis caregiver, a ministerial treasurer, a teacher.


Now I'm going home to bed cause tomorrow I'm going to be an early morning pray-er.


But before I do that, if any of the kids are still up, I need to be a father.


P.S. I also was a telephone repair guy for a elderly lady I was having tea with. Her cordless wasn't working and I had it fixed in no time, making me quite the hero, and due for another shortbread cookie...

Suppose to be a day off today, but I dunno

A very small, generally unnoticed thing happened which just reminded me again that I am not on the same footing with the church I attend, as others are. It's hard to explain, but I guess it's like moving to a small town, and the small things they do which remind you that you are still an outsider, and you will be for 35 years or so.


Being a pastor moves you to a different level, and it's difficult to be one of the group, even if you try. You are one of the only people who attend regularly, who could be asked not to return. Now, that's not happening here and it's not in the works, but that concept can just do weird things to a person. 


When it happens it makes me feel lonely, like I'm spiritually homeless or something. Usually it's ok, one of the things you expect when doing this work. But today it's been harder.


 


Maybe it's been harder today because today I'm also concerned for a friend. They are going through a rough patch. I was up a good chunk of the night prayin and thinking about them. Today's been the same, a kind of constant prayer being offered up all day. The need is great and I'm really worried for them.


I learned in church yesterday that when you are worried about something, talk to God about it, even if it's a small thing. Thank him for what he's done in the past, and he will restore peace to you. So I'm talking to God about it, all day talking. And I'm watching for the peace to come.


So, if you think about me, maybe mention my friend to God.


 


And I just picked up the phone from the Hospital, which means I'm on call this week. I'm a bit nervous. Last time I was on call there was a snowfall, and when the skies open and bringeth forth snow, out of shape men go out to their driveways and shovel and fall down with major heart attacks.


So, as you can tell by the photo a few posts below, it snowed all day yesterday and all last night.


Let me exhort you, especially you out of shape types, either let your wives go shovel the driveway, or borrow her hair blowdryer and get out your lawnchair. Plant the chair in the middle of your driveway and turn on the blowdryer, and simply melt the snow away.


Now that's using your head.

Just in time for Christmas

I kid you not.


"Yes, it's The Original Bobble Head Jesus! This quality sculpted figurine is a good representation of Jesus as He walked on earth in Israel so many years ago. Of course, nobody knows what Jesus really looked like, but this is our best guess since we know that He had a head that moved!


Bobble Head Jesus welcomes you with open arms, standing about 8 inches tall with bare feet on a rocklike base. Our Jesus Bobble Head is made of high quality polyresin and each is hand painted. Bring your own personal BobbleHead Jesus home today! How about one for your pastor, priest, or a favorite sinner? Don't be fooled by the cheap plastic imitations."


Buy it here.


 


 

It seemed wrong to even call it a fish...

Wow.


Tonight we were invited to some friends for supper.  Mike and Cheryl put on a spread that was amazing.


Home made vino, and this vast salmon, smoked on a cedar plank. Course there was other veggies and sweets and fruit and cheese course, but the salmon was, well, unlike any I've had in a long time.


The fish he caught last summer of the coast of BC. The original Salmon was 25-35 pounds, and he had pictures.


And, I understand that he brought the cedar plank from BC too!


The fellowship was just as sweet as the fish. After this week, it was very good to laugh a lot, and laugh we did.


Thanks you guys. It was perfect medicine, probably better than you realize.


 

High's and Lows of weather

Last night I left the office around 11:30 and I was surprised to find it was gently misting out and the temperature in the pluses.


It looks like the balmy weather is only here for a day though. Tomorrow is a high of -12, then Sunday it's to be a high of -20. Sheesh.


You'd think this was Calgary or something.


I'd better get an electrical plug on the car TODAY. Seems like the previous owner had a nasty habit of driving off while the car was still plugged in.

Gimps and Half-wits

The other day I was putting winterizing plastic over the kitchen windows. I was standing on a old wooden chair and without any warning the chair broke into a thousand pieces and down I came. Scraped up my arm nicely and hurt my back, profoundly.


Just so that I don't feel like a total gimp. Lauralea went out yesterday and as she entered a building, she slipped on some melted snow and went headfirst into a GlassBlock wall.


She has a huge lump on her forehead and reports that it feels like she "was in a serious accident." Which she was. Back, legs, neck snapping and crunching....


So, It was kinda funny when we got ready for bed last night, and got up this morning. All the whimpering and groaning...


I remember when that used to be the best part about finding the bed.


 


 

What's your flavour of the month?

Clinton left a comment I couldn't leave alone. He wrote:



Some of these Churches have organs, drums, distorted electric guitars, piercings, dyed hair, make-up, don't allow make up, dance, hug, cry, laugh, ignore emotions, preach in shorts, preach for an hour, paint pictures, wear ties, wear swimsuits, serve alcohol, have icons, reject idols, separate men and women, separate children from adults, frown on Halloween, dress in Halloween costumes and give out candy, play country music, play hymns, play jazz, play contemporary music, chant, don't believe in musical instruments, drive mercedes, walk for miles, use sweetgrass, smoke cigarettes, have same-sex preferences, date, don't date, don't gamble, win $10 million, avoid pubs, hold gospel nights in bars, shun technology, use powerpoint, have small groups, don't have small groups, wear hats, forbid hats, have religious hats, require head coverings for women, don't allow women in ministry, have women pastors, only use KJV, don't allow men to have long hair, require that women do have long hair, use only latin, speak in tongues, ascribe tongues to the devil, baptize infants, rebaptize those baptized as infants, use ritz for communion, eat Jesus during communion, serve coffee, teetotal, own a building, rent a building, don't have a building, meet in a house, meet in a tent, meet in a field, tithe, go bankrupt, reach out, reach in, use chairs, use pews, use dirt, have memberships, believe being a Christian is membership, love Jesus, serve Jesus, become more Christ-like.


I have been in many Christian cultures and none of them are identical. Their only similarity is Jesus. He tends to be unchanging and eternal for some reason ;) .


Yep, like a collection of different gems in His crown.


That's us.

Advent. From Yellowknife

Steve McMillan is going on an Advent journey, and he has invited us to tag along.



Honoring the meaning of advent is difficult for me. Not just because of the frenzied pace of the Christmas season (is there a busier time of year?). Not even because of the blatant commercialism and consumerism. For me, advent is hard because waiting is hard. Advent kicks my ingrained desire for instant gratification in the butt. I´ve always had a hard time waiting to open presents and I have a hard time waiting for the blessing of 'God with us'.  I want a lot this year and I want it now! I want Joy to the World not another verse of O Come, O Come Emmanuel!


The result has been that I have short-circuited the meaning of Christmas.  Each year I sit down to a huge feast only to find myself already full from snacking. The food still tastes good but it doesn´t satisfy my real hunger - I´m already full of chocolates, candy-canes and too much eggnog.  Advent is a purposefully waiting and intentionally fasting so that when the meal arrives I can discover that it satisfies my tastebuds, my stomach and my expectations. 


Each day he is posting something on Advent, either written by himself or guest authors. This is an opportunity to make more out of Advent. Why not join him?