Many have said this, in many different ways,


Everything we run away from has power over us; everything we go through, we conquer.
J. Meyer

Tired

Tired

The body aches
The mind is numb
Bed. To the shower and then to bed.
Tired.
The spirit, scattered
The calendar, full
A prayer for strength
For tomorrow
For the souls who will need grace and love from me.
And for me who will need grace and love from their souls.
Bed.
Sleep.
Mercy.

Sledge Hockey

So Micah joined the church sledge hockey team and is off and sliding with number 94.
Last week was their first game which they lost by only one point.

Last year they won the title, so there is reason to hope this year will be fun.





First day back and trust.


It was a good morning back at church today.
It's always good to have a break from that up front work and preaching and teaching and leading stuff, to sit and ponder and worship and think of new or different, (read: better) ways to share worship together.

There are so many different aspects of worship that one can explore with a trusting congregation.

Perhaps that is the delight about who we are becoming. We are becoming a trusting group. That indicates health, and communication. Owning when you fail and no bait and switch tricks.

The youth are always the first to pick up on that stuff. If they smell dishonesty or a lack of integrity, they will push against it. If they sense that the pastor or leaders are a bit manipulative in the course of accomplishing their own agenda, the kids will often know that. They have good discernment skills without yet having grown the skills to squelch that knowledge.

Yeah, it was good to be back.
Good to reconnect with the local body.


Now, into week one of Advent.

Saturday evening prayers

The words were appropriate tonight as Lauralea and I prayed together.
Maybe there are some words here to offer you comfort this night.
Join us in prayer...


I will wait for the Lord.
My soul waits,
and in His word do I hope.

Lord, You have always given bread for the coming day;
and though I am poor,
today I believe.

Lord, You have always given strength for the coming day;
and though I am weak,
today I believe.

Lord, You have always given peace for the coming day;
and though of anxious heart,
today I believe.

Lord, You have always kept me safe in trials;
and now, tried as I am,
today I believe.

Lord, You have always marked the road for the coming day;
and though it may be hidden,
today I believe.

Lord, You have always lightened this darkness of mine;
and though the night is here,
today I believe.

Lord, You have always spoken when time was ripe;
and though you be silent now,
today I believe.


(Northumbria Community)



"I am a simple preacher"

I wrote that today while I was in a used bookshop looking for a good poetry book and that thought just descended on me.  It was like an epiphany almost, I am a simple preacher. Or perhaps it was more like, I'm simply a preacher. That's all, that's it. 

I'm not sure if it's a Randall thing or a guy thing or a human thing that sometimes drives me to be more than I am or to do more than I'm doing with my life. You know? I sometimes make myself crazy when I get to thinking that I need to be more or do more or get more accomplished with my life.

Then a  sign drops while I'm standing in a bookstore that declares that I am nothing but a simple preacher and quit trying to be more because it's not gonna work anyway.

I gotta say, it's humbling. But its not disheartening or overwhelming.

There is some level of peace and rest in that simple truth, that this is what it is I am and was always called to be. If I can have internal peace with it.

I think the epiphany about it is that my attitude has always been "I'm just doing this pastoring thing till something better comes along." I've used that language with people as a way of saying I'll do this until God, who led me into it, leads me out of it.

 But it's also maybe created in me a beneath the surface activity of looking for the other thing or the more thing that I could do, instead of or along with being a pastor. 

Always striving, always trying, always looking to spin who I am, to create more value or meaning. Then a sign comes to remind me that I am simply a preacher, that's enough.

That's enough indeed.
Now to learn to live into that, and to live well.


A Poem, sent by Hillary...


I Am! yet what I am who cares, or knows?
  My friends forsake me like a memory lost,
I am the self-consumer of my woes;
  They rise and vanish, an oblivious host,
Shadows of life, whose very soul is lost.
And yet I am- I live -though I am toss'd
Into the nothingness of scorn and noise,
  Into the living sea of waking dream,
Where there is neither sense of life, nor joys,
  But the huge shipwreck of my own esteem
And all that's dear. Even those I loved the best
Are strange - nay, they are stranger than the rest.
I long for scenes where man has never trod-
  For scenes where  woman never smiled or wept-
There to abide with my Creator, God,
  And sleep as I in childhood sweetly slept,
Full of high thoughts, unborn. So let me lie,-
The grass below; above, the vaulted sky. 

                            
                          John Clare (1793-1864)






I think she's lonely.





And we're back

With my head on a bit straighter and for the most part my soul caught up with my body, ready to remind myself when I need rest, ready to work hard and work wisely, ready for what comes up in the next phone call...

Snap. First hours back in the saddle and we are into a couple of gut wrenching situations a few different families are going through.


It was a good break, and it's really good to be back at work, and it's really, really good that I can say that with honesty. I'm going to need that as we head into Advent here this weekend. It always seems like Advent and Christmas take the life right out of me, and I have come to brace myself for the season, rather than to embrace the season, and I wish that were different.

However, maybe with this rest recently behind me, I can enter into Advent with a little more, um, Hope.

We shall see.


Anyway, we are back at it.
Many reply emails shall be forthcoming.


Peace to your souls too.


looking for the good

The temperature is dropping as I am sitting in the sun room and the sun has never really materialized this afternoon here in the field. So my fingers are cooling off at a good pace. It seems, dear reader, that winter may indeed be here for solid.

Its days like this when I think of friends or family who live in warmer climates and I wonder what life may have been like "If only." If only we'd been born or raised or educated in a warmer climate, without mosquitoes too.

It takes a few mental games to get yourself ready for the onslaught of Winter. Mental processes needed to get you safely from one location to another. Warm clothing to rescue from the front closet where they have rested since last spring. Extra gear to put in the car so you are ready for any emergency because as a Canadian wouldn't it be embarrassing to die of a wrong decision when your car hit the ditch in a winter storm.

But rather than whine today, let us search for the positive. It's been a good vacation these past 10 days, most of which have been snow free. Smooth classics is playing on Classic FM and that is a fine comforting friend for any day, especially cold, snow filled ones. We have a warm house to live in, and someone came and pushed the snow aside so hopefully I'll be able to get the car out tomorrow morning when it's minus 25C. Thomas is on the way home for the weekend and Lauralea is making meatloaf. And my averages for my practice tests for my Amateur Radio test have been in the 85 percent range and I need at least 80.

So you see there are many reasons to celebrate the day, as opposed to complaining about and fighting the rhythms of the earth moving around the Sun.

Even if the low temps by tomorrow are suppose to be at -29C...


Tonight it feels like winter is moving in

Tonight it feels like winter is moving in, lock stock, and barrel.

Today was a beautiful day in Edmonton, certainly warm enough for just my sweater. And there were an abnormal amount of motorcyclists out there for November 10th.

But alas tonight there is a freezing rain warning out, and a threat of 5-10 cm of snow falling tomorrow. So, that's a nice foundation of ice, and then it's going to dump snow on top of all that lovely ice. You know what that makes? Me very cranky.

I know it has to come, but it's that initial shock to the system that for me is tough to handle. Especially with a week of vacation left.

I also know that many of you have already faced the grim grip of winters icy hold on you and so you have little pity for me. But remember, tomorrow I have a son driving to town to sing in a concert with a car with rear wheel drive, who hasn't done much winter driving at all. Connect the dots and you'll see that tomorrow has the potential to be a stressful day.

But today was good. A little bit of hospital visitation, a great Vietnamese lunch, some bookstore snooping, a seasonal spiced latte from Starbucks, and tonight a bit more studying. All in all a very good day, which is great because tomorrow is going to be a mess.

Old man winter is moving in.

Today I doubt

Today I doubt.

Just one of those days, you know?

Don’t want to be at work. Don’t want to chase down these flies that make my office sound like an outhouse. Don’t want to cough up phlegm any more. Don’t want to be sick any more. Don’t want winter to come before I get the windows cleaned. Don’t want to complain.

Sometimes, like today, I doubt. I doubt that what I have prepared this week to talk with the people about tomorrow will be of any lasting value. I doubt that my class I’m teaching in the morning will be of any help to a gang of Jr. Highs. I doubt that the love I have won’t be enough.

Today is just a doubting day.

If I’m not careful, that can lead to despair. Why am I here. What do I think I’m doing. I miss my family. I’ve got old peoples diseases. What was God thinking.

Yeah, if I’m not careful it can go there.

I have to believe that this takes place occasionally to those of us in this line of work. I mean, this happens to thousands of people anywhere on any given day, heck it used to happen to me when I worked making pizzas for a living too. It’s just that with this it’s not just pizzas that suffer, it’s real people with real spirits and souls and relationships. I feel a great deal of responsibility for those I have been given to watch over and care for, spiritually speaking.

So maybe it’s ok to acknowledge that today I doubt, and maybe it’s alright to not let it move into despair. Maybe even in naming it there is a measure of deliverance and help.

Even as I continue to plod through a hard day there is comfort in prayer and a sliver of hope that tomorrow may be better. After all, haven’t I found it to be true that God has more room to move and act through me, when I am weak and doubtful?

Yes it is true. But today I doubt.


Of health and trousers that fall down.

I am in my office today, the first full day this week that dosen't have me travelling elsewhere to meet different people and committees, and it just happens to be snowing outside. November 4th and it's the first snow of the 2011 season. So it feels cosy in here and the work I need to complete today is manageable, especially as I have tomorrow to finish it as well.

I think that four posts in a month is a new low for me, but there have been circumstances trust me, extenuating circumstances.

Getting the Autumn activities up and running for the church, and being in meetings and projects to hire new staff for here, working on a preaching series, and keeping up with people, my Jr. High confirmation/Discipleship class, and killing stupid flies, lots of stupid flies, well that's all been very busy.

But the theme of this month for me has been my sickness. Flu and cold like symptoms, with an evolving cough. Ongoing aches and pains in the muscles and joints, sleeplessness, loss of appetite, yeah it's felt like the flu for a whole month.

Last week I went to the Doctor finally, and since I was a walk-in, my regular doctor wasn't there. The doctor I saw was on top of his game, really sharp. Checking me over, asking me questions, before he came up with his pronouncement. No flu, no cold.

No, it seems that at my tender age of 48 that I now have Asthma, and that this infection I now have in my lungs was brought on by an allergic reaction of some sort, which kicked in, or is a result of the asthma.

Then he diagnosed a autoimmune disease I've struggled with for a few years, but in the past year has been much more of a problem for me. While these sorts of things are not rare, they are made worse by infections and allergic reactions and in many people, the symptoms can be tiredness, muscle aches and low fever. If it continues to progress it could lead to some serious health problems down the road.

It all makes some good sense in terms of how I've been feeling and fighting and dragging my butt around for the past month. And it's really good to have identified some ongoing problems I've been having yet wondering what those things could be about.

So now, like many ten year old boys, I am equipped with a puffer which I am to use twice, morning and night. And I am taking some horse sized pills to deal with the infection. I am instructed to get more sun on my skin and I am instructed to cut down on the stressful stuff. Right.

As with many men I tend to ignore health issues and declare that they will go away in time and just give it some more time and see I'm pretty much indestructible. But as with every man who ever said that, I am not. I do think it's pretty great that I don't have worse health problems and that except for a few hiccups in my younger years, it's been pretty smooth sailing.

I don't want to be defined by my health issues, so I often won't talk about them, which could be seen as denial I suppose. But even as I creak and groan around the place I am open to talking about these things. That's also a reason I've included it here on my blog. They are a part of life, and death, and beneath it all they remind me that we are all going to die, even me. While I am on this side of death I am going to make intentional choices about my existence as I grow in relationship with creator God, and his rescuer son, Jesus.


There is some good news with this all too. For the past few days it's felt like my pants are always having to be yanked up because they feel like they are falling down so this morning I got out the scale and it turnes out I am 10 pounds lighter in the weight department. Sweet.

See, a silver lining...