Picking Rocks


I had a talk with another pastor this morning.
They live in another part of the world.
But the work there is hard too.
The ground is dry and the work that they do just doesn't bring enough life
for it to continue growing.

She said she feels like a good part of her work these days is just removing the rocks from peoples lives.
Rocks that get in the way of living.
I told her maybe she's there to remove the rocks.
To break up the fallow ground, and help hardened people face their rocks.
She wasn't impressed with my encouragement.

Then I told her that out here the winter frost pushes up previously unseen rocks
so that you need to go out each spring, and move the rocks again.
She was surprised by that. She didn't know that happened.
She was even less encouraged.

Then I told her about my son who is built for removing rocks.
He is hired out and goes out to help pull rocks from the fields.
I told her that I don't think he always does it for the money, or because he likes hard work.
I think he sometimes does it because the farmer walks alongside him, and together they gather stones and put them in the tractor trailer.
And as they walk, they talk and enjoy the day and the company.

I think my son does it because he loves being with people and he can spend the day with another person.
Talking, thinking, picking up stones.
And if you would see him, you might say he loves picking rocks.
But he doesn't.
He loves being with people.

My pastor friend was quiet for a while, and then in a soft voice she said
I like that. I can do that.
There are things in her work that she loves doing, and she could reflect on those things on days when she was rock picking.

I could hear her smiling as she said, Now that is encouraging.


One more snowstorm?

The snow is falling again.
Big, wet, lazy clumps of snow falling from heavens storehouses.

I was out at an appointment when it began earlier this morning. Now I'm doing some studying here in our front room.

From here it all looks quite lovely in a white upon white upon white way. Actually it feels positively cozy in here. We've already done lots of work today be it Moms of Preschoolers, or me at my ministerial meeting. It already feels like a full day done.

Probably that's what makes me want to hunker down and let it snow outside.

But we are off to try to reach Edmonton yet this day. A supper appointment and running an errand for the church will take up the rest of the afternoon and a chunk of the evening.

So one more time this winter we'll get storm driving prepared, mobile phone ready, ham radio working, and head out in this snowy mess.

The comfort is that this will all be gone quickly too. And it will moisten the ground enough for the farmers to start getting itchy for seeding.

From the stormy field.


Nearly enough for a country song

Another tiring day of doctors visits, dentist referrals, broken car garage visits, auto insurance payments, sorting out the stolen, hacked VISA card, (oh right, I didn't mention that last week had I?) and so on.

As I reported in church, if I had a dog it would have died this week too. But then I'd at least have a country song.

The things of life I suppose they would be called. I just seem to have them all scheduled for the same week.

Tomorrow we get back to work and perhaps a bit of sanity.

Perhaps.



The day that wasn't

Well the day was suppose to go like this;

1. Wake up and eat breakfast.
2. Head over to the office to do three hours more of work for tomorrow.  (I'm teaching, preaching, and leading worship tomorrow. At least I'm not in charge of coffee.)
3. Head into Edmonton with twenty other adults and young people and make supper for the MustardSeed clients.
4. Return home after a full day of work, adjust my clock for the time change tonight, and sleep peacefully.

How the day has gone so far:

1. Wake up and get a call from Lauralea that her car has died on the highway.
2. Head over to where she is to get car started. Failed at that.
3. Got her to her meeting.
4. Went home to try and try reaching a friend who is a good mechanic.
5. Ate breakfast.
6. Finally decided I needed to cancel my participation with the Mustard Seed fun today.
7. Met the mechanic and went back out to the car again.
8. Probably something with the keys/electronic system. Need a dealership.
9. Call around and find a soul who has a trailer large enough to carry the car to a dealership in town.
10. Meet the good soul named MATT NELSON at the car and push it up onto the trailer.
11. He took it to town and I headed home with Micah.
12. Headed off to office to do three hours work for tomorrow.
13. May not sleep deeply well because the rates at a dealership shop can range from $4000 to $8 million an hour.
14. At least its nice out... just when I'm in the office.






Been waiting long have you?

The sun is streaming through my office window today and what yesterday was a full blown, storming dump of snow, is now a blazing plane of melting whiteness. The breeze through the small opening of the window reminds me that in spite of the dump of snow, it is March, and March promises Spring. Maybe.

It feels a bit like spring inside too. Inside my spirit. Change is stirring about and fresh things are on the way. It feels like that in there these days. But even in there, down in my spirit, it looks like there is still snow piled all around, but the promise of more is everywhere.

The promise.
Yes it is March and spring has it's promises, but it's still difficult to live with piles of snow laying around. Snow that is slippery and cold and can be nasty to manage.

Same with the heart's promises. Living with piles of wet, cold, and slippery inside your heart while the promise of warmth, dry and solid foundations are in the air doesn't make them arrive immediately. You still have to wait for the fulfillment of the promise, and in that waiting you are made and formed.

Waiting isn't any fun, just ask any child waiting for Christmas morning, but it is one of those parts of life that you grow and develop. The ability to delay gratification I think the thick books call it.

Waiting on God is like that too. People in the Bible used to wait on God a lot, especially David. He was forever waiting on the Lord. And we today think waiting is not necessary. It's certainly frowned upon whether its a line at the bank or getting our supper from a fast food place. Waiting is seen as a waste.

But what if David was right and that there is value in waiting on the Lord? That perhaps things happen there in that waiting that is life. Maybe things are heard or done inside of us as we wait that would never happen if we never waited?

So here I am, waiting for things to shift and change in my spirit like it feels is going to happen. Changes are coming here, and so for now, I am waiting. Waiting on God I guess.

And while I am waiting, I'm praying for the shifting and changing to be gracious and cause little damage and be tended to by God. I want what comes to be of His doing at His initiative and His prompting.


Yeah, a great many things are up in the air it feels like right now.

But before I start to mix my metaphors, I better quit. The youth are due here any moment.


If you are waiting on something these days let me encourage you, be patient and wait well.



A fine way to start the day. (Subtitled, "I Don't Believe It!")

During breakfast this morning I caught "Britain's Best Drives" on the Television and Richard Wilson was driving a Triumph TR3A around some of the Lake District's most beautiful locations.

Has it only been a year and a half since we were there?

It's kind of taken my mind to lofty green beautiful spaces and today I need to be planning worship and preparing a Junior High boys study and getting ready for youth this afternoon. I think we have a search committee meeting in there too.

It was a nice way to start the day though.
Fine memories.









A week with Norah (...and her folks.)





I don't know what the protocol is regarding grandparents and numbers of photos taken of their grandchildren, but dang I loaded up over two gigabytes on the girl.

I think I was just trying to capture her little life so that on Saturdays like this in a snow covered field in Canada, I can still feel her.

The page of photos is here.







Being intentional about who we are.

I believe that it was about 9 pm local time Tuesday that we arrived home from our epic journey. Then Wednesday we rushed to town for some errands and by three pm we were back in the field working with the youth and preteens who overrun the place each Wednesday evening. This evening there were 47 kids who participated in events, a number to frighten any solo pastor.

Yesterday I was in Red Deer to attend a seminar on abuse issues in society and families and churches. It was a good day, but a considerably emotional one too as I remembered so many of the faces and hearts of hurting women we've cared for over the years.

Today was about correspondence and trying to get Sunday in place. Hmm, Sunday, Sunday, I was going to talk about making the hard decisions in life about what to do and what to leave alone so that we become the kinds of people we would like to grow into down the road.

It could be I need that chat more than anyone else.

Creating the rhythms in a busy life so that we become the kinds of people we want to be usually starts with a bit of discipline. It gets the rhythms going so that we follow them and become shaped by them.

Sometimes its difficult. But really, the good things in life are not easy come.
If they are easy come, they are easy go.

If you want them to stay, they will take work, effort, and patience.

Now, who do I want to be in a year?