Being human shouldn't mean being lonely.

There's alot of loneliness out there lately.

A nine year old boy, shoulders hunched forward, tears in his eyes as he trudges towards school. Life isn't fair, his parents don't understand and all he wants is the safety of his home and his mom and for things to go back the way they were when he was five.

A ten year old girl who has to be the adult around her mom because her mom isn't being the adult any more. She keeps the money safe, she tries to watch out for her mom and her little sister, because she loves them. She hopes and prays to a God she doesn't know, that somehow, in some way they could be a family like she sees on tv and reads about in books. She pleads not to be sent to another foster home.

The middle aged lady who has had a tough life, and she hasn't dealt with it well. She's allowed bitterness to root into her heart, into her life. And now no one likes to be around her. All her children have moved far away, and no one stops by just for coffee and a visit.

A wife with hurt in her eyes. Children who test all she's made of and a husband who checked out emotionally on her a long time ago. Her youth is slipping away and all she does is give herself for this family. She didn't know it would be like this, that she would feel so alone, so emotionally abandoned. But she does, and she doesn't know the way back to life and hope and companionship.

The widow with a car that's broken down. "He" used to take care of all these things. He would take it some place every Autumn for a tune-up to make sure it was running ok for winter. And now it's broken and she is beside herself with grief again, angry that he had to die so early. She thinks again to herself, "It doesn't get easier, it just get's different."

The twenty something guy who's not as bright as everyone else is, and he knows it. He can't ask a girl to go out with him because he isn't the pick of the litter. He doesn't have any guy friends either, because his social skills aren't the best. He's sure all he's doing is scaring people away.

Or the teenager being pushed and taunted down the street by a group of kids. One feels the power and wants to show off by beating this kid up. The others cheer him on, mob rule taking over, they want to see blood. I see the fear in the boys face as I drive by, he breaks into a run. By the time I turn around, they've scattered.

The thing they all have in common? They are all experiencing loneliness. Absolute aloneness. The feeling that they are all alone in this big wide wild world, and they can't do anything about it. It comes in waves, and they don't always know it as loneliness, but it is.

I sometimes wish it could be like that Mel Gibson movie "What Women Want" where he was able to hear the inner feelings of the women who were near by. What if we could hear what those around us were thinking or feeling. I suspect we would be overwhelmed by the pain and anguish each of us regularly covers up.

We are born alone and we die alone. It is truly a blessing if we have people who love us near this entry and exit time of our lives. In between the two we grow and exist. We meet others, we experience life and love and again, if we are blessed, we have people in our lives who love us enough so that loneliness isn't a great part of life.

Now, I'm pretty comfortable with my own company, but it is my firm belief that we were not created to be alone. We were always created to be in relationship, in community with others. That's how we were made.
Then God said, "Let us make people in our image, to be like ourselves. They will be masters over all life--the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the livestock, wild animals, and small animals."
So God created people in his own image; God patterned them after himself; male and female he created them.

God never said "I'm going to make people in my image." He said "Let us make..." Let us make. So even within the Godhead there was community, relationship and fellowship.

God exists within a community that is himself, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (Don't hurt your head on this one now). And he has created us in his image. We too need to find our sense of belonging within community or relationship.

Outside of such a group, our hearts pine and ache and we experience absolute aloneness. We weren't created to live that way, and that's why it hurts so much when we are living outside community.

We were made to ache when we are alone.

The boy on his way to school, the girl taking care of her mom, the lady who is friendless, the wife who feels abandoned, the widow with the broken car, the guy who feels he has nothing to offer, the teenager being chased by a mob.

We were made to ache when we are alone.

Because we live in such a broken world, loneliness is more prevalent than we realize. We change relationships like we change our socks, and sometimes just as often. Into this brokenness rides our redeemer, Jesus Christ, with his body the church.

For all the stupid things the church has done down through the ages, it was always God's hope and Christ's prayer that we might be together in this.
"I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me because of their testimony. 21 My prayer for all of them is that they will be one, just as you and I are one, Father--that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me.

At the very least, the church should be a place on this earth where relationship can be found. If individuals cannot find relationships in the world, they should always be able to find relationships within Christ's body.

And in this community relationship that we share with God and each other, we should experience fulfilment, growth, life, and blessing. Yeah, bumps and bruises too, but in a healthy place they will also lead to growth and life.

I think we need to go back to the drawing board on this one. If our churches are not places where relationships and friendships can flourish and grow, we need to check what we think we're doing.

And then we need to change it, so that community can happen, relationships can grow, and loneliness can be banished to the pit where it came from.

I just don't know...

Heard this advertised over a Victoria Radio station and I couldn't leave it well enough alone


.


















BREASTFEEDING CHALLENGE 2003 - THE VICTORIA SITE
Location: Moss Street Market (Corner of Fairfield Road and Moss St.)
Description: Sponsored by Breastfeeding Matters and The Vancouver Island Health Authority. Help to set a record for the largest number of women breastfeeding simultaneously in one place! Celebrate World Breastfeeding Week! Win door prizes! Have fun! Arrive by 1030am to register - event start time 11am. Contact: Eva Bild eva@breastfeedingmatters.ca - General Information at: www.babyfriendly.ca
Start date: October 04th, 2003


 


To be followed by the World Green Bean Eating Contest?

Midtown Madness 2

WARNING: PERSONAL WEAKNESS AHEAD!!!


One of my personal weaknesses, besides Fudge, is a computer game called Midtown Madness 2.


In it you drive around San Francisco or London in the car of your choice. Or you can play against another driver, over the internet, chasing after a chunk of gold etc. It's a blast.


Anyway, I've been thinking if any of you out there are familiar with this little piece of joy, we should run a Midtown Madness 2 night. I could host the game and we could go at it for a while.


So, if this means anything to you, leave a comment. I'm curious if anyone knows what I am talking about. 


Let me know. We could have a crazy evening of driving. 

Monday morning


Well, morning all.


It feels a bit weird around here today. Lauralea went back to bed after the kids left this morning. She's sleeping upstairs right now. So I'm trying to catch up on some of this stuff.


The only thing we need to do today is to get to an appointment at a bank this afternoon. Last year, for various surprise reasons, we ended up spending more than we took in. To date this hasn't been a great problem because we have just used our Visa card in a temporary way. This year we couldn't pay it all off and I'll be jiggered if I'm going to pay 18.5 % (Choke, spit spew!!) for the privilege. So the bank is setting up a line of credit for us at prime plus 2%. Sigh. Such are the realities of life I suppose.


I used to think it an amazing miracle if God would provide a huge chunk of change all at one time. But I'm beginning to wonder if the greater miracle isn't that God provides enough for this week, like he did last week, like he did the week before that and the week before that etc.  It is amazing that He provides at all, let alone on a regular basis, just enough, just enough, just enough. He is good.


We are also trying to get ready to go to the Pastors and spouses retreat in Calgary in a week or... hang on, it's next week!! grief, I've got a bit of work to do before then.


Anyway, I should go think of something to feed Micah for lunch. Lauralea is showing no signs of activity and it will take me twice as long to figure this out as it would take her, so I'm on it.



G'nite.

As you go to sleep tonight, or read this early Sunday morning, (depending on your time zone), think on these words. Soak in them a bit and let God care for you through them.


 


Psalm 33:13-22



The LORD looks down from heaven
and sees the whole human race.


From his throne he observes
all who live on the earth.


He made their hearts,
so he understands everything they do.


The best-equipped army cannot save a king,
nor is great strength enough to save a warrior.


Don't count on your warhorse to give you victory--
for all its strength, it cannot save you.


But the LORD watches over those who fear him,
those who rely on his unfailing love.


He rescues them from death
and keeps them alive in times of famine.


We depend on the LORD alone to save us.
Only he can help us, protecting us like a shield.


In him our hearts rejoice,
for we are trusting in his holy name.


Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD,
for our hope is in you alone.


 


Blessings.

Gettin cool out there

It's starting to get cool out at night. I think last night we slept with the window closed. Sheesh! It makes me start thinking about winter and cold and the van (Will it make it through another winter) kinds of things.


Up here in Canada you need to stop and consider that the seasons are changing, cause if you don't, it could kill you. I remember talking with a pastor from California. He told me that life for him and his family just continues to roll on. They stop for Christmas day and maybe the day after, but usually things just continue on, without much thought.


I guess that the weather here makes us slow down a bit. It makes us think and take stock and make sure our neighbour is ok.


Anyway, tonight the chill is making me think these things. I don't know if you're into poetry, but I enjoy playing around with it now and then. I came up with this a while ago.


 


Upon a Winter's Night on the Prairies


I awake.


Suddenly I'm trying to recognize the blackness of my room. Where am I?


I smell
zest soap and old polished wood and a musty couch.
Ah, I am safe in my grandmothers livingroom.
I feel her comforter tucked up beneath my chin
and the quiet, moonlit street outside the window
reminds me that I am safe.


Then, it comes again,
the sound that woke me.
The sound of the locomotive horn,
charging through the frozen, December night air,
into my safe, warm refuge - so sharp and clear
it's as if I'm standing right beside the track.
I hear the wheel's - metal on metal - running hard
on the frozen track. Past the elevator, past the
Gulf gas station, along the highway, heading to Winnipeg
and Thunder Bay and Toronto.


Then suddenly, as quickly as it came, it's gone.
Silence envelopes the night, filling up the space that the train left empty in it's wake.


It's quiet and dark.
The moon glow reflects off the cold snow into the window
and I pull the quilt up even tighter beneath my chin
blissfully unaware that for years to come, whenever
I hear a train in the night, I will feel safe and warm and wonderful.


 


Blessings.

Seem's I'm a bit British

Ok, so I took Toni's challenge and took the "Are You British" test, and I got 57 out of 72 possible points.




"Thank you for completing this exam. Her Majesty is indeed pleased. You have a British index of 57.


You are as British as Liam Gallagher's broken teeth. Well done. Now go and beat up a prostitute."


You too can take the test, here.


Good luck with that mate.

In Saskatoon this Sunday?

Alright, here's a reminder of the Worship Freehouse, this Sunday night in Saskatoon:



This Sunday is the Freehouse and we are looking forward to an amazing evening together.

Todd Peters is going to be leading us in ambient worship with a series of modern liturgies being used to quiet our hearts and minds give us a chance to experience God together as a community.

We are gathering at 8:00 p.m. at the Bassment (245 - 3rd Avenue South and it is just south of the Senator Hotel on 3rd Avenue in the Glengaryy Building).  We look forward to seeing you there.

BTW, we are changing ISP's next week.  If the site is down, it will only be gone for a couple of hours.  We will be back up and working better than ever after that.

The Worship Freehouse
www.worshipfreehouse.com


If you haven't attended, you really should. It's a great time with some really good people.


I'm not sure if I can make it yet, but I'd love to. We'll see.

Small Group

We had a good time at our small group last night.

 

Our previous discussion here at randallfriesen.com about worship had me thinking. I gave the group a task, plan a worship experience. Whatever, wherever, whenever, however they liked. I was amazed by their responses, and the fact that there was so many similarities.

 

These themes kept coming to the top.

 


- Something outdoors.

- Include eating together, good food.

- Music playing someplace.

- Little if any "Formal Direction" i.e.. don't over program it.

- Families.

- talking, laughing, sharing.

- Wearing something you are comfortable in.

- Jesus would be glorified and pleased to attend shuch an event.

Course, mine was way off then. I wanted darkness, candles, loud techno music, the biggest video screen ever seen, and tables and chairs!

 

I was impressed by their thinking. And encouraged. And amazed. They're thinking bigger than the boxes they've grown up in.

I think I'm gonna enjoy this group, allot.


Carpet carpet everywhere


Last night we had our regular fall congregational meeting. That's where the church gets together and the different leadership groups tell what they've been up to, and we talk about it and drink copious amounts of coffee. Last night we also had to decide if we needed new carpet or not.


We've been having the Trustees look into carpet for us and they came up with a very good deal. Our carpet is dead and threadbare in some places. It's around 23 years old and served us well. But to get new stuff we would have to borrow some cash to buy it.


Anyway, long long discussion that Leo, our church chair guided us through nicely.


It's a somewhat subjective thing, do we need new stuff or not, will this last longer or not, will we ever see it this cheap again or not... you know.


And I probably didn't help the situation, because I didn't state my preference. Some were waiting to hear what I had to say before they decided. But I remained quiet. I was quiet because, well, I don't really care one way or the other. The carpet's not the thing that I usually notice, but that's me.


On one hand I really appreciate this wonderful building that God has given us, it really is wonderful. (I have the best office of any Canadian Covenant pastor ) And we need to be good caretakers of what God has entrusted to us. If something needs fixing, we need to fix it, for sure.


On the other hand, I see how else we could be spending $15,000, oh baby do I see that.


But, money is God's servant, it's a tool, not a God. And when we focus on money to much we sometimes make it a god.


Anyway, the final decision was to replace the carpet. So here we go, major work ahead. Hold on to your hats, it's gonna get busy round here.


Now, what about that video projector...



K.I.S.S

 







"Moreover, I advise and admonish the friars that in their preaching, their words should be examined and chaste. They should aim only at the advantage and spiritual good of their listeners, telling them briefly about vice and virtue, punishment and glory, because our Lord himself kept his words short on earth"


(St. Francis, Rule of 1223, Ch. 9).

Hillary turns 15


And we have another daughter changing ages in September (Hey what can I say, we used to be real poor and Lauralea's and my Christmas gifts to each other didn't cost money!!)

 

Hillary turned 15 today. (The one on the left, beside her mom)

 

It seemed like a good day. She got her enchilada casserole for breakfast. I took her out to Boston Pizza for lunch where we enjoyed  Pasta Tuesday! And she got Jell-O for supper, which is exactly what she wanted.

 

 

Then, for dessert, Lauralea made an ice cream pie/cake with nuts and caramel and chocolate on it. Ooowie it was good eatin.

 

She's a passionate girl, a loyal friend, and generous to a fault. She cares more for the runts of the litter than anybody I know. A Mini-Mother Theresa in the making.

 

Anyway, it was a good day.

 

Happy Birthday Hillary.

 

 


Babies

I got a rude awakening in the middle of last night. I had a scary dream, the kind that wakes you in a cold sweat, with your eyes wide open.

 

I dreamt I was in a race, or more of a run I guess. We were running in the desert and the only other person in it was a child, a small child, actually a baby. But the baby and I were running together, and he was keeping up, no problem. After a while, He began growing weary, so I lifted him up to carry a bit.

I was running, holding the child in front of me when we came over a rise, and before we could adjust our direction we were on top of a rattlesnake. Just as quickly as we saw it, it lunged at us. I had been holding the baby in front of me and I was concerned that he might be bitten. So as the snake shot towards us, I threw out my hand to take the bite.  It sank it's fangs deep into my skin and I sat upright!! Eyes wide open!!

 

Did I mention I hate snakes? I like dentists, now, but I'll never like snakes.


About Schmidt

Just watched the movie.


It was Brilliant.

One less hole

Alright, I still like Linea.


Two fillings this morning and not one bit of pain. Go figure. I don't think there was any pain last time either, but still I've got to push myself to go there.


She took pictures and the results are not great. Fillings needed, crowns needed, maybe a Root Canal needed, we'll see in six weeks. (I expect my relationship with God to take a turn for the better as I spend hours each day for the next six weeks in prayer for my mouth so that I won't need it!!!)


And what's with the unfair nature of teeth anyway? I brush more than my kids or my brother, but noooooo they don't get any cavities, ever! (well, at least my brother doesen't) I don't get it, it's just not fair.


Anyway, all is well, for now. And I still like Linea.


But she's still the only person I'll let put their hands in my mouth!


UPDATE: It's 12:01 am and I'm off to bed. I'm glad to report that I have had NO as in NONE, pain today. At all.


She's amazing.

Dentist

Ok, tomorrow morning at sunrise, I'm in "The Chair"


Well, Linea's chair to be exact. She's gonna fill the hole in my head. I know her and like her, and that's a good thing. What's not great is that me and dentists have a long and sorted past.


As a child, my first dentist was from Central America someplace, and I couldn't understand him at all. And he hacked around in my mouth quite a bit, asking me things I didn't understand. This terrified me so much that when my dad took me to the Optometrist who was in the same building, I froze. I wouldn't say  "E"  "I H"  "R O S" or any of the letters on the screen. Dad took me home quite disappointed!!


My last dentist was at the university in Winnipeg. I went there because we had no money, but I was in pain. I must have been, to have some kid with his hands in my mouth for 4 hours, and who, occasionally would say "Oops" or "Sorry about that!" 


Anyway, I like Linea which should make me much more fearless. But alas, I'm a mere mortal.


Sigh.


And just so you feel my "pain" click on this link. It's a Dentist's Cam (Not Linea's) and you can be reminded of the joy of a trip to the dentist.


Cheers.

Six Year talk

I spent some time today with a friend from church. It was great. We shared, listened, asked questions, learned history and prayed together, it was very cool.


It wasn't till later on I realized that that talk had taken nearly 6 years.


I remembered when we first came here, the person I spent the time with was careful with their heart. The church had had a few pastors come and go and they were nice enough, just not willing to commit to me to early. I remember saying to Lauralea that some of our real work wouldn't even begin till we had been here five years. We would need to prove ourselves to some of these who had been hurt in the past.


I remembered that today, after our long visit. That those last 5 years of working and being here began to see fruit.


And it felt good, real good.


Blessings.

More churches please?

Found a cool thought over at Dwight FRIESEN'S (cool name eh?) site. He writes:



Recently I was in a discussion about whether we should still plant churches, or would Paul plant churches today. I say we need new language to discuss the idea of fostering new Christ-communities.

Of course Paul would foster Christ-communities - Clusters of people who recognize their oneness in and through Christ. But almost without question Paul would avoid the creation of "churches" as we think of them. Institutional churches embody ideals that are counter Christ.

- an institution´s first concern is self-preservation - not Christ; he lays down his life for those he loves,
- an institution needs money - Christ has no place to lay his head, even Paul built tents,
- an institution has an image to protect - Christ puts on a towel and washes feet,
- an institution guards power - Christ empties his,
- an institution gathers its members - Christ sends his out,


I think he's barking up the right tree! You?

myfe ffffillllling ffffffaaal ooout

I think I just lost a filling. Gross. I hate that!!!!

 

Good think I'm off to a Deacon meeting, and the deacon chair is, my favourite dentist Linea!! I'll ask her to confirm it.

 

It's been a week, boy. I haven't even been able to get to the office yet today. I've been with people, and that's ok, that's what I'm supposed to be doing. But I'm out again tonight. Micah is getting right miffed.

 

"Dad, do you have another meeting tonight?"

 

"Yes"

 

"Oh, I thought so!!"

 

And so it goes. Every night this week I'm afraid.

 

I am trying to come up with some options regarding the negative attitude many do seem to be slipping into. That thing is starting to be a major concern and if it's not dealt with, it will boil over and someone will get hurt.

 

Sorry for the lack of deep thoughts these days. Time is at a premium, and I'm all out. Gotta go now, send up a prayer k?

and don't grumble.


Oh Canada! its early

Well, it's been a day and a half!

 

It began with the National Anthem. CBC plays it at 5:30 when they begin their broadcasting day. My alarm was set for then. I got up frowning at the lack of creativity that the tune of the song has. Even after the early rise, I was late for prayer time at the church!

 

Steve and I headed to Saskatoon for a meeting with the Saskatchewan pastors. It was a real good time of connections and encouragement. Darryl and Gavin from the Saskatoon church BBQ'ed some great burgers and we ate well.

 

We usually share our stories and ask ministry questions of each other. Then we pray for each other. Today was cool because they all decided to lay hands on me and pray for me. It was sweet. I haven't had that kind of care for a long time.

 

That group has really changed over the years. We started it about 4 years ago, mainly because all of us were from outside the Covenant church and we were learning about it. Now, I'm the only one left of that first group and it feels strange. All the other pastors have moved on to other churches and ministries. I grew to love them through those times of caring and prayer. They are great guys and I have wonderful memories.

 

Anyway, Steve and I had a good chance to connect and compare notes on the way there and coming home. It was a blessed day.

 

Tonight we had the first small group meeting for 20, 30, 40 somethings. Johanna headed off to her new job at Zellers, Thomas went to the youth bible study, and Lauralea and I went to our meeting.

 

It looks like it could be good thing, if tonight was anything to go on.

 

Then we reversed our trip, collected the kids and got home.

 

One day, when Lauralea treats me poorly, I'll tell you what happened when she went up to Steve's house to get Thomas, while I turned the car around!!!

 

And, as I said, a long day is done. I feel allot better than I have for a while. That's a good thing.

 

Blessings and g'nite.


Grumpy? You bet

I haven't been able to get on this thing much lately. Lots going on.


We've had house guests (WITH DOG) staying over for a few nights and the computer's in their room. Well, they've cleared out, whew, and the computer is available, sans dog.


Leighton's been stirring up a storm lately about "Woundedness and Complaining". Whoo Hoo, talk about timing! It's like, storm city over here. (You can see by my previous paragraph just how deep this thing goes!!!)


It seem's I've had two weeks of people lining up to take a shot at this or that or whatever. I just can't get it right. And it's infective too, it makes me all kinds of grumpy!


Pastoring is usually great, but these two weeks are like payback for all the fun I do have doing it.


I should call a special prayer meeting and get this critical spirit dealt with. Course, at this rate, someone would complain about the timing of it, or they would complain about the fact that all we're doing is praying...




"Father, I'm sorry. It's so infective. They complain to me and I complain to Lauralea, and you, and any who will listen. I'm sorry, I'm wrong in that. Wash my heart out with your blood. Give me love and compassion. Let your presence in our discussions be enough to silence our complaints. Speak words of life to those stuck in cycles of broken-ness and complaint. Speak the Words Loudly so the darkness is dispelled, and the lie evaporates in the truth of your love. Help us. Save us. Love us just as we are and enough not to leave us this way. You are our only Hope and Salvation. Ransom us again tonight Father, I'm sorry..."



One to learn on

Well, I think we're gonna have to chalk this morning up to experience and learn a few things from it.

 

It seemed like a good idea to get the kids who went to CHIC (The big youth conference this past summer) up in front of the church to share some of their stories through an "Interview with the pastor" thing. Well, no thanks to the interviewer (ME) but what seemed to come out most was; the guys were hot, the bands were a rush, they mostly slept in and didn't attend the sessions so they could sleep, and they gave a chunk of money to missions.

 

Sigh.

 

Like I said, we've learned allot about CHIC and sending kids, so next time it will be better. If there is a next time.

 

A good thing was that right after that interview, we got Greg up there to share his story. He had been to the last CHIC and that's where God had called him into missions. In a few weeks he's off to Africa for a year. I don't remember him returning from CHIC saying "God had called him to missions." So, just maybe, the stuff will continue to come out in the lives of the kids. That's what I'm prayin for anyway.

 

Hey, always a chance to learn something.


All's quiet.

Wow, my little weather box on the right says it's 3 degrees out there. I guess Autumn is on it's way whether we like it or not. Good thing I like it!

 

Lauralea's sicker an a dawg tonight. She's upstairs coughin an sputterin up a storm something fierce. I should probably stop talkin laak Jed Clampet done did.... ahem, that's better.

 

Tomorrow at church we are getting one of the college students up to talk about his upcoming year in Africa. I believe its the practicum for his degree he's working on. He's a bit of a quiet guy so I'm nervous. I wanted to give him plenty of time to share his story, so I've made that the sermon thingie. This means I'm not going to preach (Yes I hear that distant cheer!) But, he's not a public speaker so, I've told him to prepare and tell his story and what he's going to be doing out there. Then I've moved a couch to the stage and I'll be David Letterman and he'll be the guest and we'll talk about the trip. I'll cover anything he left out or forgot. I think it stands a good chance of being a good thing.

 

It's been a very long week around here. As you can tell I haven't been writing much. The Teenage Hormones have been making this a crazy place to live in. One moment you get your head absolutely swiped off for a wrong glance or a miss-spoken word, and the next its all buddy buddy and let's do something fun. I just try to keep my head low.

 

And people have been sick. I think Micah lost a few days of school and Thomas has been blowing his nose. As I said, Laura's quite sick tonight so we'll see how tomorrow goes. She's supposed to do the kids "Church" thing downstairs during the sermon, but she might not be well enough to go. She's been on a long run of teaching the kids too. I was teasing her that she hadn't been in a sermon of mine since last June, and she agreed. That doesn't help things either.

 

I gotta get to bed, so, Blessings on ya. I bet Toni's getting his gang up and ready for church right about now. Wonder if he rides that bike to church too?!

 

g'nite


What's this town coming to?

Late this afternoon I had to go the kilometer downtown to get some ink for my printer. Halfway to Staples I saw a man laying on the side of the road, looked semi conscious. I slowed, but there was a man with him and a small group watching from across the street. I continued my errand downtown.

A half hour later I returned, and the guy was still there, except he was alone.

I suspect that the general opinion of the world was "Let him sleep it off." I expect that may have been the opinion of the police too, because I've called them before, and I could probably get them there if I said he was shot.

Minutes later when I returned he was gone.

When did this become a common occurrence? On a busy street, during rush hour, probably close to a hundred cars would go past, and the sight was acceptable. When I was downtown I saw two other instances of people helping hold other people up. People unable to care for themselves. What are we gonna do?<

What are we gonna do?



What's wrong with the world, mama
People livin' like they ain't got no mamas
I think the whole world addicted to the drama
Only attracted to things that'll bring you trauma
Overseas, yeah, we try to stop terrorism
But we still got terrorists here livin'
In the USA, the big CIA
The Bloods and The Crips and the KKK
But if you only have love for your own race
Then you only leave space to discriminate
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you're bound to get irate, yeah
Badness is what you demonstrate
And that's exactly how a n**** works and operates
N**, you gotta have love just to set it straight
Take control of your mind and meditate
Let your soul gravitate to the love, y'all, y'all

People killin', people dyin'
Children hurt and you hear them cryin'
Can you practice what you preach
And would you turn the other cheek

Father, Father, Father help us
Send us some guidance from above
'Cause people got me, got me questionin'
Where is the love

Where is the love
Where is the love

It just ain't the same, always unchanged
New days are strange, is the world insane
If love and peace is so strong
Why are there pieces of love that don't belong
Nations droppin' bombs
Chemical gasses fillin' lungs of little ones
With the ongoin' sufferin' as the youth die young
So ask yourself is the lovin' really gone
So I could ask myself really what is goin' wrong
In this world that we livin' in people keep on givin'
in
Makin' wrong decisions, only visions of them dividends
Not respectin' each other, deny thy brother
A war is goin' on but the reason's undercover
The truth is kept secret, it's swept under the rug
If you never know truth then you never know love
Where's the love, y'all, come on (I don't know)
Where's the truth, y'all, come on (I don't know)
Where's the love, y'all

People killin', people dyin'
Children hurt and you hear them cryin'
Can you practice what you preach
And would you turn the other cheek

Father, Father, Father help us
Send us some guidance from above
'Cause people got me, got me questionin'
Where is the love (Love)

Where is the love
Where is the love

I feel the weight of the world on my shoulder
As I'm gettin' older, y'all, people gets colder
Most of us only care about money makin'
Selfishness got us followin' our own direction
Wrong information always shown by the media
Negative images is the main criteria
Infecting the young minds faster than bacteria
Kids act like what they see in the cinema
Yo', whatever happened to the values of humanity
Whatever happened to the fairness in equality
Instead in spreading love we spreading animosity
Lack of understanding, leading lives away from unity
That's the reason why sometimes I'm feelin' under
That's the reason why sometimes I'm feelin' down
There's no wonder why sometimes I'm feelin' under
Gotta keep my faith alive till love is found

People killin', people dyin'
Children hurt and you hear them cryin'
Can you practice what you preach
And would you turn the other cheek

Father, Father, Father help us
Send us some guidance from above
'Cause people got me, got me questionin'
Where is the love (Love)

Where is the love
Where is the love


(Black Eyed Peas & Justin Timberlake)


R.I.P J.C.


Love Is A Burning Thing
And It Makes A Fiery Ring
Bound By Wild Desire
I Fell Into A Ring Of Fire


I Fell Into A Burning Ring Of Fire
I Went Down, Down, Down
And The Flames Went Higher


And It Burns, Burns, Burns
The Ring Of Fire
The Ring Of Fire


The Taste Of Love Is Sweet
When Hearts Like Ours Meet
I Fell For You Like A Child
Oh, But The Fire Went Wild


I Fell Into A Burning Ring Of Fire
I Went Down, Down, Down
And The Flames Went Higher


And It Burns, Burns, Burns
The Ring Of Fire
The Ring Of Fire


 

911

Well, it's September 11, as if you didn't know already.


When that morning was unfolding two years ago, with one eye on the TV, I was on the net. The place I went was http://kinya.com/. They had a live webcam located in the towers and I often loved to go there to catch the view of New York City. By the time I got to http://kinya.com/view.html on September 11, it had gone dark. I remember how that felt.


So, this morning on a whim, I went back there, http://kinya.com/view.html and found the site still there, still partly operational. I guess the files are on a server somewhere, possibly forgotten. Or possibly someone just doesn't want to remove them, yet.


I thought to remember that day I would put up two live pictures of downtown New York, as it is today.


I believe that you will have to refresh this page to get them to reload, but they are somewhat current.


The first cam comes from Riot Manhattan. This is a view looking north up Fifth Avenue from the southeast corner of 45th Street. A new picture is available every 20 seconds. 



The second image comes from www.earthcam.com. It's a picture from Times Square. Again, hit reload to change and update the picture.



 


Blessings.

What is Worship?

So, what is worship, to you?


Here's a quote from an article. Check out the whole thing here.



Word, Work, Worship ---
Moving Beyond Sunday-Centric Communities

by Mike Bishop and T Freema
n


But what is worship?  After wrestling (with no lack of conflict) with this question for a few months, we decided to perform a few experiments in collaborative worship.  On a Sunday morning in early February, we converged on a small three-bedroom house in an old Lake Worth neighborhood.   Lori, a single woman in our community, had just recently moved in with two other roommates.  The house was probably built in the 50´s or 60´s and had a backyard to match.  It was overgrown with weeds, vines from the neighbor´s yards, and had old lawn equipment and cinder blocks strewn everywhere.  So we arrived, Amber and I with our 18-month-old son Jackson, carrying our weapons of warfare: shovels and rakes, weed-wackers and hedge-clippers, gloves and garden hoes.  Lori and her mom had a pot of coffee brewing and Kim had her delicious coffee cake laid out on the back porch.  Mark, who spends his weekend nights parking cars at a Palm Beach hotel to help support his family, showed up bleak-eyed with his wife Suzanna, two sons Caleb and Silas, and sister-in-law Hope.  Ines, her mother Amanda, and brother Manny, all from the Dominican, arrived just in time to enjoy a simple breakfast on the porch.  This was not a scheduled ?service´, but just a group of friends gathering informally for worship.


To help set the context, after breakfast I read the introduction to Genesis in Peterson´s ?The Message.?  Then I passed the book around the porch and we read the first chapter.  Everyone, even Caleb with his 7-year-old reading skills shining for all to see (and they were quite excellent), read a small part of the Story.  As we began swapping ideas for the yard, it was undeniable what we were there to do ? worship the Creator with shovels, rakes, and clippers. 


Later that afternoon I had a few images stuck in my mind:  Caleb eating oranges on top of Lori's shed with sunlight streaming through the leaves.  Jackson scooping dirt out of an old flowerbed and dumping it all over his shirt.  Mark and T destroying a rogue vine.  Relaxing on the back porch after an impromptu Dominican-style lunch prepared by Ines and Amanda.  Lori's mom telling stories, enjoying the beauty of the day.  And of course, Lori's new back yard.


 


I love this picture. It begins to place real actions on the things we sing and read about on Sunday mornings.


Your turn, what is worship to you?

Worship


For one moment, consider all that we know about worship. Consider the lyrics, the music, the motions, the attitude. Imagine your worship time as it stands now, and then imagine your worship, your life without any of them. Remove the music, remove the fanfare, the beautiful arrangements, the motions. Remove them all and what do you have? Can you still envision worship or are you lost?


I have come to realize that worship is far more than what we have come to think it is. It´s more than the songs, the emotional highs, the beautiful words. What are those things any more than inventions of man. For what good are our words if there is no truth behind them, what good is our raising of hands if there is no desire to touch the throne of God, what good is our worship if there is no heart in it.


And therein lies the problem. Worship has become rote to us. It has lost its heart and passion. Its become formulaic. We´ve replaced true worship with the worship service. We´ve replaced the thirst for God with the thirst for the next amazing song, the next big worship movement. We´ve come to worship the experience of worship rather than the one whom deserves all worship. Just as the Israelites of long ago, we come to God with our lips, but our hearts are far from Him.


So how do we rectify this? It´s simple, we take our eyes off of these things. We learn that worship is more than just the thirty minutes before the sermon, we learn that true worship is how we live our lives at all times, not the songs we sing. We learn that worship in its purest form is about loving God by living. That its sole purpose is for us to focus on the Cross of Christ Jesus, on loving Him, and in loving Him loving others. Forget the song lyrics for a moment, the beat, or the style. Let us not worship the song, rather let us worship the creator of all songs.


Kevin Carter



Awake

Well, I think I've got all the coffee drained out of me so I'm ready to go again.

 

Couldn't sleep any more. The wind is howling like a gale out there (I may have to retrieve lawn furniture from a few yards down!) and there was allot of noise goin on. So I decided to get an early start at it.

 

We've also got some major parenting to do today. There needs to be repercussions to our actions and today we need to find some repercussions. I don't think it's fair (To use the words of my children) that we are expected to be a reasonable facsimile of God to our kids, with all we've got to work with. We'll just continue to do the best we know how, I guess.

 

And hey, if you are into beauty, I found a wonderful little corner of the web. I wanted to keep it for myself but hey, the photo's are so inspiring. It's called London and the North. Check it out.


Long day

What a day.


8 - 10  Coffee and a visit.
10  - 12 Staff meeting
12 - 2  Coffee and a visit.
2 - 2:30 Bathroom break.
2:30 - 5 Coffee and visit.

I met with a person in their fifties, a person in their 60's, a person in their 40's and a person in their 20's. 


The hardest visit by far was the one about the direction the church is headed and my inability to pastor this church in the direction they want it to go. They just are fed up with "Our direction." And, they don't have all the information right either, so there you go.


The other connections made up for it, but, you know, it always tears a bit off of life when you give er all you've got and someone, somewhere just isn't pleased with your effort.


Anyway, I'm on a caffeine buzz right now so I'm going to go chill out a bit.


Ciao

Sunday

I didn't find much time on the computer yesterday because the day turned out to be so full.

 

It started before 8 as I wanted to get up and over to the church to spend some time praying, thinking, preparing, for the day. I usually like this time alone, with God and my thoughts. It's like my anchor for the day, the place I get the connections established and solid.

 

Around 9 am the musicians arrived and we did some catching up on our lives and stories. Then we got to practicing. Usually we practice during the week, but this past week we hadn't, so we made good use of our practice time. At 9:30 we held a church potluck breakfast thing, where everyone brings some food item and we share it in a meal together. This was a celebration of the start of September and our fall activities. It was great. I usually don't eat or drink anything Sunday mornings. (Not for a particularly noble purpose, but rather, I don't want to have to use the washroom at 11:25 in the morning!!) But today was different. There was Quiche and cheese and sausage and, and, ..... Well, I did eat a bit. (And I was ok.)

 

Our worship began at 11 am, and to me it felt good. There are times when I don't have a clue what God is doing in a meeting, but yesterday, he seemed to be all over the place. The worship was sweet. The access we had to him in prayer was amazing. We shared together in Communion and Blessed one another with God's Peace. Then I preached what I thought was a mediocre sermon, yet God blessed many of us by His word to us. It was just a good morning.

 

We invited some friends over for lunch. We fed the kids first and got them moved along then we took over the kitchen and sat and ate and visited and nibbled and drank for over three hours. It was great. Those are the moments I like the most. The laughter, the food, the care, the shared jokes and stories, a good strong coffee and a nice bottle of vino.

 

By then it was after 5, so we began to shut er down soon after. It seems that 3 or 4 of the family have got the sniffles and seem to be getting colds! It's been a warm September so far, so I'm surprised at their sickness. Might just be the being back at school thing, where germs and colds find a home!!

 

So, that was the day. A good, blessed day.

 

Thank you Father.


Insight #1

I just got done watching a British program called Heartbeat. Here's a deep insight.


On British Television you can be dumpy or have pimples or look goofy, and still be on Television.


I just like that.

Evening Prayers

Join me in prayer. (From Universalis)



O God, come to my aid.
O Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
Amen. Alleluia.


When I called out, he heard me, the God of my righteousness.
When I was in trouble, you gave me freedom:
 now, take pity on me and listen to my prayer.

Sons of men, how long will your hearts be heavy?
 Why do you seek for vain things?
 Why do you run after illusions?
Know that the Lord has done marvellous things
 for those he has chosen.
When I call upon the Lord, he will hear me.

Be vigorous, but do not sin:
 speak in the silence of your heart,
 in your bed, be at rest.
Offer righteousness as a sacrifice,
 and put your trust in the Lord.

Many are saying, Who will give us good things?
Let your face shine on us, Lord,
 let the light of your face be a sign.
You have given me a greater joy
 than the others receive
 from abundance of wheat and of wine.
In peace shall I sleep, Lord, in peace shall I rest:
 firm in the hope you have given me.









Come, bless the Lord,
 all you servants of the Lord
 who stand through the night in the house of the Lord!
Lift up your arms to the sanctuary
 and bless the Lord!

May the Lord bless you from Sion ?
 the Lord, who made heaven and earth.


Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
 as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
 world without end.
Amen.


 


Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.
You have redeemed us, Lord, God of faithfulness.


Now, Master, you let your servant go in peace.
 You have fulfilled your promise.
My own eyes have seen your salvation,
 which you have prepared in the sight of all peoples.
A light to bring the Gentiles from darkness;
 the glory of your people Israel.

Come to us, Lord, this night, and give us the strength to rise at dawn rejoicing in the resurrection of your Anointed, who lives and reigns for ever and ever. May the almighty Lord grant us a quiet night and a perfect end.


Amen.


 


Amen, and Blessings.

John 2

I was meditating today on John 2.




13It was time for the annual Passover celebration, and Jesus went to Jerusalem. 14In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; and he saw money changers behind their counters. 15Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and oxen, scattered the money changers' coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. 16Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, "Get these things out of here. Don't turn my Father's house into a marketplace!"


Marketplace.


M a r k e t p l a c e.


M  a  r  k  e  t  p  l  a  c  e  .


M   a   r   k   e   t   p   l   a   c   e   .


 


Father forgive us. Again.

It's Legal?

Check this out



On March 19, 1998, Part VIII of the (Canadian) Copyright Act dealing with private copying came into force. Until that time, copying any sound recording for almost any purpose infringed copyright, although, in practice, the prohibition was largely unenforceable. The amendment to the Act legalized copying of sound recordings of musical works onto audio recording media for the private use of the person who makes the copy (referred to as "private copying"). In addition, the amendment made provision for the imposition of a levy on blank audio recording media to compensate authors, performers and makers who own copyright in eligible sound recordings being copied for private use."


-- Copyright Board of Canada: Fact Sheet: Private Copying 1999-2000 Decision


 


As the RIAA wages its increasingly desperate campaign of litigation in terrorum to try to take down the largest American file sharers on the various P2P networks, it seems to be utterly unaware of the radically different status of private copying in Canada.


 


This is a fatal oversight, because P2P networks are international. While the Digital Millennium Copyright Act may make it illegal to share copyright material in America, the Canadian Copyright Act expressly allows exactly the sort of copying which is at the base of the P2P revolution.


 


In fact, you could not have designed a law which more perfectly captures the peer to peer process. "Private copying" is a term of art in the Act. In Canada, if I own a CD and you borrow it and make a copy of it that is legal private copying; however, if I make you a copy of that same CD and give it to you that would be infringement. Odd, but ideal for protecting file sharers.


 


Amazing. Thanks for the link Coop.





Happy Birthday Johanna

 

 










 


Well, 16 years ago today, Johanna pushed her way into the world, and the world hasn't been the same since!!

 

She's a bright, talented young lady, and I'm very proud of her. She's becoming quite a woman.

 

And, here's a cheer for her mom, who made a home for her for 9 long humid (READ: Summer in southern Ontario) months. She's a great lady, and her daughter turn out pretty good, if quality Moms are important!

 

And here's to having children while you are young and have brains of mush so that you don't know any better. You wait for childrearing to get easier, and it never does. Just when they are past a particularly difficult stage and you breathe a sigh of relief, they hit a stage in which they need even more of you - in different ways.

 

But today? Today is for Johanna. Happy Birthday Johanna. (Private and personal words saved for, well, private!)


 


A long day

Well, I went to the funeral of a family friend this afternoon. Wow, what a funeral.


Well over a hundred of us met in that church, with his wife of 42 years (Today was their wedding Anniversary,) his two grown daughters and their families. We enjoyed two hours of stories, of testimonies, of tributes. And this was a regular guy, nothing "special" as in training or work, he was just a regular guy. He'd been sick with heart problems for years and years, and life was never easy for him. Still he played the hand he had been given, and he played it without malice, without bitterness, without a lasting anger.


He came from sturdy stock. Prairie Mennonites who met God and it made all the difference in the world to them. You worked hard for all you got, and you gave it away freely. You didn't waste your life blaming God for the limitations of your human body, and you got on with the things of faith. You enjoyed the gifts God had given you. Gifts of family and friends, of the Word and prayer and silence and laughter. You carved out a faithful life, as best you could, and you trusted God for the rest, knowing that your efforts were never enough.


The stories went on and on, and it was so good. It gave me hope for myself, and for the men I know. That it is possible to win at life, without things, without even your health, if you will seek after God and His righteousness.


As I said before, he was a regular guy. A regular guy who just happened to be a man of God.

I love it when He comes to prayer meeting

This morning I hauled myself out of bed around 5:30am to get to our church prayer time. It's called "GateCrashers" but more often than not we're groping around in the early morning fuzziness for God to "Give us a key please," than we are crashing the gates of Hell.


This morning was one of "Those" times. You know what I mean? When "He" arrives and all else moves to the background. All the lists we bring, all the scrapes and bruises we want justice about just seem insignificant when "He" shows up.


He was bringing me to Jeremiah today. Showing me how easy it is for us to worship the little gods. Sacrificing our love for The True God, for little trinket gods, like time. He showed me how the prophets and priests, if they weren't careful, could end up condoning and blessing the little gods that the people worshipped, rather than standing and naming the little gods.


He showed me how He loved me, and how so much of the other stuff is just a distraction from the reality of our love.



"Father, clear away the stuff that clutters my heart. Move out the things that I bow down to, when I want to be bowing only to you. My heart is easily taken captive by shiny sparkling gods, who take my life and worship, and grind me to dust. I want to be whole-hearted, I want to be single-minded about you. I want everything else moved to the background of my life, my heart, and desire only you. For you alone have the words of eternal life. You alone can satisfy the cravings of my spirit. You alone are worthy."



I love it when "He" comes to early morning prayer time.

Stat holiday (Bank holiday for the UK-ites)

Monday is my usual "Day off" so I try to do day off stuff. Yesterday was Labour day, a stat holiday, so then I usually take my day off on Tuesday. Well, here we are on Tuesday. The kids are gone, Lauralea has the van and is off at a meeting someplace and it's quiet.

 

I'm not complaining, mind you, I woke up with some work things on my mind that I needed to deal with, so I've been working on them. Then I did some study on church stuff that will be helpful this Fall. In a while, Lauralea is picking me up and we're going out for lunch. We LOVE the local Thai food place, sooooo.....

 

I've been working this morning because tomorrow afternoon I'm headed to the Funeral of an old family friend. In his mid 60's, and his heart has just given out. He was on a transplant list, but nothing became available before he was done. So I'll take some time tomorrow and remember him and his family and give thanks to God for his life and all God did through it.

 

Anyway, I should go do a bit more before Lauralea arrives.

 

Blessings on your day.


LUNCH UPDATE: Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.




Happy Anniversary

41 years ago today, in a small rural church in MacGregor Manitoba, Reuben Friesen and Evie Thiessen made their vows to one another. They promised, before God and the gathered, to love and honour and to be faithful to each other, till death they would part.

 

Since that moment on a warm September's day on the prairies, they have lived out that commitment to each other.

 

Four children came along, the first (me) about a year after the big day. Then there followed Gaylene, Jeffrey, and Robyn. All of whom brought much joy to their lives, till they began to grow up. Later on Lauralea was added, and then followed four grandchildren.

 

 

 

 

 

In 1981, as I departed for college and my place in the world, they responded to a clear call of God on their lives. They sold most of what they owned, and gave up their jobs. They left family and friends and church in Saskatoon and moved to a small town in Southwestern Ontario called Aylmer. There they became an early version of Youth Pastor's for the church there. The title didn't come with any income in those days, so they made a living the best they could. They worked hard and it was never easy. They settled in and made their home in Aylmer, helping immigrants from Mexico adapt to life and, eventually, to a living faith in God.

 

 

 

 

In the mid 90's Dad became ill with a genetic disorder which would destroy his liver. It was decided that they would move to Saskatoon to be nearer family as they walked through these uncertain days. What followed was an emotional rollercoaster as Dad began the process to see if he would qualify for a liver transplant. He was unable to work, so they lost their home and business, and mom quit working so she could care for him. And so they wandered through a haze of testing and positives and negatives. Dad became sicker and finally received a new liver. He really hung in the balance for a year, when, he needed another transplant. This one took hold, but he has never been able to get his good health back.

 

The rollercoaster ride of those years took their toll on both of them. The emotions, the tears, the joys, were unbelievable. The drugs dad has to take to stay alive, effect him profoundly. In fact, they are so strong they are eating the calcium from his bones. He's shrinking.

 

 

I have watched as they have become angry and hurt, -questioning, grieving. Then watch as it resolved into a positive, faithful approach to their daily struggle for survival. I have watched as they lost everything, and hung on to each other, and to God. And I have been impressed with their faithfulness to the vows they made 41 years ago, and their decision to love one another, through all the good, and especially through all the bad life threw at them.

 

So, here you are, ages 61 and 60 with 41 years together. Who knows how much time you have yet together. As your son, I am proud of your living example of faithfulness, mom and dad. Thank you for teaching us what it's all about. Thank you for living out your vows. Thank you for serving God with your lives.

 

We love you.








Shiftless Mennonites


On the lighter side
After long discussion of the Mennonite heritage of Matt Groening, creator of  ?The Simpsons,? Mennonites finally made an appearance on the episode aired on May 4.  After Bart´s treehouse is destroyed, the Amish are enlisted to build a new one,  ?barn-raising? style ( ?Issac, didst thou hear that?" "Aye! Someone needs the Amish!??and they hurry over in their ?buggymobile? as the  ?Batman? theme plays).  Marge comments:  ?The Amish are so industrious! Not like those shiftless Mennonites!? Cut to image of Mennonites in distinctive garb playing games?and smoking!?off to the side.


Shiftless eh?