End of a good week

First off, sorry to those of you on dial up. I did try to shrink the pictures as small as I could, but  it's still a big production to load the page. I figured it might help to explain the vibe going on here at church all week.


Plenty of dark area's lit with small lamps. Worship CD's playing quietly in the background. Stations to help you focus your time. It's really been an amazing week, and not just for me.


The comments I've been getting from young and old, wow, they don't want it to end. So now I'm trying to think how to create the same feel, on a somewhat regular basis.


Anyway, tonight I wanted to spend some time here myself. It's the last night for it, and I love praying in the night. It's quiet and alone.


Tomorrow starts the Advent Season. The formal beginning of the Christmas season. From here it's often a mad rush down the hill towards Christmas. But this week has caused me to think, and God has been talking. He's been saying things that challenge me.


He's been telling me to live like I believe it.


To live like I believe he will provide. To live like I believe he loves me. To live like I believe he hears and answers my prayers. To live like I believe ...him.


That if I have two coats, I should give one to someone who has none. That if I'm hated, I will love back. That if I'm persecuted, I should pray for my persecutors.


That I could give my wealth to those who have none. That I could be a blessing. That I could answer with a soft voice.


Wow.


To live like I believe it. No excuses. No "It doesn't fit the culture".  No...
just live it out.


My beliefs should effect my behaviour probably more than they do right now. I need to live it out more. Not "Do nice things" but to do the right things, the things we'd rather excuse ourselves from doing because they're tough.


It also means not getting caught up in the mad rush towards Christmas. And being deliberate with my time and money. And helping my family to do the same. 


And probably a wack of other stuff that He will show me as we continue down this road.


"Thank you Father for this holy week, carved out of a mad month of November. Teach us to live like we believe. Really. Not just to do what we think followers of Jesus ought to do, but to do what you call us to do. Help this to be only a beginning for so many who have come and prayed these days, and make them thirsty for more. More Lord Jesus,    More.


Blessings. 

A week of prayer

Called to a Week of Prayer    (The following is what we used to help give us focus for our week.)


Every year at GCC, we set aside a week for prayer, and this year is no different... Well actually, it is!


This week we are inviting you to take a prayer pilgrimage, a journey if you will.  In the Sanctuary here at GCC we will be arranging 10 stations of prayer that you can come and experience, individually or as a group.


You will experience more different kinds of prayer than you may have for some time!!


You are invited to come, any time of the day or night, and pray.


The foyer will have seating and tables for small groups who are waiting to enter the Journey. Please feel free to pray around the tables, or quietly talk. This means that your family or small group can come to pray as a group too.


When you are ready, enter the Journey at the designated place. Then follow the stations at a comfortable pace.


Please feel free to return as often as you like, we simply ask that you respect those who are with you on the journey.


God moves when His people pray. Let's enter into this week ready to pray, expecting God to visit us.







A Rune before Prayer


I am bending my knee
In the eye of the Father who created me,
In the eye of the Son who purchased me,
In the eye of the Spirit who cleansed me,
In friendship and affection.


 


This journey begins here...


 


- Station 1 -
Confessional



Prepare yourself for this time with God.



Psalm 24:3-6 says:
     
3 Who may ascend the hill of the LORD ? Who may stand in his holy place?
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.
5 He will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God his Savior. 
6 Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob.


Consider what you have done 
that might have grieved Gods heart. 


Think of what you have not done, 
that he asked you to do.
Make a mental collection of these sins.
Move to the bowl, and wash your hands.


As you wash and dry your hands,
ask God to forgive you and to cleanse you of your sins.


 





- Station 2 -
The Jesus Prayer




The history of the Jesus Prayer goes back, as far as we know, to the early sixth century. It was spoken repeatedly throughout the day. The prayer summed up the human condition, and God's wonderful provision, through Jesus Christ.


The classical form of the Jesus Prayer is,









"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."




We invite you to sit or stand,
and pray this prayer a number of times,
each time consider it's deep truth.


"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner."


Take your time with it,
repeat it silently or on your lips.
Own it, make it your prayer.


When you're ready, move on to the next station.


 





- Station 3 -
Fear Factor Wall




In our lives there are fears that drive and motivate us.  Fear of failure, fear of loss, fear of the unknown...


In this station we want to name our fears. By recognizing them we begin to diminish their power in our lives. We want to give them over to God and ask for his help in gaining victory over them.


Consider honestly the things that make you fearful.
Write them on a Post-It Note.


As you pray over them,
ask God to enter your fears with his love,
and ask him to deliver you from them.
(Remember that perfect love casts out fear.)


Take them and give them to God by sticking them to the wall.



When you're done, go on to the next station.


 







- Station 4 -
Worry Bucket



In Luke, Jesus says:



"Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?


And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink;
do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things,
and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom,
and these things will be given to you as well."



At this station we want to give you a chance to face your worries.


Collect a stone.


Close your eyes and imagine that all the things you worry about are in that stone.


Quietly tell God about each of these things you worry about.


Take the stone and drop it in the bucket of water
as a symbol of letting go of these worries and letting God take care of them.


 





- Station 5 -
Bringing Our Offerings



At this time of prayer we want to bring what we have of value and offer it to the one who has forgiven us, is healing us, delivering us, and providing for us: God our father.



COME TO ME!
Come to Me, My child!  Advance towards Me!
Reach out to My warm trusting hand,
Stretched out to your longing soul!
Let My hand embrace your weaknesses.
Set aside your fears of being rejected,
For I knew your sins before your were born.
Still, I call you My beloved child.
Come to Me, My child!  Reach out to Me!
Let My fiery Spirit draw you towards Me;
Let My love engulf your suffering heart;
Let My light transform your desiring soul,
So you may be gracefully granted salvation.
For I am the power of love and forgiveness,
And the Good Shepherd of compassion.
Come to Me My child!  Reach out to Me!


Now, take a piece of paper and draw or write down something that God has given you.
Place the slip of paper in an envelope, and deposit it someplace as a sign that you are giving these things to God and choosing to put Him first in your life.



When you are done, you may move on to the next station.


 






- Station 6 -
Silence




The LORD said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD , for the LORD is about to pass by."  Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD , but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.  Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
1 Kings 19:11-13


Silence is not a negative, not an absence at all, but an overwhelming presence, an awesome something that brings life to us.


Silence is a wonder for all the faces that it has, all the garments that it wears, the nuances and qualities that come with it: the silence of a starlit night in a wilderness; the silence of a deserted church, empty yet holy, the engulfing silence of fresh snow, the silence that passes in a glance between a loving couple, running like electricity through a wire. All different. All magical.


There is a reason, surely, why Jesus and all the prophets sought out the wilderness in their quest for inspiration and to connect with God.  They were seeking holy silence -- the consuming presence of an empty, quiet space, which is the surest conduit to God and the things of God. So...


 


Find a comfortable stance. 
Sit, stand, kneel, or lay prostate on the ground.
Be still. Chase the random thoughts from your mind.


And listen.


Quietly wait on God.


 


When you feel ready, move on to the next station.


 





- Station 7 -
Worship and Thanksgiving




Psalm 100
1 Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. 2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
3 Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
5 For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.



What would a "Joyful noise" look like if it was drawn on paper with ink or paint??  The Psalmist didn't have that opportunity, but we do.


So get some paper and markers,
and make a joyful noise on paper.


Express your thankfulness to God
through color and design.



When you're done, do another, and another and another. There is no limit to God's faithfulness or our praise.


When you're done, leave them for others to see and be inspired by.  Then move on to the next station.


 


 





- Station 8 -
A Book of Life



Find a comfortable seat and take the Book of Prayer.


In it write down, or draw pictures of your prayers for people or needy situations you are aware of.
Include the names and needs if you like.


Look at some of the other prayers people have written down, and pray for them as well.


Whatever prayers you are praying these days, you can include them anonymously in this book.


 


 






- Station 9 -
Invitation to a Party



He said to them;



"Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.


29 People will come from east and west and north and south, and will take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God. 30 Indeed there are those who are last who will be first, and first who will be last."
    
Luke 13


Jesus tells us that there is going to be a feast, a party for all who have walked the narrow path, entering through the narrow door. We are exhorted to make every effort to follow Christ as his disciples.


We also need to tell others of this banquet to come. We need to pray for them and encourage them towards the Cross of Jesus.


Who are you praying for, that they might know Jesus today?







Invitation to a Party


Father, there are people I know who need to make it to your great Banquet in heaven. Please work in their lives and draw them to your Son, Jesus Christ.


Grant that I or someone who knows you might be able to lead them towards you, by our actions, words, and prayers.


Father, they need to know you and your love. Please introduce yourself to them.


These people are:


 


Take time to fill out an invitation to this banquet. Enter in the names of those you will pray for who need to know God - who need to be invited to this Banquet.


Keep it as a reminder to pray for them and care for them as you have the opportunity.


Take time now to pray for each name you've placed on the invitation.


 






- Station 10 -
Receive God's gift



State these facts slowly and deliberately with your voice, and receive them as gifts from God.



I am accepted...
I am God's child.   (John 1:12)
As a disciple, I am a friend of Jesus Christ.   (John 15:15)
I have been justified.   (Romans 5:1)
I am united with the Lord, and I am one with Him in spirit.   (1 Corinthians 6:17)
I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
I am a member of Christ's body.  (1 Corinthians 12:27)
I have been chosen by God and adopted as His child.   (Ephesians 1:3-8)  
I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins.   (Colossians 1:13-14)
I am complete in Christ.   (Colossians 2:9-10)
I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.   (Hebrews 4:14-16)


I am secure...
I am free from condemnation. (Romans 8:1-2)
I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances.  (Romans 8:28)
I am free from any condemnation brought against me and I cannot be separated from the love of God. (Romans 8:31-39)
I have been established, anointed and sealed by God.   (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
I am hidden with Christ in God. (Colossians 3:1-4)
I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me.   (Philippians 1:6)
I am a citizen of heaven.   (Philippians 3:20)
I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.   (2 Timothy 1:7)
I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me.   (1 John 5:18)


I am significant...
I am a branch of Jesus Christ, the true vine, and a channel of His life.   (John 15:5)
I have been chosen and appointed to bear fruit. (John 15:16)
I am God's temple.   (1 Corinthians 3:16)
I am a minister of reconciliation for God. (2 Corinthians 5:17-21)
I am seated with Jesus Christ in the heavenly realm.   (Ephesians 2:6)
I am God's workmanship.   (Ephesians 2:10)
I may approach God with freedom and confidence.   (Ephesians 3:12)
I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.   (Philippians 4:13)


As a reminder of this gift of God's, take a small gift with you. Read it aloud each day and watch what happens.


Remember how God see's you.


 





This journey ends here.


The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you:


The Lord lift up his countenance upon you,
and give you peace.


in the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
Amen


 


the end/the beginning


Please feel free to return to this place any time during the week and try it again. Alternatively, you may also come to experience the stations of your choice.


Go now and enjoy the blessings God has given you. Don't let this be an ending, only a beginning...

Quiet

This week we are creating a quiet space for prayer.


At the church we've setup ten prayer stations, kind of places to get us praying in certain directions. I'll post it for you as soon as I have time. It's turning out to be quite a profound week. Some are going during the day, while I've seen some of the guys there late at night. One family is coming, children and all, at 8 am and moving through the stations before school. It is amazing to watch and be a part of.


It's kind of something I've wanted to try for a long long time. I could see it running really well in a house, 24 hours a day, a sacred space, open for prayer...


So, I'm just chilling out on the other stuff, trying to focus on silence, reflection, prayer.


I'm still here.


 

G'nite

I believe I've got a grand total of eight hours sleep the last two nights, so I'm tired. I've also been working allot lately, and it's been hard work (Yeah I know, pastors only work one hour a week, Sunday mornings from 11-12 - I'm laughing on the inside...)


And it's been cold here so that also makes me weird. So I think to myself, ah, it's enough, go to bed.


Then I remember that Thomas is still on the school bus riding home from their one day band trip to Saskatoon, and I'll have to get dressed and go out into that cold and pick him up, sometime after 11:30pm. So it will be another late night and early morning.


So, let's end the day with something good eh?


Evening prayers, brought to you by The Northumbria Community, Hetton Hall, Chatton, Northumberland. (The UK someplace I believe)


 


In the Name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit. Amen


My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.


Out of the depths I have cried to You.


O Lord, hear my voice.


With my whole heart I want to praise You.


O Lord, hear my voice.


If you, Lord, should mark iniquities:


Who could stand? who could stand?


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.


 


Canticle


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.


 


Blessing


See that ye be at peace among yourselves, my children,
and love one another.
Follow the example of good men of old
and God will comfort you and help you,
both in this world
and in the world which is to come.


In the Name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.


Amen


 


 


Blessings and good night.


 

It's late again

Well, I just completed prep work for next weeks Journey into Prayer that we want to walk through. I realized it's like 1:30 in the morning again, day three. Lauralea hasn't mentioned it yet, but she will soon. She dislikes going to bed alone. I can't blame her.


So I thought, once round the net and I check up on Brad's blog and he's posted some pictures of FRUIT ON TREES!!  Check it out.  My weather tag says its -20C, that's just stinkin cold!! I had to plug in the car tonight so it will start tomorrow morning early. And Brad's got fruit on trees.


Just totally awesome.


And no, it isn't fair. I just hope I get a better seat in heaven!!


Brad also posts about there being a shortage of men. My sisters would agree with that I think


 

Still up

Had a long and very difficult meeting tonight. One of those full adrenaline beauties.


Still working it over and over in my head.


Can't sleep yet.

Alright all you snow lovers.


 


JUST LOOK AT THIS MESS IN MY FRONT YARD.


So, for all of you who have been praying for snow, you can stop now!!!!!! God heard you, and not me.


I hate snow. Bah. Humbug.


All this in just 5 hours.


 


Earlier this afternoon, the city looked like this.


Oh, and the best part of this? A new addition to my winter. See that box on the right side of the winter photo, standing on the street? A new bright idea brought to you by the Prince Albert City Counsel.


In an effort to cut costs, the city distributed a huge garbage container on wheels to every home on the street. Now, each Thursday morning, (Friday mornings on weeks with a statuary holiday!) the homeowner gets to lug a huge, full of garbage container through the snow, through the tire ruts, over the piles of snow, down to the street, where the truck will now collect it. Sigh.


 


Brethen,   pray for me.

Oh be quiet

Yesterday was one of those days of Holy Synchronicity.


Early in the morning I had a dream about having lunch with a local pastor whom I haven't talked with in a long, long time. I kinda woke up with a desire to get together with him sometime, just to connect and encourage each other.


Later in the morning, while I was at Tim's for another meeting, I was standing in line to order my coffee when someone tugged at my coat sleeve. I turned around to look into the face of the guy I had dreamt about earlier that day. (Que the Twilight Zone music)


Now, you gotta know that I bump into him about once or twice a year, that's all, so this really caught me sideways. I quickly invited him out to lunch and he was free.


We spent time over lunch, sharing stories, hopes, dreams, and pasta. It was a quick connection for us, and God sat with us.  


We got talking about what each of us does to be rested in our lives. You know, after a busy, tiring stretch of pastoring, or just being with people, what we did to be renewed. Some people renew their energy by being with people, but not us it seemed.


Each of us shared the need for aloneness. Private, quiet space to be alone in.


He told me of how a few years ago, him and his wife had moved out to the country just so they could have a more private quiet space to be in. He enjoys the peace and quiet, and the open spaces they have out there. He's got a shop in which he restores old tractors and such.


It's unfortunate but it feels that most of the world looks on this need for renewal as a weakness. And often those who are more outgoing and gregarious don't get it. But as the more introverted of us derive refreshment from being alone, they gain energy from being with others.


It is very cool how differently we are made.


I think that because my makeup is more sensitive to those around me, when I am with people I'm usually aware of their situation, and needs. This is probably what makes me/us caring pastors, but lousy executives. It's also what tires us out, after a day of being with people.


And I don't begrudge it. I love being with people. I love listening to their stories, sharing their time, walking alongside them. I just need to learn to rest too. To create quiet alone space in my life, as best I can. That will enable me to be a better pastor, but also a better father, husband, friend.
 


Maybe the day was about remembering my limitations, about learning to rest.
Maybe he was just reminding me that he's still here, watching, blessing, loving me.
Maybe he wants me to remember that he used to leave the crowds too, so It's ok if I do it.


 

Recovery

Still getting over the weekend.


And now it seems I've got a little stomach flu.

Last call

Whew, what a party.


The wedding went great, everyone was in fine form, and the bride? She was beautiful.


The only snag was the intense, sugar filled, off the wall, "Don't tell me where to go," Ring Bearer. Nobody wanted to touch that child, and the plan was for him to walk up (we didn't even trust him with the rings!!) walk past the groomsmen, and sit with his mom.


Great idea, if he was interested in our ideas. So he came down the aisle fine, stood by the groomsmen, and when we were getting into it, he began moving back and forth across the stage!?! I'm ok with this, he wasn't yelling or making a scene, but then he started making noise and move about the stage, and I knew this wasn't going anywhere good. So I caught the best man's eye and quietly said, "Take him out." Bless his heart he went for the kid, who saw what was going to happen, but the best man was faster and got him. I had warned one of the ushers that this might happen and could she be ready to assist, so the best man had him in a firm grip and handed him off to the usher, then his dad finally appeared and removed him.


Actually added some excitement to the whole deal.


But I've never seen a groom smile the way this one did, all day long. And she was worth smiling for, that's for sure.


May God bless em good.



Now, I'm tired. Blessings and g'nite.

Santa Parade

Well, we made it to the parade, and it lasted 15 minutes. This wasn't a bad thing as we were standing the whole time, it was ok. The best part was after the parade. We went into the mall where, each year they set up a fudge and candy shop for Christmas.


Guess who was set up today. Yup, you guessed it THE FUDGE SHOP! So we bought a chunk of Maple Fudge and some Double Dutch Chocolate fudge for a friend who's birthday it is today. Then we saw some of that three layer caramel candy with either fruit or jubejubes in it, and we had to have some of that too. Then we saw the cinnamon jawbreakers, not the kind that will kill your mouth, just give you a gentle burn, and Lauralea loves those....


Back to the parade, I got some pics, here you go.



So it starts.



The cool Mirror car.


 



 The lamest float. A furnace company puts some furnaces on the back of a trailer and calls er a float!



There were lots of horses, and the stuff that comes out of horses. (Which pleased all the young ones considerably!!)


 



Of course, the Mini-me Santa.


 



And, of course, Santa riding on top of a portable Dog Kennel.


 


And now you know more about Prince Albert than perhaps you should.

And the beat goes on

Well, the rehearsal went well, except we had no music to practice with, so in that sense today will be new!

 

So today, since the wedding is at 5:30 pm, I'm taking the morning and heading off to the city's Santa Claus Parade. It's kinda a lonely affair with a few floats and Santa at the end. This year promises to be even more lame as there is no snow here yet!! I'll try to get some pics to share.

 

Then, this afternoon is the big wedding, I'm getting nervous myself.

 

Tomorrow morning in church we are having a guest couple in who work in ministry in Saskatoon. They are working with a native group to start a church. It will be nice as I don't have to preach then!

 

For lunch we are have a soup fundraiser to raise a bit of cash for a couple who needs to take an ambulance to Saskatoon for her health care. Each ride costs $1300. An obvious gap in our health care system.

 

Then, after that we are heading to a Grey Cup (Football) party. It's the championship game and so we're making a party of it. It will be a blast, if my eyes are still open at that time.

 

Gotta go, the parade is soon starting.


Wedding

Last week it was a Funeral, this week it's a big wedding!!


It's going to be a real party, tomorrow afternoon at 5:30. We're talking candles, dim lighting, a beautiful dress, it's going to be great. I just hope everyone holds up.  :-)


A pastors job is never done. Here we go.

The Big But

I love reading biographies, and autobiographies. I suspect that's why I enjoy reading weblogs.


I enjoy seeing how others deal with the things life throws at them. I like hearing their stories and what makes them tick. What motivates them, what drives them. What is a blessing to them and what is a curse.


There are lessons I learn from their shared experiences.


I am encouraged when they have difficulties and find grace and strength to pull through. I am amazed to see the fingerprints of God on their daily coming and going. It gives me courage to keep on, but it also gives me great ideas of what I can try in my own life, to see life lived out well.


And it's not just these deep thoughts I enjoy. I enjoy being reminded of an old song someone just discovered. I can almost taste it when someone describes a new recipe. I'm refreshed reading new poetry. I take a mental field trip when someone describes a place I've already visited. So many simulating ideas.


But, (and that's a big but) there is a tension in this blogworld. The tension is one that writers have struggled with for years. It is the tension that exists when you tell your personal stories of family and friends that anyone can read.


I remember reading an interview with a well known author, who described a major tension within his family when he began to write in a more public way. His siblings didn't like their private, funny stories out there for all the world to read and that stress continued for may years. For some, the rift was never healed.


It's a tension that each writer needs to deal with at some point or another. I've made some decisions about what I will and won't talk about here, and I have yet to have a family member complain that my lines are inappropriate.


But, my frustration tonight is just how a number of my favorite pages that I read, are going quiet.


Some are sharing less and less "Personal stuff" because of the constant barrage of written abuse they must endure. One of my favorites has just shut er all down upon receiving threats of legal action from an ex. Another needs to be careful because now his neighbors know he writes.


I just read a humorous news item on how a thirty year old guys mom just discovered his weblog, and he's dying as he thinks about all the adventures he's written about in his blog. He's sure he's given his mother enough ammunition to use on him for years and years to come.


Popularity seems to be the death blow to the personal weblog. The thing gets going, and the events you honestly blog about draws a good readership. Eventually, for various reasons, some begin to criticize, or news of the Blog's success reaches those closest to the writer, and it all falls down.


It feels like good solid voices are being silenced by the basic nature of men and women, which isn't essentially good.


Let me encourage those of you who write, or should be writing, keep telling your stories. Find safe sensible ways to share your lives with us, as comfortably as you can. Let's honestly encourage each other and watch out for one another, as we struggle towards the goal.

Bits and Pieces

Micah's on a cleaning binge lately. For the past two days, late into the evening and early in the morning, he's taken it into his head to clean the pit we have come to call his room. I should have taken a before and after picture! He is really motivated, I don't know what's going on there but I like it!!


Wish I could bottle it and save it for later.


 


A thirteen year old girl was stabbed across the street last evening, by some girls her own age.


I remember when we were kids, you would "Meet a kid on the way home from school" and have a go. (I never met a kid on the way home, though sometimes I was "Met" on the way...) I think the worst I experienced was once being held up by some kids who had a board with a nail in it. Scared me straight.


Where's it gonna end?


 


Did I tell you about when I was at my brothers this summer? We went to a movie and, both thought to go to the washroom before the movie started. So, we're standing at matching urinals when we hear, "ring-ring, ring-ring." I look at him, he looks at me, and I said "It's not mine, mine doesn't ring like that!"  It turned out to be his cell phone.


They should have an option on the phone so that it won't ring while you're in a washroom. I've overheard some amazing conversations while sitting in a stall...


Oh, and the caller was our sister. Figures.


 

Silence is Good

This morning as I left the house at 6:25am, my eyes were drawn upwards to the moonlit, starry sky. And all the world seemed still, silent, at peace with itself.


Here's a good piece reminding me of the true value of silence.




People who live in cities almost never experience silence. There is always something -- traffic in the distance, the chatter of neighbours, a far-off siren, even the white noise of office buildings.
      Yet it is a mistake to think of silence as the absence of noise. Silence is not a negative, not an absence at all, but an overwhelming presence, an awesome something that brings sustaining and resuscitating gifts all the more precious for their rarity. Silence is a wonder for all the faces that it has, all the garments that it wears, the nuances and qualities that come with it: the silence of a starlit night in a wilderness; the silence of a deserted church, empty yet holy, the engulfing silence of fresh snow, the silence that passes in a glance between a loving couple, running like electricity through a wire. All different. All magical.


Check out the rest of it here.


 

Rembrance Day

A friend told me of her uncle who desired to be a Conscientious Objector during World War I, but the conscription forced him overseas. He still wasn't ready to kill anyone, as he sat in the trenches in Europe. As the first call came for the men to go over the top, he wasn't sure what he would do. He stood up, and as he did, a piece of shrapnel pierced his heart, and he died.


The small testament he had in his breast pocket, was soaked in his blood.





 




Christmas in the Trenches
(John McCutcheon)


My name is Francis Tolliver, I come from Liverpool.
Two years ago the war was waiting for me after school.
To Belgium and to Flanders, to Germany to here
I fought for King and country I love dear.


'Twas Christmas in the trenches, where the frost so bitter hung,
The frozen fields of France were still, no Christmas song was sung
Our families back in England were toasting us that day
Their brave and glorious lads so far away.


I was lying with my messmate on the cold and rocky ground
When across the lines of battle came a most peculiar sound
Says I, ``Now listen up, me boys!'' each soldier strained to hear
As one young German voice sang out so clear.


``He's singing bloody well, you know!'' my partner says to me
Soon, one by one, each German voice joined in harmony
The cannons rested silent, the gas clouds rolled no more
As Christmas brought us respite from the war


As soon as they were finished and a reverent pause was spent
``God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen'' struck up some lads from Kent
The next they sang was ``Stille Nacht.'' ``Tis `Silent Night','' says I
And in two tongues one song filled up that sky


``There's someone coming toward us!'' the front line sentry cried
All sights were fixed on one long figure trudging from their side
His truce flag, like a Christmas star, shown on that plain so bright
As he, bravely, strode unarmed into the night


Soon one by one on either side walked into No Man's Land
With neither gun nor bayonet we met there hand to hand
We shared some secret brandy and we wished each other well
And in a flare-lit soccer game we gave 'em hell


We traded chocolates, cigarettes, and photographs from home
These sons and fathers far away from families of their own
Young Sanders played his squeezebox and they had a violin
This curious and unlikely band of men


Soon daylight stole upon us and France was France once more
With sad farewells we each prepared to settle back to war
But the question haunted every heart that lived that wonderous night
``Whose family have I fixed within my sights?''


'Twas Christmas in the trenches where the frost, so bitter hung
The frozen fields of France were warmed as songs of peace were sung
For the walls they'd kept between us to exact the work of war
Had been crumbled and were gone forevermore


My name is Francis Tolliver, in Liverpool I dwell
Each Christmas come since World War I, I've learned its lessons well
That the ones who call the shots won't be among the dead and lame
And on each end of the rifle we're the same







Break

Kinda cool.

 

Today's my regular day off and tomorrow is November 11, Remembrance Day in Canada, so I have it off too. It's been a long time since I've had two days off in a row.

 

So Laura and I ran some errands. We had $22.00 worth of Canadian Tire money, so we went up to Canadian Tire to look at their Coffee Percolators. We are in constant pursuit of a good coffee maker. Our last one, a filtered drip deal, sprang a leak a while ago and waters the whole counter every time we make coffee.

 

So, we saw a stove top Percolator for sale. We've been thinking we'd like to try one like that, see what it does to the taste of coffee. The 22 bucks knocked most of the money off it, so we got it.

 

We tried it for supper and, so far so good, (Which means, good and strong, which is how we like it!!)

 

Micah's washing the dishes upstairs, then we're going to watch the movie "Chicken Run"

 

...maybe I'll make some coffee for the movie, put a little eggnog in it and, instant party!!


Calling All Angels

I've had a long "People" weekend. Lot's of people to talk with and meet with, so tonight when Lauralea went out, I tried to find a quite corner round here to hang out. But none could be found. The kids followed me into every corner and space, kinda in a "I can't seem to stop talking" mood. (Well, it was mostly Micah I guess, and if you know him, you'll understand!) He then got busy playing a driving game on the computer.


 


 


So, I grabed my IPAQ and, got my Classic FM Magazine and headed out to a local cafe. I sat alone in the booth, drinking chocolate milk and stared out the window, listening to tunes like this:



I need a sign to let me know you're here
All of these lines are being crossed over the atmosphere
I need to know that things are gonna look up
Cause I feel us drowning in a sea spilled from a cup
When there is no place safe and no safe place to put my head
When you can feel the world shake from the words that I said


And I'm calling all angels
And I'm calling all you angels


And I won't give up if you don't give up
I won't give up if you don't give up
I won't give up if you don't give up
I won't give up if you don't give up


I need a sign to let me know you're here
Cause my tv set just keeps it all from being clear
I want a reason for the way things have to be
I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me


And I'm calling all angels
And I'm calling all you angels


When children have to play inside so they don't disappear
While private eyes solve marriage lies cause we dont talk for years
And football teams are kissing queens and losing sight of having dreams
In a world where all we want is only what we want untill it's ours


And I'm calling all angels


And it was good. Restful good.


So, thanks Father for a good day today. Grant us a peaceful night, and a good rest.


 


P.S. Thanks Toni for praying.


 

Not Asleep

I'm so tired.


At least I was so when I went to bed around 9 pm tonight.


It was a very long, hard day today at the office, getting things ready for tomorrow. It just wasn't clicking, you know? So after work I drove the kids around where they needed to go, and I hit the bed round 9.


But there was enough noise and things going on till, oh around 11:30 so that I couldn't fall asleep. Now it's 2:21 am and I'm wide awake.


gross.


I wish I was him.


 


 


 


 

Early Christians



In the Letter to Diognetius, which dates back to the second century A.D., an anonymous writer describes a strange people who are in the world but not of the world.



"Christians are not differentiated from other people by country, language, or customs; you see, they do not live in cities of their own, or speak some strange dialect. . . They live in both Greek and foreign cities, wherever chance has put them. They follow local customs in clothing, food, and other aspects of life. But at the same time, they demonstrate to us the unusual form of their own citizenship. "They marry and have children just like everyone else, but they do not kill unwanted babies. They offer a shared table, but not a shared bed. They are passing their days on earth, but are citizens of heaven. They obey the appointed laws and go beyond the laws in their own lives. "They love everyone, but are persecuted by all. They are put to death and gain life. They are poor and yet make many rich. They are dishonored and yet gain glory through dishonor. Their names are blackened and yet they are cleared. They are mocked and bless in return. They are treated outrageously and behave respectfully to others. "When they do good, they are punished as evildoers; when punished, they rejoice as if being given new life."



Blogrolled By Coop

I took a long time when I considered starting my own Webblog. 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 webblog 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.


So, earlier this week I was looking at who was visiting this page, and some were coming from Jordoncooper.com. I went to his site and saw that he had Blogrolled me! I was quite surprised. He has a huge reputation for being stingy with his blogroll!


I know that many many people write him, asking to be put on his blogroll. And I've talked to his friends who report having to sit through extensive interviews before he will even allow them on his roll. So I never even tried. :-)


But this week it kinda came full circle. The BlogFather Blogrolled me. To Cool.


So, in honour of this occasion, I have created this Recognition Sticker.


I wear it proudly, as a badge of honour.


 


 


 

Day Five: Completed, at last

The top 3 things about today...


3. My brother, the Manager at the Coles Books in Lawson Heights Mall in Saskatoon, was able to get in my favorite magazine Classic FM. I picked it up while I was in Saskatoon, and I'm listening to the accompanying CD as I write.


2. I had lunch with the indomitable Jordon Cooper. The Vietnamese food was great, but the visit was the best. From throwing up after pastoral visits to a common link to Rainbow Lake Alberta, We covered a lot of ground.


1. Lauralea made it home. Her friend in Victoria was celebrating her 40th birthday, so her husband flew in her old best friend, Lauralea, for the week. (Cool guy!!) Sounds like she had a great time there, and we're glad she's back at home, and she seems to be glad to be here.



The Top Worst thing of the day?


1. After lunch, when I went to get Lauralea at the airport, I got a flat tire. Stink it was cold to change it, but it went ok. I got to the Airport late, but I found her.



Again, thanks everyone for your help this week.


And thanks Jeff for the rag, and congrats.


Thanks Jordon for a great visit (No, I didn't buy him lunch because he Blogrolled me!!! But it didn't hurt.)


All is well at the Friesen household. Cept I've got a ton of work to do yet for Sunday... But that's for tomorrow.


Blessings

Day Four: Completed ...sigh

Well, we made it through the day, probably the toughest day yet.


After five hours sleep, I was wide at 7, getting Micah's lunch made. Apple juice, 1 cut up green apple, 1 jam sandwich, and 3 cookies. Done. Then I had to remind them what there was for breakfast. Cereal, porrige, bread, fruit, or reheated Chicken stirfry from last night. Hillary opted for the stirfry.


I got them out the door and finished my prepwork for the funeral. I got dressed and out the door, to the gas station where I refilled the right rear tire that now seems to have a slow leak, and needs to be filled every second day. I haven't had time to get it fixed yet, blah blah blah!!


The funeral went well, it was a celebration of her life lived, and God's loving us through her. The internment was c o l d ! ! The temperature was only -11C but the windchill nearly froze my ear off. I was worried for some of the ladies there with the short skirts and high heels and light jackets on. I tried to hurry it up so no one would freeze.


I got home a little after 5pm and Thomas the Cook was making supper, Mac and Cheese. Gotta love it. 15 minutes later Johanna had to be at her voice lesson, so off we went.


I got to my church Executive Board meeting early as I had to finish up some details on my proposal. It was a good meeting done around 10pm.


So now I'm dumping data into my Blog.


Micah's in bed, phone calls returned, I bought milk and bread, and she comes home tomorrow. All is well with the world.


I wonder if she would be interested in being pastor for a while? Let me be a stay at home dad.... hmmmm.


 


P.S. Thanks to those of you who cared for us this week. The ones who prayed, brought bread, watched Micah and on and on, thank you so much for your love and care. You guys are the greatest.

Day Four: Here we go

 


Enough said.

Day Three: Completed

(It's about 12:45, Thursday morning, so I am back dating this to meet the day three requirement!)


You gotta love Blogging. No sooner had I posted the last entry when the phone rang. Linea had just read my evenings plans so she invited Micah to come over and study for the Weather test with her.


Micah was tired and beside himself a bit, so he started crying about going alone. I assured him he didn't have to go, that he could still go with me, so I thanked Linea.


No longer had I hung up and he wanted to go, so I told him to call her and make the arrangements, which he was doing when I came upstairs.


So, he went to Linea's, I left the kids at their Bible Study and I went off to my group. We all had a good evening, in fact, he was asking if he could go there again next week. I reminded him that next week would be a bit more normal.


Anyway, it's late but I think I'm ready for tomorrow. I got Lauralea to iron my good white shirt before she left, just in case something like this would happen.


I've got my thoughts together for the funeral. Alice loved Jesus a lot, and has been eager to see him these last few years. Finally her prayer has been answered.


So, I'm off to bed, to enjoy the free, COLD space while I have it!!!


(And Lauralea, the NDP won a majority, so they will be forming the next government. Eldon Lautermilch took the seat for our riding.)


And, as long as we are going to have Calvert to look at on our Television screens for the next four years, (...and I want to say this in the nicest possible way) is there a dentist out there in Regina who could offer to help him with that mouthful of stray teeth??


Day Three: UnCompleted

Just a quick one here, between things.


Johanna made a reasonable supper tonight, just not enough tome to enjoy it.


We're off to Small group so Micah's going along with me while the kids go to their youth Bible Study.


I don't seem to have time to help Micah study for a "Weather" test he has on Friday, but I have been able to help him memorize his spelling for his spelling test.


I still have hours to go on this funeral for tomorrow. Then i think I need to make sure we have the songs the family wishes to sing, and clean up the Sanctuary a bit. So it might be a late night tonight.


Add to that the fact that there is a Provincial Election round these parts today, and you've got yourself a full day.


More Later, maybe.

Day Two: Completed

Well, we made it through day two, and to their credit, everybody seems to be rising to the occasion.


Tonight I made supper. Fried hotdogs and chips and some cheese beans (I saw them at the store in a can and just had to try em!!)  Thomas was at the church for supper so it was just three kids and me.


The joke of the day was that Johanna was at the Doctor's for an appointment, and afterwards she  phoned me for a ride. One of the receptionists overheard and offered her a ride home in the office van. It exists to give the elderly and needy rides to and from the office, kind of a good idea. So she came home on the Short Bus. That was funny.


Tonight we went to the new Arts Center to see the Riverside Senior Band play, along with another group. Thomas plays the French Horn in it, and they sounded good.


Here are two clips of the concert, Riverside Senior Band playing  The Bunker Hill Overture (1.9 megs), and The March of the Minute Men (3.4 megs)


Thanks to those of you who got me free tonight so that I could get to the concert.


Three days left.

New Day

Just a brief update.


I'm on call this week at the hospital, so a call came in the night and I was at the Hospital for awhile.


I got home and back to bed (Which I had to re-warm) and fell asleep, deeply. So I didn't hear the alarm at 7 this morning.


Everybody wanted a shower, and to be wakened up at 7, so they were a little miffed. But I suspect that they won't rely only on me to wake them now, they will set their own alarm clocks, and that's just as well.


Sounds like Micah doesn't want to go to school today, better go help him dig out some motivation.


Ciao.

Day One: Completed

Ahh, we made it through Day One, the easy one in my estimation.


I had the day off, so I cleaned a little, shopped a little, picked up a movie for tonight, picked up a Pizza for supper, and like that. I also began work on that Funeral we'll be having for Alice this week.


Since tonight will be my only night at home, I got a movie we could watch, "Daddy Daycare." (Syrup Alert) yeah, it was a sweet little thing, but, hey, it was family viewing too.


The kids are mostly in their rooms, so I think I'll turn in too. It's gonna get a little crazy round here.


Thanks for the covering.


P.S. It is great having the bed all to myself, but man it's taking like 4 hours to warm it up enough so I'm not freezing!

Breakfast completed

Alright, we made it through the early morning.

 

All four got something to eat, and made their lunches, (although H thought she had made her sandwich with cabbage by mistake, instead of lettuce). And they all got out the door in fine form. They do seem to be rising to the occasion and things seem to be going well.

 

...But, Lauralea, if you read this, where is Micah's agenda book? It's not anywhere and I think you were going to sign it?

 

 

 

Oh, and I called the home where Alice has lived the past while, to check up on her. She went home to be with her God yesterday, so we'll be having a funeral this week.


UPDATE: Micah just called from school, his agenda book was there all the time!!

Six hours and forty five minutes

That's how long she's been gone.

 

Six hours and forty five minutes.

 

And, it's not been so bad so far! We went to my folks after we dropped Lauralea at the Airport in Saskatoon and had a nice Faspa.

 

Then, we stayed for the first half of the wonderful diversion called the Western Semi-Final Football game between our Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. We left for home at half time and drove in hushed silence, across the frozen prairies for 80 minutes, listening to the crackling AM radio station bringing the game to us in the van.

 

And I'm so glad to report that we really took it to Winnipeg!!!! 37-21!!  Now it's on to the Edmonton Eskimos, then it's clear sailing to the Grey Cup.  Can I hear a WOOO HOOO out there??

 

So, it's 10:18 and I've got to make some phone calls, leaving a message or two changing Dr.s appointments and such.

 

And I think this is gonna be good. I'm really glad for Laura, she was grinning to much as she walked through the gate at the airport.

 

She didn't even try to take her knitting needles onto the plane, but when she tried to enter the gate with a bottle of my home made Sparkling Wine, which she brought along to celebrate her friends 40th birthday, the guy wanted me to open it and prove it was sparkling wine!! I figured it kinda defeated the purpose. But he wasn't sure it wasn't gas, so, this 4'10''  40something mom with a husband and four children huddled together, standing within eyeshot, couldn't convince the guy that she wasn't a threat. Sigh. At least he let me take the bomb threat back home.

 

So, I hope she has a great time. We're doing alright here.


Good grief

In the imortal words of one Charlie Brown, Good Grief.


In Prince Albert right  now it's -13 C.


In Victoria right now it's  +3 C


Nuf said.

Going going ...

Well, She's headed to Victoria tomorrow, and I shall not be a basketcase.


Lauralea's going to celebrate a friends 40th birthday this week, so I shall be a single type parent thingie. I'm glad she can go for a while, she needed a break from this so called life, but it's gonna be interesting.


I was just informed, by Thomas, that he has a concert, Tuesday night, at the new Hall here in town. As for me, I have already planned to be at two different meeings that night at the same time!!


The girls have Doctors appointments, (I forget which day,) so, do I take them and hang around? Do I go in with them to confirm their alergy medication with the Dr.? Do I let them go alone?


Then there's making sure Micah and Thomas wear clean clothes to school....


And food...


Wednesday night is a meeting.


Thursday I've been informed by Johanna that she has an extra voice lesson. That's from 5:30-6:30, the supper hour, but then right after that I have an evenings meeting, which will probably go late.


Friday She's back. And I shall need...


Pictures of her trip.