Monday, November 26, 2007

Fire insurance

The other day one of my friends was listening to CHVN, our local Christian radio station. They heard an add about how to become a Christian. It began by saying, "you have house insurance. You have life insurance. You have car insurance. You need fire insurance." Salvation was simply viewed as fire insurance! This is absolutely terrible theology.
First, making salvation equal to fire insurance makes it a product that you buy. However, salvation is not a product that we purchase, or even are given. Salvation is all about relationship with God through Jesus our Messiah. Making it anything less than this destroys the very essence of what it is about.
Second, this view of salvation cheapens what Christ did on the cross. The cross is view as a gimmick to get us into heaven. Get your insurance and you get in - nothing else matters. You don't need to really love God, or submit your life to him, just have your 'paper work' in proper order.
For these reasons I believe that "fire insurance" salvation is actually not preaching salvation at all.
Now CHVN should really know better. They are representing Christians on radio and therefore they should be professional. Bad theology should not be part of what they teach on the air, especially theology that distorts what Jesus was all about.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Greg Boyd

Greg Boyd has become one of my favorite theologians over the past couple of years. In his blog he claims that he is a Mennonite - Random Reflections

He actually has some interesting thoughts about Mennonites.
Greg states that many Mennonites are "open theists". An open theist is a person who believes that God has plan for the world but does not control every detail. God is going to bring history to its proper conclusion. However he does not know what choice every person will make. He knows all our possible choices and the consequences of each.
What do you think?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


Check out this video. It will make you think.


Let me know what you think?

Ok this video takes a really long time to load up. Sorry about that.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Yesterday there was a cyclocross race in our town. Cyclocross is sort of like mountain biking, except there are times when you have to get off your bike and carry it.
My daughter joined the kids race. She did totally awesome. I am so proud of her. The winner of one of the adult races gave her his prize because he thought she did great as well. My wife says she won the cutest kid award.

Friday, October 05, 2007


Happy Thanksgiving!
A couple of thing that I am thankful for:
  • My wife - who is the most beautiful, wonderful, smart person I have ever met
  • My children - they are amazing and I am so proud of each one
  • Family - wish I was with them this weekend
  • Friends
  • Laughter
  • Health
  • A van that works
  • A house that keeps me dry and warm
  • A wonderful bed
  • Freedom
  • School
  • Books
  • Stories
  • Different languages
  • Enough food to eat
  • Beauty of creation
  • Rain
  • Internet
What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Blessed or cursed?

If you have grown up in the church you most likely will have heard of something called "the curse". What happened is that Yahweh created people in a perfect world and placed them in the Garden of Eden. However people chose to rebel against God. As a result humans fell under a curse. Growing up I was under the impression that God had specifically cursed people.
However I just reread the story in Genesis. Yahweh actually does not curse people specifically. The ground is cursed and we suffer consequences for our actions. But no where in Genesis are humans cursed by God.
My teacher in Genesis says that this is important because foundationally we are blessed by God and not cursed by him. God never removes his blessing from humans and places them under a curse in Genesis.
Do you see yourself as blessed by God? Or cursed by him?
How can we help people see that God has blessed them not cursed them?

Friday, September 14, 2007


This fall I am taking two classes with Winnipeg Center of Ministry Studies (an Anabaptist seminary) - Genesis and Death (actually my Death class is called Death, life and happiness but our teacher told us that he was forced to put in life and happiness). I have had one class of each so far and they both seem to be totally fascinating.
In my Death class our teacher read a chapter from Michael Wyschogrod's book, Abraham's Promise: Judaism and Jewish - Christian Relations, called "A Jewish Death in Heidelberg". It told the story about how a Jewish man died in Heidelberg. His Christian friends wanted to bury him next to the woman he loved (though never married) in a Christian cemetery. In fact he had expressed this wish (though he never left a will). The Jewish community objected to this and insisted the he be buried in the Jewish cemetery. They argued that being buried in a Christian cemetery is contrary to the Torah. This story raises several interesting questions. How binding is the desires of a dead person? What if their wish goes against their religious convictions?
Who has the authority to decide these matters? In this story the man had no family. So do his friends or does his religious community have the authority?
What does it mean to honor the dead?
Fulfilling the final wish a person is often seen as a way of honoring them. However this was the struggle. The Jewish man was apparently very Jewish (though he did have a falling out with the Jewish community). So is it more honoring to bury him in the Jewish fashion (keeping the spirit of who he was) or by fulfilling his desire?
These are difficult questions. I wonder if they are more difficult because I do not like really talking about death.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Do space aliens actually exist? I am not sure how many of you actually think about questions like this. But it is something that I occasionally think about. I really enjoy reading/watching science fiction. One of my favorite movies is Star Wars and favorite TV is show is Star Trek. So on occasion I wonder about life on other planets.
Now I have often concluded that there is no other intelligent life on other planets. However the other day I was driving all my reasons began to fall apart. I had suddenly thought about angles. Angles are intelligent beings that God has created. Which means that there are at least two intelligent beings that exist. And if there are two why not more?
Right now I do not believe that aliens have visited our planet or that there is any really good evidence that they exist. But I do not have any reasons for them not to exist either.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

First reactions

I wonder how a person changes their first reactions. Often in my life my first reaction to things is to see the problems and negatives. It may be a great idea (even the greatest idea ever). Still I often start listing the problems. I think I can see the potential of some ideas. But my first reaction is not to list those benefits and blessings.
And my initial reaction can get even worse if something disrupts my life. I am convinced that deep within is a belief that I am the center of the world. I deny that I believe this but sometimes...

Friday, July 27, 2007

The Missional Leader

Just finished reading the book The Missional Leader (an excellent book if you want to know how to move a church to being more missional). One of the concepts that the authors talk about is dwelling in the scriptures. The purpose is not to read lots of the bible or to even study the passage in depth (though those are both good things and should be done). The goal is to stay in one story long enough that this biblical story begins forming new questions in your mind, challenging your assumptions.
I know that when I have spent lots of time in a passage it seems to almost take on a mind of its own. I begin to see and understand new things. The passage comes more alive.
Have you ever experienced anything like this?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


The other weekend I went camping with my family. And we wanted sunny weather. The only thing we could do to try and get sun shine was to pray. After all God alone controls the weather. Right? Humans don't control the weather. Or do we?
Global warming is a reality and science is stating that we as humans are the cause of this. And global warming is affecting the weather. I just read an article by cbc stating that rain and global warming are linked (Changes in rainfall man-made, Canadian scientists say).
Now I am not saying that we should not be praying. We need to pray more and pray about everything. However we cannot just pray and pretend that our actions do not affect our world. Changing the way I live today will not give me sun on the weekend. But we are changing the weather of the world.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Convention II

Convention is over. It was great to hear about how God is moving in our conference. There were many stories from the different parts of the world. Stories about people coming to faith and churches being planted. We were called to continue to be faithful to God and pursue him. The best part of convention (as mentioned in my last post) was connecting with people. I talked to several different people about how we can equip and empower the people in our churches to reach out and spread the gospel. It is so energizing and exciting to connect with people who are totally passionate and on fire for God.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


I am at convention right now. It has been a really good time. The highlight is connecting with people from around the world and hearing what God is doing. There are some really cool things happening.
Another fun thing was playing killer bunnies last night. What an interesting game.
Well I have to take off to a meeting so I will write more later about convention.

Friday, June 29, 2007


Have you ever made a decision based on your 'gut' or instinct? You make a decision without really knowing why you made that decision. It just felt right (or not). When I was in grade 12 our school got a new choir director. When I first met him he immidiatly asked if I would join the choir. For some reason I said yes without hesitation. Now this is strange because I am not a singer (I had been told by people in church to sing quietly). And I had no desire to be in a choir. Yet for some reason I said yes (I still do not really know why). And being in the choir turned out to be one of the best things of grade 12.

, by Malcolm Gladwell, is about these kinds of decisions. It is about "the power of thinking without thinking." He reasons that we can make great decisions using our 'gut'.
In the first chapter Malcolm argues that we can (and do) make decisions based on very little information. He calls this "thin slicing". We can ignore the useless information and just focus on what is important. In fact he states that sometimes the more information the worse our decisions are. He tells a story about 80 college students. Their friends are asked to take a test and describe the students. A group of strangers are also given 15 minutes in the college student's room and then given the same test (so these people actually never meet the students). The strangers actually do better in describing the students. Amazing.

Malcolm is a great writer and story teller. It is an enjoyable book to read.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

God on Mute Part II

I finished. And now I am sitting at the computer trying to figure out how to summarize this book. Pete Greig says too many things to be wrapped up in a couple of paragraphs. So I am not going to try.
Just read this book if you have ever experienced unanswered prayer. If you have every been crying out to God and he seems distant, uncaring (even cruel), powerless...

Monday, June 18, 2007

God on Mute

Nathan gave me another book that I "have to" read, God on Mute, by Pete Greig. I have read a couple of chapters and it is good. Pete deals with the question of unanswered prayer. Here is something for you to think about (let me know if you agree or disagree):

The thing that keeps God out of our lives is not our sin. It is our compulsion to pretend, to cover up our nakedness with fig leaves, to climb sycamore trees in order to see without being seen. (Chapter 4, page 78)

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Irresistible Revolution

The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne.
Shane claims to be an ordinary radical. He says that he is just an ordinary person (there is nothing magical or extra-ordinary about him) who is living a radical life. Shane has taken the call of Jesus to follow him seriously. Within this book Shane tells stories and talks about what it means to give everything to God. It really gets a person to think.
Community is a very important aspect to this book (and to Shane's life). There is a realness when it comes to discussing community. Shane clearly states that it is hard to live in community. However he also states that it is natural and normal. I know this. Many times my wife and I have thought about how natural and normal it would be to share garden tools with other people (like lawn mowers). But the problem is that sharing means that I cannot have it whenever I want. I may feel like mowing my lawn but someone else is using it. Or what happens when it breaks? Especially if one person seems to be harder on it than another. Community is natural and hard. Through out the book Shane notes that community is the best way to live though. To live without community is to not really live at all. He states that he grieves for the rich because they are so lonely.
Another statement that really got me thinking was Shane's response when people would ask him what issues they should be involved in. Instead of listing the issues Shane states choose people and the issues will chose you. We are to be passionate about people not issues.
Shane deffinetly lives out his faith. I do have questions about some the things that he does. Not sure about all the protesting that he does. I wonder about his refusal to receive help because other people did not get the same help.
This is a good book.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


At semi-annual meeting we talked about vision for our church. The leadership proposed the idea that outreach be the vision for our church. At the meeting this is what was shared (with some modifications and additions):

This vision is really about how do we empower people to live Jesus in their communities. Which means things like how do empower people to be better friends, neighbours, parents, workers, leaders, etc? How do we bless the people who are around us? How do we do this organizationally?

This vision also joins our spiritual world (church) with the secular world (everything else). What I mean is this. At church we speak about God and Jesus and pray. Often everywhere else we don't bring God into the conversation and pray with one another. This vision seeks to bring the two together - talking about God and praying with people outside of our church. And this needs to be done in a way that sensitive and blesses people (not condemning people). There are times within our church where we have not really engaged in what is happening in the world (we act as if church is all that there is). An an example would the AIDS crisis. What are doing about this as church (or conference)?

Further this vision pushes us into missions. How do we support our missionaries? How do we raise up new missionaries (ones who will go for life)? How do we get involved with the changing face of missions (with people from third world becoming involved in sending missionaries)?

What do you think?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

World Environment Day

June 5 is World Environment Day. This year's theme is climate change, which happens to be the hot topic of the day. It seems that every where I look people are talking about global warming. This is really good because I believe talking about global warming naturally leads people to discuss what does it mean to take care of our world. And this is something that the church needs to really address. There have been some really good things happening - but there are some really appalling things also happening. For example the other day I was reading in a "Christian" newspaper and there was an article on theology. Within in this article caring for the environment was not seen as a God given responsibility but as just a fad (with the impression that it should be resisted). So I am happy that climate change is being talked about - with enough noise even the church cannot ignore what is happening. We may be even worse than the government when it comes to denying reality.
However there is one concern that I have. It does seem that climate change is the latest fad. There have been many other issues that have been talked about: AIDS, poverty, sex trade, slavery (yes this still is happening today), child labour, etc. Each seems to have its time and then fades into the back ground. I wonder has anything changed? Climate change sometimes feels like a smoke screen. We can talk a lot about it but what can we do? Will it actually be effective? It feels a lot safer talking about climate change than about justice - for to live justly will call us to change. Climate change calls for the industry to change.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Monday, May 28, 2007


A while back my wife and I bought a couple of DVDs that are suppose to teach us how to dance. Dancing seems like such a fun thing to be able to do. Inspired by Swing Kids one of the DVDs is on how to sing dance. It looks so simple, easy and fun. So the other night we put it on and began to learn.
What did I learn? That it is not simple or easy - it might be fun once you can do it. That my feet do not move the way they are suppose to. That as a guy I am suppose to be the one leading. That I have no idea how to lead. That my wife can dance really well.
It was like there was a barrier between my brain and my body. My brain would tell my body to do a certain move. After a delay my body would begin moving the wrong way then jerk the right way. But now I would be a step behind so I would rush and then stumble. The whole time my brain would be yelling at my body "move this way. Not that way you idiot. Faster, no slower." And well all this is happening I am suppose to be listening to the music, the video instructions, lead my graceful wife and in some way connect deeply with her through dancing.
I think I need a lot more practice.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Money and Church Part II

One my friends sent this in reply to the post I did a while ago about money and the church (It was called Money). He had some really good insight. So I asked him if I could post what he wrote. Here it is...

About preaching about money, I would say both do and don't. As you say, how we use our money is of great importance - its use can be both good and produce good. The same could go for being sinful and producing sin. But you also mention that there are taboos surrounding preaching about money and the church. Whether those taboos are justified or not isn't really the issue. The fact is they're there. They're in the mindset of the leadership, as well as in the mindset of the congregation. Confronting that taboo, by preaching directly against it, could result in a backlash - either conscious or unconscious. I’m reminded of some of these TV evangelists who preach directly about giving money to the church. With thousands in attendance and millions watching, these fellows rake in millions and don’t necessarily use that money for good. Instead, some of these people have a dozen mansions around the world, helicopters and an entourage. Investigation has shown that some of these people do little good with that money for anybody but themselves. Less overt, I’m also reminded of the Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal. It’s the most beautiful building I’ve ever seen. Although this could be controversial, I’d say that the display of opulence, though stunning, is also very ugly. Built in the 1800s, with parishioners’ money and the lives of a number of those who constructed it, what went into that building, in my view, was a gross misallocation of resources by the clergy, in a time when peoples’ lives were hard and backbreaking, luxury meant adequate weather, and death from disease, child birth, or injury was ever present. Should that church have been built as it was? I’d say no – especially not in the context of that time. But I’m sure the vast majority would fervently disagree with me. The point is that the taboo is there and if we at least keep that taboo in the back of our mind when discussing money, it will at least foster a little humility as to what we do with the money when it does come in and perhaps get us to think about how we can best put it to uses that are good. It would also address the perception that ‘the church is just about getting your money’. Regarding getting beaten for that preaching, I don’t think you have to worry about that. You’re preaching to the converted, as the saying goes.

The simple fact is money is an essential part of our lives, and as you mention, the gospel should penetrate into all aspects of our lives. I read in one of your other blogs about the question of community – that is how to we situate ourselves in giving importance to one community over another. With respect to money, anybody who is in the paid workforce spends the bulk of their time (apart from sleeping and maintaining oneself) working for money. The workplace itself is a community, in which one may wish to involve oneself. But we are also spending that time there for the purposes of making money. And when we spend that money we are entering into a relationship with the producer. We enter that community so to speak. So in effect we spend 4 to 14 hours a day for the potential to enter into the sphere of the economic community. As you mention, how we spend our money can be of great good or sin. I think it is detrimental to ourselves and to our neighbours around the world if we ignore the effects of what our money can do. If we buy, say, a widget from Mr. A, who greases the wheels of his machinery with the sweat of little children, we are in effect telling Mr. A that we condone his activities and that by giving him greater resources, we are asking him to continue – to continue sinful actions. I’d add that lesser degrees of exploitation also fall under this category, with say, workers who are underpaid. Then on the other hand, the converse it true; if we support Mr. B who treats his workers well and gives what is due to the workers, then we are applauding in a very concrete way (by spending money on that widget) to a relationship that is good, or at least produces the potential for good. In real life, it is difficult to know the inner workings of each company and what the relationship between workers and bosses are. But a little research here and there can go a long way in producing good around the world.

Now how should the church approach the issue of money? If I was over stepping by bounds in the above, I’d be on my face if I were to continue. But if I didn’t fall off my bike continually while I was learning the skill, I’d have never learned. So I would say preach at the issue of giving money to the church less directly and approach it more broadly. A question like ‘how does a Christian spend their money’, or ‘how can a Christian do good with their money’ or such like questions I think would be useful. Then, to bring the question back to the more specific question of giving money to the church, simply be honest with the congregation of what you are doing. As I’ve mentioned, I’m not sure of what goes on in the weekly service or other church related events – so all of what I’ve written may be redundant, you may already be open with what the church is doing and with what the needs of the church are. But I think simply stating what the church is doing and/or what you would like to do (given the funds) would be reason enough for people to look within themselves and to make the decision on their own, with the knowledge of what is going on, to give.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Richard Dawkins

The other day I watched this interview (Richard Dawkins) on The Hour. Richard Dawkins raises some interesting comments about Christianity, actually about all religion. At times I agreed with him. There are times when as Christians we have been asked to set aside our brains and just take things by "faith". One time I can remember in my life when this happened. I wanted to go to a museum. I had a thing for dinosaurs a kid and I was in a city that had this great dinosaur museum so I asked if we could go. I was told "no, because we don't talk about dinosaurs." Dinosaurs were used to prove evolution and therefore I was told to ignore the facts. And it is this attitude that Richard Dawkins gets so upset about (I also get upset about it).
This interview also made me ask a couple of questions - which I am now asking you.
What is faith?
And can we live without faith?

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Education and creativity

Cindy found this interesting video. What do think? How does this apply to our Christian Education?

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


People hate it when the church talks about money. One of the main objections that I hear about church is that the church is just about getting your money. The feeling that I get is that the church should deal with spiritual matters and not talk about money. Money, how people spend it and if they give, are personal convictions and the church should not really get involved.
Many churches agree with this (at least in practice). They will not preach about money. When the offering is taken they will offer an apology about taking it.
Personally I have bought into this whole concept as well. I feel uncomfortable when I have to talk about money. I would never bring up the conversation of giving with my friends. Money is just an issue that is taboo.
In a couple of weeks I am going to be preaching on Acts 16:16-34. This passage does not really address money specifically but something happens which caused me to take note. Paul is preaching in Philippi and everything is going fine until his actions cause someone to loose money. As a result of this action he is beaten and thrown in prison. The gospel is tolerated until it starts to affect money. People were not upset about what Paul was preaching they were upset because they might loose money. Really they are saying "preach what you like but don't do anything that will affect our money." That sort of sounds like today.
However within the bible the gospel is view holistically. If the gospel is true then it should impact all of lives, including our money. Money was a great idol in biblical times and it still is. The gospel challenges all idols. This means that as a church we need to challenge how people spend and use their money. Money is not evil, making lots of money is not evil. How use and spend the money can be of great good or sin.
So what do you think? How should the church deal with the issue of money?

Friday, April 27, 2007

The New Testament and the People of God

NT Wright is one of my favorite writers. Right now I am reading his book The New Testament and the People of God. It is really good - though it gets very technical. If you are interested in reading a book by Wright I would highly, highly recommend Simply Christian.
Back to The New Testament and the People of God. At one point Wright begins talking about the authority of the bible. To explain the authority of the bible he gives the illustration of play that has four acts written but has lost the fifth act. Now the first four acts are amazing - great plot and characterization. So the play should be done. In order to get the fifth act the actors will be invited to make it up. In order to make it up they will have immerse themselves in the first four acts. When the fifth act is then acted out it needs to be consistent with the first four acts. It has bring the play to a conclusion. Now people could argue whether the actors where right in how they acted based on the authority of the first four acts. Were they faithful to what was written? The one thing they could not do is keep re-acting the first four acts, they would have to do something new.
Wright says that this is way that the bible is authoritative. We are called to be the actors in act 5. In order to do it right we have to immerse ourselves in the first four acts (creation, fall, Israel, Jesus). Not just doing what they did, but living in a way that is faithful to what happened in the past.
Very interesting. What do you think?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Manitoba has called for an election. This will be the first Manitoba provincial election that I will vote in. So I decided to make an informed choice I should discover some things about the different parties. So I went to their web pages. And what have I discovered?
Liberal party has a web page which is not very useful. It just has some rants.
PC party has nothing to say. Well actually all they have to say is that NDP is related to Satan. Nothing about what they are going to do.
NDP party has a little bit to say. However most of that is expressed in how evil the PCs are.
What would I like to see on a web page? A statement of vision, some core values, some practical steps on how they would work out the vision and core values. I do not enjoy hearing/reading about how the other parties will destroy our province. Generating fear really bugs me. And I would appreciate facts - no name calling.
One thing I found really funny is the both PC and NDP claim that the soccer field is their idea and the other is just getting on board to gain some votes. Not sure exactly who to believe.
So I am not sure who I am going to vote for. Seeing as I have no idea what any of the parties stand for. I believe voting is important. And I am hoping to make an informed vote.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Theology of play

I am reading this book called The Rest of God, by Mark Buchanan. The last chapter I read talked about a theology of play. Mark states that the sabbath (which is what the whole book is about) needs to be about playing and having fun. He mentioned how in some traditions the Sabbath was about doing nothing - a person was not allowed to work or play. I can totally remember being at my relatives house one Sabbath and it was awful. We were not allowed to be noisy or play or doing anything. We had sit a listen to Christian programs on the radio (not that these were bad). As I thought about this I think I have come to the conclusion that this is part of the reason for most of life I have been anti-sabbath. If the Sabbath means that we can do nothing than I wanted nothing to do with it. I felt like the Sabbath robbed life instead of giving it. Now Buchanan talks about playing. This sounds like fun. It sounds life giving. When you play you just do it for fun you are not playing to be useful or productive or to check things off a just play.
So let me encourage you to take a day to just play - waste time just having fun.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Do not hold on to me

One of the things that struck me this Easter was the fact that I cannot hold on to my picture of God. I have to constantly allow God to be god even if that means he is different than I believe him to be or even want him to be.
On Sunday 8 people gave their testimonies about how God had worked in their life. Most of them recounted how they had a picture of God that was wrong. And through experiences, others, reading the bible their view began to change with the result that their life began to change.
Also when reading the stories of the resurrection I got the idea that disciples had to let go of Jesus as they knew him. They had to allow him to be greater than they had imagined. Jesus' death, resurrection and ascension changed everything for them, including their ideas of who Jesus was.
I came to realize that I am very arrogant to believe that I have full understanding of who God is. I have come to the conclusion that I really do not know a whole lot - I just think I do.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


We all live in community. In fact we live in multiple communities. Our communities are formed from our church, family, school, work, hobbies, friends, etc. We move from community to community as we live out our week. Which one of these communities is primary in our lives? Which one should be? At times we engage in double talk. First we say that the church should be the primary community. Then we tell people that family should be. And don’t forget to make and maintain friendships and to build good relationships at work. So where do we stand? Where should we stand? There are scholars and theologians that could be found to defend and promote anyone of these communities. But perhaps figuring out what is our primary community is not that important.

Perhaps we need a different view of community and specifically of our church community. Why does our church exist? The church exists to glorify God by extending the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. The kingdom of Jesus Christ is not solely extended by increasing our church programs or by making sure that our organization is growing or even by making sure that everyone is so involved in church activities that they do not have time to do anything else. It is extended by us bringing Jesus into our communities. These communities are made up from our families, work, sports, friends, etc. So since the church exists to extend the Kingdom of Jesus and the Kingdom is extended in other communities the church therefore exists to bless these other communities.

This means that the church needs to equip people to live in their different communities and not to just live in the church community. The church needs to be giving and blessing the communities instead of taking away from them. The church needs to help people to be better people in their communities not just better people in the church.

Really it is a call for the church die for the world…just like Jesus died for the world.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

God's work

Irreligiosa sollicitudo pro Deo - this wonderful expression means "a blasphemous anxiety to do God's work for him."
This is the anxiety that causes us to be frantic and panicked. We are frazzled and hassled because the work is not done. And for some reason we are not able to get it done. This anxiety does not allow us to rest or to be still before God because their is something else that needs to be done.
Mark Buchanan states that we should still rest. Not because the work is finished but because God is God. Our rest states that we cannot do the work. It declares that the work is not really ours anyways. It is God's work. And he invites us to partner with him in doing it but he also tells us to rest. The world is not resting on our shoulders. God is able to do more with and threw us if we spend times being still before him.
This is not an excuse to be lazy. It is a call to allow God to be God. And for us to stop trying to do his work.

Monday, March 26, 2007


Yesterday my church went curling together. We rented the rink, curled all afternoon and then some stayed for supper (another group went to the church for a hymn sing). It was tons of fun. I never realized that curling could be so much fun to play (it looks really boring on TV). My daughters really enjoyed playing. My oldest told me that she would like to join a team some day.
The best part though was playing with different people from our church. It was an excellent way to mix and visit with people. A huge thanks needs to be given to the people who organized this event. I certainly hope it happens again next year.

Monday, March 19, 2007


I was sitting on a beach in Oregon wondering what I was going to do with my life. Where was I going? What was I suppose to be doing? Who was suppose to marry? What school should I go to? Should I go to school? Where should I work? Live? I sat and struggled with the questions of life. I was never visited by any angels, or heard voices from heaven to give me guidance. But in many years since I have been guided by Yahweh as I take each step.
We are all on a journey. We all need guidance. Last week I hear two really good messages on guidance.
Nathan from our church: God's guidance in my life
Rob Bell from Mars Hill: Leaving control for faith (They also do the sermons on a podcast)

Check them out and let me know what you think.

And if you are a part of our church I would love to know how your fasting is going.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Wierd world

Fact: Ice is colder than boiling water.
Apparently this fact is not always true. A group of scientists have made ice that is hotter than boiling water (check it out). I just hate it when science destroys my hard facts. The world is making perfect sense. And then someone comes along and messes with my perception of reality. In school I was given the idea that the world makes sense. However science now gives me a picture of a world that is strange and bizarre. A picture of a world that I cannot really fit into my brain. I am personally becoming more and more convinced that we really do not have a clue what is going on we just think we do. Sure we can manipulate a few different things but that is not really understanding it.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


CBC is going to be airing an interesting show tonight. The show is called Plant Earth, The Future. What really triggered my interest was in the description it said: "How can conservation fit into a world driven by economics and development? At what point does eco-tourism cross the boundary of real benefit to the wildlife? Looks at the role of religion in promoting a moral and ethical approach to our world."
That last line really got me interested. I do believe that our faith in God should promote good stewardship of the earth. I am wondering how they are going to approach this issue. Should be interesting. Hopefully I remember to watch it.

I missed it. It was on CBC News world which I do not have. :(

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Going Slow

Have you ever experienced a time when the whole world seems to suddenly get in line? When it feels like God has reached down and is ordering things to drive one message into your head? Well that is sort of how I am feeling right now. And the message is "Go Slow."
First, we have chosen to read a book called The Rest of God. It is all about the Sabbath and slowing down. Second, a good friend of mine gave me the book The Contemplative Pastor. In the first chapter Eugene (the writer) states that he wants to be less busy. Third, a friend stopped into my office today and told me about the "go slow club". It was a club a four year old started because he felt that life was too busy. So he would just go slow. Fourth, I was checking out a magazine called Geez (looks really interesting) and found a website called De-motorize your soul (check this site out). It states " Relax a bit, and join the spirited slow-down."
So I think God might be whispering (possibly yelling) for me to slow down.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Van Morrison

Last night my friend Frank and I went to the Van Morrison concert. It was totally awesome. I would have to say that it was the best concert that I have ever been to. It was better than Pink Floyd, Ziggy Marely, Midnight Oil, Tragically Hip (who I saw three times), Third Day, Crash Test Dummies, Elvis Costello (he was awful), U2 (who happen to be my favorite band), or any other group that I have seen. It was also totally different from any concert that I have ever seen.
Every concert (with exception of some blue grass concerts I went to with my Dad) I had ever been to had been a show. A show that rehearsed and programed. It did not matter if the group was a large name or just some local group. Pink Floyd I am sure was programed down to the second. And one Christian group when I saw them the third time I could say their jokes along with them. Van Morrison was just about the music. There was no light show, no smoke, no jokes, just really good music. And you could tell as they played that nothing was programed. They at appeared to decide to do certain songs while on stage. And during the songs Van Morrison would point to different members of the band to indicate that they should do a solo at that point. It was amazing. They were so very, very talented.
The other thing that made Van Morrison different from other groups is that he really highlighted his band. When he was not singing or doing a sax solo he would move to the back of the stage to allow the other musicians to have the spot light. Often I have seen other rock stars love to be worshipped.
There was also no warm up act. His band came on and did two numbers without him. Then he joined them and played for 90 minutes. Van Morrison then walked off to the side (the band stayed where they were) and then came back on to do two closing numbers.
Can you tell that I really liked the concert.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

JD Miner

My Dad is in a band called Jd Miner. And they totally rock. You need to check out their website At their website you get the opportunity to buy their CD - it is really good.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

How Shall We Worship?

I have begun reading a book called How Shall we Worship? by Marva Dawn. It looks like a really interesting book. I have just read the introduction but Marva is already asking some good questions about worship and the church. Here are a couple of the questions that you might want to struggle with. I would love to hear what you think.
Does our worship enable us to be ready to die for the sake of God's glory?
Why do so many who say they are "spiritual" want nothing to do with our churches' worship?
Are we really encountering God?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Last Saturday we had our annual meeting as a church. I rather enjoyed the meeting. Though I did find it interesting that there was not a lot of discussion...except for on worship. When the topic of worship got mentioned then there was lots and lots of discussion. Actually most of the discussion was not about worship in general but about music. People are very passionate about music. This has been an on going discussion in our church for a long time (and one I do not think is going to go away over night). But there have been some people who have been expressing a desire for sometime to make a significant shift in our music on Sunday. Since this has been talked about for so long our chairman decided that we should have a meeting in which we will discuss this issue. In light of this up coming meeting (not sure when) we thought it would be good to give the people in the church the resources they need to study the issue of worship. Also we are hoping that we can get people to discuss this issue before the meeting.

So... I have decided to post an article on worship. I am also encouraging you to share your thoughts - on worship in general and on the article in particular. Please note that even if you are not a part of the church I would love to hear what you have to say.

I am just posting a portion of the article (click to read the rest). This is from Freedom and Framework, Spirit and Truth: Recovering Biblical Worship, by NT Wright

My third urgent point concerns the relationship between worship and culture. The great Christ-and-culture debates of the last century have taught us that we cannot simply go with the flow of a particular culture on the one hand, nor yet simply renounce our own culture as being opposed to the gospel.[20] Each aspect of culture must be assessed on its own merits. This, too, is a subject for another time.[21] As C. S. Lewis never tired of saying, there is nothing in God’s world which cannot be redeemed; but there is nothing which can simply be embraced as it stands. Everything must be brought to the bar of the gospel, of the cross and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah.

It is not, then, simply a matter of working out how, in worship, to bring together the traditional with the contemporary. That is important, but it is equally important to ensure that the tradition is celebrated through the lens of the gospel, not uncritically, and that the contemporary is adopted likewise through the lens of the gospel, not just because it is new. What T. S. Eliot called the “easy commerce of the old and the new” is not, as the poem makes clear, achieved easily or without struggle; but it is there if we will work and pray at it.[22] It is not a matter of slavishly adopting a particular culture, whether that of sixteenth-century Europe or of twenty-first-century America; nor, equally, is it a matter of slavishly renouncing the one or the other. (In England this sometimes acquires the dark overtones of class snobbery, both regular and inverted: some people would not want to be caught attending a worship service led with guitars and drums for precisely the same reason that they would not want to be found watching a soap opera, and other people would avoid cathedral-style worship for the same reasons that they would avoid black-tie dinners. This cultural prejudice, which can easily disguise itself with plausible theological language, must be smoked out and repented of.)

Nor is it a matter of working out “what this congregation will be comfortable with.” Who says you ought always to be comfortable in the presence of Almighty God? But nor should one simply ask “what does this congregation need to wake them up?”; who says it is your place to shock and startle the people of God? There will be shocks, of course, and there also will be the deep comfort of the familiar. Good liturgy, planned carefully week by week and year by year, will bring the two together so that they complement and reinforce each other and, most importantly, build up the worshipers in the knowledge and love of God and send them out refreshed for their kingdom-tasks in the world. And if we know what we are about this should mean that in our worship, in its music and readings, in its drama and movement, in its silence as well as its speech, we are not only reflecting different cultures but contributing creatively and in the power of the Spirit to the culture which our God is bringing about in our own day.

Monday, February 12, 2007

7 wonders of the world

Can you name the 7 wonders of the world?
I was not able to. In fact I was very sure that the great wall of China was one of the wonders of the world. But it isn't. 6 out of the 7 wonders of the world have been destroyed (a very long time ago). Which totally sucks because one of my goals when I was a little kid was to see the 7 wonders of the world.
However all is not lost. They are naming a new 7 wonders of the world. In fact people get to choose the wonders by voting. Check out 7 new wonders. I am going to vote for pyramids (I think they should get in because they are really cool and they are the only ancient wonder left standing) and for the great wall (that way I can be right - I will just say that I was prophesying).

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Christian Right = Fascist?

Last night on The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos there was an interview with Chris Hedges. Christ claims that the Christ Right are a bunch of fascists and should be resisted.
Watch the interview American Fascists

What do you think?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Why Men Hate the Church

I just finished reading the book Why Men Hate the Church, by David Murrow. His basic argument is that men hate the church because the church is feminine. Men he states feel that by attending church they will become less masculine. His solution is to make the church more masculine. David says we can do this in a few ways. First is to offer challenge. David states that the church is big into comfort. Men do not want comfort they want challenge. Second men need a man that they can follow. They need examples. And they need to become examples to other men (specifically to younger men). Third men need a band of brothers. They need a group of men who will hold them accountable and push them to be better.
David states that as a church we are losing the men.
What do you think? Have you read the book?
Even if you haven't read the book what do you think? Do you think that the church is more feminine than masculine? Do you think that as a church we need to challenge more?
Are we losing the men?

Monday, February 05, 2007


Missionfest was this past weekend. If you did not get a chance to go you really missed out. It great to hear what God is doing in the world. I went in on Saturday night with some friends. We wanted to hear Steve Saint. He is the son of Nate Saint. Nate was killed by natives when he went to share the gospel with them. Steve's family (he was just a kid when this happened) continued to love and share the message with this tribe. Many have given their lives to God including some of the men who killed Nate Saint. It is an interesting story. The DVD is called End of the Spear. Well Steve had a good message. He called for us Christians to be active in sharing our faith.
A couple of other things happened at Missions Fest which were highlights for me. One was finding a book written by a Jim Cunningham. Jim attended the church that I grew up in. He would occasionally preach. I still remember one of his sermons. It constantly challenges me. I have not seen him in many years. Another highlight was meeting a missionary who was in the Philippines with us. We did not specifically with him but we meet him and his family a couple of times. It was really neat to hear about what God is doing in that country.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Star Trek

The other night I watched the first episode of Enterprise. This was the first time I had ever seen this series. I know that I am behind the times (since the series has run for three years and was cancelled last year). But I just have peasant vision so I don't get to see some of the new shows.
Now the first episode was not too bad. However it did not really have a Star Trek feel. The music was wrong. But the my biggest problem with it was that instead of promoting diversity like some of the other Star Treks this one just felt like a bunch of cowboys on a space ship.
Everyone is just the same. In Star Trek the original series they had a Russian and a female African- American on the bridge. Now this was in the 1970s. That would be like putting an Iraqi Muslim on the bridge. Star Trek gave a positive picture of the future. Which I thought was totally great.
Well I will have to see where this series ends up going.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Cuban Friends

As I mentioned in my last post one of the highlights of the Cuba trip was meeting new people. Specifically for me it was meeting one family - actually it was a family and two friends: Guy and Kathleen (not sure if that is how you spell her name), their son John and their friends Kieth and Dirk. They were a really cool group of people. We spent a fair amount of time together - eating together, hanging out in the evenings, playing games. It is really too bad that they live really far away from us (map quest says it is about a 20 hour drive). I am not sure what drew us together. But I felt really comfortable hanging around them. It will be neat if we keep in touch with each other.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Last week Cindy and I went to a resort in Cuba (Blau Colonial - which I highly recommend). It was totally awesome. We had a great time swimming, playing games, dancing, hanging out with each other and meeting other people. Cindy has posted some pictures on her blog (I do not have any on my computer - so check them out there).
One of my highlights was meeting new people. We meet all sorts of interesting people. We meet a forensic psychologist, a Russian who moved to Canada and married a Cuba (they were interesting because when they were first married they both did not speak english that well and also did not speak each other's language - Russian and Spanish), a couple of young british men, a couple who were on the honeymoon, a family that brought a toy dinosaur with them on all their vacations (the dinosaur's name is Eldon - we are hoping to get him to come to visit us but he is going to Peru with some other friends), Cuban workers (they organized crazy games for us to play every day and gave dance lessons as well as did performances in the evening).
As we meet people one of the things that I found interesting was the responses people would give when they found out I was a pastor. Many of them were shocked - some of the facial expressions we got were priceless. I wondered why people were so shocked that a pastor was in Cuba having a good time. Do they think that as a pastor I am not allowed to have any fun? And if the leadership is not allowed to have any fun what does that say about the religion? About God?

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Guys like to show off. Specifically we like to show to women that we want to impress. Now I am maddly in love with this one woman. She just happens to be the smartest, best looking, all around coolest person in the entire world and she is my wife (which makes me the luckiest guy in the entire world). With me being so in love with this wonderful woman (Cindy) I will at times show off trying to impress her. Now my attempts at showing off can sometimes be dramtic but most often they just small little things. Little things that let her know that I am smart, cool, powerful, graceful ... you get the idea. Anyway all of this should help explain what happened to me today.
At lunch I was riding my bike across a parking lot. One important thing that you need to know before I carry on is that it is January and I am living in Canada - which means it is freezing cold and icy out. So I am riding my bike and I see my wife driving in her van. Now I get this great idea that I should catch up to her on my bike and say hi (ok so it may have something to do with showing off how fast I can ride my bike - which is not fast at all in reality). Well I start peddaling hard across the parking lot. As I pick up speed I notice that my wife has to stop at a stop sign and there are some cars coming so she is going to have to wait. Great I think this is going to work. The plan is that I am going to pull up beside her (casually and without huffing and puffing to much I hope) and say hi. However as I come racing up behind the van I hit a patch of ice. Yep that's right I totally bail (thankfully I did not cream into the van). My wife did not see a thing (or pretended not to) she just carried on to her appointment. I was left lying on the road in pain and my pride broken into little bits.
So much for showing my wife how graceful and athletic I am. At least until the next time...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Best of 2006

Every year my wife puts together our best photos for the year. If you want to see (and vote) the best of 2006 check out her blog Cindy Street

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Prophetic Imagination

I just finished reading The Prophetic Imagination by Walter Brueggmann. This is one of the best books that I have ever read. I highly recommend people to read this book.
Walter says that the prophet job is to do two things: first to proclaim that the system that runs the world is dead - that it cannot (and never could) keep the promises that it gave. The system that we live in does not bring life. Thinking about our world right now we live in a system that states that by consuming things we will be happy. Most of us live very well. Better off then most of the people in the rest of the world (and of the people in the past). We truly do live like Kings and Queens. However there is depression. Buying things has not made us happy it has made us jealous. Walter states that the role of the prophet is to announce this through grief and mourning. The system we exist in is dead.
The second thing that a prophet is to is to energize the alternate community that Yahweh is bringing forth. The prophet does just speak about death he speaks about life. Yes, the system we live in cannot give life but Yahweh can. There is a hope for newness because Yahweh is free from the control of people (this includes the church) and he will be faithful. This newness comes to the ones who are oppressed (the outcasts). Walter says that this is because they are the ones who are willing to accept that the old system is dead.
Well that is a very brief summary of the book. I highly recommend to everyone to read this book.