Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday thoughts

Wow, this week has flown by. I can hardly believe that is Friday already. Here are a couple of things that captured my interest this past week:

Henry Champ makes some excellent comments about helping Haiti (one of the reasons I love MCC) - The issue isn't money, it's staying power
Someone dropped off a couple of really powerful songs written about Haiti (done to the tune of some familiar hymns) - In Haiti there is Anguish

Here is a video of a bike race that would be so much fun to be a part of:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Question everything?

I have grown believing that all questions are allowed. Every and any question is legitimate. Nothing is out of bounds. We can question everything and anything. In fact I was encouraged to engage in this kind of activity.
This is not how everyone grows up though. In fact many people are actively discouraged from asking questions. Questions are viewed as dangerous. One of the verses that is pointed to is Genesis 3:1.
In this verse the serpent comes to Eve and asks her a question. A question that leads Eve (and Adam) to rebel against God. Proof that questions are dangerous. So, we should avoid asking and questioning things. Right?
Well I am not convinced. In fact if you keep reading the story God enters the picture and asks questions. In fact God keeps asking more and more questions. Through out the bible God does not seem to be upset at all with people asking questions. So, since God does not get angry at people for asking questions, and even asks questions, all questions are allowed. Right?
Well... As I was pondering Genesis 3:1 I wondered if the serpent's question was really a legitimate question. The question seems to be designed to lead Eve astray. Instead of being a question that seeks truth.
So perhaps not every question is legitimate. Perhaps it really depends on our motive. Why are we asking this question? Do we want the truth? Do we want to justify some behavior? Our motives may shape the answer we get.
Keep asking questions? I believe we should. But we need to screen our questions to make sure that we are asking honest questions not illegitimate ones.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Light of the World

Sunday's sermon text is: Matthew 5:13-16
Related texts: Philippians 2:14-15; John 1:1-18

Questions to consider:
What does it mean for the people of God to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world?
How has the church in the past failed to be salt and light in the world?
What does it practically look like for your church to be salt and light in your neighborhood?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Random stuff

Here are a couple of random things that caught my interest this past week:

Greg Boyd says "I told Mennonites to 'God to Hell" and they liked it."

I am working on hosting some World Cafes for a pastor retreat in February.

Tour Down Under is happening right now.

Hip Hop Monks in Japan - sounds a lot like some of the conversations happening in the church.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

MCC responding to Haiti disaster

MCC Requesting Relief Kits, Comforters, Sheets as Generous Manitobans Respond

WINNIPEG, Man. – In addition to donations of money, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) is asking the public for help in collecting 20,000 relief kits, 10,000 heavy comforters and 10,000 sheets to be sent to Haitian earthquake survivors.

To date, Manitobans have already donated approximately $800,000 to MCC’s Haiti Earthquake response.

Relief kits include personal hygiene supplies, laundry soap, towels and bandages. People who donate kits are asked to provide complete kits with only the specific items on the list of relief kit supplies that can be found at

The relief kits can be packed in a box or bag and delivered to any of the drop-off locations in Manitoba by Feb. 28. MCC will then repackage the kits in new, 20-litre buckets. Drop-off locations can be found here:

Heavy comforters and sheets also are being accepted at any drop-off location until Feb. 28.

MCC asks that the comforters be new and filled with quilt batting or a blanket for extra warmth. Twin-size comforters are preferred, but double/full-size comforters are accepted. Specific requirements are online at

Flat sheets, which also will be used as mosquito netting, can be double-, queen- or king- size. Sheets, with at least a 300-thread count, should be new, cotton and light-colored, which is not as attractive to mosquitoes.

Meanwhile, MCC is airlifting 31,750 kg of canned meat and 1,000 water filters into Haiti as soon as possible. Another shipment of at least the same amount of meat, probably more, will be sent by sea. MCC is also purchasing thousands of tents and tarps.

MCC is planning a multimillion dollar response over a number of years, focusing on emergency assistance, rebuilding homes and livelihoods

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Men's ministry #2

Last week I posted something on men's ministry. Today I am going to approach men's ministry for a slightly different perspective.

Now, perhaps I am the only one but I have become uncomfortable with some the rhetoric that happens within men’s ministry. I believe that for the most part men’s ministry is on to something. We are different than woman, we do desire adventure, we are often more hands on…
However I am often very disappointed when it comes to application. We are encouraged to become men like the men our society wishes to create.
There seems to be two warring concepts that seek define men in our world. One is that men should be like women. The other is that men should be warriors like William Wallace (from the movie Brave Heart). Men should be hunters, protectors and strong.
Too often it feels like men’s ministry in the church has completely embraced the second concept. They declare that they are being counter cultural. But how counter cultural are you when your role models come from blockbuster movies like Brave Heart and Gladiator.
And because men’s ministry has embraced the society’s picture of men their applications are too often weak - at best. I have been at a retreat where we were challenged to ride a zip line to prove we were real men. Seriously, this is what it means being the man God created me to be?
I don’t think the bible calls men to be females. But I also don’t believe the bible calls for us to walk around saying, “I’m a man hear me roar.” We are called to a radical life of following Jesus (not William Wallace). We are called to surrender everything, give up everything and follow Yahweh.
Men’s ministry has some good theology and good points but so often it is lacking in real life application.

The Beatitudes - part 2

Text for this Sunday's sermon is Matthew 5:1-12
Some related texts: Psalm 73, James 3:17-18, Deuteronomy 4:29-32

Some questions to think about as read:
What is God saying to you?
What would it look like to live this way?
Are there people you know who live out the beatitudes?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Fun stuff to do in winter

We are in the middle of January. And even though it feels like spring today we are in the middle of winter. Here are some of the fun things that I am doing this winter:

Playing in snow. We got 5 dump truck loads of snow dumped on our front yard. We are making a maze, and tunnels, and sled runs.

Watching TV. My friend loaned me a couple of seasons of Corner Gas. Also am watching Lost and Biggest Loser.

Biking. Ok, I have to admit I haven't done a lot of biking this winter. Still riding to work every day and have a trainer set up at home. But it is still lots of fun and hope to do more.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Help for Haiti

MCC is receiving donations to help the people in Haiti. Please pray.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Beautiudes

This Sunday's sermon text is Matthew 5:1-12.
Related texts: Deuteronomy 28, Psalm 37, Isaiah 61, Luke 6:20-26.

Questions to consider:
As you read the text(s) what is God saying to you?
What does it mean to be blessed?
Create a list of people you believe are blessed by God. Are there differences between your list and the list that Jesus makes?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Men's ministry #1

I have been thinking a bit about men's ministry the past few days and thought I would throw up some of my thoughts in the next few blogs for your wisdom and input.

Within the church today a call is rising that men need to become the men that God created them to be.
There is a feeling that the church of today is shaped and created for women and not for men. In fact there is an assumption that our churches in a certain sense, and most definitely our society, teaches that to be male is inferior to being female. In society you can look at the school system that is more suited for girls than for boys. Or at TV commercials and shows which portray men as children who need a woman to look after them. In church you see this in this idea being promoted by the belief that you are “truly spiritual” when you are part of a small group that shares your feelings with others. Or in some of the songs that we sing (the “Jesus is my boy friend” songs).
Many having been reacting to this bias and have been calling for men to become the men that God calls them to be. In bible school I remember my teachers telling us that men were most neglected group of people within the church. Then there was the Promise Keeper movement, followed by John Eldredge's book Wild at Heart. Men’s ministries began to flourish.
Though many still feel that men are very neglected and that church is primarily focused on women.
What do you think? Are men neglected in the church? Does the church teach that men need to be more like women?
Or is the church over focused on men?

Monday, January 11, 2010

Preaching exchange

I really enjoyed worshiping with the community in Halbstadt yesterday. The people were very friendly and welcoming. I told my wife when I got home that I was tempted to move there.
I hope Garry felt blessed being a part of our community for a Sunday.
Anyone want to share somethings you learned from Garry?

Friday, January 08, 2010

Photo contest and prayer

Every year my wife does the best photos of the year (and you get to vote for your favorite). So swing over to her sight to see a few of glimpses of our life.

Here are a couple links to my favorite online prayer sites:
Sacred Space
Prayer labyrinth

Have a blessed weekend.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Who do we worship?

As I mentioned earlier this Sunday I am part of a preaching exchange. And even though excited about this opportunity I have to admit that I struggle in preaching in churches that are not my home church. I just feel very disconnected (which I am). I don't know what they have been learning, I don't what the people have been going through. Please pray for me.

This Sunday I felt lead to preach on what unites us as churches - which is God. We all worship God. So I am going to explore a couple of the different characteristics of God. The question I will explore is "who do we worship?"
And as I explore different aspects of God I will also share how too often in my life have been tempted to worship a god that is less then that God of the bible.
How would you describe the God of the bible? Are you tempted to worship a god that is less than that?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

ReJesus - Question 5

Alan and Micheal's fifth question (Question 1, Question 2, Question 3, Question 4) they believe the church needs to be asking is:
And perhaps most important of all, how can a rediscovery of Jesus renew our discipleship, the Christian community, and the ongoing mission of the church?
The “rediscovery of Jesus” is our renewal. Jesus is what discipleship, Christian community and mission is all about.
Many times I have prayed for revival. At Bible School we would gather and pray earnestly for God to send his spirit and bring revival to the church. Revival will only happen as we encounter Jesus. We need to desire him, and seek him, and pursue him. We need to love him with all our heart, and soul, and mind and strength. We need to be obsessed with him. He is to be our hero. The one we want to be like, the one we strive to be like. Jesus is the beginning and the end of our spirituality.
Pursuing Jesus like this is discipleship (not simply keeping a list of rules).
As we become like Jesus we will begin to love like Jesus, which is the basis of community (not simply a Sunday morning gathering where we aren't known or know others).
And our mission is to invite others encounter the love of God, enter into pursuing Jesus and loving others (not simply about getting them to attend our church).

Over the past number of weeks I have explored the five questions raised in ReJesus. I have looked at them in a general sense and not applied them to specific situations. But I believe the true benefit of these questions comes from exploring them in light of specific situations. So I encourage you to do that.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Preaching exchange

This Sunday I get the privilege of being part of a preaching exchange in my community. Every year on the second Sunday of January several of the churches in this area do a preaching exchange. It is one of the small ways that we affirm that we are all part of the same community (the global church). As leaders within the global church we are working hard at blessing and building up other churches. We strive to work together (even if we have some differences in theology).
So this Sunday I have the honor of participating in the service at Halbstadt and my congregation gets blessed by having their pastor share with us.
Please be praying for Garry as he will sharing. And pray for me that I will have the words from God that will bless and build up that congregation.