Friday, February 26, 2010

Go Canada!

I have an addiction. My whole family has an addiction.

For two weeks now we have been addicted to the Olympics. The TV is on almost all the time. We eat in front of it. Spend our evenings in front of it. Rearrange our lives around it.
And we love it.

My family, in a true Canadian spirit, have focused a lot on hockey.

It was great to see our girls win gold yesterday. They are truly amazing athletes.

We are also really rooting for our boys to do the same. It was exciting to see them dominate the Russia game. We are really looking forward to the rematch against the US this Sunday (we are totally assuming that they will win tonight and on Sunday).

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Been reading the book Becoming a True Spiritual Community by Larry Crabb. At one point in the book he says that there is an wickedness that dwells in each one of us. In one of the stories he shares about himself he highlights the issue of pride. And I realized that his story was mine.

Pride infects everything that I do. I wanted to write almost everything, but wasn't convinced that would be true.
When I preach pride lurks right there. I desire for people to think that I am smart and a good preacher.
It is there when I lead bible studies. I want people see me as wise and deeply connected to God.
It is there when I resist temptation. "Aren't I so good or holy!"
It is here as I write this post. I want people to see that I am humble and growing closer to God.
Pride infects everything that I do.

Now pride isn't the only thing I feel. I do truly want to give God glory in what I do. I really want to help people because I love them and God.
But pride hovers there in every good (and bad) thing that I do.

Crabb points out that I need to realize that this is evil. Too often I have been content with my pride. Actually many times I have seen no problem at all with my pride. I need the Holy Spirit to show me how wickedly rebellious my pride is.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Prayer changes me.

Many times in my life I have asked "Why bother praying?" If God already knows what I need why bother asking him for anything? And if God loves me then I certainly don't need to beg him to give me good gifts.
Now we can say that prayer in some mysterious way moves the heart of God or releases God to move in the world. This mystery is tied to our freedom. Now if this is case (which I believe that it is) then why should we pray for something more than once? Why not ask God for something once and then move on?

Prayer is more about relationship with God then about convincing God to do something. I know this. I have taught this. But this morning I was struck deeply with the truth that prayer changes me.

Prayer isn't about me convincing a reluctant God to move. It is about me encountering God. As I encounter God I learn what his desires are for the people I pray for. It is about me falling in love with these people. Prayer creates a revolution in my heart where I become open to God and to people around me.
I have to pray so often for the same people and things because I am in such desperate need of God.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Lust and divorce

Continuing in our series on Matthew this Sunday we will be exploring Matthew 5:27-32.

Some related texts:
1 Corinthians 7
Malachi 2:13-16

Some questions to think about:
In our sex driven culture is there any good news in what Jesus says here? Or is this a message of condemnation and judgment?
What do you hear God saying to you as you read the words of Jesus?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Preparing a place

I love God's people. Right now our community is preparing a place for a Palestine family who became refugee as a result of the war in Iraq. We get the honor of having them become a part of our local community. And when the people of God around here found out I got a phone call from a family offering a whole bunch of furniture. There have been many others offering to help in some way.

This family is going to need some more things. Right now we have a home for them to live in that is fully furnished for a couple of months. But after that they are going to need a lot of different stuff to help them settle.
One of the biggest needs that they will have is community. Pray that we will welcome them into our community and that they will experience love.
And most importantly that they will experience the love of God through Jesus Christ. Pray that a miracle will happen and that they will come to trust Jesus.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jim Cantelon - missional church

Here are some more thoughts on what Jim Cantelon shared at the pastor's retreat that I attended last week.

In one of Jim's sessions he talked about being a missional church. He used Acts 2 - the story of the early church - to give us a frame for what missional church should look like. Two things stood out to me.

First, is that we need to be open to the supernatural, the transcendent. The church is not simply a country club that does some nice service things. We are the people of the living God, who have been filled with the Spirit of God. In the early church this lead to people speaking in languages they did not know (the gift of tongues).

Second, the church needs to be rooted in the bible and proclaiming the truth of the bible. We are not simply to be a group that engages in experiences. We are the people of the God of truth and he has spoken to us. And we are called to be his ambassadors to the whole world preaching truth.

These two things, the supernatural and the preaching of the word, need to be held together if we are going to be a missional church.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday. For those of you who don't know a whole lot of about the church calender Ash Wednesday is the start of Lent. Lent is the 40 days before Easter and has often been used in the church as a time to prepare for Easter. Easter being the greatest holiday and celebration of the church.
Through out Lent people often either give up something or take on something to prepare for Easter. They give up things like coffee, chocolate, sugar, red meat, TV, internet, music...
The point is not to just do without these things. But it is a reminder that we desperately need God more than we need any of these things. We need the death and resurrection of Jesus to shape us more than we need TV or music or books to shape us.
People sometimes choose not to give up something but to take on something. Like, extra prayer time or reading more of the bible or memorizing scripture or working through some devotional...
Once again the point is not to just add something to our lives. It is to intentionally do something that helps focus our attention on God, to be shaped by Jesus.

This year I have choose to take on something. MB Biblical Seminary has put out a devotional for Lent. I am going to make this a part of my life for the next 40 days.
What are you going to do that will help prepare you for Easter?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


This Sunday's sermon text: Matthew 5:17-26

Some other passages to read:
Exodus 20:1-17
1 John 3:11-17

Some questions to ponder:
In Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus tells his followers that they are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. What does this text have to do with being salt and light?
What does Jesus mean that unless our righteousness is greater than the religious leaders that we never enter into God's kingdom (verse 20)? How does that fit with the central belief that we are saved by grace not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9)?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Friday Thoughts

Wow. It has been a great week.
Next week I hope to blog a little bit more about the pastor retreat that I was on. Being on the planning committee did not give me a lot of spare time.

The other fun thing that I did this week is watch Olympic hockey. Belearus took on Swizterland in a pre-Olympic game. My daughters' school did a field trip to the game. My wife said that it was really amusing seeing a bunch of father's there. At every other retreat there is mainly moms because the dads are working. However for hockey somehow work can be negoiated.
It was a good a game. Though by the third period my girls were a little bored.
Well I am off to keep watching the opening ceremonies (so far they are a bit dull).

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Jim Cantelon - how things have changed

Last night when Jim Cantelon spoke he began off by talking about how the world has changed. He argued that everything has changed. He states that people are now more:
  1. Relationally loyal than denominationally loyal. We are committed to things because of the relationships that we develop not because of of the denomination.
  2. Humble than we are proud. Jim said in the past there was a great pride in many ministries but that is becoming less.
  3. Action orientated. People no longer just want to sit and absorb they want to engage.
  4. Focused on authenticity instead of simply productivity.
  5. Focused on having fun not just doing things.
  6. Committed to a sustainable spirituality. Jim mentioned that in the past people's spiritual life was a roller coaster - need to get converted every other week.

Jim Cantelon - Here am I send me

Last night Jim Cantelon spoke on Isaiah 6. Jim told us that in order to lead a missional church we have to be on a mission ourselves. Actually he stated that we have to be on the mission that God has called us to. And this mission is not to hundreds and thousands (at least not at first) but to one.
This made me think that possibly instead of asking what God is calling us to do? We should prehaps ask who God is calling us to?

Pastor Retreat #1

I am at a retreat for all the pastors and leaders in my conference. Cindy and I have been part of the planning team (which has been really cool). We have gotten to work with some really awesome people.
I am excited to see what God has in store for us as this retreat happens. Jim Cantelon, author of When God Stood Up, is with us to share.
I should also confess that I am a little nervous. I am in charge of a few things and I really hope they work out. People have given up money and time to be here, I am really pray that they do not feel that it is a waste of time.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Friday thoughts

Heading into Winnipeg tonight for "Mission Fest". This is a yearly tradition for my family. Cindy and I started attending "Mission Fest" when we were teenagers. You can see what is happening - possibly even attend - at

On a totally different note here is a video of a totally amazing bassist, Victor Wooten.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

February Challenge

I am a very blessed man. I am married to the most wonderful woman in the world. My most awesome wife is a constant source of blessing, encouragement and love. We are crazy in love with each other.
A few things have challenged me to be more intentional in letting her know that I love her.
Yesterday I visited an elderly couple. They informed me that they had been married for over 60 years. At one point I was looking at some photos and the elderly man pointed to a picture of his wife and said, "that's my sweetheart." I want that, to be married 60 years and still be madly in love with the same woman. Now I have been married enough years to know that love like this does not just happen it takes some work.
Also, it happens to be February. And as we all know Valentines day is coming up. The one special day we are to show love in a special way.
Last year, my wife offered a challenge to the wives to be very intentional about showing love to their husbands through out the whole month of February.
These three things have prompted me to offer a challenge to the guys, specifically the married men. Every day this month think of a way you can show your wife that you love her and value her. You could do things like: wash the dishes, clean the house, write her a love note, buy her chocolate, watch the kids so she can go out... whatever. Just be intentional in showing your sweetheart that you love her, daily.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Sunday's sermon theme is: Fasting

Some passages to read:
Matthew 4:1-11
Matthew 5:16-18
Isaiah 58
Joel 2:12-13
Acts 13:1-3

Questions to ponder:
Why fast? Is it to earn "points" with God? Or are there other reasons?