\”Concepts create idols, only wonder grasps anything.\” – Gregory of Nyssa

Friends

2011 in Review of Just Wondering…

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,400 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 57 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.


An Open Letter To My Friends: Exposing the Elephant in the Room

Losing the Light

Silence.

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” – James 1:19-20

Silence. It is a theme which has filled my life right now. Not the kind of silence where everything around me is quiet but rather the opposite. I have grown silent and for me, it is becoming stifling. It is difficult to write, to dream, to share my thoughts with others, and to speak in public spaces.

As a boy I can remember it being told to me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say then you shouldn’t say anything at all.” In a lot of ways I can agree but at what point does it become unhealthy for a person? When is silence no longer good for me; even if I am struggling with the inner wrestlings of unease, frustration, anguish and that which is considered not good?

No; silence is not working out for me any longer. It is over taking me, drowning me in its deafening noise, and killing my spirit. I need to get it out. I need to expel it from my thoughts so that I might better defeat its grasps.

The things you read here may not always be right and they certainly may not always sound good. I just hope you can extend me some grace as I try to put this out so that I can possibly leave it behind.

Vision Casting and the Things of Dreams

For a dream comes with much business, and a fool’s voice with many words… For when dreams increase and words grow many, there is vanity; but God is the one you must fear.” – Ecclesiastes 5:3, 7

Not long after graduating from Alberta Bible College with my Bachelors Degree in Theology I began asking myself the question; what is my mission in ministry and how can I tie a number of our past projects around an actual vision? I found myself drawn to the story in Matthew 16:13-20 when Jesus and his disciples where passing through Caesarea Philippi.

Jesus, while passing by the shops in the streets, turns to his disciples and says, “Who do the people say that I am?” Their answers vary from a teacher, a moralist, a prophet, and a healer. But he then turns the question around to being very personal in nature as he says again to them, “Who do you say that I am?” What a fascinating and telling question for Jesus to ask! I imagine the surprise as his disciples are taken back by the question. Jesus doesn’t care so much what the people think of him. He wants to know what his followers think of him, and more I think to the point; what they personally think of him. Peter’s answer hits the nail right on the head, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Meditating on that crux in the question it seemed to me that Jesus’ words were transcendent over time. It wasn’t just a question for his followers in Caesarea Philippi. It is a question he continues to ask me and each one of us here today. Who do we say Jesus is? The expressions and answers which we give being worked out not only in our statements and words, but also the actions and lives we live out day to day.

This was a vision I could follow; this was a dream which took over my heart. Seeking expressions of Jesus as Lord in Life and Community. The birth of Expressions.

It was my hope that Expressions could be a community of groups which not only found and built bridges between our culture and the gospel through unique and dynamic ways but that it could also be a place where everyone could grow in leadership through the distinctive callings and gifts Christ’s Spirit placed in each of our lives. The movement of Expressions would not be confined by the traditional avenues of Sunday morning church practices alone but also find new ways to revealing the gospel and the Kingdom of God in all things and in all places.

I shared this vision with our home church community and with the elders. In discussion they seemed concerned over a few issues with Missional Theology but were intrigued and wanted to see more in the way of these groups taking shape.

Over the next two years I developed a number of groups including Re:Genesis, God at the Movies, Expressions of Compassion, Conversations in ESL, Mars Hill Adventure, Adorations, H2O: A Journey of Faith, and a number of community events such as the Grey Cup of Coffee Event and the Super Bowl of Chili. It’s not an exhaustive list of everything we did over the next few years as there were other events but, it is the staple of who we were. I loved every minute of it and felt as though I was living a dream!

Supporting these ministries solely on our own though, I soon realized that I could not keep up this pace while supporting my family and looking after my own personal health. I needed the support of other leadership and those who would dream, aid, advocate, be a voice, build along, and journey with me. So I again turned to the elders in our home community.

A bombshell was dropped. They explained they could not support us as we were seen as an “outside identity” and not really a part of the church.

Feeling Sold Into Slavery

Then Judah said to his brothers, “What profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh.” And his brothers listened to him. Then Midianite traders passed by. And they drew Joseph up and lifted him out of the pit, and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty shekels of silver” – Gen. 37:26-28

An outside identity. I felt so alone and unwanted by the elders and leadership in the church. We had been a part of the church community for over 8 years and yet we were still considered an outside identity. Still, the words seemed foreign to me and stung deeply. I found it harder and harder to sit in the back during worship and hold back the tears from filling my eyes, and rolling down my checks. I couldn’t do it any longer and turning to Bonnie I said, “I can’t go back to that church anymore and simply sit in the seats while passing in tithes. There has to be something more.

I felt as though I was being sold into slavery by my brothers. We left. It hurt doing so as we have so many friends and spiritual family there. We still do. I just couldn’t seem to go anymore without the pain of those words cutting deeper and deeper into my heart. I only hope they can understand and find forgiveness.

Exposing the Elephant in the Room

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” – James 5:16

Over the last year and a half we have continued with a number of our groups in Expressions on our own while struggling to maintain a balance with health, time, and finances. In trying to support a number of our groups as well as our own needs; a few years back I took up a job in the local Home Depot. It wasn’t meant to be a long term job as I had hoped to find a place soon on staff in a church community and it wasn’t much in the way of financial support but, it helped with things and enabled me to continue with some of our groups in the house. It has been hard though as it leaves little time for personal health needs and times for rest or family gatherings.

In the last few months I have taken a few personal leadership classes as well as evaluational courses. They’ve been difficult. Not in the intellectual sense but rather because their forcing me to look internally at some things which are glaringly confronting me. They always seem to start with the question, “If you can sum up who you are in one brief sentence, who are you?” Searching for an answer this small voice I’ve been hearing over the last year creeps up inside of me:

  • You are a joke!
  • You are not a pastor nor will you ever be one.
  • You are useless and pathetic.
  • You are the running joke of the pastor community.
  • All the times that people have said that you are great at speaking, teaching, leading, ect… They are only being polite and don’t really mean it.

They are statements which leave me with the questions:

  • What is wrong with me?
  • Is it because I am in a wheelchair?
  • Is it because Bonnie and I do not have any or cannot bear any children?
  • Is it because I do not have enough education or a Seminary Masters Degree?

Call it burn out, a broken heart, or call it something else; I don’t know. What ever it is; it has robbed me of my self confidence entirely. The more I wrestle with this elephant which has invaded the space I call my personal identity; the more I realize that I am facing a deep depression within myself and I don’t know how to defeat it. This depression has slowly eroded my ability to dream and find hope for the future. I don’t know if I have any meaning in my life and if I am of any significance or for any purpose.

This must change…

Repentance and a Desire for Reconstitution

In you, O LORD, do I take refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
in your righteousness deliver me!
Incline your ear to me;
rescue me speedily!
Be a rock of refuge for me,
a strong fortress to save me!

Psalm 31:1-2

This must change. I honestly do not know how, but I know it must.

We need to learn the difference between the convictions of the Holy Spirit and the accusations of Satan!” Those where the words Scott Weatherford spoke from the front of a church Bonnie and I had gone to after I felt a deep need to be in worship with a community we had not been a part of before. I’m not sure why the words stuck with me but I just seemed to keep playing them over and over in my head. Perhaps God was speaking to me.

Looking back I can realize that this voice that has been speaking to me seems far more accusational in nature then it does a convictional calling to walk in righteousness. I don’t think this excuses the impact of the failure in human leadership within my story and yet I realize my struggle is one which is internally a true battle not against flesh and blood, “but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12) I only pray God might restore my strength, redeem my confidence, and reconstitute  the person he wants me to be in leadership and life.

Over the past few weeks I’ve felt called to commit to some personal steps. I don’t know where they might take me but, I’d like to share them with you.

  • I’ve begun reading through the Psalms. David was a man after God’s own heart and I pray for nothing less then that for myself.
  • I have a deep desire to find a home church which would encourage and help me grow not only spiritually but in leadership and ministry. This might redefine Expressions, and it may not. I leave that in God’s hands as it is in His Kingdom that I serve.
  • I have cut my hours back at work in the Home Depot. This will make things a little tighter in the budget but, I need the time to focus on my personal health and to search out where God may be leading me.

As I mentioned earlier, I realize that things must change and I’m not quite entirely sure how. I only hope that these steps might help and as I take them, Jesus might show me and guide me to the next steps in the journey he wants me to take. If I can borrow Thomas Merton’s prayer, “My Lord God, I have no idea where I’m going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.

I thank you all for your prayers and for the words you might share with me.


Michael Ignatieff’s Equality for All Speech

Michael Ignatieff

Started writing this morning on FB about some of my thoughts to Michael Ignatieff’s speech in Ottawa and it kind of turned into a full note. Anyways, it’s been a bit since I’ve been writing; I just needed to get some things of my chest, so it’s nothing extensive but I thought I’d share it here also.

Michael Ignatieff - “Equality for ALL” (From this mornings speech in Ottawa) – Question: Does this same equality include the Canadian Citizens within the Federal Prison Systems be they people seeking reformation or employees amidst over population? Does this same equality include those who are in service to our military struggling with substandard equipment?

They are honest questions of Federal prioritization. In light of resent global events, I’m not sure I’d count on the US covering our _____ in the event of military movements! :( Prisoners serving their detentions in a correctional facility are not second class citizens in a society which claims equality for all. Over population can also force into early release in dangerous circumstances which in turn also impacts society. Should we not give adequate space and legislative time to the reformation of such people; not to mention the danger over population places of Correctional Employees?!

Family Care, Health Care, and Education are also all valid concerns and issues Canadians face. Yet, these can be issues perhaps more directly addressed within the Provincial and Local Municipalities alternatively. Ultimately, my personal nee-jerk reaction is to say it also falls to the role we as individual citizens play as active participators and care givers to our society and communities.

We must stand up for our neighbour and ourselves; not leaving the sole responsibility of health and education to government parties. We must make better health choices for our own bodies and inspire and encourage others to do the same. We can and should give freely to others as they have needs out of our personal responsibility to care for one another – this is a responsibility of individuals and community not institution or organization. (Please note: This includes Religious Institutions however… it does not dismiss responsibility to personal faith, belief, and world view which may become expressed through such organizations. I wish I had more time to define this but perhaps another time.) Yes, this may mean we need to change our expectations of personal status and wealth as a social vision but let me ask you… what are you asking of those who are in the minority of the vote? (i.e. – Prison System, Military, Immigration, ect.)

Ultimately, I am concerned we have become a society of “Me First!” mind sets. This must change. Please do not consider this as my vote cast. There is still many policies to be defined and clarified. It is simply just my wonderments for the time being… :)


Living for Potential (Audio) – My Message at CCCF

Potentiality

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak at Canyon Creek Christian Fellowship on Sunday January 2nd, 2011 about Living for Potential while focusing on Matthew 5:48. Although feeling a little rusty, here is what I shared…



5 Kinships With Jesus at Christmas

Christmas Gifts

Are you ready for Christmas?” It seems like an innocent question enough but what are we really asking? Most times we’re wondering if you’re done rushing around to the many over run shopping malls and sale displays too which you are looking to buy the greatest gift for your loved ones and family. I must admit that even I have caught myself in this frame of mind from time to time throughout the last few weeks. After all, who wants to be stuck in traffic and that last weeks rush before the big day arrives on December 25th.

Yet is that what Christmas is really all about? Just us consumers delighting in the buying of gifts for others while waiting to see just what presents they might also have for us?

Last week while taking a moment to relax, I came across a post called ‘The 5 Stages of Relationship With God‘. It didn’t really have any particular holiday theme but as I read it, I couldn’t help but truly see the meaningful beauty it connected with in the story of Christmas and our relationship with Emanuel during this time of season.

I have a Kinship with Religion

It is pretty much impossible to say today that you do not know who Jesus is. At least that is true for a North American culture and society. We all have in one way or another been impacted by an understanding of the word Christianity and the general story of the Nativity. I think every year I hear about someone stealing the little baby Jesus from some church’s Nativity scene as a bad practical joke!

The spirit of Christmas as a religious relationship finds its expression for those of us who brave the cold to find a local church community who is hosting a Christmas Eve Service so that we might join in with carols and song while not feeling we have to attend church any other time of the year. Or as my fellow columnist Chris Hammer at the Calgary Beacon writes in his post ‘The Christmas Dichotomy‘, “Christmas is a time to engage with the comforts of tradition; whether celebrating the birth of a baby in a manger or the arrival of a jolly soul in a red suit.

This is without a doubt a deep and meaningful relationship we have and Jesus is there too of course, but the relationship is distant. Not distant in presence per say but more so in the meaning of relevance. Soon the daily activities of life resume and the fable story of a little baby in a manger have little to no significance in our activities or thoughts.

Still for some, that distance might like other far reaching relationships cause us to question, “Who is this baby Jesus?” What happens to him when he grows up?” “Is Jesus real and if so, what makes him so special?”

I have a Kinship with Doctrine

Every year around Christmas I hear the conversational whispers of the battle between perceived Consumerism and the “true” meaning of Christmas. On one side are those who want to see a greater focus on the celebration of the birth of Jesus while on the other side are those who simply want to find a sense of joy in giving and receiving gifts from family and special loved ones.

Doctrine makes us want to create and follow certain beliefs or principles according to our understanding of faith or truth. It is the foundation to our world view and by definition creates “laws which are established through past decisions“. But following doctrine at the absence of feelings and emotions is outside of human natural behavior and becomes void to the essence of our need for relational acceptance and support. We need community and with community is our need for a greater sense of grace and tolerance.

Last week I was strolling through South Center Mall and came upon a quote from William Arthur Ward. He said, “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” I pondered the feelings that I have of gratitude, as a Christian, for God sending his son Jesus to us here on Earth. What or who would I be today if Jesus had never been born? How would I feel knowing that my faults, my sin had never been forgiven by my creator? Or how could I have known what purpose I might have; what on earth is right and wrong; is life meant to have a moral, ethical, and emotional compass? And if so, how could I possibly relate to it?

Words cannot express the emotions of gratitude, joy, love, and admiration which I have for Jesus and the relationship we have today. It is a relationship which not only sets a living compass for doctrines which guide my thoughts and actions but; it is also a human kinship filled with the workings of grace, forgiveness, and life long blessings.

It is that relationship which makes me want to share that same spirit with those around me; my friends, loved ones, and even the stranger I pass in the mall as I look up and smile while giving a friendly greeting, “Merry Christmas!!!”

I have a Kinship with Jesus

Have you ever listened to the lyrics of the Christmas song ‘Little Drummer Boy’ and wondered, “What is the essence of my drum to play?” “What is my gift for Jesus?”  I know I have and at times and in some instances I have felt like the little boy, in that my gift isn’t really that special. Yet, in Jesus’ eyes all our gifts are special!


When we find ourselves realizing our relationship with an incarnate and living Jesus, we begin to explore the gifts, talents, and passions in our life in a new way. They’re no longer meaningless and pointless but instead they are unique and special just between us and God because they become expressions of our relationship with Jesus. Our hobbies become the praxis of His presence in our lives!

I wonder what the wise men must have thought as they packed all their belongings, gathered their family, servants, and helpers, and headed west across the continent to see a little baby Jesus in a manger who would one day be king? The pride they must have felt, knowing the relationship they had with this future king must have been great as they even bragged about it to King Herod while coming close to the end of their journey! (Matt. 2:1-2)

Jesus has a Kinship with Me

I am just a guy but if I were Mary I cannot imagine the terror that would have filled my heart when an angle stood before me saying “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.” (Luke 1:30-31) At 14 years old, the thought of being pregnant and unmarried must have been scary to say the least. Even more so would be facing the whispered judgments of the many who would watch her as the little baby Jesus grew inside of her.

Being in relationship with Jesus brings the comfort of friendship and unconditional acceptance that we all love but when the realization of Jesus’ character as Lord and the Son of God settles into our minds it becomes a little terrifying to think of his relationship with us. So how do we get beyond this fear so that we can bridge his Lordship from our minds to the heart?

There is a well known proverb in history that says, “The Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding.” (Psalm 111:10) This is not a fear of harmful intent or life threatening danger. More so this is a fear which inspires us to become something better and maybe in the process we might just make a difference in the community and world around us!

My colleague Justin Bills has been my friend for several years now and I was inspired by his post that he wrote last week called ‘The War on Christmas‘. When he shared that he was giving half of his parents Christmas gift to Living Water International so the people in Africa might have clean water I was moved by his faith. Justin doesn’t just want to lead through his knowledge of scripture or authority by position; he wants to inspire others by following the life calling of Jesus being in relationship with him.

Mary faced some amazing fears in those moments standing in front of God’s appointed angle. Yet with awe inspiring courage she spoke, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” (Matt. 1:38)

Never get stuck with the angels—if shepherds in fields or Mary in tomb (Jn.20) had stayed with angels, they never would have seen Jesus!” – Leonard Sweet

Jesus and I have a Mutual Kinship

Many years ago I can remember exploring the Anglican cathedral church of St. Steven’s in downtown Calgary. My mother would bring me there late on Thursday evenings while she practiced with the choir for the yearly Christmas celebrations and I would have my prodigious imaginary adventures while exploring the “catacombs” and secret passage ways within the halls of the church (usually consisting of over and under the pews and the tunnel passage way behind the altar front) :-).

At four years old I had little knowledge to the relationship I had with Jesus nor the way he and I would encounter one another in the future. Yet looking back I now know that he most definitely knew and loved me. There were many people he placed in my life at that church that showed his love at Christmas and many other times of the year. People like Bob, “Aunt” Ruth, Meredith, Graham and Barbra Goode. People who are still in my life today.

Jesus and I having a mutual relationship is so much like my imagined adventures in that church as a boy. Through the exploration of the unknown and the relationships we develop along the way, Jesus shapes who we are, loves who we are, and in turn allows us to in our own time, come to know who he is freely in our own way and at our own pace. There never is a “right” way to do it. Just the slow prodigious adventure of being in mutual relationship with him at Christmas and every other time of year.

So where do you find yourself in relationship with Jesus this Christmas? Which of the 5 kinships do you find yourself this year? It doesn’t matter which answer you might discover because it is the right one for you today. In all of the 5 Kinships with Jesus at Christmas we find the real Spirit which fills this season… “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

May you find yourself surround by a Spirit of Love and Joy this Christmas as Jesus blesses you, your family, and loved ones. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!


Broken

Broken

I starred blankly at the news screen as they described the story of a stranger who was listening and after hearing the faint cries of a baby, leapt into a garbage bin. After peeling away the layers of garbage they took off their shirt and wrapped it around a new born boy who with its umbilical cord still attached was rescued from the clutches of death. It wasn’t until later that the stranger would find out that he was not a stranger at all but the unexpecting father of the child.

Let’s face it; it’s a story we have all heard so many times before. We cry out in frustration, “What’s wrong with that person!” “How can they just not know…?”

A Colonel in the Canadian Armed Forces is arrested and charged with sexual deviance, rape, murder, and other horrific charges. Teenagers are found gang raping teenagers in the school yard. And prostitution is legalized in certain states and provinces. It all seems so wrong, so decayed, so grotesque, so… Broken.

I was four years old when I was exposed to the realities of a broken world. My mother worked long days and would leave me at a day home behind our condo in SW Calgary. I remember the lady running the home would keep us locked in the basement all day exclaiming, “That’s where children belong.” Usually with a few “F” words in the mix.

It was here that the eldest daughter of the lady who ran the home began taking me with her to the darker corners of the basement. I don’t remember much, but I remember that I spent most of my childhood trying to hide it and make sure no one ever found out. Most importantly, I tried to make myself forget it ever happened because I thought it was my fault. I was Broken.

I was broken and because I was broken the world will never look the same to me again. The world has become a place of overt violence with battlefields in every marketing advertisement plastered on the billboards and storefronts in shopping malls and road ways; in snippets of film, movies, television, and commercials as they provocatively  exploit the psyche of human relational conjecture; in the one liner jokes we so innocently speak to one another with; and in the headlines of news media leading to social judgements based upon the bias of social and personal exclusion from the stories context.

My Brokenness has caused me to become angry. Why can we not see the exploitation of human sexuality and relational identity as the violence which it truly is? Why has it become normal to treat human sexuality as a consumer product and individual right rather then a relational identity and spousal gift? I suppose the reality to which I found is that I am broken, just as everyone is has been broken. The world is Broken.

Jesus’ brother James gives us something we can use in our brokenness. He wrote and called us to, “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.” and promised us that, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:16-17)

I don’t have all the solutions to the broken realities of our world but I do believe James is right. We need to first recognize our own Brokenness; and once we’ve accepted that we need to expose it, confess it to those around us, and talk about it. When we can be open and real with one another about the struggles we have, the challenges and fears that are a part of our lives; we can be honest in the midst of communal grace and truly seek to transform those realities. Then we can see the real beauty, the real gifts God has placed in our lives.

Secondly, we need to pray for one another as well as ourselves. Speaking to God about our need for healing and openly asking for his hand in our broken reality brings an internal connectivity which reaches to the very depth of our created being as it was meant to be. In Jeremiah God speaks to us saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5)

Lastly, we must live with grace for one another; accepting that we are all Broken in a reality to which none of us can ever fully understand, experience, or comprehend. Forgiveness is not always easy to work out but, judgment is never ours to make lest our own judgments come upon our own brokenness.

This world will never be the same to me as it will never be the same for you. I will pray for you though just as I pray for the Broken people which I wrote of in the beginning of this post. I hope you would do the same for me.


To Save a Life – Youth Event

To Save a Life


John Lloyd Inventories the Invisible

Invisibility

I thought this was rather brilliant this morning as I contemplated the beauty of Gods creation and the humor of finding things of invisibility. I must use this as an illustration some time!

By the way, in answer to John’s agnosticism and defining terms… I believe that is the point! Man cannot define God’s terms just as we cannot define his character. To do so is to miss his existence entirely and in the midst of trying would only be caught up in ideology and ultimately idolatry. It is God who can and did state his terms through the act of incarnation not through words or things!


Who am I?

Who am I

Who am I?

I am a man of Authenticity,
What you see is what you get;
More so I am the same in public as I am alone,
And visa versa.

Who am I?

I am a man of Honesty,
So much so it can get me in trouble;
My life is an open book,
One which I freely share in the hopes to inspire.

Who am I?

I am a man of Integrity,
My word is my bond;
Even greater to me are the words of action,
Everything I do is meant with purpose and a sense of personal moral ethic.

Who am I?

I am a man of Justice,
I seek it in everyone and in everything;
My heart breaks to the point of physical pain and tears,
At the smallest witnessing of prejudice, bias, or inequality to our relationship with truth.

Who am I?

I am a man of Love,
In the eternal agape sense anyways;
I love life, people, animals, adventure,
And the wonder of all miraculous moments when this amazing gift returns!

Who am I?

I am a man of Faith,
Convicted strongly in my relationship with God;
Through the Truth of Jesus’ eternal presence,
In my heart, soul, and wellbeing.

Who am I?

I am a man of creativity,
I let my imagination drift with the realities around me;
So as to bring life to grips with Truth,
And freedom of expression to redemption in righteous relationships with God, my wife, and those who journey with me.

Who am I?

I am a Husband,
Married to my wife as one flesh;
I can do nothing apart from her blessing,
As she becomes the greatest of blessings throughout my life.

Who am I?

I am a Pastor,
Not one by earthly titles, status, or appointment;
But by example, presence, and character,
Which only the Holy Spirit might bless and sustain.

Who am I?

I am Incomplete,
Journeying through my destiny in search of my fate;
One which only God can complete,
And measure by standards of his grace, love, and acceptance.



Breathing in a Life of Beauty – Thoughts of Dominion

Environmental Time

God watched as though he were like a child full of joy as the sun rose over the horizon. And as he was engulfed by its beauty he cries out again and again each new morning, ‘Do it again!’” These were the words of my friend Steve several years ago that as I drove into the Rocky Mountains last week I couldn’t help but personally reminisce while describing the beauty of God’s creation to my friend Kenny in the back seat.

Kenny was here in Calgary visiting with a team from Abilities Church in Toronto while presenting in a conference at Center Street Church called ‘Life Without Limits’. Being their first time out to Calgary we took the opportunity as a leadership team to drive out to Banff as a bit of a retreat on the Saturday. As we drove further west from the city I realized that Kenny has been blind since birth and so the only way he would be able to see the natural beauty of our surroundings would be if I described it to him.

As I drove I would try my best at describing the amazing beauty of the soaring heights to the mountain tops, the amazing colors of the trees and flowers around us, the depths of the crystal clear lake waters beside the highway, and the excitement of the chance at seeing a large moose which crossed the road in front of us just inside the town of Banff. Each time I described something new Kenny would be so excited while exclaiming, “This is so cool!!!

It seems each night since then that as I turn to the news I hear about the devastating environmental crises that is ravaging our planet. The Gulf Oil Spill, Carbon Emissions, Global Water Crises, Pandemics and Superbugs, Nuclear Energy Waste, and the battle between economic recovery and developments within oil companies or the need for clean energy; where is our sense of holistic stewardship and respect to dominion? Have we lost our created identity and unity for the self serving desires of one dominant species – humanity?

I have heard both sides of the argument; “The world is going to end unless we change now!” and “Global worming is a fraud made up by hippies and tree huggers.” It shouldn’t really matter whether we count ourselves on the environmentalist side or economist’s side; what is important is being on God’s side. After all, it is all created by him!

It is often quoted that God gave dominion to all humanity, “the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Gen. 1:26) I don’t think God’s intentions were that we were to do whatever we wanted to please our own purposes. Rather I believe it was a uniting identity we had as a place in creation to tend to and take care of all that God created. In much the same sense as we would bear the image of God, so to we would look after, love, and foster all that he created within relationship to us.

So then what does it mean to act in dominion of the earth? Here are a few thoughts to which I thought of and maybe you might like to add your own later.

Pray for creation and all that is in it; understanding the realities and context the earth is faceing today. It is important to recognize that we are not just physical but spiritual beings and by acknowledging that spiritual connection with nature we can find God’s grace and healing uniting us in purpose and harmony.

Educate and spending some time reading while learning about the many issues our world is facing today. Don’t just really on major corporate news providers to share what they deem as important or relevant but dig deeper into the issues; listen to the hearts and minds of those who find themselves passionately involved in these global concerns. What you might just find is a vision for your own expression of involvement to transform the way we treat the environment! (A place I like to check from time to time; maybe you might like to visit this site as a way of launching some creative thought patterns http://www.globalissues.org/)

Write a letter to your MLA, Prime Minister, or city official (maybe you might even like to start a blog) articulating the thoughts you have towards the need for better environmental legislation or national practice. Don’t just write about your frustrations and disgruntlements; take the opportunity to engage there minds with some ingenuities and resourceful ways in which our city and nation can bring better stewardship to the global issues at hand.

Primarily I think it is important to take an active roll yourself in the way you practice dominion. It might mean some radical changes in your life but by acting holistically in your own stewardship you will be healthier for it and find that many who around you will be inspired by your commitment. One of the easiest ways I have found this in my own life is to try and adapt to a three R’s lifestyle – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. It’s not that I’m perfect at it but as Jesus exemplified, radical transformations always begin with the movements and choices of one man!

Finally I think it is important to love our environment. Have you ever watched that video of a plant which over the span of a minute or two you see it start from a seedling and then grow into a fully blooming flower? Now imagine sitting there and waiting in natural time, watching with complete anticipation, not just seeing but hearing, smelling, feeling the plant as it blossoms and grows. Perhaps then in those moments, when we are willing to spend this kind of energy and time with God’s creation we will leap at the joy and exuberance of witnessing such miraculous beauty while catching ourselves bursting in praise with the words, “This is so cool! Do it again!


A Great Grandmother And Mother, A Beautiful Woman

It has been a few weeks since Bonnie’s mom Marie passed away. Bonnie’s niece Terra shared a poem in the funeral which touched many peoples hearts including mine and so I wanted to share it here.

Strong, beautiful Mother and Grandma, so peaceful and serene,
You deserve to live in Paradise and shown the finer things.
Life has dealt you plenty of cards, some winning, others bad,
And tides have brought in waves of memories; both happy and sad.
Gracious, beautiful Mother and Grandma, so wonderful and divine,
You’ve endured many heartaches-oh the world is so unkind!
Your speech is confident, your eyes are soft and your walk is hard and bold
Your laugh equals happiness, your heart contains love, and hides the stories untold.
Tired, beautiful Mother and Grandma, so patient and so calm, it’s funny how you hold the family’s fear within your palm!
With wrinkles, stress, and worn-torn hands, tell me how do you smile so…
When you’ve traveled this long, endured all this pain, and still have miles to go?
Blessed, beautiful Mother and Grandma, so collected and confident,
I can’t imagine a gift greater than you-your love is Heaven sent.
Don’t you dare give up now, just stay strong, your reward is comin’…
Strong, courageous, gracious, blessed, and beautiful Mother and Grandma.

Rest in Peace

We all Love you grandma.


Did You Know…


Weeping…

Jesus Wept

“Jesus wept.” Two simple words and the shortest sentence in the Bible (John 11:35). Yet it seems these words to me have become such a deep revelation into the authenticity of Jesus’ love for humanity and the lives of those who he calls friends.

Have you ever been in those moments where sadness and fear have gripped you so strongly that nothing else seems to matter? When the daily practices of life seem to become surreal in nature? Or when the very fabric of life itself becomes infinitely perplexed by the loss of a loved one in the midst of it?

This past week has been a blur for me as my wife and I came to grips with the slow understanding that we were losing her mother to multiple organ failure. I was struggling with the questions, “What do I say?” and “Where is God in all of this?”

In a lot of ways I suppose that is how Jesus’ friends felt after Lazarus had died; numb, dazed and confused as to where Jesus was when their brother Lazarus was sick and close to death. After he passed away Jesus arrives and Mary Magdalene called out to him, “Where were you Lord when my brother was sick?” And Jesus wept.

Taking Jesus to the tomb where Lazarus’ body was he stood in front of it calling out, “Lazarus, come out!” (John 11:43) The miraculous happened.

I don’t suppose to know the mysteries and power of redemption or the process of salvation and the ways in which the miracle of resurrection happens. Nor do I understand why sometimes prayers are answered and sometimes there not; or at least not the way we hope for. But if it is one thing that the story of Lazarus has spoken to me about in the last week, it is that death does not stop the miraculous.

Until then though I pray for comfort in the midst of silence, knowing Jesus is with us, weeping.


The Greatest Gift – Three Keys to a Healthy Marriage

Last May Bonnie and I celebrated our tenth anniversary. I thought it might be great if I planned a surprise family dinner to mark the occasion. It seems fate had other plans as Bonnie ended up in the hospital instead with a bad blood infection.

Still, I bought the biggest bouquet of flowers that I could find along with a box of her favorite chocolates and headed up to the hospital to spend the day with her. I knew it was not what we had planned but it did not matter because as we shared the box of chocolates while laughing at the small square TV in her room we found an extraordinary gift still binding us together. It was love.

It is hard to say nowadays what makes a marriage last it seems. So many times I hear about how couples are drifting a part for this reason or the next; in most cases it seems because they express it has just become to hard to “make it work”. Maybe that is the point though; you can’t make love work. You can only wait for the precious instances in which you experience it between each other and celebrate in those moments.

After ten years of marriage myself I still find comfort reflecting on three keys which the Apostle Paul gives in 1 Corinthians13:13. He says, “So know faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

I don’t think Paul meant faith in a religious sense; but rather faith as the relational tension between two people. In the Biblical sense faith is defined between two Hebraic and Greek understandings. In one sense it is about what I know and understand about my wife and who she is. While in the other sense it is about the way I act and speak about and towards my wife. To put it in short, when I consider my marriage in all situations and places; I place my thoughts and actions entirely upon my integrity. As Oliver Cromwell once said, “Subtlety may deceive you; integrity never will.”

The second key of hope is closely expressed with the passions of dreaming and sharing my aspirations with Bonnie while sharing in one another’s gifts and talents. Like the tensions in faith there are times when I recognize Bonnie might seem like she is drifting away with different pursuits and enthusiasms. Likewise there are times I might be doing the same. It is in these moments when I begin to feel like there is this emotional elastic which is stretching between us and the further apart it stretches the more I feel like it just might snap. I don’t consider this sort of tension in our relationship a bad thing though and nor do I think that it must be resolved in the immediacy of our awareness of it.

However, at some point I always recognize this as a sort of calling to strive after Bonnie; to act in faithfulness, find interest in her talents, passions, and giftings while wanting to participate in her hopes, goals, and pursuits. Believe me; it’s not always easy as she seems to always have me cutting the onions in her latest recipe! But the rewards from sharing are hopes and dreams always balance out the work put into them.

Ahhh the rewards! I suppose this is the key to these moments when I recognize the real gifts I receive when I am faithful and pursue hopes with my wife Bonnie. Love cannot be created. Love is a treasured gift that is found through faithful action and inspired relational hope. I didn’t really make love happen, I just seem to recognize how it shows up between us as we live life together. As one person puts it, “Marriage is not finding the right person; it is being the right person.”

Yes; if you were paying attention to the grammar I used above I did say “gifts” in the plural sense of love as I have come to see each one of these expressional moments as separate, unique, and new every time I encounter them. It is what makes them special and something which only I can recognize and cherish. I live for these moments when they come in bundles and when they seem so far a part as Joseph Addison puts it by saying, “Mysterious love, uncertain treasure, Hast thou more of pain or pleasure! . . . . Endless torments dwell above thee: Yet who would live, and live without thee!”

I wish you all a Happy Valentines Day that you might all live Faithfully, strive Hopefully, and encounter the greatest gifts of all – the gift of Love!


Searching for the Real Avatar – “I See You!”

Last Friday evening I had the opportunity to sit in a packed theater and watch the film Avatar for the first time. I was blown away by the amazing effects and swept into the story line by the many cultural connections with our world today. Like so many other films have done in past, Avatar grappled in its undertones with real issues such as environmental concerns, native relations, and military movements with stunning pictures of wildlife and language uses such as words like “Shock and Awe” and subtitles for native speech.

I must admit though that this is not what toke my heart away during the course of the film. What really got to me was the central storyline with the character of Jake and his questions behind identity as a paralyzed marine. Sitting in my own wheelchair I began struggling with the same uncertainties he was facing in the light of a new world.

Who is my Avatar? What would it be like to have a new body? Or as Col. Miles Quaritch said to Jake; to have my real legs back? Who is the real me?

Being a gen X’er, the word avatar always seemed to me to be an image you put on your facebook page or blog address to which people identify you as. It surprised me to realize after looking it up in a dictionary that the word avatar actually means “the embodiment of something: somebody who embodies, personifies, or is the manifestation of an idea or concept.

In that sense really think about it for a moment and ask yourself; Am I the same person at work that I am at home? Are you the same person on Sunday at church? How about when you are standing with the other parents outside the school while waiting to pick up your kids? How many Avatars do you have? Which one is the real one?

There is this moment in the film when Jake and his new found friend Neytiri are arguing over the fact that she does not see him as being authentic. In a sense she is saying, “I do not know who or what you are!” It is during this moment that the spirits of Ey’wa, the Na’vi’s understanding of God, descend around Jake and it becomes a sign to Neytiri that even if she cannot see the real Jake, Ey’wa could see him.

It is easy for me to conceal who I truly am in character as a husband, son, pastor, or follower of Jesus behind shadows of personal conception and agenda. In some sense it seems as though I can get lost in these avatars myself and forget who the real me is. No matter how hard I try though it doesn’t seem to change the fact that God still seems to know me as he whispers the words of Jeremiah 1:5; “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you.” It is a mystery I still wonder about today.

Jesus himself became an avatar in the sense that he was God incarnate. I guess you could say he was the real avatar. One day he went fishing with a group of fishermen. He spent the entire day with them while learning who they were, speaking their language, and seeing who they truly are. It was then that he turned to them and said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matt. 4:19) Jesus in becoming one of them saw right through them to their hearts; he saw their real avatars!

Throughout Jake’s journey he was offered healing but it came in two forms. On the one hand Col. Miles Quaritch offered him purpose in being used as a marine and in doing so he would be “given his legs back”. On the other hand Jake could choose to submit his entire being to the wonder and care of Ey’wa in the awakening of a body given through love and the mystery of recreation.

Without giving anything away I admit to struggling with this in the personal sense. It might be easy to expect God to heal me as a paralyzed man on my terms with my own expectations of time, appearance, and significance. But is healing meant to be easy and solely about me or is it really about the relationship which I have with my creator?

It seemed a question to which I might wrestle with for many years to come until I heard a comment William Young, author of ‘The Shack’, stated in an interview the other day. He said, “I do not believe God heals people so that he can use them. I believe God heals people because he loves them; and then he invites them to play.” It was in this moment that the questions seemed to disappear and the visionary wonder of healing and recreation coalesced with the trust that God would find the balance (1 Corinthians 15:35-49).

Is the movie Avatar a Christian film? I do not think James Cameron intended it to be so when he first developed it but; like most created things, if we are willing to extend a listening ear we just my catch the faded whispers of truth from a loving creator who is saying, “I see you.”


Praying for Heart for Home in Haiti

Bonnie’s and my prayers are reaching out to our friends Ricot and Mandy Leon in Haiti after the earthquake yesturday. I pray for their safety, courage, and wisdom. Please Jesus let their faith be a light to the many in need there today. I ask that they might be strong in the face of disaster and that God might bring hope to their hearts, minds, and spirits!

Please visit: http://heartforhome.wordpress.com/


Returning to a State of Just Wondering…

It seems like forever since I’ve been writing here on Just Wondering… In the same sense my time of sharing my thoughts on SE Calgary News over the last three months came and flew by. During that time a friend of mine asked if I would share some of my articles here on Just Wondering so I thought I would return to my reflections on Ecclesiastes as well as interjecting them with some of the articles I wrote for SE News.

Life has been busy here not only with work but with our involvements in our Expressions Community. Anyways, as an opener I thought I would just share some musings which have poked my life as of late!

I have been reading this. – It seems an odd choice I know for my Missional friends but has offered me an argument to wrestle with; if for nothing else the willingness to let the “other side be heard”.

I have been listing to this. – I have come to love this band and would welcome the opportunity to go and hear them live anytime!

I think this is the most incredible thing I have ever seen and only hope I might get to take the great leap myself one day… oh’ya, one day!

I am going to this.

I can’t wait for this.

I am Just Wondering… what is God going to do next?!


A Brief Reprieve from Just Wondering to SE Calgary News

Recently I have been asked to take over a bi-weekly column in the Faith & Life section of SE Calgary News by my friend Rick Bayer (Click Here to Check it Out). So I just wanted to let my faithful readers know that I will be taking a brief reprieve from Just Wondering… until November.

O’ya! You can find me here too: @RUJustWondering.


For Such A Time As This… I Have Arrived

TimeCheck it out for yourself: Ecclesiastes 3

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” – Ecclesiastes 3:11

Time. It is a perplexity of life and something which we seem to never escape. In honesty, I had thought of many things I might want to share with regards to my thoughts of time and the way in which we treat it. Ways which seem to treat time as though we poses it and have the right to use it as we see fit to our own desires. I think often of the statement “Don’t waste my time!”

Likewise, we never seem to exist in the moment of time which we are currently in. When we are at church we are thinking about what we will do when we get home. When we are at home we are thinking about what we will do when we are at work. When we are at work we are thinking about what it will be like to be on vacation. The dichotomy we create between what our bodies are doing and what our minds are doing develops such a rift that I wonder if we ever really truly arrive in the moment to which we are presently in.

It was when I was in this thought pattern that a friend of Bonnie’s and mine wrote an email to us that just seemed to strike right at this thought of time and our inability to see the whole picture to which God was present and aware of. We met Katie about five years ago as she lived in a group home here in the SE side of Calgary while adjusting to living with MS. She has since become a good friend of ours and in many ways an inspiration to following Jesus. A part of the Center Street Church community, Katie is greatly involved with social activism and fights for many of the rights for the disabled community here in Calgary and Alberta. She also is a very talented creative arts painter and promotes her work on her website www.oralart.ca/.

In any sense I felt moved by the timing of her email and wanted to share it with you as part of my devotional to Ecclesiastes 3 and For Such A Time As This… I Have Arrived.

When do you know that you have arrived? Have you arrived when you get married and move into the house of your dreams? Have you arrived when you have your first child? Have you arrived when you get the perfect career and have assured your security? When you have grown old and actualized all of your goals?

I started taking my trip on a bright red, reliable and strong bicycle to get to the ends of the earth and find adventure. I soon came across a Village of Fatigue and crossed over a bridge of Uncertainty. I came upon a dirt road that led to many scary turns and frightening hills. I had to get off my bicycle and I had to stop in a worrisome and unpredictable city called Exacerbation.

My tires started to go flat and I had to lay my bicycle down since my kickstand broke off while navigating around a rock of Depression. While momentarily stationary, I found a place to live, found some work, got a cat, and found love but I never found rest or a sense of direction.

Overnight, my bicycle was stolen, my house burned down, the business went into receivership, my cat died and my boyfriend left me. In desperation, I caught a bus that ended up on the road that was muddied and impassable. It eventually crashed in Suicide Gulch and I became broken. I was lost.

While in the hospital, I was introduced to a wonderful Man [Jesus] who tried to comfort me and heal my wounds. He became my new Map Reader. The road continued to be long and hard and my pain continued. We were unable to find a place to convalesce. There was an Apartment of Despair, a Townhouse of Inequity, and finally a House of Horrors.

We continued to reach dead ends but I think that my misplaced self-reliance kept grabbing the map out of the Man’s hands. I needed to follow. His acute navigational skills found me in a House of Care with a backyard that stretched out for miles. The old house still needs some major renovations but I was safe. In the backyard, I was planted in enriched soil, grew strong roots, and was sheltered from unpredictable storms. My many gardeners fed, watered and pruned me and soon I was able to learn some gardening skills of my own.

I was able to plant bright, sweet smelling flowers of fun, excitement, confidence, perseverance and gratitude. I spread grass seeds of hope that grows lush and green every year, provides comfort when I lie down and its fragrance reassures me. At times though, I still feel sad and grievous when some of the blooms fail to open but I am optimistic some will thrive in the next season.

I grew trees that scattered pollen of awareness that attached themselves to anyone who was willing to listen. I started to paint fences of isolation, with my art, to inspire and motivate those who were weary.

With a convicted spirit, I took the harvest of my garden and shared it with others who were able to change the landscape, pave roads that were once unsafe, to find those lost on their journey and to relieve them of their heavy loads.

I have a new bicycle now. It sits in a sturdy bike rack called trust and I take side trips to build my character. It’s a bicycle built for two because my Map Reader needs a comfortable place to sit. My journey is over and I am now on a mission. I have finally found a new Place — in my heart — called Joy and Contentment. I have arrived.


A Word on Absence

Life has been a bit of a circus as of late. After my computer’s main board crashed a month ago; I will hopefully have it returned this week and not have to try and keep up with emails via our PS3 in the living room. It is hardly conducive to typing or writing though.

More towards the circus… Bonnie has been in the hospital the past week after a kidney stone blocked her kidney from functioning which resulted in an infection in her blood stream. She spent quit a few days on some heavy duty medications followed by minor surgery on Tuesday to remove the stone. She is still very weak and having difficulty standing in order to get into her wheelchair however; it was great to get her home yesterday for our 10th Anniversary. She is a great inspiration to me and a driving force in our faith. I can see the many miracles Jesus is already doing and the daily strides she is taking on the road to recovery!

I have been reading through Ecclesiastes these past few weeks and I am looking forward to exploring through it deeper in the near future. But, first I need to get a real computer. Is it true what they say about the Mac? Any suggestions?


Lynda Belisle Passing

It is with a heavy heart that I pass along the news which I received this morning from the family of our friend Lynda Belisle. We have known Lynda now for about a year after meeting her one Sunday morning in worship. She was a person of great character and we loved her smiles and laughter. It is without a doubt that richness of spirit which touched all of us as she grew to be a part of our community here at Re:Genesis. Lynda accepted Christ as her Lord and Savior several months ago and it is in this deep faith that we know she is in God’s Kingdom with renewed passion in life and undoubtedly reunited with her husband at her side.

Please keep Lynda and her family in your thoughts, words, and prayers over the coming week as together we mourn and look forward to the time we see each other again.

“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.”

2 Corinthians 5:1

 

After a long couple years and several ups and downs Lynda’s poor health became more than what her body could handle. For thoes who were close to her, it was obvious that she was not quite herself for the past 6 months or so. The last couple weeks in particular were quite trying and Lynda ended up in the hospital with severe dehydraion and was experiencing some delusions as a result of a bladder infection. Her appetite had not been well and she was not eating and drinking properly.

We were able to spend some time with mom last night prior to her pasing and at that time she continued to display the same symptoms as she has the past couple weeks. She played littlest pet shops with kendra at the end of her bed and I gave her a wonderful back rub. We left mom at approx 8:45 pm so she could rest and we received a call at 11:00 pm from the hospital saying that she had taken a turn for the worse. When Dan and Rob arrived at the hospital she had been recessitated and was on life support. It was decided that it would be best to take her off life support and mom passed at approx 3:30 am on April 03, 2009. Her passing was a result of a massive heart attack.

Dan, Stephanie and Kendra


Exhaustion and Need for Prayer

As many of you know Bonnie and I have the dream of one day planting Expressions as a church plant here in the Calgary area. As such, much of our activities, energy, finances, and home space are vital to the model which we see Expressions functioning under. However, we both have faced a number of great challenges over the past few months which have made these things extremely challenging; leaving us exhausted a drained physically, mentally, and spiritually. It is for this reason I would like to reach out to you for prayer in the following ways:

Our van lift has broken down to the point that it needs replacing. This is deeply affecting our ability to transport both for health needs but also the many trips we make in coordinating gatherings, connecting with leadership, food providers, and pastoral visits/services. We have a make shift fix which can finally get us back on the road after using Calgary Handi-bus for the last month as of today (thank you Jesus). However, in order to replace the lift we are applying for funding through DRES as we are unable to do so ourselves.

  • Please pray for safety for Bonnie and I as we use the make shift lift!!
  • Also please pray for DRES to recognize our van requirements as being “work related” even though I’m not officially on staff in a church and in so doing granting us funds for the replacement of the lift.

We both have been experiencing a number of health issues. I have had a “lump” on the right side of my chest for a couple months which has been giving me grief with sweats, pain, discomfort, and tingly sensations on my right side. You might say my “thorn in the flesh”. We are not sure if I broke something or what it is however the doctors are in pursuit! Bonnie has been getting severe pain and weakness in her right arm which she broke back in 2000. She has been unable to use it as well as she did before as well as the back pain she deals with due to Osteoporosis. She has been dealing with a sore which is not healing and the doctors are doing a biopsy later in April too. Transportation in those pursuits is and issue again.

  • Please pray for health and healing for us both, wisdom for the doctors, and wisdom for us to take the right course of action.

Last night after arriving home from work (at Home Depot) Bonnie and I discovered that our washing machine had broken down leaking water all over the upstairs laundry room, draining down the vent and flooding our dinning room ceiling, table, and floor. We have phoned our home insurance and they came over right away to assess the damages and we are relieved that they will be helping us through this process. As you know, we are deeply reliant on our passion for hospitality and this hits us hard in our ability to have an open home.

  • Please pray that Bonnie and I do not need to leave our home in order for the contractors to do the repairs. This was brought up last night and is a great fear we have due to our physical needs in accessibility.
  • Please pray that the repair work goes quickly and that the damages are not too extensive. Also, that it does not affect the events we hoped to host over the next month. We had planned for a couple movie nights, Re:Genesis, and the possibility of Forge Canada’s Pilot Groups to be hosted here. We are greatly excited by what we are planning for Expressions in the next year as well as the possibilities of working with Forge Canada.
  • Please pray for Bonnie’s and my peace of mind. The amount of change in the last few months has hit us very hard both in security and accumulative breakdowns/damages whether it has been the markets, our elevator, van, lifts, house, and health.

Lastly I’d like to ask if you would please pray for the community of Expressions. Many of you have participated with the many activities we have been involved with in this community whether it was a movie night, Sunday Night Expressions gathering, Grey Cup’ of Coffee, Re:Genesis, Mustard Seed Visits, or something else. We have not articulated its definition too greatly as we believe it to be more about just doing life together in the hope you and others might find Jesus in Life and Community. You are all a great blessing to us and an inspiration to our faith, hopes, and dreams. If you would like to know more about Expressions please invite us to meet with you over coffee or check out our website at www.expressionscommunity.org. Please pray for:

  • Leadership and people who would like to come along side with us in Expressions Journey.
  • Clear communication and vision partnership with our home church McKenzie Towne Church and others who would like to come along on the journey.
  • Continuing leadership development, Networking, and partnership with Forge Canada’s Missional Training Network through their Pilot programs. (www.forgecanada.ca/).

I thank you all for being willing to pray with us and for us along these lines. You are all good friends and we cannot show enough appreciation for the ways in which you are a part of who we are. Thank You!

“There is no such thing as a ‘self-made’ man. We are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.”

George Adams

“Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’”

Isaiah 58:7


Bad Journalism in CBC’s Fifth Estate with Regards to AARC

aarclogoMy friends Steve and Dawn have recently been affected by some of the bad journalism presented by CBC’s The Fifth Estate. It has no doubt affected them both personally and in their community supports. In those regards here is their response which I would like to share.

Dear friends,

As you are undoubtedly aware, the CBC’s Fifth Estate recently presented a very disturbing report about the Alberta Adolescent Recovery Center (AARC), entitled “Powerlessness”. I have taken great exception to what I firmly believe to be inaccurate comments and unethical journalism. Without AARC, I do not know where my family would be today.

As such I have written a letter to the CBC, a copy of which is on my face book account, if you care to read it. In addition, I have done some searching and have found the following video and news clips that I feel will shed some true light on what many trusting CBC viewers might be feeling about AARC at this time.

Included in these is a news report on Jordon Remple who was the only”grateful” AARC graduate shown on the Fifth Estate together with his parents. Unfortunately, the Remple’s were not given much air-time despite what I understand to have been quite a lengthly interview.

Many of you spent an hour watching the Fifth Estate, please do our family and many of the other 403 families who have passed through the doors of AARC a service by spending about 13 minutes watching these.

With sincere thanks,
Dawn Driediger


Re:Genesis – Finding New Life in the Midst of the Greatest Challenges

regenesis-designDo you face physical challenges in your life? Emotional or psychological challenges? Or are you connected to anyone who does?

It is said that, “Adversity is the foundation of virtue” and together that virtue can lead us to new life and a community of friends which can support and lift us up. We will find friendship, inspiration, acceptance, spirituality, purpose, and transformation as we hear encouraging words and engage with one another.

Join us in gathering once a month for an Engaging Speaker, Dinner, and time to find fellowship with one another. Together we can Find New Life in the Midst of the Greatest Challenges.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 293 other followers