Blog (Page 9)

Blog (Page 9)

Marketing

One of the ministries that have been working with over the past few months is best described as our marketing team. Generally, when the term “marketing” is mentioned within a church setting, many folk automatically shudder and wince. And I understand why the reaction is as it is. We naturally dislike the idea of advertising the church or faith or Jesus as some sort of…

Humbled

I led the youth group this evening. Or more factually, a mom from the congregation and I together led the youth group. Or perhaps more truthfully, I ought to say, the youth group led me. By that I don’t mean that they dictated the evening or ran me ragged (well, maybe a bit ragged!). What I do mean is that they led to a fresh appreciation of what a challenging job youth…

The Gremlins Were Busy

The gremlins got busy with my last post, with the result that the text was mangled with, among other typographical nuisances, repeated and misplaced paragraphs. The posting on the website eventually got corrected, but it didn’t help anyone who received the posting as a direct forward via email. To those who were left mystified by the mistakes, my apologies! I remember…

You Do a Good Funeral…

After both of the two funeral services which I’ve conducted this past week, I’ve had people speak to me with surprisingly earnestness, thanking me for my words or prayers or for the service as a whole. As a pastor, I have gotten quite accustomed to having people nod at the door, shake my hand and mumble some polite acknowledgment of my leadership. Such response, no doubt,…

Back to the Blog

For anyone who was reading my blog, you may have noticed there has been an absence of new submissions. Partly that was due to my being away in South Africa visiting our daughter and her family, and I decided that I would give myself permission to stop writing during my time away. I have, however, been back for several weeks, and getting back to the routine and habit of…

Faith Not a Personal Affair

One of the ironies of our Christian faith is that we are constantly met with apparently contrasting assertions in which the “true truth” lies in the tension. In our evangelical tradition, for instance, we put great emphasis on the fact that faith must be personal; that is, believers are called to discover and nourish a living, personal relationship with the Lord Jesus…

And Tissues in Every Pew

We were getting ready for a funeral service. Eleanor, as she often does, went through the sanctuary, making certain that everything was neat and tidy. In particular, she wanted to be sure that there were boxes of tissue in the pews where the mourners would be sitting. She came into my office, laughing. “I don’t know what kind of church this is, but I found a box of tissue…

Privacy Screens

I’ve been working in my back yard building a lattice privacy screen for a new patio area. The overall plan is somewhat ambitious. We are moving our current patio area into what is now garden area, while moving the garden to what is now all paving blocks. As part of the process, I’ve built a raised  planter with a pergola and lattice wall, which eventually be covered with…

With Heads Held High

There is a lovely phrase in the 26th chapter of the Book of Leviticus (an Old Testament book that is too often skipped over). The focus of that chapter is God’s reminder to Israel that in obedience to his word, there was great blessing to be received. If they were to refrain from idol worship but were to hold the Sabbath in reverence, they would discover the Lord raining…

Dying to Live

“And I believe in Jesus Christ, who was… crucified, dead and buried. He descended into hell. The third day, he rose again from the dead!” Those ancient words of the Apostle’s Creed speak of two central convictions of faith for the church. They also raise one poser of a challenge. The first conviction is the absolute uniqueness and centrality of Jesus as the Son of God who…

God Showed Up

The statistics tell a story all by themselves. During the ten days of Proclamation, over 400 people joined together to read the whole of the Bible aloud, from the book of Genesis through to the end of the Book of Revelation. Countless more came simply to listen to the richness and beauty of God’s Word, read from almost twenty different English translations, as well as in…

Please Sir, I Want Some More

The little orphan boy, in Charles Dicken’s classic, Oliver Twist, dared to pose the outrageous request for a second helping before the orphanage manager, Mr. Bumble: “Please sir, I want some more.” I couldn’t help but remember that line as over these past several days I have had the pleasure of simply sitting and listening to hour after hour of readings from the…

Manna

One of the great moments in the story of the exodus of God’s people has to be the provision of manna from heaven. In that epic narrative of how God delivered Israel from their years of slavery in Egypt, I love the description (Exodus 16) of how the Lord fed his hungry people in the wilderness with the gift of manna each morning. The Hebrew word, manna, literally means…

Sufficient

I am excited. Tomorrow morning (Wednesday) at 7 am, we begin reading the Bible out loud, and will continue to do so for fourteen hours a day over a ten day period. Our congregation is co-hosting along with two other churches in the Valley, while many congregations and Christian groups are participating in the readings from the Word. With the Proclamation event culminating…

A Pound of Flesh

“It’s not that I can’t forgive,” he said to me. “It’s that I don’t want to forgive. That blinkety-blank so-and-so (actually, the phrasing was both more crude and more angry) doesn’t deserve my forgiveness. At least, not until I get my pound of flesh.” The term, “pound of flesh” derives from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, 1596. The insistence by Shylock of the payment…

The Tapestry

Tapestries, I’ve been thinking, can point us to some significant aspects about setting vision for a church. Perhaps we need to ensure that in every visioning process within a congregation, we have a weaver working alongside us creating a tapestry on a loom as we try to articulate a vision on paper. First, a tapestry is made up of hundreds and sometimes thousands of…

The Wagon Train

When I was growing up, one of my favourite “westerns” on television was the show Wagon Train. Perhaps part of the allure was the fact that the old wagon master was played by actor John McIntyre!  How could a show with a McIntyre in it not be great? It was a typical western of the 1960s, filled with stereotypes and predictable scripts. The good guys wore white hats and the…

Oh, Take a Pill!

It is a common expression, usually uttered with more than a little exasperation. Someone has been an irritant in our lives with what we deem ongoing and unreasonable demands, and we wish they would just take a pill. Somebody is fretting and fussing over things they cannot change or wishing people around them would change according to their demands and we sigh and suggest…

Do No Harm

Though it is often associated as being part of the Hippocratic Oath taken by physicians, the origin of the phrase, “First, do no harm,” is somewhat uncertain. It’s like the famous phrase, “Play it again, Sam,” which is assumed to be a quotation from the great movie Casablanca or the equally repeated phrase, “Beam me up, Scottie,” from Star Trek. In fact neither of those…

You Can’t

“How do I deal with this sin in my life?” he asked. The young man truly was broken. The weight of shame that haunted him because of his actions had truly broken his heart. He was dejected, humiliated, and more than self-despairing. He wanted change but had no idea how to master his difficulty, and was in fact, just beginning to come to grips with the truth that his…

Why Truth Is Not Enough

I was reading a review of a new book with the intriguing title Beauty will save the world. The author, Brian Zahnd, makes the suggestion that in discussions about Christian faith and practice, too much attention has been given to the question, “Is it true?” but not sufficient focus has been given to the question, “Is it beautiful?” Zahnd suggests that ancient Greek…