Throwback Thursday #tbt

So I decided as a special treat, and in honour of #tbt, I would repost the first blogpost I ever published on a Thursday. Turns out it was a great memory, and a good reminder for life and ministry. I really looked up to my uncle, so his funeral stood as a mile marker on my personal road.

Enjoy!

I’ve had the privilege of witnessing more than a few funerals in my time. There is something special about grieving with those who grieve, honouring the life that was and considering the hope of what is to come. We do definitely remember the best in a person as we lay them to rest. A week ago Sunday I was blessed. As we cherished the memory of my uncle, packed into the church to pay our respects, there was an overwhelming sense that everyone there had been impacted deeply by his life and ministry. There were no patronizing cliches. No empty words. No forced sentiment. Just testimony upon testimony of a man bent by God, and by being faithful to Him, inspired, encouraged and influenced everyone he met. I was inspired. There was joy in remembering. There was encouragement in the many stories of a life lived faithfully. There was a challenge to live by God’s calling.

Lord, thank you for funerals that remind us to live the life you have called us to live.

Creative Bible Time…

How do you connect with scripture?
Do you discover creative ways to engage your faith with the Bible?
I gave this page of symbols to a group of students to share my personal list of connecting points when I read scripture.
What do you use?

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Making the News

What does it take to make social media abuzz? Not bombing along the Gaza strip.

All my social media apps were resounding with World Cup glee while this was going on. I like to think I have a fairly diverse group of friends and followers, yet only 1 tweet alerted me to what was going on.
1 tweet.
I was a little shocked. First that no one was talking about it. But second that I did not stumble upon this news sooner. I cannot blame social media for making me dependent upon it for my awareness in the world. That is my job.

Germany beat Brazil yesterday in the World Cup. Did we miss anything else in the meantime?

Making Big Kids

So do you have some definitive lines set in your mind when it comes to development?
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I think everyone does. And for the vast majority of people, parents especially, we get to develop along with our kids. Circumstances, relationship, personal maturity, better understanding…all those things seem to take their toll on our ultimatums and lines-in-the-sand. For some the process is harder than for others, but we all adapt according to the time and people we have been given. But growth happens.

Have you ever encountered people unwilling to grow through the changes?

It is difficult to watch and some of the conversations are like a recurring nightmare. When we refuse to grow with others, adapting to what God needs of us in order for the other to grow, we actually hurt ourselves. The other hurts too, but if you are stuck in a rut you will rarely see it. Developmentally, the other person will make a lot of moves in life based on these ultimatums and lines drawn. It is a prison. They themselves cannot see how reactionary their life will continue to be, so long as they hold onto these things.

But they can grow past it. That’s the beautiful part. When people realize they are not involved in a ‘one size fits all’ method of growing up.

Happy Canada Day

“He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.” (Psalm 72:8)

It is interesting to think of a nation being founded for an earthly king as part of God’s kingdom. But that is how the idea of Canada came to be. Not a heroic battle with a parent nation for the sake of freedom. Not a revolt. Not a prison island turned free. We simply became a relevant part of the Commonwealth built on the idea that God wanted the king to have more territory. His dominion.

That is intriguing. To conquest and achieve, which I would consider a human endeavor, but to put God’s name on it. It happens all over the world and all throughout history, with both good and bad results. But it does seem to cheapen His name, thinking all my efforts are His, and not simply my human desire to own and conquer.

But if it isn’t His, and it is not for Him, then who am I doing it for? And to whom do I dedicate what has been achieved? Seems to be a bit of a dichotomy of faith, where the temporal and eternal meet.

I love being Canadian. I love the fact that God loves Canada more than I could ever hope to. I love the idea that Canada could truly understand this love, and become His dominion far beyond the scope of a beautiful land mass we all enjoy.

Graduation Day

“Go, but go with God”

That is the quote I gave to my daughter this week as a blessing on her high school graduation. It is a reversal on a song title from an old band (77s), which I reversed on purpose. “Go with God, but go” just does not carry the same meaning for me, nor for the situation.

Go do something awesome…but go with God.

I have been to more grads than I can count over the years. All filled with joy and anticipation for the future. This is truly one of the few honoured rights of passage left in our society, so it goes without saying that it is a big deal for all involved. As part of this rite I have often prayed the sentiment above in varying forms, but rarely spoken them.

But this grad was special. It was the first for our household, and yes, it was my baby girl. Yes, I am having a dad moment as I write this. I’m allowed to. So those words were for her.

In a world that still struggles to protect our girls, that teaches objectification over personhood, that sells the body at the price of the soul, and creates insecurity where the warmth of the knowledge of being a child of God should be…

Well, it’s good to know you can go do something awesome in a world that needs it. But be sure to go with God, not alone. As the plaque in the picture attests, God desires for you to see Him through every circumstance you will encounter.

So go with Him.
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Terms & Conditions

I think therefore I am.
I do therefore I am.
I feel therefore I am.
I have read the terms and conditions.

That last line came from the backseat of our van just the other day, as my wife and I were discussing the statements that summed up different generations. My 14-year old son surmised this to be the line for his generation. We all laughed as it seemed pretty much off the cuff, but also because it was pretty much dead on. And it came from a member of the generation, which I always find to be pretty insightful.

The statement immediately brought to mind every advertisement, every video game, every cereal box, every power tool, every EULA, etc. that has some kind of disclaimer attached. Everything this generation has their hands on has some kind of disclaimer attached. A spot where one must acknowledge that they are fully aware of the decision they are about to make, as well as all the rights and responsibilities afforded to the power of this decision. There is right way/place/time for the use of said item, and there is a sequence of events to follow once you decide to proceed.

There has always been set of rights and responsibilities attached to our decisions. Nothing new to the assumption. But the expressed statements on everything and the assumption that I will have to go through this gatekeeper on all matters, that is new. Somehow, this practice makes everyone more aware and more knowledgeable of their forthcoming decisions. Really? The past would say that people were able to make decisions and learn from them without a virtual guardian in place.

The desired value in place on this gradual move, the meaning attached to the action over the years, is that of complete safety. We can keep our kids safe by putting disclaimers, warnings, and checkboxes on everything. We can keep companies safe by giving them the opportunity to remove responsibility for what they offer. We can offer creative powers safety in knowing that they own everything they produce, regardless of the chosen platform. If no one is thinking, they will feel safe in this setting.

The old adage of ‘Common sense is not that common’ applies here. Safety is a very difficult promise to hold in any setting. It assumes that you can keep the outside out, and the inside from desiring contact with the outside. I’m not sure I know of many circumstances where that is a reality. Now security, that is something different. It assumes that interaction will take place, and I may have to learn to deal with the outcomes. It does not allow for implicit trust of everything around me, but it also does not assume trust is absent. Instilling a pure sense of security in a person does not assume that everything is safe.

Security learned leads to discernment practiced, even amidst a world trying to feel safe.