Friday, June 25, 2010

Caught In An Old System

Today Lorie and I went to see a movie, I won't give away what it is or what happened, but it was funny. Too often now I seem to see religious over-tones or something that fits in what I've been thinking a lot about lately.

But in this movie, it was weird. We've been looking at church a lot lately and in this movie there were two groups of people, one that wanted things to be the way they were and another that wanted to totally abandon the old for a radically new way of life.

I wonder how often we do this at church. One group wants things to be the way they were, recreate our "God moments" from a different era, but we can't see that things are changing. The other group, get rid of the old way completely and keep nothing.

Why can't we find a happy medium...? Or is there one...?


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Change Agents

The last few days I have been reading some stories in the Bible that all share something in common. God needing to shake people up for change.

On Sunday we talked about David's Last Stand (II Samuel 24) and how God gave David what seemed like horrible choices for punishment. But really, they were not meant as punishment. David needed to offer a sacrifice, he needed to change what he was doing and it took an angel of death to convince him to change.

Another story, Stephen in Acts 7 (and into Acts 8). Jesus told the disciples to take His message, the Gospel, to the ends of the earth. And they were still in Jerusalem. They hadn't talked to anyone outside the city about Jesus. It took Stephen's death by stoning to scare the disciples into leaving and getting the Gospel out to where it should be.

Very few people like change. Even less like change that is dictated by someone else. And I think God knows that, but He also knows it's necessary, so many times He allows or even causes things that make change inevitable. Unfortunately, many times those hurt. But they are needed.

The next time you need to change, do it before an agent to cause changed comes in. And if a change agent comes, recognize it and move forward :)


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Following The Law A Little Too Close

I was reading about a bar in my old stomping grounds of Edmonton this morning. Only this bar is a little different. It's for former alcoholics. To help them stay off the bottle, this "bar" is a place to give the same sense of fun and friendship that many people find at a bar, only it is 100% alcohol free.

Now, this sounds great, but they had one problem. People who go to bars generally smoke. So this bar allowed smoking. That is until the government found out. Edmonton is a smoke free city, the only place you are allowed to smoke is bars, bars being classified as places with a liquor lisence.

So this alcohol free bar was not allowed to have smoking. They thought it was needed though to help people trying to quit drinking so they asked how they could get a smoking allowance. For this, the law had to be followed strictly, they could only allow people to smoke if they had a liquor lisence. So yes, the alcohol free bar for former alcoholics in Edmonton now has a liquor lisence...

Do you think we're following/enforcing the letter of the law just a little too harsh on this one? But then again, do we do that in churches too, especially to those who are new and still trying to change for the better...?


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It'll Never Happen To Me

Sorry I wasn't on yesterday, Lorie and I were sick. I didn't have the energy to climb stairs, it stunk.

Yet, last night at 4 in the morning (yes 4), our house alarm went off. Apparently our house thought lightning was too close and decided to Wake us up with an ear piercing scream.

So of course I went out in the pouring rain at 4 in the morning, still kind of sick, and made sure our house wasn't on fire. It wasn't. But the tree three houses away, it was struck by lightning.

And that may seem far away, except when the alarm went off last time (see previous blogs), it was our neighbor's tree that was hit by lightning (branch broken, black bark, all the fun stuff).

Too often when it comes to things like lightning, we think it will never happen to us. But just when we start to think and act that way, it comes pretty darn close...


Friday, June 18, 2010

Success Isn't Sprouts

Something interesting I read today. It was from a youth leader talking about sharing Jesus and spiritual growth, they said that planting seeds is a success, even if they don't sprout.

I like that. Too often we focus on seeing fruit right away. The problem is whenever you plant anything in life, it takes a while to grow and show leaves. No seed grows into a tree overnight. All we can do is plant seeds, that's our success.

So don't be worried if you don't see plants all over, keep planting seeds. It takes a while for the garden to grow...


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Real Alarms

Yesterday I mentioned the alarms going off at church on Monday. Well, I noticed something when that happened...

We have many groups who meet at the church during the evening, that night a counselling session, a business meeting and two basketball games. Then the alarm went off. And nobody left.

It's funny how as children we are taught what to do when an alarm happens. Then as we grow older, we are so used to false alarms that we don't do anything unless we see smoke or we have someone tell us it's for sure real. At the church Monday, no one even checked, they just kept going as usual. One group even told Lorie when she told them we couldn't confirm it's a false alarm and they need to leave, "Well, we're almost done so we'll just finish up."

Have we become so accustomed to false alarms that we are not ready for real alarms? Do we have so little knowledge of how to find out if an alarm is real we just decide "meh" and don't look? Do we do that in life with real alarms, instead of checking, assume it's false until we see smoke or something is already burnt?

Just more questions...


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

False Alarms

So part of the reason there was no blog Monday was the craziness of the day. Yes, we had VBS, but there was a little more...

That afternoon Lorie and I were trying to rest from the Sud nay set-up and morning fun (I was out cold). Then a storm swept in. Then the rain fell hard. And then, oh and then, we had lightning strike really close to the house, so close it set off our fire alarm.

Now, we had never heard out fire alarm, just the smoke detectors. Lorie and I have now learned there is a difference between the two. And it took many calls to ADT to figure out how to fix this ear-piercing crazy alarm (Clover was scared).

That night we came to church to fix a few decorations we noticed fell during VBS. Again it started to storm. And rain. And lightning. And fire alarm. So for the second time we had to sweep a building (this one much bigger) and find the cause of the squealing.

In talking with some people involved in all this, I learned that storms set off a lot of alarms. Be it the thunder shaking or whatever, false alarms often come up during storms. It made me wonder if we do that. Do we see storms coming in our lives and instead of preparing or acting as we should, we send up false alarms and end up causing way more stress and drama than necessary?

Just a thought.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Vacation Bible School

My apologies for no blog yesterday, we are having fun this week blasting off into space with Vacation Bible School.

To see pictures of what we are doing, visit


Friday, June 11, 2010

Where Did The Time Go?

Yesterday I was reading about the oldest boat we know of, it's from 7400 B.C.

And it got me thinking, how come we have stuff that's not that old (like 10,000 years or less), stuff that's really old (50 million years old), but there are so few things from in between?

Think about it, when was the last time you heard of something being discovered that was about 200,000 years old? A million years old? It's always relatively new or ancient. I wonder why that is...


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Too Much Grace

Sorry I didn't blog yesterday. We were at church late last night talking. Which is the reason for today's blog.

Last night at Downpour (Bible Study) we were talking about grace and justice. Somehow we got to talking about Jesus' last night before His death and how we would not understand it the way the people at the time did.

Then we started talking about grace. How we are forgiven no matter what. And the question came up "do we take advantage of that?" After all, in the old Jewish system, people were probably a lot more likely to try and not sin, since it cost them something every time (a sacrifice). Since grace really doesn't cost us anything, do we live up to where we should or to what we will get away with?

Think about that the next time you're driving... :)


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Which Is More Important

Liz quotes me all the time, this time I'm going to quote her.

This morning in staff meeting we were talking about how people handle change (apparently putting an extra coffee station in the Narthex caused heads to explode...). Then Liz said this:

"When is going for your future more important than holding onto your past?"

It's a good question. We like to focus on what we have and not changing it, but in reality, the only way to have a future is to in some way let go of the past. Just something to think about.


Monday, June 07, 2010

CSI Effect

A while ago, there was a problem known as the Perry Mason effect. It came from people watching the law show Perry Mason and it's very predictable ending. Every show would end the same way, some last minute piece of proof or some dramatic speech by Perry Mason would cause the defendant to break down on the stand and confess. Pure Hollywood drama.

Until people who watch the show started to act this way in court. They wanted that last minute drama, they wanted the confession and when it didn't happen, they would not find the defendant guilty. They felt from their TV show they needed that "ah ha" moment.

Today's culture knows little about Perry Mason, but they know CSI, one of the most popular shows ever on television. And like Perry Mason, they have changed the court system. In the interest of drama there is always some undeniable piece of proof that appears thanks to the CSI team that causes a conviction.

And now that is expected in court. The jury, these savvy CSI fans, want that hardened piece of proof found by the CSI team. Fourteen witnesses saw the crime, who cares? Where's the DNA evidence to put them at the scene? It is becoming harder to convict a person by jury because the jury wants that 100% undeniable piece of "hard" evidence.

The question is, do we do this to God? Are we waiting for some emotional appeal that moves us to do good for Him? Do we need some piece of "hard" evidence before we believe, witnesses and circumstantial evidence are no longer good enough? Have we turned believing in God and following Him less about faith and more about a waiting game for something to convince us? Something to think about.


Friday, June 04, 2010

Can't Have It All

Today Lorie and I were watching "The People's Court" (I like court shows, I know...) and there was a woman on who was suing her ex-boyfriend for money during the relationship.

Here's why. He had a job, she didn't/ But she felt there was no reason she had to "go without" and still wanted fancy dinners. So they lived off his job, then her savings, then they were both homeless borrowing money from her mom, and she still thinks she deserves the nice things in life!

Sometimes, bad things just happen, but just because someone has a nice car doesn't mean you "deserve" one. I don't know why people feel so entitled to things, because they have life this good I "deserve" to have life this good.

It's funny, it seldom works the other way where people see someone below them financially and think "I don't deserve this good life, I should share with them"...


Thursday, June 03, 2010

Class Acts

The sports news last night and today were all about one thing. A blown call last night at the Tigers' game.

Now being an umpire and a player, I feel bad. Galarraga was about to throw a perfect game. It all hung on one call that we very wrong. And unfortunately that's what happens in life, mistakes are made and sometimes calls are wrong. But what I love is how they handled it.

Galarraga had every right to be mad. He was not only the pitcher losing the perfect game, he was the one making the play at first. But he didn't yell. He didn't get mad. He was in shock, but he smiled, went back to the mound and finished the game.

Jim Joyce, the umpire who missed the call was then yelled at twice (the Tigers coach came out after the play and after the game). He stood there and listened, he never responded in anger. He then went to the clubhouse, immediately asked to see the tape, and saw that he was wrong. Once he knew he was wrong, he didn't try to cover it up, he made a statement that he had made a mistake, he understood the gravity of it, and he was truly sorry he couldn't fix it. He also went to Galarraga personally and apologized.

And after all that, Galarraga and members of his team said it. Mistakes are made. It happens. It can't be taken back, let's play the next game.

Now that is class. I'm as competitive as the next guy, but sometimes mistakes just happen. Living life doesn't mean you live devoid of all blown calls, you can't. Living life is learning how to deal with the blown calls and live on. It's very rare lately that sports people live up to their position of role models, but here I think everyone did a great job!


Wednesday, June 02, 2010

First Impressions

I was reading today about the importance of first impressions, something I think we've all heard about to some point. But I was reading about it from a different point of view.

When we talk about first impressions, we usually think of two things, either what they think of me or what I think of them. But what about a third point of view, one that happens but we don't talk about, that of the third person involved?

Like at a restaurant, if your waiter or waitress is really mean to you or spit in your food, you don't just get a first impression of them, you get a first impression of all the things associated with them. Like in this case, the restaurant. You now have a bad impression of the restaurant, even though the restaurant never actually did anything to you.

For me, yesterday I had to phone HP, they made a mistake with the new church computers. Not a problem, that happens. But when I called and talked to one guy for 30 minutes and he still didn't get it, I was getting really upset with HP. But it wasn't HP, it was this guy. I called back and got someone amazing next, problem solved in 10 minutes (free shipping and everything). If I hadn't been thinking bigger than my phone call, I would have been mad at HP forever.

Remember, you don't just represent you, your first impression may tell someone about your family, your school, your work, your sports club, even your God. Just something to think about...


Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Close To The Kingdom Of God

This is something I've been thinking a lot about lately, how we don't like to give our lives to God, but we'll emphasize sacrifices. I will go to church and give a little money, but don't ask me to be be godly at work, that's a little much.

At one point Jesus was talking with a religious leader and talked about the greatest commandment (love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength). People like that, it sounds nice, but what does that mean? I like how the teacher responded:

Mark 12:33 ~ "One must love God with all his heart, all his mind, and all his strength. And one must love his neighbor as he loves himself. These commands are more important than all the animals and sacrifices we offer to God.” (NCV)

It's more important to live a life that is godly than to give God the "requirements" of Sunday morning. What if we all lived like that? After all, Jesus' answer to this statement: “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” (Mark 12:34). That's how you get to heaven, or better yet, bring heaven to people here on earth.