Sunday, December 18, 2011


Two and a half years ago I could have been eaten by a bear. Here's the story.

For the last six years, excluding 2011, I worked in Northern Canada as, what some might describe, a bush pilot. It was definitely an interesting time, and I have had experiences and seen things most people on this planet can only imagine.  I've seen northern lights so big and bright they fill the sky and light up the night.  I've seen the world's most northern active sand dunes.  I've seen clouds of black flies that block out the sun. I've seen lake trout and walleye bigger than a kindergardener. I've seen marmots, beavers, caribou, foxes, wolves, ptarmigans, greyling, and bears. I've discovered waterfalls and named previously unknown islands.

One spring day I had a charter to Charlotte River. Charlotte River is located just west of Uranium City on the northern shores of Lake Athabasca. It is a private runway used by a power generation company to have access to three hydro-electric dams they operate which power most of northern Saskatchewan. My co-pilot and I were to hold there for an hour while our passengers performed some maintenance and we would be on our way.

The terrain in this area is quite varied and presents a lot of opportunities for exploring and picture taking. On the south side of the lake are the Athabasca Sand Dunes. They are Canada's largest desert. To the north is the Canadian Shield, covered with waterfalls, rivers, lakes, cliffs and forests. This particular runway ran parallel to a river emptying into Lake Athabasca, in a valley nestled between some very steep hills. Next to the runway was a thick row of trees, and next to the trees was a single dirt road which ran upstream to the dams.  

Seeing as we had an hour to kill, my co-pilot and I decided to wander up the road and see what we could see. When our passengers where ready to leave they would have to drive back down that lone road and we could catch a ride with them back to the plane. As we started to walk around the bend in the road, hidden by the trees, my co-pilot remembered he had his camera on him and had never taken any pictures of the lake. Instead of walking down the road he wanted to go back to the shore and take some pictures. We turned around and went in the other direction. I took a picture of him in front of our plane with the bay in the background. Then we went down to the shore and poked around for a bit. A short time later our passengers returned. They asked us if we saw the bears on the road. We were a bit surprised at their question. Apparently just around the bend, behind the row of trees, was a mother bear and her two cubs. Now, I'm no Dwight Schrute, but I know enough to avoid a mother bear when she has cubs in tow. These bears were hanging around, just on the other side of the trees from us all morning, and we were blissfully unaware. As we taxied down the gravel runway, sure enough, the bears emerged from the trees and watched us from the edge of the tree line as we flew away.

If it hadn't been for my co-pilot's camera and his desire to take some pictures of the lake there's a very good chance we would have run into the bears on the road, and who knows what may have happened then. Here's the picture that just may have saved my life.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


I have a  lot of thoughts on Christmas.

This is just one of them.

I have decided to do something for Christmas that is a little unusual.

I am not buying any presents for anyone.

Yep, I just said that. It makes everything so much easier.  There's no stress involved with shopping in the madness, or driving in the madness, or trying to find parking in the madness, or making sure I haven't forgotten anyone. I will have no crazy bills in the new year as a result of a buying binge.

I didn't think my decision would be so shocking, but as I shared my decision with different people, I realized that it is difficult for some to comprehend a presentless Christmas. Their reactions have intrigued me.

Some thought I meant I just wasn't buying presents for co-workers or people outside my family.
Some thought I would be donating to charities in the names of those I would buy normally have bought presents for.
Some thought I am just a grinch.

Here's my reasoning...

Of the people in my life that tradition would dictate I should buy for, no one needs anything.  Most of the presents given at Christmas time are not really needed.  They end up at next year's garage sale, or in storage somewhere.

Of the actual useful items that could be given, the recipient probably doesn't actually want it, or they would have bought it for themselves already.

The idea of giving to charity in lieu of presents is probably closer to the true meaning of Christmas. I do give to charities as much as I can, both time and money, but not because it's Christmas.  For me, giving happens all year round.

Of all my memories of Christmas presents growing up, only one still stands out to me. (My nintendo when I was 9.)  Most I can't even remember. And of the ones I do remember, most were not really needed or wanted, and ceased to be used shortly after Christmas. I don't want to contribute to the commercialization and materialism that Christmas is known for. The things I do remember are the people, not the things.

So here's to you, readers, hoping you have memorable people hanging around you this season.

Merry Christmas.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Hello Blog

It's been a while.  I've missed you.  I've been so busy I've neglected you and I'm sorry.  I'll be back, soon.

Here's what I'm working on:

Thoughts on Prayer
What does God want from me?
The time I was almost eaten by a bear
The one thing I'm most uncomfortable talking about

I hope that keeps you interested.

See you shortly.  I just need to get a few things done before I run out of time.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Through a series of scheduling anomalies, days off, days on call and a company Christmas party I have just had 6 days of nothing to do.  No work.  No work related items.  No side business duties.  Anything I did, I did because I was free to do it, not because I had to do it.

I never realized how much I needed to rest until my days off began.  I slept for 12 hours.  I never, ever, ever sleep that long.  And it was good.  I didn't realize how exhausted I was until I was able to relieve myself of all the expectations placed on me by my responsibilities in life.  Before my time off I don't think I would have said I was tired or needed a break, but that's because I couldn't see outside my circumstances.  I didn't know that there was something I was missing because I didn't know what I didn't know.

Jesus said, "Come to Me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

I don't believe He was speaking of a physical burden so much as a spiritual burden.  We all carry this burden with us, whether we know it or not. Some people have experienced this rest.  Other's have no idea they are carrying a burden.  They can't comprehend this abundant life Jesus brings because they haven't experienced it yet.  It's like a catch 22.  You won't know what it's like until you know what it's like.

This physical rest reminded me of the spiritual rest Jesus brings and I just thought I would sit back and think about it for a while.  I'm thankful that I have received it and hopeful that others will too.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Christian Music

If you ever said to yourself, "The Dove Awards don't have enough hard rock, screaming, or Brian Head Welch from Korn," then this is for you.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

What Do I Want?

I tend to be very intentional with the things I say and do.  I won't ask how you're doing unless I sincerely want to know.  I don't buy the latest gadgets and doo-dads simply to keep up with the Jonses.  When I go to a store it is to buy something I need, not to "shop".  When I go to church, C&C, a concert, or to get groceries, I am very intentional about my reasons for going.

But life... life just seems to happen.   I can't say I've been as intentional with my life as much as I have with the things in my life.  I want to change that.  Rather than sit back and let life happen to me, I want to happen to life.

So what do I want?  That's what I asked myself.  That's the starting point.  If you don't have a goal, you'll never achieve it.  If you don't have a destination, you'll never arrive.  I've been somewhat directionless for most of my life so I took a little time to sit back and ask myself what do I really want out of life.  I made a list.  Here's what popped out of my discussion with myself.

-Family (wife and kids)
-House (with a yard for the kids and a garage for the car)
-Church (family of believers)
-No stress
-Roots in a community
-Free Time

Good.  That's a start.  The next question is, "How"?

And that's basically where I am at right now.

The decisions I make will be to intentionally lead me in this direction.  For instance, I am fortunate enough to work in an industry that allows me to work anywhere in the world.  Without exaggeration, I could be living in Toronto, Vancouver, New York or Los Angeles within a month.  Or, if I wanted more of a change, I could go to France, Hong Kong, Australia, Antarctic or the United Arab Emirates.  However, will this help me develop roots in a community, develop friends, have a family, be stress free?  Probably not.  It would be fun but I don't think it leads to my other goals in life. So, right now, I have no plans to live with the penguins.

But that's good.  At least I can cross off "living with Penguins" from the list.  I've already narrowed my focus.

Stay tuned.  I think some other changes are on the way.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Have you ever felt a little down in the dumps?

Right now there is a big thing, a medium thing, and a lot of little things that have me feeling down.

First, a guy I used to work with died in an accident.  I didn't know him too well, but I've known him for five years.  He's only a few years older than me.  It was a shock.  There are few people I know who I would describe as indestructible, but this guy seemed to be one of them.  I'm not in mourning because we were never really close but I am in shock.  Life seems so much more fragile now.  I have noticed I haven't been as up as I usually am.

I have a family member in an extremely stressful situation.  It's something that I can't really help resolve which frustrates me.  As a guy, I want to fix things, but all I can do right now is watch from a distance.  It is so frustrating watching my family member become so frustrated, heading for a self induced fall and not doing what it takes to make the situation better.

Work has become busier.  Longer shifts.  More awkward shifts.  Less time at home.  Less time for the little things in life I need to do.  I've missed church because of work.  I've missed youthgroup because of work.  I've missed C&C for 2 weeks because of work and now I'm going to miss tomorrow night as well.  I was supposed to help with worship.  I've been practicing all week and now I feel like something important to me is unavailable to me because of work.

My pastor just resigned.

My lawn was vandalized.

All these things seem to build on each other.  Taken bit by bit, I can deal with them.  But when they all happen at the same time I start to feel down.

Looking at what I've just written I think the common element in everything is the loss of control.  They are things that have happened beyond my control, that I want to change but can't.  And this has left me feeling kind of down.

Right now I'm sitting here wondering what to do.  Maybe nothing.  Maybe pray, I suppose.

Lord, please help.  Amen.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


There has been a common thread weaving its way through many of my posts over the last 8 months or so.  Busy.  I see myself mentioning that word time and time again.  Even when I don't say that word it is definitely implied by the schedules I lay out or the infrequency of my posts.

So, I'm going to do something about it.

Entry to be continued...  (cuz I'm too busy to actually finish this up right now.)

...I'm back

In my old life I never had any extra-curriculars outside work and sometimes church (when I wasn't working).  In my new life there is work, church, C&C, worship practice for church and C&C, youth group, Sunday school and small group.  I also tend to be the grocery and gas guy as well as taking care of all the little day to day things around the house like minor repairs and bills and whatnot.  And after all that is done, I have my little side business that soaks up free time like a sponge.

The easy thing to do would be to simply cut things out of my schedule.  However I like the things I do.  To cut them out would solve my time issue but create new issues.  I suppose I can delegate a few things.  Unfortunately the person I would delegate some things to is busier than I am at the moment.  Those things will have to wait a month or so.  Next, I can pay someone to do the minor things around the house and work that I don't actually have to do.  In the battle of Time verses Money I am at a point in my life where I realize that time is more valuable.  Ok.  So far, so good.  I have been working on my efficiency in the things I need to do.  I co-ordinate my outings to get 3 or 4 things done at a time instead of staggering them throughout the day or week and losing a bunch of time for travel alone.

And I know I have time wasters in my life that I can cut back on.  The big one for me is news aggregates online.  I'm a bit of a news and political junkie and I can lose myself online for hours catching up on what is happening in the world.  So, I will limit my time online.  That will be a huge time saver (I say to myself as I blog online).  Video games used to be a huge time investment for me as well but I sold everything I had before Christmas.  That has definitely made a difference.

This is good.  I think this will help.
Any other suggestions?

Thursday, October 13, 2011


-Work has doubled night shifts on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Those are the 2 nights I want off the most.  Through trades it is possible to get earlier shifts but it will create a lot of favours I will owe people in the future.  It may come to the point where I will have to choose between Tuesdays and Thursdays.  :(

-I'm not the kind of person that finds himself missing people.  However, I'm finding myself missing people.  Is this a good thing?  I don't know what to do about it.

-I don't journal and haven't blogged as often as I used to, or want to.  Work and life are incredibly busy.  I am going to focus my time on efficiency in hopes of having more free time to do the things that help me rest and recharge.

-I would like to get a dog.  My schedule disagrees.

-I wanted to get my motorbike licence this Summer.  I'll try next year.

-I'm scheduled to start teaching Sunday School at church soon.

-I haven't made a genuine meal in a long time.  It's been all boxes, cans, and microwaves.  I want to change that.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


One year ago today I snapped.  I couldn't take the isolation and pointlessness in my life anymore and decided to put myself online for all to see.  Today is the one year anniversary of my blog, where I introduced myself to you, and the world.

A year ago today I pledged to change my life.  This blog was part of that.  I was going to share my self with others and accept others into my life.  I was going to allow God to flow more freely through my life.  I was going to make friends.  I was going to be involved.  I was going to use the gifts and abilities I had to benefit those in my life.  I was going to find a girlfriend.  Well, 5 outta 6 ain't bad.

I can't believe it has already been one year.  I didn't think life could be different than what I knew at the time, and now I know it will never be the same as it was.  I am moving forward in all the areas I mentioned above, sans the girlfriend, and life is good.  All it took was a conscious and determined effort to bring change and receive change and brave all my insecurities and fears.  My life is so good.  It is so much better than it was one year ago today.  I am really excited.

I have to say thank you to RF who was the first person I know to start a blog.  It inspired me.  Thanks for suggesting to me that I should start my own blog (about 10 years ago.  It's better late than never).

Thank you to my brother, the psychiatrist, who told me in a very professional and doctoral way I needed to get off my butt and do what I wanted to do, despite all my fears.  I needed that push.

Thanks to AS who modeled a Christian life to me that was different than the life I knew.  It inspired me.  It made me ask what was missing in my life.  It caused me to raise the bar.

Thanks to C&C which challenged me, and continues to challenge me, in different areas of my life.  It was through C&C I met so many great people and it was because of C&C I have experienced much of my growth.

And thank You God for the unending process in my life.  I am definitely not a finished product but I know You brought me from where I was and will take me to where I am going.

Thank you everyone who reads this and leaves comments, or doesn't.

Remember, you're still under orders to hug me.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

C&C Retreat and Things

Dear Diary,

The last few weeks have been intense (intensely good).  As usual, I have been busy, but I seem to be finding the time to refresh my soul during my down times.

A few weeks ago I started helping with a junior high youth group in town.  It's been good.  There's a lot of new kids to meet but I'm surviving.  I am amazed at the deep conversations we've begun about things of a spiritual nature.  I pray that I can be a suitable role model to the kids.  Tuesday nights are important to me.  Unfortunately my work schedule sometimes conflicts with my Tuesday nights, and my Thursday nights.

On Thursday I helped with worship at C&C.  That was good.  I find it amazing that I can worship God, let alone lead others in worshiping God. It's not something I take lightly. I pray that I am invisible to everyone, that others only see God, and that my heart is right as I worship.  From a technical standpoint I enjoyed playing different styles of music with other proficient musicians.

Last week I went to the Maple Noise concert.  There were 10 bands including News Boys, TFK, Manafest, and Manic Drive.  Everyone was really great.  I was glad I went.  I discovered some new music and came home with a few autographed CDs.

And this weekend was our C&C retreat.  I was a bit nervous going into it.  Over 100 people retreating for the weekend.  Unlike C&C or church or anything like that there was no way to head home and recharge after a few hours.  It took me a while to adjust.  I kinda wish we had one more day simply because it took me until Sunday to climatize.  But is was good.  I have relived the weekend in my head a few times since then, processing it all.  I am glad I went.  I know God is continuing to do work in me and this weekend allowed me to be receptive to that.  I am still a work in process and I pray that what began there this weekend will continue on in life after the retreat.  I also got to know a few new people.  I can't say I went out and introduced myself to 50 new people but I met 4 or 5 new people and got to know a few people I already knew a little better.  From the socializing aspect, it was a success for me.

Thank You for the times of growth over the last few weeks.  Thank You for opportunities that have presented themselves to me.  Thank you for the successes I have experienced. Thank you for the obstacles that I will overcome.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Who I Am

I have slowly been discovering who I am.  Some things I fought against and other things I accepted.  There have been some changes over time but the core essence of who I am, who God made me to be, couldn't and shouldn't be changed.  Some of the things I struggled against I did not really need to struggle against at all.  And so, after all my years of discovering who I am, I think I am finally comfortable with who God made me.

Who am I?

I am a guy who loves music.  Growing up I never knew that was a part of me.  Our house didn't really listen to music (outside of Country Gospel) and we weren't really exposed to any other outside influences.  I was 13 before I ever touched a musical instrument, and that was out of curiosity.  Somehow it clicked.  And that was the beginning of my love of music.  Up until that point I knew no music theory, had no musical ability and did not even know who Led Zeppelin, Vivaldi, CCR or ACDC were.  All I "knew" was that Rock and Roll was evil.  That has all changed.  I am now a guitarist and a drummer and a very bad pianist.

I am a guy who loves kids.  Few things leave me as energized and pumped up as working with kids.  I want to teach and support and care and learn with the youth.  I sorta fell into it shortly after I graduated.  I was attending a bible school and the church board asked me if I wanted to teach Junior High Sunday School.  I was paired with an adult who would also be teaching.  I was nervous but said yes.  After 3 weeks the person I was paired with stepped back and I was teaching on my own.  As the kids grew into the high school age I started getting busy so I quit teaching.  However, one Sunday I noticed all the guys stacking chairs and doing dishes while all the other kids were in Sunday School.  I asked what was up they said there was no High School Sunday School teacher so they just did errands around the church until the service started.  And that's how I started teaching Senior High Sunday School.  After a few more years a church in Saskatoon approached my bible college looking for a youth pastor.  I was in the middle of my degree at the time.  They put me in contact with this church and one thing lead to another.  Soon after, I was their new youth leader.  I really didn't want to be called a pastor. That title carried a lot of expectations and I didn't feel worthy of that position.  My one condition was that I would be referred to as the youth guy, and for two years that was my official title.  After my first year leading the youth in Saskatoon and teaching Sunday School on weekends my former youth pastor from my church back home decided to return to the UK.  I was asked if I wanted to help lead the youth at my home church with a few other leaders.  I did.  For the next year I continued my schooling in PA on weekdays, lead youth group in PA on Fridays, drove to Saskatoon on Saturdays, lead youth group in the evenings, participated in worship Sunday mornings, taught Sunday School immediately afterward, went out for lunch with a family and then drove back to PA to start my week all over again.  I did that for a full year and never tired of it.  There is something in me that thrives when I work with youth. Whether I am 30 or 60 the youth are what make me tick.

I am a guy who loves business and economics.  That was one of the hardest things for me to accept.  The love of money is the root of all evil and all that, etc...  My problem is that I am very good with money.  It seems like a prideful thing to say but it is true.  All my life I was the guy who could take $1 and turn it into $2.  I'm not sure where my business instincts came from.  I suspect growing up in a family that could barely make ends meet influenced me to some extent.  I know I swore to myself around the age of 14 or so that I never wanted to be in the financial situation my parents were in.  My first memory of exhibiting some sort of business sense was at the age of 8 when our family and the neighbors had  a garage sale.  I remember them sitting on chairs waiting for people to come, and then waiting for people to buy things.  I remember thinking to myself, "you'll never sell anything that way."  So I went out and talked to people on the street and directed them up our driveway.  I then started showing them my toys and highlighting their finer points and telling them about what a great deal it was.  (Yes, the shy introvert actually interacted with strangers. It seems my business instincts over ruled my fears in this instance.)  I took one little boy aside and let him play with my toy jeep.  (The equivalent of a test drive.)  I told him if he liked it he should tell his mom to buy it for him.  He did.  She did.  I made $5.  I was an 8 year old used car salesman.  Remember, I was a kid who only had pocket change when I found it on the ground.  This idea of providing products or services to people in exchange for money was amazing to me.  And now, here I am organizing my finances to start a business which I suspect will be quite profitable.  I don't do it for the money.  It is about the enjoyment of the business.  I realize there are misconceptions about the kind of income that can be generated in the profession I am in.  I do ok financially but as a paid employee there have only been 3 years in the last 12 where I have earned more than minimum wage.  In fact, as a salaried employee there were times where I was earning less than minimum wage, and as a youth leader before that I was essentially volunteering for 2 years well below the poverty line.  My financial success has not come from the wages I have been paid.  It has come from the investments I have made and the businesses I have started.

I am a guy who likes time alone.  It took me a long time to realize that that is ok.  It's not that I'm shunning others, or ignoring them, or anything like that.  It's that I need to be alone with my thoughts on a regular basis.  I don't like to be reactive, I like to be proactive.  I do things intentionally and with a lot of foresight and planning.  My time alone prepares me for the times I will not be alone.

And that is who I am.
(Plus a lot of other things I didn't get around to mentioning at the moment.)

Monday, September 5, 2011


Dear Diary,

I have changed a lot in the last year.  Most of my changes started about 10 months ago and seemed to coincide with the creation of this blog (for reasons I'll discuss in a one year anniversary entry, I'm sure).

These changes have all been good.  It started with something inside me that needed change so bad it was willing to risk the safety of my bubble to go out into the world and experience what was missing.  I looked for external changes which in turn caused internal changes.  And now, almost one year later, I am changed.  I'm not saying I'm different than I was a year ago.  I'm saying I'm more myself than I was a year ago.  It feels really good to say that.

Change is frightening to me though.  The scariest part of leaving my bubble was the unknown.  I didn't know what was out there.  It may be be good.  It may be bad.  My problem was that I was too comfortable with the "known" to seek the "good".  I was too comfortable with being comfortable.  That seems to be the easiest rut to fall into, no matter what stage of life we are in.  And now there are changes coming up on the horizon and I am feeling just a little bit nervous again.  I am comfortable with this "good" I've found and maybe a little too comfortable to receive the "better" that just may be around the corner.  Whether I want to receive it or not, change is on the way.  It is an inevitable part of life.

C&C is about to change.  I am nervous about that.  C&C has been a very defining part of my life the last 10 months.  I was so nervous when I first came to C&C.  It took me weeks, or even months, to adjust to the new people and places and everything else that came with it.  After all my initial fears and resignations I am finally comfortable at C&C, and now C&C is going to change.  That is its nature.  If it didn't change, it wouldn't be the thing that I've come to appreciate.  Some people I know won't be there anymore.  Some people I don't know will start attending.  The make up of C&C is going to change and I'm not sure how I'll fit.  I will no longer be the new person being welcomed into the group.  I suppose I will now be welcoming the new people as part of the group.  However, it's still a group I don't feel 100% a part of yet.  I suppose it is fairly large and there's no way to be completely connected with everyone.  Maybe my niche within the group is good enough.  Nuts.  I want excellence.  I want greatness.  I want challenging and life changing.  I don't want to settle for merely good enough.

Anyway, that's how I'm feeling right now.  C&C starts up again this Thursday and I am incredibly excited, and just a little bit nervous.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I'm not a big concert going guy, but I am a big fan of music.  In my life, I've only been to a few concerts.  However, in September I'm going to see three bands.  I thought I'd share some of their music with you.

Friday, August 26, 2011


This will almost be like a session with a therapist for me.  One take.  Here we go.

I have a lot of mixed feelings when it comes to dancing.  I'm not really sure why.  When I say I have "feelings" that's really what I mean.  I have feelings about dancing, not really composed thoughts.  So I thought I would talk out my feelings and see where this takes me.

Sometimes I really hate dancing.  When people start dancing I get extremely uncomfortable.  And even though this sounds weird, I start to get resentful of the people who seem to be having a good time.  I actually get upset that they are having fun dancing and I feel stuck on the sidelines.  I wish I could actually dance like them but at the same time I don't want to join them.  I don't have any dance co-ordination and I don't know all those dances like it seems everyone else does.  It's odd to say I wish I could dance, and yet I don't want to dance.  I admit I had my tragic dance incident way back when I was 11 years old and maybe that has traumatized me to some extent.  I don't like being the center of attention and for some reason I feel that if I were to dance everyone would be staring at me.  Just the thought makes me nervous enough to start sweating.  I'd rather be the only one left on the side lines than dance with everyone else and feel like they were staring at me.  I often wonder if I could dance if I would feel differently.

And I have issues with my personal space and touching and being touched.  I am uncomfortable when I feel others are in my space.  But at the same time I like receiving hugs because in my mind it is a socially acceptable way to breach my bubble for at least a tiny moment in time.  Dancing seems to violate my personal space and my touching issues for way too long.

I suppose there's also some kind of romantic connotations to dancing as well.  Not that this always the case, but I am not comfortable asking females to dance because in my mind it implies something that I don't want implied. I know that isn't necessarily the case but that association seems to be stuck in my head for some reason.

And sometimes I like dancing.  I like the Napoleon Dynamite dance.  When I'm alone, or playing an instrument I tend to move to the music.  I don't know if that's considered dancing but that's about all the dancing I do.  To get a girl to notice me while in Bible College, I actually joined our dance troupe.  Talk about out of character.  I did ok with choreographed moves simply because I could practice them over and over and over until I was like a machine.  (I had to practice way more than the other members.  Dancing did not come easy for me.  I wonder if it was because I was so out of practice or if it was something else.)  And when I am stuck at those receptions where everyone is dancing and having a good time I am jealous.  I wish I could be like them.  I wish I could dance.

And then there's worship.  Some of the most beautiful things I've seen are people worshiping through dance.  I don't get it.  I can't do it.  I don't want to do it.  And yet there's something special there.  This may sound funny but I've actually tried to research dancing as worship just to understand it.  I still don't get it.

And then there's gatherings of friends.  One particular night most of the people I was hanging out with started dancing.  I was so uncomfortable.  Luckily there was another non-dancer in the group that kept me company on the sidelines.  It blew my mind how everyone actually seemed to want to dance.  It confused me.  Why would people want to do that?  Without exaggerating, I would rather go see the dentist than have to dance.  And yet there was a little part of me begging and pleading to be like them, almost wishing that they'd drag me along.  However, I'd probably resent them if they did.  Catch 22.  I don't even understand me.

So where does this leave me?  I don't know.  I wish I could dance.  Then, when I don't dance, at least it would be my choice.  That sounds stupid.  It doesn't even make sense to me and yet that's how I feel.  I like dance but it leaves me feeling resentful.  I don't understand why people dance.  Maybe if it made sense to me I'd "get it".  I prefer being a wallflower to dancing and yet I was in a dance troupe.  I don't know if this has helped me at all but at least I talked it out.  I'm reminded of the saying, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt."  I've opened my mouth now and revealed my foolishness.  I guess this is convoluted enough to publish.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


My brother has been reading the Book of Awesome.  Although it's not my kind of reading, I gather what I'm about to write is similar to that book.

Life is really good.  Sometimes it's the big things that seem to make life grand.  Sometimes it's the little things that fill in the minutia of living.  Here is a collection of oddball things that make my life really good some times.

-getting a string of green lights in a row while driving
-getting a promotion unexpectedly
-helping others
-freshly vacuumed carpet
-the fresh smell after it rains
-freshly baked bread
-fresh pineapple
-wrapping myself in a towel straight from the dryer
-no mosquitoes
-ice cream
-true worship
-nice surprises
-sweating after a work out
-dancing (although not how you're probably thinking about it.  There's a post coming about this.)
-a clean bathroom
-bike riding
-snow boarding
-finding out my favourite band is coming to town
-stretching after waking up
-not waking up to an alarm clock
-shiny things
-learning something new
-thinking things
-sitting in the dark
-stars on summer nights
-the northern lights
-time alone
-time with friends
-unconditional love

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Time is going by so fast. Summer is already on it's way out and I barely noticed it was here. The common refrain, "Where has the time gone?" is becoming a part of my lexicon more and more. And I don't like it.

I remember growing up, seeing my dad so busy all the time. It felt like he rarely had time for anything but work. I promised myself that when I grew up I would never be as busy as he was. And now here I am wondering where all the time has gone. I pride myself on my scheduling and organizational abilities but I feel like I keep forgetting to schedule a little me time. I guess the next step is to prioritize the things in my life. First things first, so to speak. I need to catch my breath before my busy-ness overwhelms me.

I need time for me and I need time for God.  It feels like the busier I get the more those two items get pushed to the bottom of my list.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Good Day

Dear Diary,

Today is a good day.  Most are.  Today is gooder than most.

I got a super promotion at work I wasn't really expecting.

And this afternoon I got a surprise call from my old friends up North.  They are in town tonight and we're going to get together.  There are few people I find I miss.  There are few people I find leave me energized after spending time with them.  These people fit both those categories.

It is definitely a good day.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


I'm working on something big right now.  Something impossible.  If I don't achieve it, well, it was impossible to begin with.  If I do achieve it, I guess it wasn't impossible, which will make me very glad I gave it a shot.

I know a lot of people who never try impossible things.  That's too bad.  Life could be so much bigger and better.  I imagine it would be quite sad to live life in a self imposed cage of limitations that only exist in one's mind.  (Actually I don't have to imagine.  That's exactly how I lived much of my life, and yes, it was sad.)

And hey, if us dreamers fail, we usually accomplish more than if we just sat back and said, "That's impossible."

Monday, July 25, 2011

One Of Those Days

Car troubles
Work troubles
Money troubles
Scheduling troubles

I know it could be worse but it feels like a lot of little annoyances have been building up and up and up and now, here I am.  Incredibly annoyed.  I am not usually a grumpy person but I feel a little on edge.  All these little things have got me down, and yet I know life is good.  I suppose I am most frustrated by the fact that I am annoyed by the things I wish didn't annoy me.


Just one of those days.

Well, if the purpose of this blog is to allow myself to be known, here is grumpy me.  There's no point trying to hide the fact that sometimes things could be better.

I'll be fine tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Fireflies and Introverts

You may not have heard of Owl City but you have probably heard them. They have a very interesting style that I can't say falls into my musical preferences but I have to admit I find it hard not to be happy listening to them. Their front man, Adam Young, is an unabashed Christian, which is cool. However, he is also an extreme introvert. It always gives me a little boost to come across other introverts doing well in their field. Somehow I feel like I am validated when one of my people (introverts) breaks out in this extroverted world. I came across the following entry here on Owl City's blog which is mostly cut and pasted from Carl King's blog. I thought I would copy most of it and post it on Utils.  Of all the writings on introverts, this brief section is the most concise summary of how I have felt and how I feel others sometimes think about me as an introvert.  The writing in blue is my commentary on the commentary.

10 Myths About Introverts

I recently stumbled across a blog written by Carl King about the phenomenon known as the introverted human being and it struck a major chord with me. After each bullet, I felt like standing up and shouting “YESSSSSSSSS!” at the top of my lungs because these points (made by author Marti Laney, Psy.D) are total home runs. As an extreme introvert, this is like sweet manna from heaven.
I was lucky enough to discover a book called, The Introvert Advantage (How To Thrive in an Extrovert World), by Marti Laney, Psy.D. I feel like someone has written an encyclopedia entry on a rare race of people to which I belong. Not only has it explained many of my eccentricities, it helps me to redefine my entire life in a new and positive context.
Sure, anyone who knows me would say, “Duh! Why did it take you so long to realize you’re an Introvert?” It’s not that simple. The problem is that labeling someone as an Introvert is a very shallow assessment, full of common misconceptions. It’s more complex than that. (Since Carl King is talking about it, it has to be.)
Unfortunately, according to the book, only about 25% of people are Introverts. There are even fewer that are as extreme as I am. This leads to a lot of misunderstandings, since society doesn’t have very much experience with my people. (I love being able to say that.)
So here are a few common misconceptions about Introverts (I put this list together myself, some of them are things I actually believed):

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.  I don't like talking for the sake of talking or filling in the silence.  I prefer purpose to my interaction with people. 
Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.  I do prefer people start up a conversation with me, that way I know that the interaction is desired by the person interacting with me.  However, part of that probably has to do with the fact that in addition to being an introvert, I am also shy, and have to work through a little social anxiety every once in a while.
Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.  This is why I am not a fan of small talk and the purposeless exchange of words.  Many times I find myself wondering when will "that" person will just get to the point.  I think in addition to coming across as rude I may also come across as impatient.  Sorry.  If I initiate an interaction, usually there is a specific purpose to it, and I jump right in with no pleasantries.  I can see how that may take some people aback. 
Myth #4 – Introverts don’t like people.
On the contrary, Introverts intensely value the few friends they have. They can count their close friends on one hand. If you are lucky enough for an introvert to consider you a friend, you probably have a loyal ally for life. Once you have earned their respect as being a person of substance, you’re in.  Yep.
Myth #5 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public.
Nonsense. Introverts just don’t like to go out in public FOR AS LONG. They also like to avoid the complications that are involved in public activities. They take in data and experiences very quickly, and as a result, don’t need to be there for long to “get it.” They’re ready to go home, recharge, and process it all. In fact, recharging is absolutely crucial for Introverts.  Yep.  I remember so many times growing up as a kid going to weddings, family gatherings, parties and begging my parents to leave early. I don't think my extroverted parents understood what was going on in my head.  Many times I would just wander off by myself to the parking lot, or park, or even the car and stay there for hours until they were ready to go.  
Myth #6 – Introverts always want to be alone.
Introverts are perfectly comfortable with their own thoughts. They think a lot. They daydream. They like to have problems to work on, puzzles to solve. But they can also get incredibly lonely if they don’t have anyone to share their discoveries with. They crave an authentic and sincere connection with ONE PERSON at a time.  Yep.  I am always thinking and I do prefer one on one interactions to a group dynamic, most times.
Myth #7 – Introverts are weird.
Introverts are often individualists. They don’t follow the crowd. They’d prefer to be valued for their novel ways of living. They think for themselves and because of that, they often challenge the norm. They don’t make most decisions based on what is popular or trendy.  I don't see the point of doing something just because everyone else is doing it.  That also means that many times I feel left out because I don't want to do the thing that everyone else is doing.  Which means sometimes I just want to be like everyone else.  There have been several times in my life where I have tried to be like everyone (extroverts) else.  I hated it.  I wasn't me.  And I was exhausted.
Myth #8 – Introverts are aloof nerds.
Introverts are people who primarily look inward, paying close attention to their thoughts and emotions. It’s not that they are incapable of paying attention to what is going on around them, it’s just that their inner world is much more stimulating and rewarding to them.  Think of Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory.  I can relate to him some times.
Myth #9 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.
Introverts typically relax at home or in nature, not in busy public places. Introverts are not thrill seekers and adrenaline junkies. If there is too much talking and noise going on, they shut down. Their brains are too sensitive to the neurotransmitter called Dopamine. Introverts and Extroverts have different dominant neuro-pathways. Just look it up.  I may have a little adrenaline junkie in me, but I prefer to do my extreme sporting by myself, or maybe with one other person.  Most of the things I do, mountain biking, marathons, iron man, skydiving, snowboarding, etc... are individual pursuits, or at least I prefer to do them by my self even if there is an option to go in a group, most times.
Myth #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become Extroverts.
A world without Introverts would be a world with few scientists, musicians, artists, poets, filmmakers, doctors, mathematicians, writers, and philosophers. That being said, there are still plenty of techniques an Extrovert can learn in order to interact with Introverts. (Yes, I reversed these two terms on purpose to show you how biased our society is.) Introverts cannot “fix themselves” and deserve respect for their natural temperament and contributions to the human race. In fact, one study (Silverman, 1986) showed that the percentage of Introverts increases with IQ.
It can be terribly destructive for an Introvert to deny themselves in order to get along in an Extrovert-Dominant World. Like other minorities, Introverts can end up hating themselves and others because of the differences. If you think you are an Introvert, I recommend you research the topic and seek out other Introverts to compare notes. The burden is not entirely on Introverts to try and become “normal.” Extroverts need to recognize and respect us, and we also need to respect ourselves.
This has been the question I have struggled with most of my life.  Am I broken and need to be fixed or am I normal and need to be accepted?  I have come to terms with my introversion and learned to function in this extroverted world while overcoming most of my social anxieties.  It has taken a while but things are coming along nicely.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I like numbers.  They are factual.  They can tell a story.  They can remove emotion and commentary from sensationalistic journalism.  They unlock secrets and give new insights into the universe.  However, numbers can also be twisted to tell lies and manipulate public opinion.  Like Homer says, "People can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent. 14% of people know that."

Here's some numbers I found intriguing.  Some may be true.

7 000 000 000 - earth's population by the end of 2011
6 000 000 000 - earth's population at the end of 1999
5 000 000 000 - earth's population at the end of 1987
4 000 000 000 - earth's population at the end of 1974
3 000 000 000 - earth's population at the end of 1960
2 000 000 000 - earth's population at the end of 1927
1 000 000 000 - earth's population at the end of 1804

What does that mean?  
Currently there are more people alive now than the sum total of every person who ever lived on earth before them. Human population up until the early 1800's was rather linear.  Boring.  However, from 1800 it only took 123 years to double to 2 billion.  After that it was a mere 47 years to double to 4 billion.  Earth's current population took about 40 year's to double from the 1970's.  Expressing the growth as a function is boring but the truth the numbers tell when graphed show that earth's population is heading for (what calculus would call) a limit where earth's population doubles faster and faster until it reaches infinty around the year 2350.  Of course there are natural limits to the sustainability of the human population and the rate of reproduction which would never allow for that, such as disease, nutrition, and gestation.  However, if those issues didn't exist, mathematically by 2350 there would be an infinite amount of people in the world.  We would not have enough room to breathe, literally.  

Realistically, seeing as only half the world's population are women (approx), that gestation is around 9 months, most pregnancies lead to one child and that only 60% of women are of child bearing age at any given moment there is a biological limit that trumps the mathematical limit for reproduction. That's the fancy way of saying the least amount of time possible for the human population to double is about 3 years. So, instead of running out of room on planet earth by 2350 we're probably good until 2500. Whew!

              1 400 000 000 - China's population
              1 200 000 000 - India's population
                 400 000 000 - Facebook's population
                 310 000 000 - United States' population
                 230 000 000 - Indonesia's popultation
                   35 000 000 - Canada's population
                   35 000 000 - Estimated population of the world in 2000 BC
                        600 000 - Aproximate population flying at any given time
1 400 000 000 000 000 - Aproximate population of ants in the world

0.5% - Canada's share of the world's population

Saturday, July 9, 2011

VBS Day 5


I can't believe it's over.  It felt like it was just starting.  I was just getting to know the kids.  I was just getting to know the leaders.  It's a real possibility I won't see any of the people who passed through my life this week for another year.  That makes me sad.  They are so awesome.  Frick.  I'm not good at good byes.  I'll do a post about that later.

Today was good.

After everything was finished today, the organizers ordered pizza and we did a bit of a decompression lunch and then cleaned up.  You know you are surrounded by an amazing group of people when even the clean up is fun.  I volunteered to sweep the gym.  One of the kids, a daughter of one of our leaders, asked if she could clean the floor with me.  How often do you hear kids asking to help clean up anything?  It was special to me.  I have a lot of those little special moments stored in my memory banks from this week.  Today one of the boys from the games came and sat down beside me while our intrepid leader was explaining some rules.  It was special to me because I was not sitting with the other kids, but off to the side to keep on eye on everyone, and yet this boy went out of his way to come sit by me.  It may sound strange but some of my favourite times were taking kids to the first aid station and putting band-aids on them.  I know that sounds a little morbid, but you can't organize games for 150 kids and not have a few scratches and bruises.  The band aid time gave me a few moments to just be one on one with some of the children and chat about "life" and what they were up to, how they were enjoying the games, and things on their minds.  As the week went on I found it was the kids I had brought to the first aid station that were starting to gravitate towards me more and more.  That was special to me.

And now it's over.  I miss everyone already.  I'm not good with these feelings.  They're relatively new to me.  I'm not sure how to handle them.

I will definitely be back next year.

Friday, July 8, 2011

VBS Day 4

I can neither confirm nor deny the rumours that I jumped in a bouncy castle with a bunch of kids today.

Today was the first day I actually felt tired.  Part of that was just not being able to sleep because of the temperature.  It was a lack of sleep tired, not a lack of energy tired.  Having said that, I'm sure I wouldn't be able to run this current schedule indefinitely.  One more day to go.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

VBS Day 3

Ice Cream!

That's how we finished our day today.  And it was good.

More games, more kids, more on the fly adapting.

It does feel a little weird to me because most, if not all of our leaders, know each other, except me.  And most of the leaders know most of the kids, except for me.  So I feel a little behind the curve in that area, but I am still getting to know new people and I suppose that is the important thing.

Beyond all the fun though, I am praying that God is reflected through us to the kids.  I pray that eternal truth and a salvation relationship are nurtured and reinforced through the crafts, games, worship and interactions that are happening every morning.  Amen.

VBS Day 2

Another day in the books.

Officially we had 148 registered kids pass through our program on the first day.  Today was similar.  I can't believe I ran around with 148 kids all morning and still have energy today, after finishing up 8 hours at work to boot.  It really feels good.

I am finding shades of my personality are revealed to me as VBS goes on.  Although I really like working with all 5 groups of kids (divided by ages), I find that I would prefer to help lead one group through all events instead of lead an event for all five groups.  That is just who I am.  I prefer deeper relationships with less people and that is reflected in my preferences for VBS.  Having said that, I'm still having a blast running the games and working with my 3 junior high leader guys.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

VBS Day 1

Today was the first day of VBS.  I'm really impressed with the entire organization and program.  The church is great.  The people are great.  The weather was great today too.  We're expecting mid 20's and sun all week long.  Things couldn't be better.  I'm working with awesome kids and a great adult who has a similar style and philosophy as I do when it comes to working with kids and games.  We met up at 8:15am, started the actual VBS at 9am and ended at noon.  It was great.  I spent all morning playing with over 100 kids and left for work with more energy than when I started my day.

There are some things that just make me tick.  I like numbers, math, stats, economics, financial stuff. I like science.  I like bike riding.  I like movies.  I like politics.  I like kids.  Get me involved with any one of those things and my excitement level starts to rise.  It's just a part of who I am.  It has taken me a long time to figure that out.

I said previously that I am slowly finding places I feel I fit in this life.   Working with kids is definitely one of those places.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Dear Diary,

Wow.  It feels like I just blinked and June passed me by.  Where did it go?

Let's see, over the last 3 weeks I've helped NH move, volunteered to help CK move (but got bumped by an ambitious prayer group that helped move him a day earlier), spent the night in Baker Lake, Nunavut, had a birthday, attended a wedding, attended C&C, attended small group, attended several BBQ's, helped lead worship 3 Sundays in a row, went to a 24 party and worked about 50 hours a week.  Crazy.  Yesterday two of my former youth group girls (now women) got married and my oldest friend got engaged.  Life is really happening all around me.  I hurt my knee badly.  Surgery may be necessary.  And I got to talk to J and A, the two kids I still miss from my life in the North, on the phone.  It was good.  We're going to try and get together next month when their family passes through town.

This next week is going to be insanely busy.  It's all my own doing so I will take the blame, or credit.  I volunteered to take all night shifts this week at work.  Most people would rather work the mornings and afternoons than evenings so it was easy to trade with my coworkers.  Why did I do this?  I am now free every morning for Vacation Bible School.  Yes!  I am excited.  It's been years since I've had the opportunity to work with kids like this.  I had a reintroduction to it back in October when I helped at my church's Children's Fall Festival, but that was just for one day.  I'm going to be helping with games and sports all week long, with kids ages 6 to 12.  I'm excited.

I can't afford to procrastinate this week.  I need to keep to a strict schedule to make everything work.

Thursday, June 30, 2011


A song from the last C&C of the season. Here's deliriou5? performing Majesty.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Red Again

No context, just Red's newest video.  I like how they mix traditional stringed instruments with more modern sounds.  I suppose Metallica started it all by doing a concert backed by an orchestra years ago, but Red actually uses them as part of the song, not just a single concert.

And there's fire.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Introverts in the Church

I recently came across a book called Introverts in the Church.  Wow.  After briefly skimming through the first couple chapters I was amazed.  Someone was saying exactly what I felt growing up in the church as an introvert, and to some extent, what I still feel a little to this day.

Although I know I am not the only one, it is still nice to occasionally hear a similar voice saying, "I like to be alone.  I don't like crowds.  I'm not a socialite.  I'd rather hide in the bathroom than have to shake 50 people's hands and make small talk before the church service begins."

Here's an excerpt from the book:
I relished times of solitude, reflection and personal study.  I enjoyed people and found satisfaction in depth of relationship and conversation, but even when I spent time with people I liked, I looked forward to moments of privacy.  I found crowds draining.  I could stand up in front of hundreds of people and preach a sermon without nervousness, but I often stumbled through the greeting time afterward because my energy reserves were dry.  Though I did not know this eight years ago, there is a label for this personality feature that I once thought crippled my potential for ministry: introversion.  But more than my introverted temperament was involved in producing such agonizing results.  Partly to blame was the one dimensional image of leadership that I had constructed.  There was an irresolvable conflict between the artificial image and the temperamental characteristics of introverts...  I tried to beat and squeeze myself into a mold of leadership instead of becoming the leader God had created me to be.
My struggles to be an introverted pastor are representative of the struggles many introverts face when navigating the waters of Christian community, which can be unintentionally, or intentionally, biased toward extroversion...  It is my experience that evangelical Churches can be difficult places for introverts to thrive, both for theological and cultural reasons.  Just as I have had a difficult time squaring my own temperament with common roles and expression of the pastoral ministry, so also many introverted Christians struggle with how to find a balance between their own natural tendencies and evangelical perspectives on evangelism and community.  A subtle but insidious message can permeate these communities, a message that says God is most pleased with extroversion.

I have always said the purpose of this blog is to give people a chance to get to know me a little better, despite my introversion.  So, if you are an extrovert trying to understand this introvert or introverts in general click on the link below.  Click on the Google Preview button on the page that opens and you can read the book online.  

Introverts in the Church | Contents- InterVarsity Press

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Dear Diary,

Things are going good.  That's always a good thing.
Work is good.  I've been busy but I'm learning to deal with it.  I didn't get a promotion I wanted, but I'm ok with that.
I've been praying for people and things.  Some prayers have been answered with a yes, and some have been answered with a no.  And some, I'm not sure about yet.
My friend Ken is at it again.  Arg.  It frustrates me because I actually care about Ken's well being.
I went to Declare and Surrender last week.  It was good.  I'm glad I made the effort.
I didn't go to C&C this week.  That was a tough decision.  I was so tired from work and had an early start to my next day.  I think I needed that time to rest.
Last night I went bowling with friends.  Then we went out to Montana's Restaurant.  They surprised me with a little birthday platter and a moose hat.  I guess that's how we do it in the big city.  It was good.
And today was a me day.  I ate a steak.  I'm still in my PJ's, and I'm almost ready to go to bed.  I needed a day like today.
Tomorrow at church we are saying good bye to a lady who is moving away.  She is quite involved in the church and I will be sad to see her go.  Nine months ago I didn't even know her name.  Tomorrow I will miss her.  That is progress for me.

I think I'm feeling content.  Hello?  Is that you contentedness?  Is this what you feel like?

Thanks Lord for your goodness.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Rules

 I don't understand the things I do. I don't do what I want to do, and I do the things I hate.  (Romans 7:15)

Ya, I understand that Paul.  There have been many timesI have tried very hard to live a righteous, godly, good life.  And I have always failed.  Frustrating.  That's not to say my life is a cesspool of sin, but it's not where it should be either.  There's an external moral law I think we are all vaguely aware of.  Within the context of religion there are expressed rules to be obeyed.  That's what religion is; rules to be obeyed to earn our way to God or Nirvana or righteousness or a higher life form.  That, however, is where Christianity differs.  It is not about us working our way to God, it is about God making his way to us.  So where did all the rules come from?  Well, like I said religion is our way of working ourselves back to God.  Within different cultures and times people have tried to codify their morality to make this holiness measurable and achievable.  Within the realms of Judeo/Christian heritage I believe there was a time where we needed rules and God set out guidelines for us to follow.  We didn't know any better and Jesus had yet to pay the price for our sins.  The Holy Spirit had not yet been sent to all believers.  The rules kept us protected.  The rules helped us live this holy life.  We all have a sense that we need to be holy just like God is holy. I think we all try to live by some type of moral rules, whether biblical or from some other origin.  They are hard to obey.  Impossible in fact.  We simply can't do it on our own.  That's how we know we're hopeless without an external saviour.  Jesus is that saviour.  But if God made a way, what becomes of the rules?  Those rules are now obsolete and useless.  Does that mean I'm free to do whatever I want?  No.  It means there's a new rule in town.  Love God with all your heart and soul and mind.  That's it.  All the old rules did was show us that under our own effort we can't be holy. It's exhausting.  If we truly loved God with every fiber of our being that holy life would be natural.  It is no longer us striving to be holy, it is now the Holy Spirit living in us that makes us holy.  Not through our own effort, but God's grace can we live this holy life.

The early Christians were struggling with the rules things as well.  Here's what Paul told them.

We have freedom now, because Christ made us free. So stand strong. Do not change and go back into the slavery of the law.  Listen, I Paul tell you that if you go back to the law by being circumcised, Christ does you no good.  I'm warning you if you allow yourselves to be circumcised, you must follow all the law.  If you try to be made right with God through the law, your life with Christ is over -- you have left God's grace.  But we have the true hope that comes from being made right with God, and by the Spirit we wait eagerly for this hope.  When we are in Christ Jesus, it is not important if we are circumcised or not. The important thing is faith -- the kind of faith that works through love. You were running a good race. Who stopped you from following the true way? This change did not come from the One who chose you. Be careful! "Just a little yeast makes the whole batch of dough rise."  But I trust in the Lord that you will not believe those different ideas. Whoever is confusing you with such ideas will be punished. My brothers and sisters, I do not teach that a man must be circumcised. I wish the people who are bothering you would go all the way and castrate themselves! My brothers and sisters, God called you to be free, but do not use your freedom as an excuse to do what pleases your sinful self. Serve each other with love. Live by following the Spirit. Our sinful selves want what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit wants what is against our sinful selves. The two are against each other, so you cannot do just what you please. If the Spirit is leading you, you are not under the law. The Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness, self-control. There is no law that says these things are wrong. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their own sinful selves. They have given up their old selfish feelings and the evil things they wanted to do.  We get our new life from the Spirit, so we should follow the Spirit.

I know I don't always do the things I want to do, and what I don't want to do I sometimes do.  However, the effort I spend trying to do and not do these things is pointless.  My entire effort should be to live by the Spirit.  That's it.  I am no longer striving to be holy, I am striving to allow the Holy Spirit to live through me.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011


Red, another band of Christians, as opposed to a Christian band have recently jumped onto my radar. I know their style of music isn't everyone's cup of tea but they are very good at what they do. I think, as Christians, we should do what we are good at to the best of our abilities and thank God for the opportunities that arise. Too often I see the Christian subculture copying the current culture and putting a Jesus stamp on it. There are little Christian Beyonces and Brittanys and Beibers running around out there now. What I appreciate about Red is the fact that they are good enough at what they do to blaze their own trail in the music industry, receiving attention for their talent from the general public, not merely travelling through Christian circles, insulated from the real world. Here is Red performing their first single from their third disc, Faceless, live on Conan.

I'd give anything to live
With You I don't exist
I'm not strong enough to pay this ransom
A part of me is dead
Need You to live again

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rubber, Meet Road II

There was a challenging sermon at church today.  It touched on something I've been thinking about for a while.  How do I live this Christian life?  What is the purpose of this life?  It is definitely more than the job you have, your money, tv, car or vacations.  If we are not caring for the less fortunate and sharing our relationship with Jesus there is simply no point to this life.  All we are doing is creating psuedo-purposes to amuse ourselves and pass time until we die.

I have been looking for the place where I fit in this Christian life.  I'm still looking.  I'm finding bits and pieces.  I have to admit, one of my frustrations is my job.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy what I do, but my schedule is very demanding and doesn't give a fixed time table to plan regular events.  It's hard to be involved when I can't guarantee when I will be free.  So that's where I'm at right now.  Of course, outside of organized ministry there is personal ministry.  What I do on my own when I am free is up to me.  The problem is, I need my own personal time just to stay healthy.  I don't want to make excuses for not going out and helping people, but I get peopled out during the course of the week and the last thing I want to do after interacting with the public 50 hours a week at work, and going to church, C&C, small group, and spending time with friends is to be with more people.  So, should I cut out some of those things, to make room for "ministry" or are those other things ministry themselves?  All I know is I wish I worked less and served more.  I find right now I donate to causes and charities I'd like to be involved in but can't be so that at least I know I am financing someone else to do what I wish I could.  It feels like a cheap substitute though.  I don't want to pay someone to do the work Jesus has called me to do.  Then again, maybe my ministry is to be a financier of those other ministries?

I'm still looking for a way to live out the gospel. Here we go.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Romantic Thoughts

The title is a bit of a misnomer but accurate. Here's a collection of thoughts that are somewhat related. They were triggered by my recent scheduling to accommodate a series of weddings popping up this year.

I know 2 couples that have gotten married within the last month. Two of my younger cousins are getting married this Summer and two girls (now women) from one of the youth groups I used to lead are getting married. And one of their younger sisters already got married earlier this year. It seems like most of the people I went to high school and Bible College with are married and have kids, or are on their way. Not me. Why? It feels like I missed my turn off on the road of life. What the heck?

I find it difficult to comprehend what a marriage relationship consists of. I know plenty of married couples. Some of which I'm envious and others I never want to end up like. Somehow each person found another person that decided to spend the rest of their lives with them. I suppose they fell in love. How does one go about doing that? I have no idea. I've said repeatedly that I really don't have a firm grasp on the whole idea of relationships, let alone romantic relationships. They just don't make sense to me. I do desire friendships though, I just don't quite understand how to be in one. Given the option, most of the time I like to be alone. That is not conducive to maintaining a friendship. I've been working very hard at overcoming this trait of mine the last 9 months or so and I suppose some friendships are starting to take place, slowly. So, now what? What is the difference between a romantic relationship and a regular relationship? Yes, I do know the basics, but that's not what I'm asking about. I have relationships with the people I work with, but I wouldn't call them friendships. I have relationships with my extended family members. Some I would call friends. Some I would call acquaintances, and the only reason we have that level of relationship is because we are related. Now I know I am probably going to over think this, but what is the nature of relationship? Is it a linear progression only, or does it have different subsets, each that can progress linearly, or am I completely wrong and it is more of a cloud or web nature?

A linear view would start at A and move to B, C, D and so forth.
Strangers - Acquaintances - Friends - Romantic Relationship.
I don't know if I like that view. It implies that a romantic relationship is the pinnacle of all friendships and all relationships progress in the direction.

The Subset would say there are different kinds of relationships, that don't necessarily progress from one to another but along their own linear progressions.
Relationships - Strangers (no progression)
- Acquaintances - Progressing from little known to much known between acquaintances
- Friendships - Progressing from low intimacy to higher intimacy
- Romance - Progressing from low to high emotional and physical intimacy
This type of view doesn't exclude relationships from jumping one line to another, but it doesn't take for granted that one leads to another as they develop. This would explain why it is conceivable to know someone from work for a decade and never be more than acquaintances, know someone for years and be friends, and know someone for months and get married. They are just different lines to progress along, never leading from one to another no matter how much time or progression is involved.

The cloud or web view of relationships throws all that out the window. Every type of relationship at every different level is represented and interconnected. It would be possible to jump from stranger to deep friendship to acquaintance to intimate romance and back again. I've seen some people live their lives like this. I would find it exhausting.

I think relationships are too nebulous to define.

And what about love? I love my family, but that isn't the love of a marriage relationship. I loved my pet dog. I loved the kids from up North. All different kinds of love. And none of them are the love I'm trying to figure out. What is love? I've heard of love described as three separate and distinct types. Eros, physical love. Philos, brotherly (or friendship) love. Agape, unconditional (spiritual) love. I can see that. I suppose that the "love" of a romantic relationship would be all three kinds of love. I can't really say that I've experienced that before. Which brings me back to my original question. What the heck?

Trying to understand it to experience it seems pointless. I know "in the moment" people who are not very introspective or deep who seem to have found it. They didn't bother trying to analyze it or think it through.

It's all a mystery to me for now.

I know a couple who met in grade school. They dated all through Junior and Senior High, and University before they got married.  They've now been married for almost 15 years. They have known each other and been in some sort of relationship for almost 75% of their lives, and they are only 40. I know a guy who met a girl at a wedding on the other side of the country. He flew back to see her 2 weeks later. Two weeks after that she moved across the country and moved in with him. They are now talking about getting married. All that happened in the space of 2 months. My point? I don't know. It seems as though both couples have found something they call love and they both did it very differently from each other.

And God is love. Our purpose in life is to have a relationship with God and each other. As much as I want that, I can't comprehend the enormity of all that it entails. It's mind boggling to me. The greatest commands in scripture are to love God with every fibre of our being and love our neighbour as ourselves. That blows my mind. I don't even know where to begin.

Whatever love is, it involves a choice.  There is a decision to love that must be made at some point in time.  Love doesn't simply happen to us.  We aren't the victims of our feelings or emotions or hormones.  Even when all cylinders are firing the decision to love must be made or it isn't really love at all.  And that decision involves commitment.  There is permanency to real love.  I think that's why a lot of relationships break up.  There was no decision made to love.  There was no commitment.  There was no permanency.  There was only feeling.  I'm sure that happens in all kinds of relationships, from simple friendships, to marriage and even our relationship with God.

Lord, please help me live out a life of real love.  Amen.