Monday, July 30, 2012

Praise The Lord

Psalm 103 was written by King David about 3000 years ago. It is crazy inspiring. As I read it, I recognize it as the inspiration for so many songs and hymns we sing in church today. It contains an eternal truth that is still as powerful today as it was back then.

Praise the Lord, my soul; 
all my inmost being, praise his holy name. 
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins 
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion, 
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness 
and justice for all the oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:

The Lord is compassionate and gracious, 
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever; 
he does not treat us as our sins deserve 
or repay us according to our iniquities.

For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him; 
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed, 
he remembers that we are dust. 
The life of mortals is like grass, 
they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.

But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children —
with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.

The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
Praise the Lord, you his angels, 
you mighty ones who do his bidding, 
who obey his word.
Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, 
you his servants who do his will.
Praise the Lord, all his works 
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul.

Monday, July 23, 2012

I Heard God

I heard God a while ago. I didn't "sense" God or "feel" God. I heard God. Actual words.

I was praying about a month ago when I heard these words. I can't say I heard them audibly, more internally, but it wasn't a "feeling" or a "sensation". They were actual words. And they told me something I didn't want to hear and offered me encouragement for the future. Now maybe I just planted my own message in my head and attributed it to God. That's always possible. I know I have enough things floating around in there something may have shaken loose. However, it wasn't a message I would have chosen to give myself and it fits very much with the character of God I see in the bible. So I'm going to go with it. I heard God. And that's almost as frustrating as not hearing God sometimes. The message of encouragement was a promise. And that's where it gets frustrating for me. I am the kind of guy who does things for himself. I believe in hard work and responsibility and serving. When I hear that something needs to be done, I want to do it.

And God promised me something. And I need to make a confession, and maybe an apology. I have been trying to accomplish this promise through my own actions. In some ways I feel like I don't trust God to do what He said He would do and so I was going to give Him a hand, just in case. I see parallels with Abraham. The problem is, just like Abraham, I don't know how God is going to work things out and I may just be getting in the way and causing problems. So, I am sorry. Lord, please forgive me. Please forgive me for trying to force something that is out of my hands. Help me to listen and follow You, not forge ahead on my own. I believe You will do what You said You will do. Help me do what I need to do, or not do.

Here's my very paraphrased version:

When Abraham was 75 years old God told him to leave everything he had known behind and follow Him, and He would make Abraham the father of a great nation. And Abraham did it. Awesome. His wife was 65 years old and couldn't have kids so this was a pretty spectacular promise. However, 10 years later they still didn't have any kids. They began to doubt God a little bit. Besides, how's a 75 year old woman who couldn't have kids going to give Abraham this nation God promised? So, they took things into their own hands. (This is kind of how I feel I have been trying to take things into my own hands instead of trusting God.) At Sarah's insistence, he slept with her servant Hagar, so that he would be able to have a child. That created a whole lot of trouble for everyone involved. Even though Abraham did have a son through their actions, that  was not the fulfilment of God's word. Everything Abraham and Sarah did to "help" God out really just created a mess and did not bring them any closer to receiving God's promise. Skipping a little bit here and there, 14 years later God came back to Abraham and repeated His promise. (This was 24 years after He originally promised Abraham he would become the father of a nation.) Abraham was probably a little bit delirious and/or angry by now. He fell down and laughed and asked God, "How can a 100 year old man and his 90 year old wife possibly have a kid?"  God replied, "I'm God. By this time next year Sarah will have a son. Call him Isaac. He is the fulfilment of My promise to you." And sure enough, that's what happened.

I find this story super encouraging for a lot of reasons.
Most importantly, God kept his word.
No matter how much we may want to help God along, sometimes it's best we just trust in Him and follow Him as best we can.
Unfortunately, God also took 25 years to fulfil His promise. That makes me a little nervous. I can sometimes be a little impatient. Hence, my urge to help God along.

Lord, my prayer is that You will do what You said You will do. Please keep me from screwing it up. How I think You'll fulfill Your promise and how You plan to fulfil Your promise may be very different. Please keep me in Your will. Please help me grow closer to You. Please help me receive what You have in store for me. I'm asking that You will fulfil the desires of my heart. I pray that my desires are Your desires for me. I believe that because I am seeking You and Your will, they are. However, if my wants are not Yours, and this is very scary for me to ask, please make Your desires for me my desires as well. Gulp! Amen.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I have been an emotional wreck for the last month.
Today something happened that hasn't happened in a long time.
I felt ok.
I am not over her.
But I am getting over her.
She is amazing.
What we had was special.
It was the most wonderful thing I have ever experienced.

I have so much to say. However, it is intense, and personal and revelatory and I do not want to say anything that would betray her trust and confidence in me. So I will meditate on it for a while. I have written a lot of  thoughts and feelings down.

I feel like taking a break for a while.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The River

I'm swimming in the river
The water is my tears
Bouyed by my hopes and dreams
The river knows my fears

I'm submerged in emotion
Heartache and sorrow are the waves
Faith is the current
Flowing into better days

These feelings are a deluge
But neither good nor bad
Results of rapids I've gone through
Past experiences I've had

I will not drown in the river
It is not my destiny
The flow and substance are my creation
But the Truth shall set me free

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I am 33. I know, I am just as surprised as you are. My age has never really come up or been an issue until just recently and so I thought I would talk about what it means to me.

In Good Company
Jesus laid the foundations to change the world by the time he was 33. He only started in his "calling" or "career" as a teacher when he was 30. (Nice to know I'm not the only late bloomer.) He died for the sins of the world.
Bon Scott, the original singer and founder of ACDC, died at age 33.
Rocky Balboa didn't do much until he fought Apollo Creed at age 33.
Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic at age 33.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote his essay, "Nature," encouraging readers to see the miraculous in the common at 33.

So, I'm in good company I guess, although maybe a little behind the 8-ball in the whole achieve-something-great scheme of things.

The thing is, I don't feel 33.

Question Time
One of these guys is 53 and the other is 33. Which is which?

The top guy was 53 (and 50) when those pictures were taken.
The bottom guy was 33 (and 32) in those pictures.

And that's why I think age is nothing more than a number. It is just a place holder and a label used to categorize people for things that are only minimally age related.

The Test
Seeing as I have been thinking a lot about my age lately I ran a little test. I asked people who I've known for various lengths of time, and some strangers, how old they thought I was. I excluded immediate family members who know how old I am. The answers ranged from 25 to 31. The mean was 27 while the mode was 28. So, we'll just say that the average person thinks I'm 27 to 28 years old based on my appearance and personality. There are some surprising bits of information to be gleaned from this very unscientific survey. First, no one guessed older than my age. Second, no one guessed my age. Third, the entire data set was 2 to 8 years younger than my actual age. The majority thought I was in my 20's. This reinforces my belief that age is just a number. It is not who you are. I know I am not my age.

As best I can figure, age is only really important when you're trying to get a handle on someone's health/life expectancy or the stage of life they are in. The problem is that it is not an accurate reflection of who I am in either of those areas. I don't have the life experience of your average 33 year old. I am not in the stage of life an average 33 year old is in. I am also extremely fit and healthy compared to almost everyone else my own age. So where does that leave me? Sometimes I feel like I am caught in limbo. (click here to understand why I am the way I am) When people know how old I am they expect me to act and be a certain way and that is not who I am. When I hang around with people "my age" I feel so out of place. They are in a different stage of life than I am and I just can't relate. I don't have kids. I haven't been married for 10 years. I don't have in-laws. I don't have aches and pains. I'm not balding. I'm just starting out in my career. I have different interests. In my head I am 26. That's the stage of life and level of experience I have. My body doesn't really know its 33 either, but one day it may figure it out, and I think that's what created the issue I'm dealing with. One day my body may act it's age, and not the 7 to 10 years younger it thinks it is.

Two years ago I moved back to the city. I had been working up in Northern Canada for several years, starting out in my career and paying my dues, so to speak. When I moved back I knew I needed to be involved in some sort of Christian circles and so I attended a college and career group and a 30+ group. Wow. I figured out quite quickly that I am not 30+. They were all so old and boring. (I'm not saying being boring is a pre-requisite to being 30+.) I did not fit at all. So I went to C&C. I found people who were in University, finishing degrees, starting out in their careers, figuring out life, learning about God, and learning about relationships. And that was exactly the stage of life I was in. I had been out of school for a couple years by then but I knew what it was like and I was just starting out in my career like many other C&Cers were. We liked the same movies and music. We played video games and ultimate frisbee. We joked and shared and prayed and had fun. It felt right. It's where I fit. Honestly, I don't feel out of place there even though I am about 8 years older than the average C&Cer. I don't think the average C&Cer thinks I'm out of place there either.

Several months ago I went to a friend's birthday party. He turned 23. His wife is 22. Their friends were 22 and 23. And then there was me. No one knew how old I was and it didn't matter. I didn't feel out of place and they didn't think I was out of place either. How we related and how we had fun had nothing to do with our ages. It was a good time.

Having said all that, age does play a role in categorizing some fairly important statistics. Life expectancy, illnesses, overall health, etc... are tracked and categorized by age. As young as I think and feel, I can't ignore the fact that I am statistically closer to death than most of the people I hang out with. However, I said statistically. In reality I am extremely healthy, in very good physical condition, and do not have a family history of disease (I'm not counting type II diabetes). Although statistics may say that the average 33 year old male will live another 48 years, I am above average. And I am above average because I am very intentional about taking care of my physical self. I don't drink, smoke, or do drugs. Through diet and exercise I plan to help my physical body live as long as possible in the best health possible. I don't have a wife or kids yet, but I made a decision a while ago to be the best I could be for their sakes.

My Conclusion
I relate to others and am related to by others as though I was an average 26 year old. I can't change that, and I don't see the need to change it. I am who I am and I like me. Unfortunately, I think my actual age causes problems when people have trouble reconciling who I am with the number associated with me. It hurts because I am who I am, not an age, but decisions are made based on my age and not who I am.

I don't think age is as important as it is built up to be. Life experience, life expectancy and health are. I can't speak for all the 33 year-olds out there, but for myself, I am 26 in all the ways that are important.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I have friends going on a missions trip to Uganda. The first leg of their journey begins tomorrow. I'm praying for them. If you have a moment, please pray for them too.

I'm praying that their work there will be successful. I'm praying for health and safety. I'm praying that God will be evident and tangible on this trip. I'm praying for changed lives, both theirs and the people with whom they come in contact. I know that these trips have a very deep impact on those going, sometimes more than those receiving. I'm praying that amazing things will happen in the lives of everyone involved.

Thank you Lord for being a part of this trip. Lord, please change hearts, impact lives and heal souls. In Jesus name I ask for these things. Amen.

Monday, July 9, 2012

VBS Wrap

VBS was great again this year. I'm always amazed to see all the people who volunteer, who take time off work, who sacrifice some of their vacation to make it go so smoothly. These people deserve a hand.

I pray that the message we tried to impart to the kids sticks. I pray that we were real. I pray that God was revealed to the kids through the messages, songs, stories, games, bible verses and through our actions. I pray that a seed was planted.

I have noticed a huge difference in me between this year and last year. Last year I was more of an assistant and behind the scenes kind of guy, helping with games. This year I was very much in an upfront and lead kind of role. I played a secret agent who was in charge of training all our juniour agents through on stage stunts (using mostly willing volunteers) and I was also responsible for teaching the kids the memory verses during our open sessions in the sanctuary. When everyone broke into smaller groups I was part of a story telling team.  We told biblical stories to the kids that illustrated the theme of each day. It was good. It definitely allowed me to be more myself, even though it was more of a spotlight role. One of the biggest changes in me I noticed though was during song times. I was not afraid or self conscious to do the actions to the songs. I don't know when that changed but it was definitely different than how I felt last year. (check out the excerpt in this entry about doing actions to songs) Overall, I felt much more free. I knew people this year. I even remembered some of the kids from last year as well. It was great. Working with kids is really a part of who I am. I will be back next year, and the year after, and the year after...

Thursday, July 5, 2012

VBS Day 4

So Tired.
Some of the kids started bringing their friends and introducing them to me. That was sweet.
Unfortunately I have to work all day tomorrow and so I will not get a chance to say "bye" the way I would like to.
It really has been great though.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

VBS Day 2

Do not let 8 year olds "shave" shaving cream off balloons with forks and spoons. There are not enough tarps in the world to protect the carpet from that mess. On the flip side, the stage has just been hand cleaned and has never smelled better.

Good things have been happening. Interesting things have been happening. I want to write a summary post at the end of VBS describing the ways I've seen positive transformation. Mostly in me.

And this morning one of the kids drew a picture of Special Agent CC. That's me. It made me feel special. I had to struggle not to tear up.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Praise You In This Storm

By Casting Crowns

I am going through a tough time at the moment. I am sad. I wrote an entry a long time ago about how it was easy to trust God when things are going good but more difficult to trust when things are rough. Right now things are very rough. However, even back then, I promised that no matter my circumstances I will trust in God. At C&C a few weeks ago the message was about joy and grief. It can all be summed up by saying joy comes from God and grief comes from circumstances. I am trying to focus on God and not circumstances at this time. But I'll be honest, I am praying for a miracle to change circumstances. It may never come but I am praying for something that is worth praying for. Even though I am seeking God first, I am not giving up on this miracle yet. I am very aware that this answer to prayer may take a long time to come to pass, if ever. That's ok. It's worth waiting for.

I came across a prayer I wrote last year. Even though it has been almost 18 months since I prayed it, I can see it being answered here in the present. That gives me hope. I know I don't see how God is moving behind the scenes as life plays out, but I pray with all my might that I am within His will. I have so many more thoughts on the subject, but so little time to write them out.

Lord, You know my heart. Sometimes that is a scary thought but not right now. Lord, search me and know me. Guide me, direct me, receive my praises, remove my pain, set my feet on the path You ordained for me. Lord, I believe it is honouring to You and within Your will so I am asking for this miracle.


Sunday, July 1, 2012


I'm doing ok.

VBS starts tomorrow. Controlled chaos. We are expecting about 150 kids ages 6 to 12.

I am a secret agent. I'm trying to decide if I am a James Bond or an Ethan Hunt.
Last year I was a surfer dude.

It will be a crazy week. VBS in the mornings and work in the afternoons and evenings with a 3 day charter next weekend. I will not be able to catch my breath until next Monday.

Here we go. I'm looking forward to it.