Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Michael Moments

I've been on the road for a few days so I'm glad to have a guest writer. My friend Murray Lincoln has been writing for years. I hope you enjoy what he has to share with you!

The light breeze blew across our driveway cooling us on the bright sunny day. As I looked out at the scene from inside my garage I captured one of those very special moments that only a grandpa can see. There was Michael, my #5 grandchild, sitting in a small white chair staring straight ahead. The chair was sitting in a wooden wagon. He had his bicycle helmet on with the breeze blowing through it. He was completely quiet.

I watched him closely as he sat there. Nothing was happening. There was no noise and no competition with his brothers. There was only Michael, the chair and the wagon with a sweet silence wrapping him in love.

I didn’t interrupt this revere but rather watched from my carving bench. He sat there for perhaps 10 minutes or more. I was lost in time with him. I was enjoying the moments as much as he was.

You may not really understand how important this special scene is until you, as a grandparent, look after a 6 year old like Michael. He is active and he is a full of vinegar at times. He can get on his two older brother’s nerves and is likely to be in some ruckus with his little brother Christopher. That’s right, there are four boys in his family!

Since that day I have been reflecting on this God given moment. I have thought of that peaceful moment often. I have wondered at the quietness that Michael was enjoying. I am hoping that he will savour that moment for years to come. It has awakened something in me that I had thought was long gone. It is a memory of long ago.

Long ago on a farm in southern Saskatchewan I was a 6 year old like Michael. We visited with our grandparents often. Sometimes we stayed for a week or more. The farm was a place that you could discover all kinds of amazing things that were never found in our city living. There was a hay mow filled with pungent, soft hay for the cattle that fed below. That was in the barn that had all kinds of interesting nooks and crannies that boys could hide from their sisters and cousins. You could sit, for what seemed hours, before anyone could find you. While sitting there the sound of the wind blowing through the cracks and holes in the barn was in itself mesmerizing.

I remember on that farm the quiet places where you could walk alone and there was no one. There was only the sound of buzzing grasshoppers as they sped on there wings across your foot path. Added to that was the sharp chatter of the cricket that seemed to call out to other crickets along the same fence line. Wrapping all of that was the warm sunshine that engulfed the whole country side with its golden glow. The farm that was one mile away was barely visible. On each bright day as the shimmering heat waves blurred the horizon, you couldn’t see the buildings.

Wow, just the recalling of the “memories” again has me slowing and looking for more of the past. These thoughts sooth and satisfy like no other medication I have ever taken.

Coming back to my driveway again and the scene of Michael sitting quietly, I am blessed. I am watching a young child doing just what God intended him to do – just to be a boy with a chair, a wagon and a slight breeze. I hope that Michael will never forget what it is like to be a boy at his grandpa’s place. I hope he will always remember his quiet moments.

I pause here as I ponder what I face each week. As a minister, I watch with sadness the lives of people that have been caught up in the hustle of life never taking time to savour their life moments. They rush from one meeting to another. They are bored with their lives and seek diversions. The passionate rush toward a diversion will at times wreck all that they know. As they reach out in recovery they cry in pain. Their lives are filled with complicated and destructive patterns. If only they would have taken time and found their “Michael moments” when they were young. Or better yet, on a regular basis, reached back inside to their moments and savour again what they grew up with.

Can I ask you to take action in your life? Do it now. If you are pressed hard with your circumstances and almost drowning in business – take a break from it all. The summer is not over yet. Take a holiday. Get away. Find your chair and a light breeze to help soak up the sunshine.

Where does this fit into the spiritual world? In the NIV translation of the Bible it says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth." (Psalm 46:10 NIV)

As a pastor I observe that our spirituality and our spirit life are greatly hindered by our busy world and life styles. I need to get away once in a while to discover the quiet moments again. Or better yet, to have God help me to make some new ones. I know what I need to do and with God’s help I am doing it one more time.

What about you? Do you have a need to get to that quiet place again? Would you like to discover “peace” in the middle of the hustle and bustle? Why not ask God for his help? He is there for you. The Psalmist said, “Be still and know that I am God…” Why not now?

Rev. Murray Lincoln is the Pastor of Northview Pentecostal Church. He can be reached at with your comments or questions.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

God Ideas...

I love it when God gives me an idea. God ideas are about more than giving us something to ponder for a little while and then move on to something else. God ideas are seeds of vision that He drops into our lives for a variety of purposes. This ministry came out of a God idea that continues to inspire me and scare me at the same time because it is so big!!

Sometimes, "God ideas" are for the purpose of provision. Phil 4:19 tells us about how God will supply all our needs according to his riches in Christ Jesus. It seems to me that God is about partnership. He wants to do HIS part, but we need to do OUR part! Our part just might be moving forward with the ideas that He sows in our lives.

Other times, God ideas are about reaching people. (In fact, I think every "God idea" is connected to reaching people.) I'm convinced that God, the CREATOR of everything has strategies, ideas and plans that would allow us to get into the lives of every person in our city, province and nation and HE WANTS to tell us, if we will simply ask.

The psalms say "Ask of me and I will give the nations as inheritance to you." How cool is that??

Have a good one!!


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Running For The Prize

Today was Zack's first school track meet. We knew it was happening today, but we only heard (in true Zack fashion...) what his chosen event would be. Zack chose to run the 800m. I don't pretend to be a track expert, but anyone I asked said that the 800m has got to be the toughest track event going. It's too long to be a sprint and too short to be a real distance run. That reality is only compounded by the fact that he's only 10. We got there early and watched a few races before Zack went. Apparently it's not cool to walk in the 100m, but walking is an acceptable option in the 800m. I determined that I was not about to stand outside on a blustery day with no jacket to watch Zack walk around the course so I found him just before they called his group, pulled him aside, looked him in the eye and said "Do your best Zack - Keep running and DON'T WALK!" We watched him as he went by us the first time. He was running strong and at a good pace, somewhere in the middle of the pack and was holding his own. He started to fade in the second half and his little legs were getting tired so we called out for him to "take bigger steps" and he began to do it. His pace improved and he began to move up in the pack. By the time he was done, he finished in about 13th place. Zack was very happy and we were quite proud of him. That last 1/2 lap around the track looked pretty tiring, but they were so focused on finishing that there were no losers, just finishers!

The whole event reminded of Hebrews 12. There's a picture of people running while others are cheering them on and watching them go. Paul writes and says "let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us." Running isn't always easy. Sometimes we get tired and need to adjust our pace. Sometimes we need to take bigger steps. Whatever the race throws at us, the thing that matters most is that we keep moving our feet and to quote Paul again "fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith." There's a prize at the end of the race that makes it worth the pain.


Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Tell it like BB King Does...

Barb and I spent the weekend at Harrison Hot Springs Resort. The church gave us a gift certificate when we left last fall so we used it to celebrate our 18th Anniversary and enjoyed it to the fullest. What an amazing place. Our room was a Junior Suite, overlooking the lake. Can't beat the view. The pools were great, but the highlights were on Sunday. We started with golf. It was my second game of the year, Barb's first in 2 years, but we had a ton of fun... I had the best drive of my life on the 9th hole (Par 4, 370 yds, dog-leg left. I was on in 2 and all would have been perfect, except for the fact that I got a bit impatient with the 4 snails (look up "slow play" in the dictionary and you'll find a picture of this foursome...) playing in front of us and drove the ball over their heads... I was torn between "oh no... that ball is still going...." and "oh WOW... that ball is still going..." Three of the four couldn't have cared less and were such "non-golfers" that they actually played to the wrong green. The other person (there always has to be one of these...) waited for me on the 9th green. After a pointed "you shouldn't..." I went on to 3 putt the green... grrrr..... It was still a great shot...

After a lesuirely lunch, Barb went for a hot stone massage. She absolutely loved it! I'm still trying to get my head around what's so cool about river rocks heated in a roaster, but she thought it was pretty cool. I read the Da Vinci code while she was gone. It would be a better book if Tom Clancy had written it, but it's okay....

We went to "Billy Bob's Jazz and Blues" for dinner. Dinner was okay, but the entertainment was great. We hung out for 3 hours enjoying ourselves to the max. Some people shouldn't dance and some who do should only do it when no one is watching... There was even an "amen" corner of sorts... an older lady was sitting up near the stage "coming into agreement" with the artist... It was kind of like this...

"Tell it like BB King does..." That's right.... Uh huh... C'mon now... you can say that again...."

I AM NOT KIDDING!! It was truly the funniest thing I've seen in a long time...

My parents had the kids who had a great time going to the Falkland Rodeo, learning to shoot a pellet gun and generally enjoying a weekend in the country. All in all... it was a great time!!

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Da Vinci Code - Part 2 ...

"Most people will go to this movie just because the church is against it..." That's what I heard on the way to work yesterday morning on CBC. The commentator went on to say that most people see the church as against anything fun and enjoyable... Gotta tell ya ... that just bugs me... mostly because it's true...

Without putting a ton of thought into it, most people can tell you that the church is against same-sex marriage, abortion, homosexuality, sex before marriage, sex outside of marriage (and some probably even think that the church is against sex INSIDE of marriage...) You see what I mean, it looks like we're against everything and anything... Now there are good reasons why God creates boundaries, but it seems to me that we've put too much energy into letting everybody know about the boundaries and not nearly enough time into telling the world about what we are for...

For example, the church is for families, children, women, equality, helping the poor, the widow and the orphan. We believe that success is a good thing and that education is valuable. We believe in service, sacrifice and generosity. The church is against injustice and for mercy and justice. It hates violence and celebrates the peacemaker.

I think it's all about our approach... we start on the basis of what's wrong with what people are doing or have been doing. It's just a thought, but starting with what people are doing wrong isn't the best way to build a positive relationship.

Check out Jesus with the woman caught in adultery. It can't get much worse than being "caught" in the act. You'd think that would qualify you for a tongue lashing from the Almighty, but Jesus only says ... I don't condemn you either.... go and sin no more....

The woman left with hope and empowered to go and do the "right thing" instead of the "wrong thing". I think she left feeling pretty good about her encounter with Jesus.

We could learn a lesson here. It might change the whole world...

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A priest, a Pentecostal preacher and a Rabbi all served as chaplains to the students of Northern Michigan University in Marquette. They would get together two or three times a week for coffee and to talk shop.
One day, someone made the comment that preaching to people isn't really all that hard. A real challenge would be to preach to a bear. One thing led to another and they decided to do an experiment They would all go out into the woods, find a bear, preach to it, and attempt to convert it.
Seven days later, they're all together to discuss the experience. Father Flannery, who has his arm in a sling, is on crutches, and has various bandages, goes first.
"Well," he says, "I went into the woods to find me a bear. And when I found him I began to read to him from the Catechism. Well, that bear wanted nothing to do with me and began to slap me around. So I quickly grabbed my holy water, sprinkled him and, he became as gentle as a lamb. The bishop is coming out next week to give him first communion and confirmation.
"Reverend Billy Bob spoke next. He was in a wheelchair, with an arm and both legs in casts, and an IV drip. In his best fire and brimstone oratory he claimed, " WELL brothers, you KNOW that we don't sprinkle! I went out and I FOUND me a bear. And then I began to read to my bear from the HOLY WORD! But that bear wanted nothing to do with me. So I took HOLD of him and we began to wrestle. We wrestled down one hill, UP another and DOWN another until we came to a creek. So I quick DUNKED him and BAPTIZED his hairy soul. And just like you said, he became as gentle as a lamb. We spent the rest of the day praying
They both looked down at the rabbi, who was lying in a hospital bed. He was in a body cast and traction with IV's and monitors running in and out of him. He was in critical condition.
The rabbi looks up and says, "Looking back on it, circumcision may not have been the best way to start."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Da Vinci Code

I'm a bit of a "spy" movie/book fan, so I confess I'm looking forward to seeing this movie on the big screen. I don't get to a lot of movies, but I'm looking forward to seeing this one, mostly because I really enjoy mystery stories. The movie does raise an interesting question in my mind.... What if something came to light that affected what we had always believed as truth? What if what I have come to believe about Jesus was not entirely the way it really is? I'm not suggesting something as big as His deity or the virgin birth, but we tend to create Jesus in our own image. In other words, there are times that we think that Jesus sees the world in the same way that we do, that He enjoys the same things that we do and that He shares the same preferences and tastes that we do. (That might sound ridiculous to you, but I've been a pastor long enough to know that for most people, that's pretty much how it works...)

Here's where I'm going with this. When Jesus came to earth the first time, the religious crowd didn't accept him because He didn't fit their mold or meet their expectations. They were looking for someone who embraced their lifestyle and shared their values. When he came and hung out with tax collectors, drunks, gluttons and sinners, they were mortified.

In the same way, I can only wonder what my response to Jesus would be if I saw him on the street. Would he "fit" into my grid or would I put him on the back burner because he's not what I expected him to be.

I think Jesus is a whole lot of fun. A person who loves people and isn't too uptight about all of the "stuff" that matters so much in church life. I also think that He's got a ton of passion and the stuff that matters to him REALLY MATTERS A LOT! I think He's more about mercy than He is about judgment. I think He's big on grace and forgiveness. Holiness is connected to walking closely with Him on the journey and not about all of the rules and trappings that we create to make him "happy".

Open my eyes Lord, I want to see Jesus. The way that He is, not the way that I've made him...

Have a good one gang!

Friday, May 12, 2006

I've got to tell you the funniest thing that happened tonight. Britt and Zack were both at sleepovers so Barb, Tyler and I went out for dinner. We went to a place that we haven't been to for about 2 years. As soon as we looked at the menu we remembered why we hadn't been there, but it was too late to leave because we had already ordered our drinks. The food was "okay" but the service was BRUTAL! I could give you details but that's not what's funny. After we waited 20 minutes for Tyler's 3 mini cones to show up for desert, we finally got the bill. Our server came by about 10 minutes after she dropped it off and by that point I was balancing the bill and cash on the edge of the table to see if she might notice 2 20's on the floor... She finally came over and asked if I needed change from my $40 on our $32 order. Now to me, the only place you don't tip something is McDonalds, Tim Horton's or any other fast food place, so even though the service was awful, I was going to leave her something. It wasn't going to be $5 but all I had in change was the $3 that came back from the bill. I left it on the table and we got up to leave. Tyler was finishing his cone when we got up so he was about 10 seconds behind us. When we got to the car, he was very quick to tell me that he'd brought along the change that I'd "forgotten" on the table...

What do you do when you're in the parking lot and your son has just grabbed the "cheapo" tip that you left the server?? I've never seen a "Miss Manners" on the topic so I did what seemed pretty obvious to me... I put the car in drive and left!! I certainly WASN'T going to go back and give her the $3 that Tyler had pocketed!!

There's probably a lesson here, but I don't see it at the moment... any thoughts??
Thinking Things Through...

Like most people, I couldn't help but notice the large Pro-Life Rally on Parlaiment Hill yesterday. For the record, I'm pro-life, but not the "hold a sign, sign a petition" kind of pro-lifer. I guess everybody sees it differently, but here are my thoughts on yesterday's rally.

There are believers on the government side of the house who hold to biblical values. We are blessed to have a Christian serving as the PM of our great nation. One of the greatest challenges he and his party faced during the last campaign came in the constant "fear mongering" that the media and other political parties constantly threw at them. The underlying message was "these people are dangerous, they can't be trusted and that Canadians should be concerned about their hidden agenda." So now, after just over 100 days in office, we are seeking to bring abortion back onto the political table. This does us a huge disservice. First of all, it gives credence to the notion that "these people are dangerous" and that a government led by a believer will pander to the evangelical right. In my mind the last place the church should be right now is protesting on Parlaiment Hill, unless it is to pray, support and encourage the leaders who are there by God's appointment. I think we should be there relationally, but I don't think we need to be there demonstrating what we are against, yet one more time.

At some point, it comes down to trust. First of all, we need to trust God that He is in control and directing the affairs of our nation. Secondly, we need to trust the believers that currently are serving in government. All of this is a process and it takes time for things to change. Finally, if you feel the need to do/say something, write your MP a letter. Tell them that you appreciate them and that you are praying for them and if there is a way you can serve them, you would be glad to do so!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Looking Good...

I'm experiencing a dramatic change in my thinking about the way we're supposed to look. Now, as my friend Sonya noted a last month when I was honored as her "Person of the Day", I confess to a bit of a "GQ" fascination and enjoy wearing clothes that I think are "unique" and "cool". (My favorite shirt is a Tommy H - Pink, Green, Yellow and cream striped shirt. I've taken some flack when I've worn it, but it takes a real man to wear pink!!) :-)

Coming back to the point, I've become absolutely convinced that God takes great delight in making us look good at every opportunity. By and large, we've kind of missed the power of that truth within the church. We've worked more towards "fitting in" than we have towards looking good and yet looking good is what God has in mind for us.

The biblical imagery to support this is overwhelming. There's the recurring theme of being washed or cleansed. The bible constantly speaks of being given new clothes and there are countless promises of God's provision and blessing coming to His children. Jesus spoke of the birds of the air and the lilies of the field. What stands out more than a lily in a field? In the OT He promised that it would be His blessing and presence that would set His people apart from the rest of the world.

Here' s my recent experience with this. Between now and when we launch Leading Influence Ministries, I'm selling software to local governments. I'm having a blast right now because my sales are starting to happen. I'm getting some great recognition within the company and from the owner. What they don't know (yet) is that I have made it my practice to pray before demos and over the proposals that I send out. I've asked God to give me favor at every level and this success is entirely a matter of God making me look good in the eyes of the people around me.

This is not limited to me, but can work for anyone because God's promises work for everyone. At the end of the day, we are made to be the head and not the tail. To stand out, not fit in in every possible way so.... Let God make you look good! That's his plan anyway!

Monday, May 08, 2006

I heard something incredible last week. "God's glory appears where people see eye to eye..." Given the truth of Ps. 133, and Acts 2, this makes perfect sense. God works and moves when people are connected in unity. I've been a pastor for over 20 years so I've learned a few things about unity. I know for example that unity is about more than singing off the same page. It's also about more than the religious language that we use we refer to each other as "brother and sister". (Most of the time that stuff makes me want to just run screaming from the room...) No, unity is about more than just superficial "niceties"...

Unity is based on what we agree we see together. For instance, I had coffee with a couple of guys that I'm getting to know this afternoon. They are key leaders in marketplace ministry in our nation. I was blessed to be with them. We shared our hearts for ministry and quickly understood that we see the same things through the eyes of the Spirit. Nobody had to verbalize it, this was about more than just being on the same page, there was a spiritual "connection" that occurred because we were seeing the same things at the same time because of the work of the same Holy Spirit at work in our lives.

This connection is about more than "kumbuyah" moments where we come together to light a candle, hold hands and sing. This is about something profoundly deep. It's something supernatural that we experience as the Holy Spirit connects our hearts and lives together. This plays out over and over in our lives. Over the course of this ministry transition, I have shared my heart and vision for the legislative community with pastors and ministry peers and have generally got one of two responses. The first response is amazing to me. I have had people light up and say "YES" that's so amazing and incredible. (I really like that response, not because it makes me feel good, but because it affirms the call of God on my life to this particular area of ministry.) When I asked my pastor to sit on our board of directors, his response was to weep because he was so honored to be a part of something that he sees as absolutely incredible. That's because we see the same thing and as a result God reveals His glory (greatness, power, majesty)

On the other hand, I have seen a response that is less than inspiring. I have had conversations with people who absolutely "glaze over" when we talk about it. (It's not unlike watching the eyelids of recently butchered chickens...) I love my friends whether they "get it" or not, but it's been pretty amazing to watch them leave the conversation even though they are still sitting there because they don't see what I see. It's okay to not "see it", it just makes the point that I opened with earlier. When we don't see it together, there can be no glory revealed.

I think this is absolutely powerful and explains why churches that are rooted in a unity that is born of the Spirit vs. a manufactured "detente" can do anything, build anything, fund anything and reach their world. This is an amazing dynamic that the gates of hell cannot stand against. Nothing can stop the church that agrees that they see the same thing because of what the Spirit is doing on the inside!

Where we see "eye to eye", we are together in relationship, fellowship and purpose and that elevates us to fresh levels of faith and fruitfulness because those who see the same thing, encourage each other to reach beyond themselves and into the realm of the supernatural.

Have a good one! Thanks for tuning in!!
Extra, Extra Read All About It!!

As a tribute to Zack and Tyler who started their first paper route today, I wanted to make the following announcement. LEADING INFLUENCE MINISTRIES is an official legal entity that is fully incorporated in the Province of BC. This is great news and not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. Now that we are legal, we'll be able to open a bank account and send out those fundraising letters!! :-)

I've got some other stuff that I want to write about this week, but this is an exciting day and marks a huge next step in the life of the ministry.

On The Beach

Ever had one of those days when it doesn't seem to matter what you try or what you do, nothing seems to work the way you planned it out? I've had my share of those too. Yesterday was one. I've been working on some stuff in my life that I'd been making good progress on, but yesterday, I hit the wall, melted down and pretty much self-destructed. I could give you more details, but I'd like to keep a shred of dignity so let's leave it at "it wasn't very pretty."

That being said, Barb came with me for a recycle run" and we took some time to help me debrief, re-group and regain my focus on the things that matter most. We prayed together about what we we facing and in that moment Jesus met us. It wasn't a profound "spairitual" experience (like my pastor says...) It was just a real moment, where He came in and changed my perspective, attitude and outlook. Now, this is not the first time He has done this, and I know it won't be the last. He is in fact a specialist at meeting us "on the beach".

John tells us about a time when the disciples were "maxed out" too. Jesus has been crucified and raised from the dead and the disciples are in the process of learning to live, work and minister without the physical presence of Jesus. The disciples decide to go fishing and the worst possible thing happens. They get skunked!! What could be worse for professional fisherman?? It actually does get worse because Jesus calls to them from the shore and asks them if they've caught anything. That's got to be the worst. Getting skunked and having a "shore-ling" ask you how you did...

Jesus tells them to throw their nets on the other side of the boat (which makes ZERO sense) in the natural but they do it anyway and harvest an amazing catch of fish. What I like most about the account is that Jesus met them when they were at their lowest and worst and turned everything around. When they had come to the end of themselves and done all they knew how to do, Jesus walks in, speaks to their situation and in an instant everything changes. Not only did they catch a ton of fish, but Jesus had a fire with some fresh fish baking on it.

Jesus met me on the beach yesterday. It was rich, sweet and powerful. It was gentle, quiet and peaceful. He eliminated my stress, changed my day and turned things around in an amazing way. I love it when He meets me on the beach - it changes everything!

Look - here He calms again...

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Our daughter Brittany has been pressuring me to write something about her so here you go Britt...

Britt is 12 going on 21. She's a very mature and responsible young lady. All in all a good kid, with a lot of friends, a social life that never quits, a great babysitter AND someone who really likes to make other people feel special.

If I could change one thing about Britt, it would only be that I'd want to turn the clock back to when she was 3 or 4 and liked to give me lots of hugs, cuddles and kisses. She doesn't do that anymore and I kind of miss it, even though she's growing up. Oh yeah... I'd like to make her a clean freak where she couldn't stand to have a messy room or bathroom.

When it's all said and done, Britt is a great kid and I'm glad to have her just the way she is ... even when she makes me crazy!!

Have a great week Britt!

Friday, May 05, 2006

There's news of God doing some exciting things in Sarnia, Ontario. Large crowds, sustained meetings (21 days and counting...) and some extraordinary things taking place as God powerfully changes people's lives. To quote Martha Stewart "that's a good thing..." and it is. For some this will be the "silver bullet" for the church and we will get on airplanes, busses and into our cars to get to "Sarnia". This too is a good thing because it speaks in part of spiritual hunger and the search for freshness.

I had an "aha" moment a few years ago. If my heart was to suddenly stop beating, medical professionals would put those electric paddles on me, yell "clear", jolt me, watch me flop like a fish and hopefully my heart would begin to beat again. To me, that's a picture of revival. A drastic supernatural intervention that "re-starts" our spiritual heart beat. If the doctors were to keep jolting me with the paddles, they would eventually kill me because the heart wasn't made to endure that many "big" shocks, and yet this is what we are constantly asking God to do with the church. We pray "revive us" God. Jolt us again so that we can be what we were before.

I would fully expect that if I needed paddles to start my heart beating again, my doctor would want to talk with me about the necessary changes that needed to happen in my life so that this would no longer be necessary. In other words I would need to reform my diet and exercise habits. The same is true in the church. Revival may get us going for a while, but it is REFORMATION that we need to experience. Reformation calls for an entire re-shaping of the way we think, what we say, what we do and how we do it. Think "Holmes on Homes" in the church. Reformation means that what currently isn't working would get tossed or fixed so that it would do what it's supposed to. If you've seen Holmes, you know he's ruthless and getting rid of what doesn't work Imagine how the Holy Spirit might work if we gave Him permission to do the same.

I love the church. I just think some things have to change.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I drove past the spot where the "last spike" was driven to complete the Canadian Pacific Railway this afternoon. The scenery in Eagle Pass is amazing. It's a tight mountain valley surrounded by snow capped peaks and lush green grass in the valley. That spike represented the completion of thousands of miles of railway tracks and ties over a nation as expansive and magnificent as Canada. It was built over muskeg, the Canadian Shield, across the prairies, through forests and mountains. It goes around lakes, over rivers and through valleys. It is an amazing combination of vision, sacrifice, investment, dreams and hard work. There were many times when the project nearly came to a halt because of resistance, hardship and scandal. There were many days that lives were lost (particularly in BC) as the railway encountered some extreme geography that needed to be overcome.

As I glanced over at the site, I thought of the words of the apostle Paul in Philippians 1:6 - "Being confident of this, that He who has begun a good work in you will continue it until the day of completion." You and I are on a journey. We are constantly in the process of being "made" into the people that God wants us to be. Making us is not as simple as making a cookie, because we are all unique and made with a specific purpose that absolutely sets us apart from everyone and anyone else. We were conceived in the heart and mind of God long before the foundations of the earth were laid. God dreamed dreams about us and made plans for us that He will accomplish as we allow him to "make us".

The challenge for us is really about whether or not we will "settle" for where and what we are or if we will continue to allow God to build us into what He has designed us to be. The easy thing for the builders of the CPR would have been to stop building at Calgary or Banff and "settle" for the east side of the mountains, but the dream was to connect the nation by rail from coast to coast. Building from the east to Alberta would have been an accomplishment in itself, but the vision was for the Pacific and so the building went on.

The same is true with us. It's easy to settle for where we are, what we have and what we have become, but the next step in the plan is always just around the corner. The upside is that we never arrive here, but are always able to enjoy the amazing race that God has given us to run with endurance, pleasure and purpose. He keeps working as long as we keep walking!

Keep on walking! The change of scenery is good for you!


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I caught a few minutes of a documentary this weekend that told the story of a group of scientists that were searching for the cause of the Tsunami that so severely damaged parts of Thailand, Sri Lanka and India. It was pretty interesting to watch as they focused on a small group of islands hundreds of miles offshore. It turns out that the elevation of these islands was nearly 10' higher than it was before the tsunami. What caught the attention of the researchers was that the coral reefs that had previously surrounded the islands underwater were now part of the immediate beach. After some investigation, they discovered the fault line where the two geological plates shifted. At that point the difference in elevation was somewhere near 100' which easily explained the size and speed of the killer wave.

I read this in a Tom Clancy novel this weekend. "History is a series of small events that periodically culminate into the moments that we remember." It strikes me that for years those two geological plates were grinding, shifting and straining against each other and no one knew or noticed until the big moment. The same is true with history and social/spiritual change. Time goes on, words are spoken, attitudes shift, decision are made and plans are put into action and then suddenly and ultimately " the big moment" happens. When it does, we are shocked, taken by surprise and overwhelmed. If you don't know me, you might be entitled to think that I subscribe to a conspiracy theory and that I somehow believe that the CIA, Mossad, the Rockerfellers, Jews or the Catholic Church are all pulling some secret strings and manipulating history to a particular end... I don't buy into conspiracy theories, but I do believe in a master plan.

In the bible, the book of Revelation tells us that "kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and Christ." 1 Cor 15 tells us that God is constantly working towards the ultimate fulfillment of His plan to bring EVERYTHING under the feet of Jesus. How cool is that?? He's working to bring sickness, injustice, violence, hatred, racism, poverty, discrimination, pain, sin, suffering, guilt, shame, fear and doubt and the list could go on and on .... And place them completely and absolutely under the feet of Jesus where they no longer affect us, reach us or influence us.

At this point it's easy to write this off as a "one day" event, but the reality is that we are a part of the process. Not in a militant, violent, reactive kind of way, but as salt and light that changes our world through influence, presence, leadership and servanthood. You and I are part of the plan to bring "everything" under the feet of Jesus.

It begins in you and works through you to accomplish the great and glorious purposes of God that He has made and empowered you to fulfill through the power of His Spirit at work in you.

Make history - change something!