Friday, March 28, 2008

Around our house...

Here are some lighter moments from life at our house in the past few weeks...

Barb is babysitting our niece. Her name is Avery, she's 2 and we are so glad we can help Rona and Mat out and at the same time get to enjoy Avery. Avery loves to play with buttons. Yesterday, she got up on the chair by the computer and began to play with the mouse. (We just got a new computer that runs on VISTA which just makes the story that much more interesting...) In just a matter of a few unsupervised minutes, she managed to change the orientation of the screen so that everything was turned on it's side. (Some call it landscape, but my mom reads this blog and so for her everything is just 'sideways'.) Barb didn't want to call and break the news over the phone so she waited until I walked into the house and let me discover this little surprise all by myself.

Here's the amazing thing about VISTA. A 2 year old can change the orientation of the display with a few clicks of the mouse, but it takes an adult who spends most of his day on a computer the better part of an hour to undo it. Actually it took Zack holding the monitor on it's side while I did 3 google searches to find the fix. Not surprisingly, you don't actually change the orientation through the monitor icon in control panel. You access it through sounds and something. Ahhh yes.... VISTA. Makes me wonder why I didn't buy a Mac....

Anyway, back to Avery. This morning we were giving a friend a ride to work. We went to her house to pick her up and then drove back past our house on the way into town. Our car is parked on the street and we noticed that the headlights were flashing. This caught my attention so I called Barb to ask her if she could see what was going on. My call went to voice mail and so I waited, knowing Barb would call back. Apparently Avery found more buttons, this time on the key fob for the car and she had pushed the panic button. Barb was hearing a horn sounding and couldn't figure out why someone's alarm was going off, until she realized that it was our car! When I called, she was looking for the keys...

Enough about Avery.... we were finishing off the painting project in our stairwell earlier this week when we ran out of paint. I picked up an old bucket with the code on top and went to the paint store. When I came back, the guy asked me why there was brown paint and green paint in the can. This was a good question because I had only painted with one color, which was supposed to be the color code on the lid of the can. He then broke the news to me that I had just finished painting my house with a 'mis-tint'. The color was supposed to be brown, but the tint was green.

The can that I took in was one that came from a friend who helped us choose our color. We used it for a first coat on a small wall. After the can was empty, we simply poured paint out of our contractor size pail into the small pail to make life easier. Hence the green paint in the brown paint can. The funny thing in all of this is that our friend who helped choose the color kept saying 'I'm surprised at how green it is...' and my mom who visited for a few days kept asking if we 'liked the color'. Now it may be that they were just commenting on the color or it may be that they were making subtle suggestions.

Either way, I was too busy painting to notice...

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He is Risen!

Easter is amazing. It reminds me that in what feels like our darkest moment, God is up to something behind the scenes that goes beyond what we would dare to think, ask or imagine. I've been thinking about something for most of the day today. It seems to me that the devil has no choice but to concede Easter, after all, how do you argue with an empty tomb? There's no doubt that he is working to distract people with the Easter Bunny and probably a thousand other things, but that's just way too obvious. (Besides, I had neighbours who had bunnies and never once did they leave anything shiny and bright in their cage.)

It seems to me that the Easter is all about the BIG WIN. If we were kids, it was the play for all the marbles. The one battle that determined WHO would win it all. If you know me, even a little bit, you'll figure out that I'm pretty competitive and while I'm more mellow than I used to be, I'm still convinced that winning is more fun than losing. If Easter is all about the 'BIG WIN' then I want every benefit that comes from it. I want to know the power of that WIN in every part of my life. I want to know that it works in my relationships, finances, body, and for every part of my past, present and future. I understand that Easter sets me up to live victoriously in every area of my life. I don't have to be arrogant or pompous about this. All I need is to grasp it, believe it and then begin to speak and live towards it.

We sang this song in church today. One of the lines was 'I know that my Redeemer lives and now I stand on what He did.' The key to this life is knowing what He did and then standing upon it no matter what I see around me.

I mentioned earlier that the devil has no choice but to concede Easter. At the same time, he's not about to go away without sowing the seeds of doubt and deception about what Easter is really all about. In the last little while, I've been hearing something that troubles me. It's the idea that Christ and Christianity is all about 'helping me' with my issues and pain. It's almost as though all I need is a spiritual/psychological elixer that will help me along until I breathe my final breath. This is the great deception. Jesus did not come to help me. He came to TRANSFORM me. The power of the gospel is not some mystical 'panacea' that will help me 'get by' with a little help from Jesus. Rather the power of the gospel absolutely revolutionizes my life so that I am forever changed. As I yield myself to His power at work within me, I will experience transformation at a measure and level that goes beyond what I can accomplish or achieve on my own.

I think the real lie is that I have to settle for some things, that there are parts of my life that cannot and will not change. It's as though I must embrace my lot in life and forget about hoping, believing, expecting and preparing for a better day.

As I write this, I am thinking of a friend. When I met her, she had huge issues in her life that were connected to her childhood. As we were getting to know each other, she crashed emotionally. It was a tough time for her and her husband. She is a case study in what I am talking about today. As she has yielded her life to the power of the gospel at work within her, she has been completely changed. She has become a visionary, leader and best of all is completely at peace with herself and the world around her. I'm proud of her, but I'm more proud of what God has done in her life and it's all because He has Risen!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Night and Day

We attended the Good Friday Service at our church this evening. The service was simple. It was really just portions of scripture combined with worship and communion. As the passage about Jesus death was being read, I saw something I'd never noticed before. After Jesus died, Joseph of Arimethea (a secret disciple who was intimidated by the Jews) went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body. Nicodemus helped with the embalming of Jesus body by bringing 75 pounds of spice. The story mentioned, seemingly in passing that it was the same Nicodemus that came to Jesus by night (Jn 3) who now came in the day. I couldn't help but notice the contrast between Joseph and Nicodemus. Joseph was a secret disciple and only Jesus and perhaps a handful of others knew of his faith.

Nicodemus on the other hand had come to Jesus by night, but now came to minister to him by day. It seems to me that we all come to Jesus by night in the sense that we come to the realization of our need to him at a dark point in our lives. We may not be in a crisis as such but the realization of our need underlines our own personal darkness and confirms our need of the Saviour. Something obviously shifted in Nicodemus's life that moved him from seeking and following under cover of darkness to stepping out to serve in the light of day. Admittedly, his particular service in this context was to bring 75 pounds of spices that would be used to embalm the body of Jesus, but the Lord had need of those spices for the next 3 days and so someone had to bring them. I expect that he might have felt funny, perhaps even at risk, as he delivered the sack of spices to the tomb that Joseph had provided, but God knew what he was doing with Nicodemus.

The world needs more Nicodemus like disciples who move from being night seekers to day followers. We need 'spice carriers' who will deliver a sweet fragrance into places of darkness and death while God does an unseen work on behalf of many lives that are invisible at the time. We need followers who will risk ridicule and rejection for the sake of obedience.

Are you up to the task?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

On Eliot Spitzer

Like many of you I've watched the tragic story involving New York Govenor Eliot Spitzer unfold this week. In fact as I write this, a news story featuring his resignation is playing on the TV. Once again, those things which are done in secret are being shouted from the rooftops. I can't (and don't) condone his actions in any way but at the same time I am saddened for him. He believed a lie that somehow he could get away with his actions. Believing the lie cost him his job, reputation and did untold damage to his family and friendships.

Integrity is a word that is often tossed around in leadership circles. We expect our leaders to be people of integrity, to live up to standards that they say they will and that they will keep their word. Integrity really speaks of 'wholeness' and 'oneness' in our lives. We want to separate public lives from private lives but in the end it really can't be done. When Mr. Spitzer's private life became public there was a tremendous deficit between what he portrayed he was all about and what he was actually doing.

Integrity is much easier to talk about than it is to achieve. Integrity requires more than a commitment to truthfulness and a connection between my words and my actions. Integrity requires humility and the ever present readiness to admit that we are subject to failure. Walking in this way keeps us from the kind of failure that Eliot Spitzer is currently experiencing.

My hope for Mr. Spitzer is that this nightmare will result in something amazing happening in his life and that he (with his family intact) will come out of this valley stronger and with a great sense of God's grace and restoration in his life.

My hope for you is that you will recognize the lie that says 'you can get away with it' and understand that integrity comes only through honesty and humility.

Have a fantastic day!