A walk in the park…and a turn of events

Img_0004_1This afternoon in attempt to help speed things along with the 8 day overdue arrival of our second child, slow poke, Christiene, Anna and I went for a long wander through Deer Lake Park and enjoyed what must have been one of the greatest Fall afternoons in history.  As we strolled, we were taken aback by the beauty of God’s creation in every way imaginable.  From the sounds of leaves rustling in the gentle breeze, to the sight of sunbeams bursting through trees we were amazed at the garden we have to bask in called creation.  ‘The Lord is good’ was my mantra as we paused to relish in the splendor of creation, the work of God’s fingers, his love. 

Wandering along the path we took a slight detour and found a spot of land that reached to the lake.  Surrounded by lily pads and quacking ducks and little turtles too, we paused and took some pictures of the scenery.  The great peace and calm that washed over us kept us in a state of worship and adoration of our King.  It was fitting for us to stop and pray our ‘midday’ office.  Saturday we pray with the Saints in the weekly rhythm.

This picturesque day; however, had a tragedy burst upon it, a reminder that we live in a world of wondrous beauty and yet at the same time under the curse of the fall.  Just before our prayer began I received a call from a Saint, about another Saint.  My dear friend had called and informed us that his 90 year old mother Addie had had a stroke at 5am this morning.  For those who know Addie, she is a bright light, a fixture of joy in our congregation who loves the Lord deeply.  This news saddened us and moved us to pray for her.  The outlook according to the doctors is not very bright.  She may have days to live.  She is paralyzed on her left side and her brain is still hemorrhaging. 

I’d like to invite those who read this to stop for a moment and pray for Addie.  Pray as the Lord calls us to pray for one another.  To hold her in the palm of our hands and lift her up gently before the Lord as a precious and loved child of His.  Pray that the bleeding would stop and that she would feel little discomfort.  Pray that the Lord would fill her mind with his peace and her heart with his love.  From the the prayer book The Rhythm of Life: Celtic Daily Prayers, that we used today:

"Upon all whose lives are being tried, Lord have mercy"

In your mercy and grace Lord, be upon Addie and her family in this time.

John

Cultural exegesis

Cultural exegesis is a critical task that must be performed for the Church to be adequately formed for the purpose of involvement in God’s Mission.  The task requires a reflective and thoughtful posture towards the world in which we live in order to understand the nature of the stories that dominate and shape us who are bound within its framework.  In order to be missional, cultural understanding is paramount. 

Unfortunately, for many, a perspective of ‘mission’ is not normative.  The Western world has predominately been the ‘sending’ place for missionaries to go overseas to primitive and different tribes to evangelize.  Perceptively, the West did not need evangelization.  Many would suggest that this has created a ‘lax’ posture towards the world that we live in today with respects to how it shapes us…

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Values…

Mike Todd from the North Shore posted a helpful article here about the task at hand for Churches in the West.  Because of the inherited cultural value sets of the North American Dream and Nationalistic motivations, the Church has to in a sense be reconstituted should the values of the Kingdom (see Sermon on the Mount) replace the values of Western Culture.  Although it is a specific word to the US, we here in Canada are formed by the same value set, minus the patriotism and "Christian Nation" mentality…

Grace & Peace,

John

Bread, Community & Still Overdue

Well, here we are at 9:35 pm on Tuesday night after a successful first attempt at distributing bread in our neighbourhood to those that need/want a loaf.  It was a fun evening as a mission group here in Surrey of gathering for a cause.  We had two from our group go to the bread store that has donated their left overs for us one night a month and then we bagged the bread and divided it up for distribution.  It kind of felt like being one of the twelve on the mountain side when Jesus multiplied the loaves.  I honestly thought My wife and I wouldn’t make it tonight as we should have been having a baby by now.  But that didn’t happen, we’re still waiting and wondering when our li’l one is going to make an appearance.  We can’t wait to meet him/her; we were supposed to meet last Friday…

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Prayer & Action: A Benedictine Perspective

Wisdom_distilled_from_the_daily_1In her book, Wisdom Distilled From the Daily: Living the Rule of St. Benedict Today, Joan Chittister engages the issue of prayer and action.  In the third chapter entitled, Prayer & Lectio: the Center & Centrifuge of Life, she has these wise words for us:

"Prayer, work and holy leisure are the three legs that support the spiritual foundation of Benedictinism. Each one is meant to complement the other.  Not one of the three is to be abandoned.  Prayer makes us conscious of the presence of God, work makes us co-creators of the Kingdom, holy leisure gives us time for the reflective reading of Scripture that makes prayer a real experience rather than the recitation of formulas…

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Conformed to His Image: Dependence & Discipline, Ch 6

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What is it in tremendously godly people that we admire so much?  Is it the way in which they live/d sacrificially?  Is it the seemingly insurmountable spiritual accomplishments they achieved that we admire?  Do we wish God to work in us in ways he worked in Mother Teresa, or Billy Graham?  Do we long for the closeness to God that we feel they experience/d?

There is a fantasy that exists more often than naught within the imaginations of Christians that wants to believe that the type of transformation evident in the lives of the spiritual giants we admire happens with little effort.  Many are afraid that embracing a spirituality that entails effort is bordering on legalism and somehow feel this works in opposition to the grace we are saved by.  On the other hand, embracing a spirituality intent on effort for acceptance – the idea of earning salvation – is likewise a misunderstanding of discipline working in concert with dependence on God…

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