Easter Beautiful

I was trying to explain Easter to my 3 year old daughter today and when I asked her what was significant about Easter Sunday, she said: “Jesus died on the cross for us.”

“Ok, Anna, that was on Friday and that is true, but what about today, Sunday?.

“Um, um…”

“Today, Anna”, I said, “is the day Jesus rose from the dead. You see, jesus died for our sins and for the whole world. And what is remarkable about his death is that he did not stay dead. He rose from the dead on Easter Sunday to give us life and make all things new and beautiful.”

She replied…”Easter Beautiful?”

“Yes, Anna, Easter Beautiful…that is an excellent way to put it. God is making all things Easter beautiful by rising from the dead and giving us new life.”

Needless to say, I was touched and reminded that from the lips of infants and children…

So I thought about “Easter Beautiful” and was inspired out of blog silence with the following words…

Easter Beautiful! People, nature, the whole realm, of all we know. Is being made, Easter Beautiful!

Could beauty be better? Can people change? from the grip of evil’s derange? Brought back to life, from death’s corruption, Sins forgiven by Love’s Easter eruption. Making blossoms bloom in lives of gloom.

Without hope no more! And living breath bestowed. Hearts now better, now full. For God is making everything, Easter Beautiful!

Changing times and the blog

I wrote this post a few days ago when I was in Austin Texas on business enjoying the benefit of the warm Texas sun and the hospitality of the people. Today I want to chat about the changing times I am going through and how that relates to the blog. In the midst of intermittent blogging, I’ve had some time to consider the role of writing for me. A reality of my life (something I have known for a long time) is that I am quick to say much and speak often. The question I am asking myself is; “Should I?” Perhaps pithy In conversation might be helpful. Perhaps in writing I should do the same.

I’ve read that when words come out of silence they are capable of giving life. It is as if, in the Christian life, silence is the womb that brings forth words of new life. Words that are spoken out of compulsion merely reveal the motive of the speaker to gain approval, value, and meaning from others. The danger is that we miss where our true worth comes from. Does it come from looking smart or having the right answer all the time? Or does it come from a perspective of one’s self that is grounded in the deepest humility and in God? I am thinking the latter and wondering how that could better define me.

So, now the blog. I have been discouraged from writing. I am out of words, ideas, and thoughts. Perhaps it is because I feel that what I know and how I live often don’t measure up. In Eugene Peterson’s book, Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places, he suggests that most in leadership and ministry share an acute anxiety caused by an awareness that the more we know the less we practice what we know. Knowledge can create a chasm that separates the intellect from practice; the rubber from the road. It throws us into a gnostic world of thoughts and ideas, separated from the realities of the word incarnated through practice. It makes the learner feel like a fake.

It is believed of Abba Agathon, a desert father, that he once walked around for three years with a stone in his mouth. Why? I think he took James’ words about the tongue and its dangers seriously. My desire is to write often and well. I long to share my thoughts and hope they are in turn a benefit to those who read. But for now, I think I need to listen in a way that will give space for God to do a new work in my life. For the next while I will (figuratively) walk around with a stone in my hands, and maybe my mouth too.

Back from travel

It’s been a hectic last week and a bit. I have been on six planes in the last 8 days and in meetings virtually non-stop. I am glad to be home taking today to catch up with the family at the Vancouver Aquarium.

As was my experience last time in Vegas, I was astonished (or should I be?) by the magnitude and intention of it all. This city that thrives on the weakness of others has become an effective machine at brining people in, taking their money, and contributing to one of the most prevalent social ills of our time. It’s luring concoction of affluence, the promise of winning, women, and exploitation is one of today’s architectural wonders that serves as a vivid signpost that the powers and principalities of darkness do exist.

Aside from the insight above that in some providential way has protected me (it wouldn’t have 9 years ago), the city is an amazing sight, so I thought I would test out our new Canon Digital SLR. Here are some shots for you….





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On the Road…

Well, I am off tomorrow to great big Dallas for a customer visit relating to my work. I’ll be there for the next couple of days and then on Sunday, it’s off to Vegas for our Sales Kick Off at the Belaggio Hotel. I am not too keen on the travel as it means being away from the wife and kids; however, I look forward to a bit of relaxing and sleeping through the night (our son still wakes us up). The quality of the Belaggio will serve that purpose just fine.

The posting has been weak lately, and I still will come through with some reflections about the incarnation from my Christmas silence as promised; however, the next couple of days may still lag in the posting department. Last year I blogged about my time in Vegas. You can read about it here. Perhaps (if time permits) I will post some additional reflections from this year.

Until then, grace and peace be yours.

By the way, I thought this was pretty funny

Imagine Conference – Some Bloggers Emerging

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After our time with Alan Hirsch for most of the day, we headed back to the Hotel and got settled. People are arriving – up to 700 for the Imagine Conference – and bloggers are beginning to emerge. So far:

Scott Cripps is here

So is Santosh

And some Resonate boys as well

Jared and Pernell

Cam Roxburgh and I had dinner tonight with Rob Dale, pastor of Biker’s Church in Ottawa. It was not long until a bunch of the guys from his church came to join us. All of them ride. how cool is that? It was a delightful time of conversation over food and some of the stories of how they minister to the Biker sub culture were amazing. What a treat.

I am sure many more bloggers and interesting people will emerge as the conference officially kicks off tomorrow.

The comments section is up on the Missional Training Network Blog. Check there for updates as well and feel free to contribute to the conversation.

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Movember for Charity…

widgetI want to let you all know about a little month long charity I am involved with. During Movember (the month formerly known as November) I’ll be growing a Mo (slang for Moustache). That’s right I’m bringing the Mo back because I’m passionate about men’s health and the fight against prostate cancer. Why…

Every year, around 22,300 Canadian men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and about 4,300 die of the disease, making it the number one cancer threat to Canadian men.

Men are far less healthy than women. The average life expectancy of males is 5 years less than females.

To sponsor my Mo please CLICK HERE. Any amount helps. Donate over $20 and you will automatically be issued a tax deductible receipt. All donations are made directly to the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation of Canada who will use the funds to create awareness and fund research for those men who suffer from prostate cancer.

You will notice the Movember Widget to the right side of this blog page under my Networks Heading, That will link you to the Movember site as well.

Thanks for your support

What kind of Mo should I grow?


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A busy few days…

…and I am exhausted. The weekend was nonstop with our son’s first b-day, a wedding on Sunday after Church, and a monday night halloween party that our mission groups put together. I have had things on my mind to blog, but not the time to put it to paper web.

In the mean time, expect a speedlinking post soon.

For now, have a read of TSK’s review of Everything must change. Andrew raises a little humour and a red flag, but I think it is more an encouragement for clarity than anything else. By the way, anyone going to Seattle in April? I am thinking about it.

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One Year Blogging…

As I approach the anniversary of my first year of blogging, I took some time to reflect on the experience and how it has shaped me. Blogging has been a tremendous source of life for me. In addition to helping me improve my writing skills, blogging has expanded my insight into the greater missional/emerging church conversation. Blogging has also connected me to some intriguing and wonderful people that God has used significantly in my spiritual growth. Here are a few that I am grateful to know, read, and admire. In no particular order:

JR Woodward – this guy is onto something unique and prophetic in both his writing and missional context. JR, thanks for always being an encouragement to me in your writing. Check out his site if you haven’t already and make it a regular read. There is much to be gleaned.

Erika Haub – Erika is one who ‘earths’ her theology. She finds God at work in the everyday and skillfully writes her stories for us to enjoy. Erika and her husband are embedded in a missional context that is both challenging and (from what I hear in her writing) rewarding. Theirs is the front line of the mission that reconciles this world to God. A must read.

Bill Kinnon – Bill’s writing is inspiring and thoughtful. He has a penetrating eye that can see through to the heart of the conversation and is never hesitant to speak his mind. Signs of a prophet perhaps. I met Bill in person back when I started blogging and his words of encouragement were immediately a blessing. Thanks for your help, Bill. Please link to Bill.

Brant Hansen – Brant is busy blogger because, well….he’s just sooo popular. His writing and whit are unmatched in the blogosphere, as his his theological insight and reasoning. Much can be learned from Brant and reading his stuff is pure fun. Humor was handed to him twice when he was created and he has a knack for communicating important things about the Kingdom. This leading feeder of leading leaders and his conferences are sure to spur many on to love and good deeds. Please link to him, he plays the accordion.


Rick Meigs – How could I have forgotten? In the wee hours of the night when I types this post, I forgot to include Rick. Rick over at the Blind Beggar has been an informative read over the last year. He’s the founder of ‘Friend of Missional‘; a website anyone who is interested in the missional church conversation should read. From what I read at Rick’s site, he seems to have an uncanny and prophetic way of living out what he writes about. Please link to him.[UPDATE]

These are but a few of the people that have made this blogging thing a substantial blessing for me. Thanks to you and to the others who are linked in my blogroll. You are all part of a significant journey and I am thrilled to peek in and learn from time to time.

As a way to remember this past year at Toward Hope, here is a list of what I feel were my top posts in the last year…not by comments or hits, just the ones I liked writing the most. Consider them the “Best of Toward Hope”

Eschatology & Missional Spirituality

Spirituality, work, and integration…

Thoughts about Vision

Questions about “Mega Church” ecclesiology…

What’s in a word?

Sacred Reading and Creative Word

Billy Graham Special & some observations about the Gospel on TV and in our culture…

Living in the Story – Narrative and the Kingdom

Church as Public Companion…

I was reading the latest Christian Bookstore flyer and…

While waiting for my prescription…

Writer’s Block and the Bachelor…

Artistic imagination as subversive prophetic engagement

Community, Discernment, Compassion, and Justice

Thoughts about charity and justice…

Listening into Action…

The day the Lord spoke…

A scholar and a gentleman…(some humor)

The Royal Consciousness…

An interesting neighbourhood…and an invitation to pray

Reality and Values Collide….

10 Tips for Living the Incarnation…[Plus One]

The Bishop weighs in on the topic of ecclesiology…

The People Formerly Known as Passive (or TPFKAP)

The Loss of Lament: The Devil Pulled a Fast one…

The 3 Maladies of Facebook relationships

The Church Moves into the Neighbourhood – Part 1, Part 2, & Part 3

3 Perspectives on Congregational Life

3 Perspectives on Pastoral Ministry

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Speedlinking – Sept 27th

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It’s been a busy week church wise and work wise (quarter end), so I haven’t had much time to write anything. TO keep the posting somewhat consistent, here are some good links to keep you informed…

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This Post is for YOU…my readers

I have been at this blogging thing for almost one year now. As I reflect back, I realize that I have in now way established blogging success, but feel I have contributed to a conversation about the church and mission in ways that have been helpful to my growth, and I pray yours. So this post is for you. I want to say Thank You to all who have benefited from and contributed to the discussion. You are a big part of why I do this and it has proved to be a great source of life to me.

This leaves me wondering a little about who reads this blog. There is only so much one can learn from the ‘blog stats’ available and I would like to learn something about you.

1. Who are you and where are you from?

2. Why do you read this blog?

3. Do you blog? (I’d like to link to you if you are a reader of Toward Hope)

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

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Speedlinking – Sept 13th

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Here’s a post for mac lovers…

Here’s a resource post for the growing number of mac lovers I am encountering in my circles lately. People are coming to mac like crazy. A mac revival is spreading across the land like wildfire and people are seeing the light like never before. So, religious imagery aside, here is a list of mac apps that will kick start your discipleship toward eternal computing paradise.

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  • Delicious Library – 40$, but well worth it.
  • Books Application – it’s a free library and a good alternative to Delicious
  • Adium – a messenger
  • Ecto – for blogging, this is the best software out there for 20$
  • Liquid CD – for burning
  • Mac the Ripper – for importing your movies onto your mac
  • Omni Outliner – for organizing your ideas
  • Skim – a great PDF reader with many options
  • You’ll love Skitch for image sharing and manipulation (by invite only…so search google for skitch invites and see what you find)
  • X-Pad for taking notes – it’s easy and clean
  • Journler – a great little app
  • Firefox Campus Edition – with some cool research and multimedia options

Check out C.Wess Daniel’s site Gathering in Light each friday. His “dress down Friday” post has great links and tips for mac users.

[Update: Check out Quicksilver, A unified, extensible interface for working with applications, contacts, music, and other data. via Adam]

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