Saturday, June 30, 2007

Grad...bitter sweet...

Well another year, another grad! It is always such a bitter sweet time, one is that I am so excited for the youth who are moving on to the next chapter of their lives and excited to see what journey they will embark on. But two I miss them as they leave, they become so dear to my heart it really is so hard to have them leave...harder then most may think. What I love about Hepburn grad though is the amazing community involvement that happens here. Being one who graduated from the city high school of a grade of 200+ students it just wasn't the same...I love that here the community comes to grad, I love the personal and creative touches that are sprinkled through out the entire ceremony, the honoring of students, teachers and parents it is really heart warming time! And here comes the best part, after the ceremonies are done, the families put on huge food extravaganzas at their houses and the entire community goes house to house of the grads and eats and laughs and cries together, giving gifts, hugs, warm wishes, it is a true sense of community and joy that I have never seen before I came to Hepburn. It is soo special...and literally the closest thing I have ever experienced to 'true' community, church, there is so much joy in the air you can almost taste it...In fact my words here would not do justice to the atmosphere. What a time...moments of bliss and hope, and everything seems possible in this time...what beauty.

(Angie, Jenny and Amanda)

(Jan and Kayleigh)

(Brent and I)

(My Jr. Youth Sponsors)

Monday, June 25, 2007

SEX GOD continued again...

For the previous chapter reviews you can check them: Here, Here, Here and Here

Chapter Seven, Under the Chuppah

This chapter focuses on the idea of Chuppah a garment that is placed over the married couple in the Jewish tradition where what happens under the Chuppah is sacred and is between the couple under God the idea here is that : "We have to be very careful what we share that once we give it away, you no longer have it."

The idea here is that "There's the profound, mystical sexual union that happens under the chuppah, with God hovering over the couple, blessing them. And then there are the endless conversations and gestures and glances and discussions as two souls let their lives become enmeshed in one another."

It is an intense chapter where Rob talks about our voyeur society where we need to know who is with who and is doing what, eg. Reality Shows, that in our culture sex becomes public affair of gossip and lies. Rob also gives the idea how in the early cultures sex itself is what made the marriage official and that when this special moment is shared with many, perhaps something is lost because in the eyes of God we are promising ourselves and marrying ourselves to all these partners. Rob also captures the idea of God ultimately being the groom of the church and pursuing her and calling her back...In all this was a superb chapter and there is just too much to cover. I will leave these few quotes:
"When you take sex out from under the chuppah, all you are left with is mechanics. Go to any supermarket, stand in the checkout lane, and count how many of the women's magazines have the word technique somewhere on the cover. Or the phrase "seven easy steps" or the word instructions. There's nothing wrong with technique and mechanics and instructions, but that's rarely the real issue. The real issue is something else."

Chapter Eight, Johnny and June

Rob talks about love that is not dying but growing closer and deeper, something so great that inspires us and motivates us. He talks about different examples of people and relationships that last and inspires us.

And this can be found in the original love story of Adam and Eve:
"[God creates all and] declares that everything is good. The only thing God Declares not good is Adam's being alone...Adam has been commanded to watch over the earth and manage it and creatively order it. Adam has something to do, and its not good for him to do it alone. So God says, I will make a helper suitable for him. The word helper is the word ezer in the Hebrew language. We can find it in Psalms 121: I lift my eyes to the mountains-where does my help[ezer] come? My help comes from the LORD...To give more depth to the phrase, notice what Adam says about this woman: This is now bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh...He's essentially saying; Where I am weak, she is strong, and where she is weak I am strong...Eve is a corresponding strength for Adam. "

Rob Continues to explain that the point of marriage isn't marriage, It's a picture a display, A window that you look through to something else.

"A marriage is designed to counter all of this [divided world]. Not to add to the brokenness of the world but to add to the oneness of the world. This man and this woman who have given themselves to each other are supposed to give the world a glimpse of hope, a display of what God is like, a bit of echad [one] on earth."

Rob continues to argue that there is so much to marriage that we don't even understand:

"It's easy to take off your clothes and have sex. People do it all the time. But opening up your soul to someone, letting them into your spirit and thoughts and fears and future and hopes and dreams...that is being naked."

"This why when people sleep together after they've just met, they're raising the chances significantly that the relationship will not survive. Racing ahead of the progression always costs something. When there is no common mission, no shared task, no sense of bone of bone and flesh of flesh, no bonds that take years to develop, many end up moving from relationship to relationship, having sex but never really being naked."

This chapter ends magnificently with explanation of the infinite depth that exists in this union of marriage:
"To pursue being naked, you have to believe that this person is worth getting to know for the rest of your lives. Being naked is peeling back the layers, conversations after conversation, experience after experience, year after year. It's rooted in a belief that the soul has infinite depth and you'll never get to the bottom of it. Our understanding of what it means to be naked reflects what we believe about the human soul. Is it infinite? Or can you get to the end of a person?"

Chapter Nine, Whoopee Forever

In this final chapter Rob discusses that marriage finally too is not the Christian ideal...its good its deep and magnificent, but its not for all:

"If you are single, and you've been sent messages or it's been hinted at or even said to your face that you are some how missing something, that you aren't good enough, that you don't fit-thats not true."

That ultimately its all about something bigger something more mysterious and wonderful, we are called to a deeper trust, a trust of hope and beauty. "To trust that God is actually going to make all things new." Because "Jesus knew what is coming and knew that whatever we experience here will pale with what awaits everyone. Do you long for that?"

The story of God and of Jesus is a love relationship where God pursues his bride - people - church, and wants to be married and in a relationship and in each others presence together. So he offers marriage, using language of love, knowing that very well the person can say no, be unfaithful, and yet God uses language that is familiar to us all, the language of love and relationships to be together, to restore things to the way they once were...

This book was an excellent read, it was inspiring look at mystery and beauty, about relationships and love but most importantly it was a glimpse into the Love story that we are all part of, a story where God pursues us and loves us so abundantly...In the final epilogue Rob shares a story that had all the writing of love rescued from previously failed relationships and mistakes, yet even that story ended poorly in divorce and hurt...he does this because: "I finish with this story because life is messy. Gut wrenching. Risky. Things don't always turn out well. Sometimes they don't turn out at all. Sometimes everything falls apart and we wonder if there's any point to any of it...But I have to believe that we can recover from anything....that God can put anything - anyone - back together. I have to believe that the God Jesus invites us to trust is as good as he says he is. Loving. Forgiving. Merciful. Full of Grace...

Bumper Sticker...

A Christian bumper sticker that is actually kind of funny:

"In case of rapture the eschatological views of this driver will change."

ht: J.R. Briggs

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Through the eyes of a child...

My oldest son who is 3 and a half years old, has this cool new like, where he takes our digital camera and takes pictures of 'things' that interest him, it is really cool, to see the house through his are some of interest's:

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Michael Yaconelli

This is a tribute to the late influential speaker, writer in youth ministry, whose book Messy Spirituality is one of my all time favorite books... Michael Yaconelli

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Golden Hawks!

Well my coaching saga of the U16's had a golden finish as our Hawks finished undefeated in the Valley Cup and brining home the Gold Medal in the end of a thriller of a game between Hepburn and Rosthern, despite Hepburn beating Rosthern in the round robin 3-0, Rosthern changed tactics played a better formed game and gave Hepburn all that they could handle. But with persistent attack Hepburn's own Ashely DeRuiter struck home the only goal of the game to take the lead and eventually the game. Some scouts in the stands said: " that is just raw talent", others echoed the statement by saying: "forget Beckham, remember the name DeRuiter" So congratulations to our Hepburn U16 Champs!
We now have one game in the regular season left in which we are also undefeated, come and support your Valley Cup champs Tuesday June 19th 7pm Hepburn School Field...

Monday, June 18, 2007


"War is a cowardly escape from the problems of peace." Thomas Mann

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

More Cedar Lodge...

Here are some more exciting times at Cedar Lodge, youth decided to try the lake out, even though it was less then warm as you can see by all their hands carefully lifted above water:

And of course after finding out that the beach and the bush around the lake was full of ticks and so were some of the youth, careful checks were performed:

Saturday, June 09, 2007

At Cedar Lodge...

Well surprisingly Cedar Lodge has free wireless, so I thought I would post some of our late night activities, these videos are of some of our youth doing some karaoke really late at night...things youth do at late hours only to regret there a sermon in this?

Brent and Jan serenading us.

Janessa and Taylor showing Brent how its done.

Kayleigh, Taylor, Jan, Jenny and Amanda really getting into it!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Menno Youth out in the city...

So some of my Sr. Youth who are also my leaders in Jr. Youth and I had decided to go to Tim Horton's and dress 'normal' so here we are mixing with the city folk...