Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Prayer of St. Augustine of Hippo...

ACT OF HOPE

For your mercies' sake, O Lord my God, tell me what you are to me. Say to my soul: "I am your salvation." So speak that I may hear, O Lord; my heart is listening; open it that it may hear you, and say to my soul: "I am your salvation." After hearing this word, may I come in haste to take hold of you. Hide not your face from me. Let me see your face even if I die, lest I die with longing to see it. The house of my soul is too small to receive you; let it be enlarged by you. It is all in ruins; do you repair it. There are thing in it - I confess and I know - that must offend your sight. But who shall cleanse it? Or to what others besides you shall I cry out? From my secret sins cleanse me, O Lord, and from those of others spare your servant. Amen.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pumpkin patch...


Jumping on a giant pillow
boys picking pumpkins
awkward family photo at the pumpkin patch
Sasha and Noah with Mater truck... Noah loved it!
Sasha and his buddy Micah

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Jesus calls us...

Jesus calls us here to meet Him
As through word and song and prayer
We affirm God's promised presence
Where His people live and care
Praise the God who keeps His promise
Praise the Son who calls us friends
Praise the Spirit who among us
To our hopes and fears attends

Jesus calls us to confess Him
Word of life and Lord of all
Sharer of our flesh and frailness
Saving all who fail or fall
Tell His holy human story
Tell His tales that all may hear
Tell the world that Christ in glory
Came to earth to meet us here

Jesus calls us to each other
Found in Him are no divides
Race and class and sex and language
Such are barriers He derides
Join the hands of friend and stranger
Join the hands of age and youth
Join the faithful and the doubter
In their common search for truth

Jesus calls us to His table
Rooted firm in time and space
Where the Church in earth and heaven
Finds a common meeting place
Share the bread and wine His body
Share the love of which we sing
Share the feast for saints and sinners
Hosted by our Lord and King



text: Iona community

Friday, August 27, 2010

A must read...

Part of my summer reading was The Prodigal God, by Tim Keller, this in my humble opinion is a must read. I felt that this brief paragraph of a reviewer on Amazon gives great small glimpse into the book that everyone in my humble opinion should read:

"In his book Keller is presenting what has been traditionally known as the parable of the prodigal son. Keller refers to it as the parable of the lost sons for reasons that quickly become apparent. He titles the book The Prodigal God based on the Webster definition of prodigal, which is: "recklessly spendthrift". The idea of course is that God, represented by the father in the parable, is recklessly spendthrift (therefore prodigal) with His love toward his children.

Keller impresses with his intellect and his rare ability to communicate intelligent concepts and ideas simply without a hint of arrogance or patronizing. No doubt Keller's years as Presbyterian pastor in New York City (and perhaps his Lutheran upbringing) have trained him to communicate in such a manner. It should be noted that his books have received positive reviews from such diverse sources as Rick Warren, Billy Graham and Christianity Today on the one hand and The New York Times, The Washington Post, World Magazine and Publishers Weekly on the other. To straddle such a fence of opinion is no small feat. "

So if you are looking for a book to read, this is a must:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Mennonite Brethren celebration 2010...

Attending the Mennonite Brethren’s birthday party was a special treat. As I sat in on the celebration service I could not help but be moved by the history and faithfulness of the remnant believers of this denomination, whose fruit and labor were now clearly evident as the national pastors from various countries shared their work, joys and struggles in living out Jesus. Words such as “suffering”, “faithful” and “committed” struck a chord with me in this celebration, and as Walter Unger put it “we [truly] stand on the shoulders of giants.” Despite challenges we as a people press on to love and be the people of the way.

As I continue to take in the celebration, it is an exciting challenge as we together look ahead and recognize that the next 150 years will also hold many moments of joy and also sorrow but these next years will grow on the roots that have been deeply planted in the commitment to be faithful despite obstacles and to love despite hardships.

So as we celebrate and recognize and remember the mosaic of people we truly are, let us remember that our central identity is in the person of Jesus Christ, and that despite challenges we continue to press on to be centered on making disciples in the way of Jesus.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Congrats Hepburn Grad 2010

I had the absolute privlege to be a youth pastor for seven years in a small canadian town, where it was my joy seeing kids grow up, change, tackle life and take on challanges. It was so exciting to go back and see this years grad. They have all changed so much and I am so proud of them! Congrats Hepburn Grad 2010:









Friday, June 18, 2010

My boy...

One of the privileges that I had this year is to be at home with my boys, I really can't believe how much they have grown and changed. My two precious boys.

The other day I picked up Sasha from school and was struck how grown up he all the sudden was, walking chatting with his classmates. Sasha is finishing grade one. I don't remember much of my own toddler years but I remember very clearly my grade one, and from then on I remember a lot of things that shaped me...

My little boy is growing, changing, he is a sensitive kid, who loves to play and imagine, he often gets lost in his thoughts... I remember when we brought him home and he laid on my lap and as I looked at him I would wonder about what kind of personality he was going to have, what will he like and dislike...

My boy is growing and in someways seems so grown up, and I love him, and I often think about the things that will shape him outside of our house, the joys and pains that he will face and have to deal with and I worry about this world that might jade him but I know I can't not let him see it, live it and be shaped by it.

My boy is growing, he will become a man, and I will have to let him go. He changed our lives coming into our house such a helpless, precious little bundle. His arrival changed me forever, he is a gift; a precious gift

I love you my boy...

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Quotable...

". . . [Nietzsche] had the good manners to despise Christianity, in large part, for what it actually was--above all, for its devotion to an ethics of compassion--rather than allow himself the soothing, self-righteous fantasy that Christianity’s history had been nothing but an interminable pageant of violence, tyranny, and sexual neurosis. He may have hated many Christians for their hypocrisy, but he hated Christianity itself principally on account of its enfeebling solicitude for the weak, the outcast, the infirm, and the diseased; and, because he was conscious of the historical contingency of all cultural values, he never deluded himself that humanity could do away with Christian faith while simply retaining Christian morality in some diluted form, such as liberal social conscience or innate human sympathy."

- David Bentley Hart

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hero of war...

Today in Church, Carl presented a brief look at anabaptist theology and for the pacifism stance showed this video (attached below, Facebook users click here) It is a powerful image of how violence seduces and destroys as it dehumanizes people both the abused and the abuser.

It was a good reminder and a challenge as Christian Gospel and thought has claimed from first that in a world in bondage to sin, where violence holds sway over hearts and history, the peace of God made present in Christ is unique; the way, the truth and the life that alone can liberate the world from the tyranny of greed, cruelty, egoism, and aggression is none other than a particular Nazarene rabbi put to death under Pontius Pilate. (David Bentley Hart, The Beauty of the Infinite)

It should also be pointed out as Rise Against is an American band that is publicly making a stand with in its own country, but that is not the point I am touching on here nor was Carl, this is not some slam on USA, the point is about violence, and the uniform and the flag could be replaced with any other nations. Anyways it gave me lots to think about as a person who proclaims the Prince of Peace, and whose citizenship is in heaven and not of earthly kingdoms.





Monday, April 26, 2010

Olympic fever and soccer...

Sasha has completed his first full BC soccer season. It was season of a lot of learning and growing in the sport, as the team worked on passing, shooting and learning positions and distributing the ball even though it still ended-up in the game; a giant swarm of kids running after the ball, but still it taught him importance of practice, trying hard for the team and not just playing as he feels, and gave him love of goaltending. All in all it was a fun year and exciting to watch the group of kids get better through the year.

So as the rest of the world has seen we here at Vancouver have been living through the entire Olympic fever and in light of this Sasha's coaches planned for their final year end tournament to give kids an Olympic experience by having a podium and bouquets of flowers and gold medals with their names on them. It was so cool to see the kids step on a podium and receive a medal and a bouquet of flowers and you know kids have watched a lot of Olympics since Sasha upon receiving his medal took a bite of it as he saw so many athletes do in Olympics. What a fantastic finish to a great year!!!

Here are some pics of the game and medal ceremony, Sasha and his team was in grey for the game but then put on their home green for the ceremony:










Sasha with the hoodie sticking out from his grey jersey in the centre



Sasha playing goalkeeper in the second half:

Making a big save!


Medal ceremonies:

Sasha biting on the medal (like the Olympians)


Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Atheist Delusions, quote by david bentley hart...

...The more vital and essential victory of Christianity lay in the strange, impractical, altogether unworldly tenderness of the moral intuitions it succeeded in sowing in human consciences. If we find ourselves occasionally shocked by how casually ancient men and women destroyed or ignored lives we would think ineffably precious, we would do well to reflect that theirs was-in purely pragmatic terms-a more "natural" disposition toward reality. It required an extraordinary moment of awakening in a few privileged souls, and then centuries of the relentless and total immersion of culture in the Christian story, to make even the best of us conscious of (or at least able to believe in) the moral claim of all other persons upon us, the splendour and irreducible dignity of the divine humanity within them, that depth within each of them that potentially touches upon the eternal. In the light of Christianity's absolute law of charity, we came to see that formerly we could not: the autistic or Down syndrome or otherwise disables child, for instance, for whom the world can remain a perpetual perplexity, which can too often cause pain but perhaps only vaguely and fleetingly charm or delight; the derelict or wretched or broken man or woman who has wasted his or her life away; the homeless, the utterly impoverished, the diseased, the mentally ill, the physically disabled; exiles, refugees, fugitives; even criminals and reprobates. To reject, turn away from, or kill any or all of them would be, in a very real sense, the most purely practical of impulses. To be able, however, to see in them not only something of worth but indeed something potentially godlike, to be cherished and adored, is the rarest and most ennoblingly unrealistic capacity ever bred within human souls. To look on the child whom our ancient ancestors would have seen as somehow unwholesome or as a worthless burden, and would have abandoned to fate, and to see in him or her instead a person worthy of all affection-resplendent with divine glory, ominous with an absolute demand upon our consciences, evoking our love and our reverence-is to be set free from mere elemental existence, and from those natural limitations that pre-Christian persons took to be the very definition of reality. And only someone profoundly ignorant of history and of native human inclinations could doubt that it is only as a consequence of the revolutionary force of Christianity within our history, within the very heart of our shared nature, that any of us can experience this freedom. We deceive ourselves also, however, if we doubt how very fragile this vision of things truly is; how elusive this truth that only charity can know, how easily forgotten this mystery that only charity can penetrate.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

all the right questions - rlp


I bought a second book Turtles All the Way Down by Gordon Atkinson also knows as the Real Live Preacher, like the first one that I purchased which was titled after RealLivePreacher.com this second book was also a collection of stories, blog posts that Gordon has written on his blog. So this second book arrived recently and I began reading it and absolutely loved this story that he tells early into the book:

A church man came to see me the other day. A churchy man, an important man in his church. A deacon I think, maybe. He came to see me and our little church. He came to see if there was anything of interest going on here.

I was wearing jeans and a Snoopy t-shirt at church that day, which put him off a bit, but the real surprise came when he found that I couldn't answer any of his questions.

How many members do you have?

I don't know.

My answer, or lack of an answer, stunned him. He squinted a moment, trying to understand a thing that seemed impossible. It just isn't possible that a pastor could not know how many members are in his church.

You don't know?

No. I could print a directory and count the people, I guess. But there never seems to be an occasion when we need to know how many members we have. So I never get around to counting them.

Huh! He frowned in an exaggerated way and nodded his head slowly and deliberately. This is one way that men tell you they don't agree with you but are going to be polite and not argue the fact.

What are you running on Sundays?

This is the way church people ask about worship attendance. The number they are looking for is a weekly average.

I don't know.

Really?

Yeah. I mean, someone would have to count everyone each Sunday and run the numbers and all that. Again, there just doesn't seem to be any reason to do it, so we don't.

I wanted to be helpful, so I said, Sometimes this room is pretty full. Then other times I notice it's not as full. And then sometimes it's sorta empty, you know, on a slow Sunday.

I can't believe he kept asking questions, but he did.

How many are enrolled in Sunday School?

I was feeling a little sheepish, for some reason, though I have no intention of keeping these statistics.

Yeaaahh, I said, dragging it out. The thing is, we don't enroll people in Bible study. We study the Bible, of course. People are free to join us if they like, but we don't keep track of it.

I could tell by his face that he thought we ran a pretty sloppy operation at our church. If you really cared about doing the work of the Lord in this world, wouldn't you count members and track attendance like any good business?

I got one final question, one last chance to redeem myself.

Do you have a ministry plan of some kind?

He didn't say, "Do you AT LEAST have a ministry plan of some kind,” but I assure you the tone of his voice made his meaning clear.

Ministry plan? I racked my brain trying to think of what that might be. It sounded to me like some kind of marketing plan or strategy. Well, you know, not formally, as such. I guess we would say that our plan is to do what's right, no matter what the consequences. We should do what we feel is right and good, whether it brings five people or five-thousand people to our door.

And that pretty much wrapped up the interview. He was polite and shook my hand before he left.

It's a very important spiritual discipline for me to let people like this think that I am an incompetent fool. It is critically important that I not explain myself to them. I just wave bye-bye and let them go.

In my defense, I can answer a lot of questions about my church. He just wasn't asking the right ones.

I can tell you anything you'd like to know about our children. I can tell you that Adam loves racecars and Steven likes to sing. I can tell you that Madeline's hair always smells good on Wednesday nights and that Anna's mother is teaching her ballet. I can tell you that Jacob likes to be picked up, but don't turn him upside down. That scares him.

I can tell you about all the secret places at the church. I'm the one who cut the trail through the woods to the giant cedar tree, and I can tell you about the mysterious pile of rocks at the back of the property. I can tell you the funny story behind the decaying mound of wood and cactus that we call, “Main's folly,” and I know what the old ring of stones in the clearing was for.

I know why there's a rock in the back wall of the church with George's name written on it. I could tell you that story if you had the time.

I can tell you how the building looks in the moonlight just before dawn on a cold Sunday morning. I can tell you why Claud seems sad and why Chloe needs a hug every Sunday. I can tell you what Savannah means when she taps her cheeks, and I can tell you not to worry about what Lyle says because he has a heart of gold. I can tell you how Michael became a deacon and why Mark doesn't want to teach Sunday School anymore.

I can tell you about all of these things and more. I could talk for hours about the precious gathering of friends that we call church.

I just can't tell you any of the things that most people want to know.

rlp

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Quotable...

On slavery, slaveholders and the human ethic:

" For Aristotle, it is precisely knowledge of what human nature is that allows us to judge that some human beings are deficient specimens of the kind and therefore suited only to serve as the "living tools" of other men (which is how he defines slaves in both the Nicomachean and the Eudemian Ethics). Human nature, understood in this sense, is simply the ideal index of the species, one which allows us to arrange our understanding of human existence into exact and obvious divisions of authority: the superiority of reason over appetite, of course but also of city over nature, man over woman, Greek over barbarian, and master over slave. For Gregory [of Nyssa], by contrast, the entire idea of human nature has been thoroughly suffused with the light of Easter, "contaminated" by the Christian inversion of social order; our nature is, for him, first and foremost our community in the humanity of Christ, who by descending into the most abject of conditions, even dying the death of a criminal, only to be raised up as Lord of history, in the very glory of God, has become forever the face of the faceless, the persona by which each of us has been raised to the dignity of a "co-heir of the Kingdom." "

- David Bentley Hart

(bolding added by me)

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Noah learns to bike...

Noah learns to bike on the second try!! It also helps that it is warm and sunny in February!! For those seeing this in Facebook click here to view!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Hockey Powers - Russia

There has been a wonderful series made prior to Olympics about Hockey, featuring the six Hockey Powers, Canada, USA, Sweden, Finland, Czech Republic and Russia. I have really enjoyed watching these if you are interested here is the Team Russia Series a great watch. For those on facebook click here to see it.














Sunday, January 17, 2010

wow...



David Bentley Hart...


Jessica and I received a book for Christmas, Atheist Delusions: Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies. In the book Hart is unashamedly brash with his critique and look at today's new atheists. Hart focuses on aspects of Christianity relating to history and focuses on the myth in our culture, promoted not just by new atheist but older critics of Christianity as well, that the ancient world was a place of reason and prosperity until Christianity came along and replaced it with dogmatic faith, plunging western culture into centuries of "dark ages" from which we only emerged in the modern period with the Enlightenment and a return to reason. Hart argues that this is poor at best knowledge and/or understanding of history. He stresses the important recognition that the rise of Christianity was so revolutionary that it changed western culture so thoroughly in positive ways (hospitals, charity, view of humanity, etc.) that these ideas have become so ingrained in our culture to the point we forget they were new with the Christians and that in fact the rise of Christianity helped to liberate people and bring hope and dignity where there were none.

It has been a very good but tough read (Hart is very wordy) so far, I have been really enjoying it. Here are some snippets of Hart's own introduction to the book:

"Where I come to the defense of historical Christianity, it is only in order to raise objections to certain popular calumnies of the church, or to demur from what I take to be disingenuous or inane arraignments of Christian belief or history, or to call attention to achievements and virtues that writers of a devoutly anti-Christian bent tend to ignore, dissemble, or dismiss."

"My chief ambition in writing it is to call attention to the peculiar and radical nature of the new faith in that setting: how enormous a transformation of thought, sensibility, culture, morality, and spiritual imagination Christianity constituted in the age of pagan Rome; the liberation it offered from fatalism, cosmic despair, and the terror of occult agencies; the immense dignity it conferred upon the human person; its subversion of the cruelest aspects of pagan society; its (alas, only partial) demystification of political power; its ability to create moral community where none had existed before; and its elevation of active charity above all other virtues. Stated in its most elementary and most buoyantly positive form, my argument is, first of all, that among all the many great transitions that have marked the evolution of Western civilization, whether convulsive or gradual, political or philosophical, social or scientific, material or spiritual, there has been only one—the triumph of Christianity—that can be called in the fullest sense a “revolution”: a truly massive and epochal revision of humanity’s prevailing vision of reality, so pervasive in its influence and so vast in its consequences as actually to have created a new conception of the world, of history, of human nature, of time, and of the moral good. To my mind, I should add, it was an event immeasurably more impressive in its cultural creativity and more ennobling in its moral power than any other movement of spirit, will, imagination, aspiration, or accomplishment in the history of the West. And I am convinced that, given how radically at variance Christianity was with the culture it slowly and relentlessly displaced, its eventual victory was an event of such improbability as to strain the very limits of our understanding of historical causality."