Building great people, because great people build great families and great families build great communities.
To God be the glory!

Friday, December 28, 2007

New Day.... No Rather a New Beginning!

Well here we are just days away from 2008. As this year draws to a close so does our time as pastors of the Osoyoos Christian Centre. We are grateful for the four years of ministry that God has allowed us to be part of with the saints at OCC. However, some of us are being led in a different direction - so as the year 2007 closes we look forward with great anticipation to the year ahead, both for them and us! Surely the Lord will lead and guide.

Starting January 13, we will be meeting at the Osoyoos Sonora Community Centre. The name "The Gathering Place" will go with us, and the building on 42 Finch Cres. will revert back to the Osoyoos Christian Centre.

We will be praying for them and the new leadership. Judi and I along with our son Casey pray that no shame will be brought to our Lord's Holy name. To God be the Glory!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Dear Friends in Christ

It is hard to believe we are at this time of year again. Is it just me or were there actually less days in this last year? At any rate, my family and I want to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a blessed new year.

We are so grateful to our Lord Jesus for the ministry opportunities we’ve had this past year. A special thanks to all of you who have faithfully labored with us. We are grateful for your support and prayers this past season. May 2008 be filled with good health and prosperity.

God grant us to live each moment with expectation.
Let us walk by faith; work in hope; live in love.
Ground us in your Word and guide us by your Light.
Give us vision and dreams and discernment.
Warn us, as you did Joseph, to the dangers that threaten us
and grant us courage to take action.
May we not give voice to unbelief, but as you did with Zechariah, open our mouths to proclaim Your praise!
As in Mary, let Christ be formed in us and may our souls, too, magnify the Lord.
Let us sing with the angel chorus and with the shepherds run to greet You.
May we with Mary ponder and with the wise men worship.
And together with the hosts of heaven rejoice in the birth of Christ of Savior!
May God's peace be ours this Christmas and may the light of Christ guide us throughout the coming year!

Judi and I, along with Pastor Casey wish you all a blessed Christmas and God’s merciful guidance in the New Year.


Pastor Ed & Judi
Pastor Casey, James & Zach

Friday, December 14, 2007

Worth A Second Read

Q. What good is a denomination today? A. To support, encourage, resource and empower the local church in its community
Successful new movements continue to be birthed in the Christian community. Most have a clear vision and purpose. Almost all are led by an individual, family or group with vision, dynamism and drive. It seems obvious God honours strategic, energetic leaders with vision and a sense of mission.
What about long-standing denominations? Those that do not have the advantage of being “new,” are structurally cumbersome and have for years believed in their uniqueness, either in their belief structure and/or in calling. Will they again be recognized and blessed as in times past?
Although I claim little special insight into Canadians’ future choices, I tend to think most people will be attracted to something dynamic and relevant to our times. The following material from my own family of churches may offer this in a form relevant to new and long-standing denominations.
The Associated Gospel Churches (AGC) came into being at a time when the authority of Scripture was being challenged and when the understanding that individuals needed to repent and embrace Christ as the only way to be accepted as a child of God was seen as narrow and irrelevant. In response, our predecessors developed an extensive statement of faith and named the denomination/association after the heart of its mission: gospel churches. The movement has grown to 145 churches in Canada.
The AGC Vision and Strategy

Here is the current AGC vision of a new, healthy, reproducing church in our multicultural society in Canada:
1. Churches must be a reflection of the community they view as their primary calling.
2. Churches must be intentional in their reproduction, relational care, partnerships, discipleship, leadership development and cultural transformation. 3. Churches plant churches; denominations resource, empower and coach churches to be obedient to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. 4. Local community-focused churches led by supported, trained pastors, church staffs and lay leaders are our best hope for transformed lives, communities and cultures.
5. We value biblical authority, dynamic spirituality, loving relationships, effective discipleship, intentional reproduction, strategic partnerships and cultural transformation.

As we assess, build, coach and develop in an unending circle, pastors and churches that are clear in their appreciation of the authority of the word of God and focused on people will flourish.

Assess leadership and church health using tools that have corresponding helps to strengthen weaknesses and exploit strengths.

Build leaders and churches through every available resource in partnership with other organizations.

Coach pastors, church staff and key lay leaders through area clusters, monitoring coaches and regional superintendents.

Develop an ongoing recruitment and assessment process that values people and the sovereignty of God.

Old denominational structures may be dying, but denominations that empower, resource and encourage community-based leaders and pastors have every hope of God’s blessing and impact on the community.

Early Outcomes
An Ontario church noticed a strip of older motels populated with people waiting for more permanent housing. They began to offer a Saturday evening hot meal free, served by people from the church who were there simply to show care, acceptance, love and hope, and to provide interaction and understanding. After one year a number of the motel residents are participating in an Alpha program, others are in Bible studies and a few are now attending church services.
In a Western Canada church, people volunteer to help the town maintenance department and have stepped alongside farmers and small business owners to offer help and encouragement. The result is that the church has grown from 35 to 135 people worshipping each Sunday. They have built a new church building in a declining town, giving hope to the community and purposeful life to the church.

In thinking about the purpose of a denomination today, one would be wise to focus on the local church. A. F. (Bud) Penner is the president of the Associated Gospel Churches with its home office in one of its churches in Burlington, Ont.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


WE BOW OUR HEARTS, WE BEND OUR KNEES
OH SPIRIT COME MAKE US HUMBLE
WE TURN OUR EYES, FROM EVIL THINGS
OH LORD WE CAST DOWN OUR IDOLS

GIVE US CLEAN HANDS, GIVE US PURE HEARTS
LET US NOT LIFT OUR SOULS TO ANOTHER

OH GOD LET US BE, A GENERATION THAT SEEKS
SEEKS YOUR FACE, OH GOD OF JACOB

Have You? Did You?

Matthew 13:44 - 46

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hid in a field; the which when a man has found, he hides, and for joy thereof goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.


Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

"What once was precious, is now Unexceptional" I wish I could say that we still see our gift of salvation as precious, but alas it has become common place for far too many of God's children.
May God once again be high and lifted up for His wonderful gift - may we willingly sell all that we have and are and hope to be to aquire it!

Monday, December 10, 2007

BLESS THE LORD! What a powerful service we had this last Sunday morning. I have included the morning message entitled "Staying The Course!". However it is what took place after that blew me away! I had watched ER (not a usual practice) the other night and was taken by the Chaplain's hand washing service. It seemed to fit so well with what I was ending the service with on Sunday so I incorporated it into our service.

I have never performed this nor have I ever experienced its powerful effect. I preached my heart out to the thirty or so people present. I ended with a call to Stay The Course! Then I invited them to come and wash their hands in the bowl I had set up near the cross. I had a number of torn rags to dry our hands with and then a container at the foot of the cross for us to throw the rags into. Thereby not taking anything back with us. So after I read Job 17:9 The righteous shall hold on his way and he that has clean hands shall be stronger and stronger..... Judi led us in "Give us clean hands" and as we sang people were invited to come forward.... whow! What a Holy stirring. Our people along with visitors came forward one by one... and for me the moment my hands hit the water the anointing came over me... PTL.

People stood around and sang praise unto the Lord and then one of our older brothers said the Lord showed him how the pastor stood on the front line and needed brothers and sisters to stand by his side ... (the whole watching and praying thing we had just spoken about). He invited those who felt the Spirit speaking to them to stay the course with the pastor to come forward..... I did not know it then but every single person in the church came forward... young and old regulars and visitors. I cannot explain the powerful encouragement that was to me and my family! Casey was really moved by the show of support. During their lay on of hands and prayer I was aware of the person next to me weeping... I stole a glance but didn't recognize the brother. When the prayer ended he imbraced me with tears rolling down his cheeks he gave one of those "I'm standing with you looks". I found out later that he was the coach of the Osoyoos Whalers (Hockey Team) and he had brought three of his players (including the enforcer) to the service. He and the players all responded to the call that morning. God is doing something wonderful in our midst! The coach told me later that he will be bring the whole team in the new year.... all I can say is GOD IS GOOD!

Stay The Course! In the first chapter of Nehemiah, Nehemiah was told of the great affliction and reproach brought upon the remnant people of God! He heard also that the wall around Jerusalem was broken down and that the gates of it were burned.

The Word tells us that when he heard these things he sat down and wept. He mourned, fasted and prayed for days.

He then reminds God of His covenant with those who love Him and keep His commandments, Nehemiah then confesses the sins of the children of Israel. He included himself; “...both I and my father's house have sinned.“

A righteous man always examines his own life first.
Nehemiah does not demand his rights, rather he reminds God of His great mercy!

Now Nehemiah was a cup bearer for the king and he prayed for something specific Nehemiah 1:11 grant me mercy in the sight of the king…

The king noticed something different about Nehemiah and asked what was wrong? The king listened to Nehemiah’s story and then asked how he could help… But before Nehemiah answered he prayed 2:4.

And then answered the king in the next verse. The king gave him time to go, letters of reference to be given to the governors beyond the river, a letter to the keeper of the king's forest, for timber to make beams, gates and the wall of the city, and for a house for Nehemiah. And the king granted me, according to the good hand of my God on me. The king even sent a small army of horseman to protect him.

So God set a plan into motion for Nehemiah to rebuild the walls. Now for the sinister twist.... when Sanballat and his servant Tobiah, heard of all that, it grieved them exceedingly! We’re not sure why, but they were ticked!

WHENEVER you try to repair the broken alter of your life;
WHENEVER you seek to do something about this temple (flesh);
WHENEVER you begin to build a wall of separation

You can bet the enemy of your soul will seek to turn up the heat of opposition!

He’ll try to get you to compromise.
He wants you to turn away from God’s calling. He wants you off the wall of God’s divine purpose.

WATCH and PRAY!
I Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

You dare not neglect to WATCH and PRAY!

Satan’s bag of tricks has not changed - just as he tried with Nehemiah so he’ll try with you.... take a look and see if his tricks aren’t the same today:

RIDICULE AND MOCKING
Nehemiah 4:1 when Sanballat heard that we had built the wall, he was angry and took great indignation, mocking the Jews.

He said, What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they fortify themselves? Are they going to revive the stones out of the heaps of the rubbish?
Tobiah his servant so as not to be out done said, Even what they do build, if a little fox were to climb up on it, he would easily break it down!

Perhaps the devil has ridiculed or mocked you when you’ve taken a stand for Jesus!

Job 12:4 the just upright man is laughed to scorn.

FEAR AND INTIMIDATION
Nehemiah 6:1-9 When Sanballat and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had built the wall... they sent me an invitation, saying, Come, let us meet together in one of the villages in the plain of Ono.

But they thought to do me mischief. (Discernment!)

So I sent messengers to them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, while I leave it and come down to you? They sent the same invite four times and each time Nehemiah answered the same way!

Nehemiah 6:5-8 Sanballat sent his servant in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand; Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah.. So come now and let us take counsel together.

In today’s language Nehemiah’s reply would simply have been - NOT!

These things are untrue, you imagine them.

“An open letter” is a very divisive tool. Pastor on death bed - Pillow case

Nehemiah was then tempted to hide in the temple. But, because he had learned early to WATCH AND PRAY God was able to warn him.... “I perceived that God had not sent him; but that he pronounced this prophecy against me.. he was hired, that I should be afraid and then in hiding in the temple I would sin.. giving them a matter for an evil report to reproach me.”

In our watching and praying God’s purposes can be distinguished from our enemies purposes and even from our own purposes!

The devil's plot was revealed in verse 19 to put me in fear.

The devil controls people through fear!

As a point of interest... Sanbal'lat means a thorn in secrete.

Let me encourage you with this truth, When someone persecutes a child of God, God Himself, personally takes up the cause!

When Paul was persecuting the church Jesus stopped him right in his tracks and said, Saul why do you persecute me!
THE JOINING
If you can't beat him, join him method.

Ezra 4:1-5...when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the temple walls were being built.. they came to Zerubbabel and said, Let us build with you for we seek your God as ye do and sacrifice to him.. But, the chief fathers of Israel, said, You have nothing to do with us building a house to our God; we ourselves will build for our God.

The devil’s true colours will show: Then those people who had offered to help began to oppose and weaken the hands of God’s people and troubled them in the building of the wall.

They even hired counsellors to frustrate their purpose!

HERE IS A KEY:
The agenda of our enemy is still to frustrate our God given purpose!

How did Nehemiah and his brethren finally complete the work?

The answer to this question will hopefully give us some good council tonight!

Here is the answer - They watched and prayed. Nehemiah 4:9 we prayed to our God, and set a watch day and night.

Most Christians are far too nieve when it comes to spiritual warfare! We far too often get involved way beyound the boundaries - the safe boundaries of watching and praying....
Nehemiah 4:16-21.. half of my servants continued in the work and the other half held the spears, the shields and the bows... the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, So we labored in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared.

Nehemiah and his brethren put into effect God’s principle: WATCH & PRAY. The importance of WATCHING AND PRAYING cannot be over emphasized!

Refuse to be distracted! Refuse to get offf the wall of God’s purpose!
Job 17:9 The righteous shall hold on his way and he that has clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.....

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Stay The Course!


I sit here at the keyboard, sick in body and weary in mind. My normally positive spirit has been at war with an onslaught of negative darkness. I am physically miserable, my imune system weakened by strife. My mind finds little rest if any. Sleep, real rem sleep although greatly sought after, seems unattainable. The Word tells us that where there is strife there is confusion and every evil work. (James 3:16)


I like Abram in Genesis 13:8 pray for an end of strife especially between brothers and sisters in the family of God. I have studied the Book of Proverbs regarding strife. The writer says that it is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling. God help us to be men and women of honor!

The writer of Proverbs gives us a clear picture of where strife comes from and how we can stop it. He says that where there is no talebearer, strife ceases. Sounds easy enough, but what fuels a talebearer, here again we find the answer in Proverbs. It seems a contentious man kindles strife. So if I add this up right, contention kindles stife, and a talebearer promotes it.


Both those attributes work against unity, without which our testimony smacks of hypocrisy!


Is it any wonder the devil attacks us in the area of unity?


Paul suggests that we walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. He in fact links these things to carnality. It is time we put the flesh to death and walked in the spirit of God's love. Doing nothing through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind esteeming other better than themselves.

I Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: You dare not neglect to WATCH and PRAY!


Nehemiah saw victory because he had the people pray to God, and set a watch day and night....

Nehemiah 4:16-21.. half of my servants continued in the work and the other half held the spears, the shields and the bows... the builders, every one had his sword girded by his side, So we labored in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared. Nehemiah and his brethren put into effect God’s principle: WATCH & PRAY.

The importance of WATCHING AND PRAYING cannot be over emphasized!

Refuse to be distracted! Refuse to get offf the wall of your purpose! God has placed you here!
Through watching and praying hold to the God given purpose for you. Job 17:9 The righteous shall hold on his way and he that has clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.....

In the midst of my misery I hear a quiet voice within my soul saying three words, "Stay the course". "Stay the course". "Stay the course"...... help me blessed savior!

Psalms 133:1
Behold, how good and how pleasant [it is] for brethren
to dwell together in unity!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Oh My Goodness.....

I was re-reading this article and I had a sudden shock go through me. I personally know of one family in Kelowna who have been guilty of being Clergy Killers in four churches. They attack KCC and us after closing down two other churches. KCC lost 300 members because of this family and the Pastor nearly lost his ministry. We were under opression for a year. Although the PAOC came to our defense after much grief... the damage was done. The sudden realization I came to was that in the above mentioned case we actually were dealing with a serial killer!

Clergy Killers

by G. Lloyd Rediger, PhD (Directory of Clergy Counseling Services, Wisconsin Council of Churches) August 1993 The Clergy Journal

This is an angry column. I am enraged at sick and evil people in the church who destroy pastors. This column and magazine are typically read by clergy, so this is like "preaching to the choir." But I must say these things anyway, for they may add a bit of courage or clarity to the lives of troubled pastors, or at least assure them that they are not alone.

Some years ago I entitled one of these columns, "Let's Get the Pastor." In it I described a kind of game that goes on in many churches, with the pastor used as a football. This time I am describing the more vicious game in which a pastor is targeted for destruction, and a congregation is seriously damaged by the fallout. The perpetrators go free, of course, often to kill again, and often convinced that they are doing the right thing.

When I encounter such pastor killers, I am reminded of biblical passages where religious people destroy or terrorize their spiritual leaders. Even Jesus was not exempt. In one sense, we should not be surprised therefore, when we as clergy are terrorized, for it only took them three years to get Jesus. What hurts the most, of course, is that these people purport to be Christians. And often, they are persons in whom we have invested significant amounts of professional and personal time and energy.

My purpose in writing on this subject is to clarify for pastors and denominational executives, the fact of, the methods used by, and the remedy for clergy killers in the church.

THE REALITY OF CLERGY KILLERS

First, the fact of clergy killers. Nearly any experienced pastor and denominational executive has encountered these humanoids (excuse me, my anger is still showing!). We tend to deny, excuse, or pamper them in the church. But they are very real and very toxic. I have encountered them in every denomination, and in many congregations over the years. But because we believe such persons should not exist in the church, and that we should be kind and forgiving to everyone, we fail to admit or understand the tactics, and motivation, and devastating toll they take on the energy and resources of the church, besides the cruel damage they do to clergy and those dear to them.

Clergy killers typically have intimidating power because they are willing to violate the rules of decorum and caring the rest of us try to follow. This is powerful at a subconscious level, for we sense such persons are willing to escalate the fight, and use tactics we forbid to use ourselves. In fact, most of us clergy do not even know how to do survival fighting ("street fights"), much less have the necessary resources and networks for such showdowns.

Clergy killers are masters of disguise. They can present themselves as pious, active church members who are "only doing this for the good of the church." Naive and gentle ("peace at all costs") parishioners may be deceived by such camouflage. And they typically advocate for the CKs (Clergy Killers) by urging the pastor and church board to be patient, make allowances, or not to misjudge such folks. CKs can convince many that they are raising legitimate issues. And for those who might do battle with them, CKs use bluster, threats, and even terrorism to appear as unstoppable giants. CKs even have allies of opportunity, i.e., parishioners who do not advocate the cause CKs are espousing, but who wish to punish the pastor for their own hidden reasons.

Clergy killers are evil. There, I said it! There are clinical names, of course, but in our theological categories, they are evil. This means they are not just sinners, in the normal inadvertent or mistaken sense. They do evil intentionally, and willingly pursue its destructive means and ends. Even repentance and restraint on their part is suspect, for it is typically a tactic only. Being around and having to associate with such persons tempts healthy spiritual leaders to pronounce curses ("Woe unto you Scribes and Pharisees..."), as someone we all know did more than once while on this earth.

IDENTIFYING CLERGY KILLERS AND THEIR EFFECTS

From a clinical (psychological) perspective, CKs are likely to have personality disorders (paranoid, antisocial, borderline, histrionic, narcissistic, and even passive aggressive). Or they may be previous or present victims of abuse. They may have volatile or addictive personalities. They may have inadequate socialization, arrested adolescence, and violent role models in their history. And they may have developed a perverse voyeuristic and vindictive taste for the suffering of their targeted victims.

In more ordinary terminology, CKs have learned the power of throwing tantrums to get their way. They know how to be bullies. They know how to distract, confuse, and seduce. And they have little sensitivity to the suffering of those outside their circle of cohorts.

It took me some time to realize the dimensions and variations of CKs' tactics. In generic terms, they can either wound or kill by direct attacks, by getting others to do their dirty work for them, or by inducing their victims to self-destruct. The first two are self- explanatory. But it is this third generic form of victimization that may go undetected.

The tactic of inducing a victim to self-destruct is not uncommon. Some jungle creatures do this. And it is not uncommon in business, politics, and the professions to harass a person in subtle and obvious ways until their stress produces irrational and destructive behavior. They may wound or destroy themselves, they may destroy a scapegoat, or they may do something bizarre, unethical, or criminal so that legal authorities must punish them. And it is not uncommon for the victim of a CK to develop behavior and attitudes that lead to alienation of family and friends, divorce, and loss of clergy credentials.

I could cite many examples of clergy killers in action. One that raises my ire every time I hear or remember his name is a former pastor who was once a shining star of his denomination. He seemed to have everything going for him, until he became pastor of a medium- sized thriving and progressive church. But a couple of university professors and a seminary professor resented this pastors' charisma and success. they combined to sabotage his leadership. Then when his confidence began to falter, and his pastoral competence wained under their attacks, they began to accuse him of mental disorders. His wife divorced him in panic. He finally left ordained ministry, and has been unable to hold any but menial jobs. He now subsists in an inner city, hardly able to cope or even recognize old friends. The CKs continue in that church, like scorpions doing what scorpions have to do.

Cardiovascular disorders, cancer, arthritis, gastrointestinal disorders, respiratory problems used to be rather rare among clergy. And clergy used to generate the best mental health and longevity statistics of any profession. Not anymore. I hear of and work with highly stressed, paranoid, cynical, and dysfunctional clergy all the time now, with numbers growing. And many of these maladies are traceable to CKs and their effects. The costs to the church are enormous, in lost clergy, health costs, divided congregations, loss of ministry resources, and in debilitated pastors unable to function at much more than a survival level. Can anyone stop these CKs?

THE EXTENDED DAMAGE

One of the causes of the downturn in mainline Protestant denominations is the wounded pastor syndrome. When a pastor is bleeding and desperately trying to survive, it is apparent that she or he will have little energy available for the creative pastoring church growth requires. But since the pastor is still visible and the traditional services continue, most people will not realize what is occurring. This condition resembles a pet dog with worms. It still looks like a dog, so no one thinks to question the loss of energy, and the debilitation of mission. And hardly anyone goes to the pastor with the kind of understanding, strength, and support she or he needs. I sat at lunch with pastors recently, at a conference I was leading on another topic. It was notable that they talked almost continually of church situations where the pastor was under attack. Their comments ranged from "there, but for the grace of God, go I"; "poor guy, I wish I could help him!"

More than one denominational executive has told me lately that as they travel across their district or the nation, they find attacks on clergy to be endemic. And they indicate a helplessness to do much about it. For even in strong executive denominations, top leaders have little authority to disarm or fight CKs. They fear offending powerful lay leaders, no matter how evil they are. Being politic, they realize that their power is derivative. And most denominational executives do not have the inclination toward the power tactics needed to eliminate CKs from a congregation. The correct prevalence of lawsuits is certainly no encouragement for any denominational leader to risk offending hostile-aggressive persons. But legal means may be one possibility for controlling CKs.

It would be helpful if seminaries could prepare pastors for the real jungle of the local church. Academe is not notable for realism, however. It should be obvious by now that pastors need survival training. And they certainly should be trained in conflict management. Lip service to this need is not adequate. Recently I consulted with an organization that is establishing a leadership training process outside of seminaries. This organization purports to train pastors in evangelism, church growth, and "community based pastoring." When I asked the director what kind of training they offered pastors in building their own support base, and in survival tactics, he looked at me as if I were from another planet. He said, "If a pastor is a dynamic leader, there will be no such problems." If he hadn't been so sure of his institute's success, I could have told him of a burned-out pastor I had talked to the previous week, who had graduated from his program, and of at least two other graduates whom I had heard were under attack by CKs.

THE CONTEXT

The etiology of the CK phenomenon is not mysterious, for we have always had a few evil people in the church. But contemporary society is especially compatible for CKs. There is a general distrust of authority figures of any kind. There is biblical and theological illiteracy in the pews. This means parishioners do not understand God's purposes, and the dynamics of spiritual leadership. There is a general sense of entitlement growing in the church, in which church members feel entitled to comfort and privilege. And if a pastor does not please them, they are free to criticize and punish. There is a growing business mentality in the church, which says that if the CEO (pastor) does not produce, he should be fired. There is mobility among parishioners. This means they feel little loyalty to the "peace and unity of the church." For they will soon move on, without having to deal with the consequences of their irresponsible behavior. And, as has been mentioned, we are not training pastors to handle conflict, nor support themselves in survival situations.

All churches and pastors are not suffering, of course. And all critics of pastoral leadership are not CKs. But the killing of pastors is a serious, and in my experience, a growing phenomenon. Some pastors are incompetent, and some "shoot themselves in the foot," but none of them deserves the torturing tactics of CKs.

It is not only the victimized pastor who suffers, of course. We have noted the subtle, but significant damage to congregations and denominations. And we should certainly note the damage to clergy spouses, families, and intimate friends when CKs attack. Such victims may have even fewer survival resources, unless they have their own careers and support networks.
Identifying a problem is useful. But offering possible solutions and preventions techniques is also necessary. Even though clergy killing is such a distasteful, and denied subject, some healing insights will be useful... at least to celery who know the reality of this treacherous role vulnerability.

GENERIC CASE MODEL

The first overt sign of the killing process began at a Church Board meeting (Session, Board of Deacons, Classis, Vestry, etc.). A member said, "A lot of people are complaining to me about the pastor. They're saying he doesn't call enough; he can't be reached when they want to talk to him; and he's not friendly enough." The Board asked who these people are, but the complainant refused to say. Then they asked for specific examples. He refused to be specific. The Board said they couldn't take action unless they knew the specific complaints. The complainant replied that they better take action, because these were important members who might leave the church.
The Board set up an investigative team, which reported at the next meeting that they could find no tangible evidence. The complainant told them that the complaints were real, and that they might have something to do with sexual misconduct and misuse of church funds.
The investigative team again reported no tangible evidence. The complainant then called for a congregational meeting. This request was denied.

Before the next board meeting, a letter filled with innuendoes against the pastor was mailed to the congregation. At the following meeting, the Board and pastors were in a near panic. The complainant said he had talked to the bishop, and the bishop said these were serious charges that needed to be investigated.

A new investigative team reported next time that there seemed to be a lot of people unhappy with the pastor. The Board voted to have a delegation meet with the pastor.

At the next meeting the pastor was absent. After six months of this harassment, he was in the hospital. The Board voted to send a delegation to the bishop. And at the following meeting, the delegation reported that the bishop recommended removal of the pastor.

The pastor is scheduled for heart bypass surgery now. And rumor says his wife is addicted to tranquilizers.

THE REMEDIES

The first remedial insight is one to which this column is dedicated, namely, the existence of clergy killers. Such persons exist and continue their devastation in that shadowy dimension of institutional religion, behind the prominence of altar, pulpit, and pew. As I consult with victimized clergy, and even savvy denominational executives, it is hard for them to admit the presence and damage of clergy killers. It is much easier to blame pastors, for an unwritten expectation of our profession is that successful pastors should not have unhappy parishioners. There are incompetent pastors, of course, but there are clergy killers also.

The second insight is that the motivations and tactics of CKs are of a different order of magnitude than ordinary critics or nagging detractors. They are evil. And this is what makes them difficult to deal with. For though religion and clergy are not strangers to evil, we have forgotten the need for exorcism. Given this lapse, we simply much teach ourselves reality. CKs do not stop with winning a single victory over a pastor. It is only a matter of time before another attack is fomented. CKs do not stop when thwarted. They may back off, but this is only to regroup and find a winning strategy. CKs camouflage their methods and goals through denial, piousness, distractions, seduction, and unlikely alliances. CKs are willing to go to any length to achieve their goals, and seem to relish the notoriety and general destruction they generate. Theirs is a lifelong goal. When they kill off (get rid of) one pastor, they will certainly wait for an opportunity to kill the next one, even if they had a part in bringing her or him to their pulpit. And, CKs typically do not leave a congregation after either a victory or defeat, as other types of clergy antagonists often do. They tend to stay and turn a parish into a clergy killing field.

The third insight about CKs is how difficult and rare it is to find successful ways of thwarting or eliminating them on a permanent basis. As already mentioned, the denial process in the church is so strong that neither traditional theology nor polity offer effective relief. But there are several strategies that offer some possibility of success.

1. Patience. If one learns survival tactics, outliving CKs may be possible. For forty years in the wilderness eliminates some of them.

2. Raising consciousness. Educating laity and clergy to the CK phenomenon is valuable for both the short term and long term. This is sophisticated education, however. For denial and CK vengeance will try to sabotage it.

3. Teach survival. Clergy and their intimates must be provided with self-preservation skills, since few lay leaders, colleagues, or denominational executives will come to their aid, ready to stay the course with tenacious CKs.

4. Give theology and polity some teeth, in order that when CKs are identified, they may be eliminated. We have now put teeth into eliminating killer clergy (sexual malfeasors); we could do the same with clergy killers.

5. Engage knowledgeable consultants to bring in outside skills needed in this struggle for which the church is poorly prepared. Such professionals can advise and devise the interventions necessary. I have been encouraging experienced Pastoral Counselors (AAPC certified) to bring their special skills to the church for such ministries.

6. "Go by the book." Follow your denomination's polity and protocol as closely as possible. This not only lessens legal liability, it also sets precedence, and gives all involved parties an honorable method and goal.

7. All of the above!

This is a negative column, in that it deals with an unwanted subject and with admitted anger. I pray, however, that its effect will be positive, on behalf of embattled clergy and God's church

Friday, November 30, 2007

Guilty Until proven innocent

Do you ever have one of those days where it seems all you do is “contemplate”?

Today was one of those days. As of late I have been weighed down in spirit due to an opposing spirit. It seems no matter what I do this individual sees it as wrong in their eyes. In my Christian walk thus far I have not been aware of just how powerful and dark this oppressive spirit is.

I have recently become aware of a peculiar thing: it seems that when a person spreads lies or rumors about you, those accusations, although unfounded are readily believed. Before there is an opportunity to address the accusations the victim of said slander is found guilty and someone is calling for a rope.

Why is it that the innocent has the burden of proving the accusations false, rather then the reverse?

I talked with God today about this ungodly attitude being in the church. I contemplated the dozen or so pastors I know of who have been hurt by one or two individuals in the church. I thought about my brethren who had moved their families into a town or city to fill the role of pasturing the local church. All was fine until somehow the pastor offends someone in the fellowship and it is war! No discussion, no chance for peace - it is all out war!

A dark spirit comes over an individual (usually a women) and they are used by the powers of darkness to press against the pastoral leadership in an attempt to crush them. Lies are spread, accusations arise, camps are formed, division follows, the pastor’s family is forced out and the devil puts another notch on his pitch fork.

I asked God to show me what is going on. It is funny how God answers. Friday nights we take care of our grandkids, so down into the basement I went for a video. As I passed by the book case (do this a lot) a book seemed to jump out at me. It was a 1918 Edition of Aesop’s Fables. I took it upstairs with me. I made a tea and carefully thumbed the pages. The following fable is what I read….

The Wolf and the Lamb
WOLF, meeting with a Lamb astray from the fold, resolved not to lay violent hands on him, but to find some plea to justify to the Lamb the Wolf's right to eat him. He thus addressed him: "Sirrah, last year you grossly insulted me." "Indeed," bleated the Lamb in a mournful tone of voice, "I was not then born." Then said the Wolf, "You feed in my pasture." "No, good sir," replied the Lamb, "I have not yet tasted grass." Again said the Wolf, "You drink of my well." "No," exclaimed the Lamb, "I never yet drank water, for as yet my mother's milk is both food and drink to me." Upon which the Wolf seized him and ate him up, saying, "Well! I won't remain supperless, even though you refute every one of my imputations."

The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny, and it is useless for the innocent to try by reasoning to get justice, when the oppressor intends to be unjust.

As they say, I’ll let you do the math. Even though I don’t know what to do, perhaps knowing the spirit behind it will help. May God have mercy on those who have caused heartache and grief for pastors and their families. May God have mercy on the church that caused my dear friend and pastor to have a nervous break down and leave the ministry. Perhaps we are living in the framework of John 16:2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yes, the time will come, that whosoever kills you will think that they are doing God service.

Too bad we couldn't live in I Thessalonians 5:13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves.



I am sorry that I haven't posted the wonderful news about Casey's recent missions trip to El Salvador. He is in the process of putting together a story for the Okanagan Sun, and I hope to cut and paste it to the blog. Judi and I are very proud of his commitment to the Lord.
To say this last year has been a difficult one is an understatement.
With Casey and Janice seperating in January, Judi's continued battle with Sardicosis and the persistent attack from within the church we the Brouwers have been stretched. Stretched, but not broken. Disappointed, but not in despair. God is ever faithfull! In spite of all the attempts of the devil to destroy, we are in the midst of revival. To hear Casey's proclomation Sunday morning, "Lord begin the revival in me!" moved me to tears.
O'God move in our children's lives. Let Your presence be manifested in them!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Worth A Second Read...

Q. What good is a denomination today?
A. To support, encourage, resource and empower the local church in its community

Successful new movements continue to be birthed in the Christian community. Most have a clear vision and purpose. Almost all are led by an individual, family or group with vision, dynamism and drive. It seems obvious God honours strategic, energetic leaders with vision and a sense of mission.

What about long-standing denominations? Those that do not have the advantage of being “new,” are structurally cumbersome and have for years believed in their uniqueness, either in their belief structure and/or in calling. Will they again be recognized and blessed as in times past?

Although I claim little special insight into Canadians’ future choices, I tend to think most people will be attracted to something dynamic and relevant to our times. The following material from my own family of churches may offer this in a form relevant to new and long-standing denominations.

The Associated Gospel Churches (AGC) came into being at a time when the authority of Scripture was being challenged and when the understanding that individuals needed to repent and embrace Christ as the only way to be accepted as a child of God was seen as narrow and irrelevant. In response, our predecessors developed an extensive statement of faith and named the denomination/association after the heart of its mission: gospel churches. The movement has grown to 145 churches in Canada.

The AGC Vision and Strategy Here is the current AGC vision of a new, healthy, reproducing church in our multicultural society in Canada:
1. Churches must be a reflection of the community they view as their primary calling.
2. Churches must be intentional in their reproduction, relational care, partnerships, discipleship, leadership development and cultural transformation.
3. Churches plant churches; denominations resource, empower and coach churches to be obedient to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
4. Local community-focused churches led by supported, trained pastors, church staffs and lay leaders are our best hope for transformed lives, communities and cultures.
5. We value biblical authority, dynamic spirituality, loving relationships, effective discipleship, intentional reproduction, strategic partnerships and cultural transformation.

As we assess, build, coach and develop in an unending circle, pastors and churches that are clear in their appreciation of the authority of the word of God and focused on people will flourish.
Assess leadership and church health using tools that have corresponding helps to strengthen weaknesses and exploit strengths.
Build leaders and churches through every available resource in partnership with other organizations.
Coach pastors, church staff and key lay leaders through area clusters, monitoring coaches and regional superintendents.
Develop an ongoing recruitment and assessment process that values people and the sovereignty of God.

Old denominational structures may be dying, but denominations that empower, resource and encourage community-based leaders and pastors have every hope of God’s blessing and impact on the community.

Early Outcomes
An Ontario church noticed a strip of older motels populated with people waiting for more permanent housing. They began to offer a Saturday evening hot meal free, served by people from the church who were there simply to show care, acceptance, love and hope, and to provide interaction and understanding. After one year a number of the motel residents are participating in an Alpha program, others are in Bible studies and a few are now attending church services.

In a Western Canada church, people volunteer to help the town maintenance department and have stepped alongside farmers and small business owners to offer help and encouragement. The result is that the church has grown from 35 to 135 people worshipping each Sunday. They have built a new church building in a declining town, giving hope to the community and purposeful life to the church.

In thinking about the purpose of a denomination today, one would be wise to focus on the local church.

A. F. (Bud) Penner is the president of the Associated Gospel Churches with its home office in one of its churches in Burlington, Ont.

Nobody's Friend

My name is Gossip. I have no respect for justice. I maim without killing. I break hearts and ruin lives. I am cunning and malicious and gather strength with age. The more I am quoted the more I am believed. My victims are helpless. They cannot protect themselves against me because I have no name and no face. To track me down is impossible. The harder you try, the more elusive I become. I am nobody’s friend. Once I tarnish a reputation, it is never the same. I topple governments and wreck marriages. I ruin careers and cause sleepless nights, heartaches and indigestion. I make innocent people cry in their pillows. Even my name hisses. I am called Gossip. I make headlines and headaches. Before you repeat a story, ask yourself: Is it true? Is it harmless? Is it necessary? If it isn’t, don’t repeat it. Why do people gossip? It is probably the major form of communication in any business, church, social or family setting. Gossip can be pretty destructive and counterproductive especially when it is about you. For the person who is carrying the information, he or she may feel as though it is a civic duty to share their knowledge with anyone who will listen. It also seems to be necessary to embellish it a little, in the event that the topic of gossip isn't juicy enough. You probably heard about the office gossip who said "…that is all that I can tell you…. I have already told you more than I heard myself." We have been told that knowledge is power. So, the person who seems to have a lot of knowledge may be perceived, or perceive him or herself as "in the know" and therefore powerful. In fact, often that is not the case. Now what to do about the office gossip. Gossip requires a talker and a listener. If no one listens then he or she can't gossip. It's up to each individual to make the choice to participate, or not, in this past time. In breaking free of the practice of gossiping, we could apply the Rotary Club's four-way test regarding the information received and passed on to others.
· Is it true?
· Is it fair to all concerned?
· Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
· Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
If the answer is "no" to any of these questions, don't participate!

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Once a man and his son were walking to the market with their donkey. A countryman noticed that the donkey was walking alongside them and laughed, “You fools, what is a donkey for but to ride upon?!” So the man decided to put his son on the donkey and they went on their way. A little while later they passed a group of men. One of them said, "See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides."

The man then ordered the boy to get off, and got on himself. But they hadn't gone far when they passed two women. One of them said to the other, "Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along." The man didn't know what to do at first. He thought and thought and finally decided to put his son up in front of him on the donkey.

Soon they reached the town. There too the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The man stopped and asked them what they were scoffing at. The people said, "Aren't you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey?" The man and the boy got off. They had to think of what to do all over again. At last they had an idea. They took a long pole and tied the donkey's feet to it. Then they raised the pole to their shoulders and carried the donkey upside down.
They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to the market bridge. The donkey accidentally got one of his feet loose and kicking out, caused the boy to drop his end of the pole.

In the struggle that followed, the poor donkey, with his forelegs tied together, fell over the bridge and drowned.

Moral
When you try to please everybody, you won't please anybody.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A preview of next week's message:

Once a man asked an evangelist “how can we have revival?”

The evangelist answered by asking “Do you have a place where you can pray?” Yes the man replied.

Tell you what to do, go to that place and take a piece of chalk along. Kneel down there, and with the chalk draw a complete circle around you and pray for God to send revival on everything inside that circle. Stay there until He answers, and you will have your revival
The best evangelism takes place in a context of mutual trust and respect. It takes place between friends.

Christians need to care about the people they hope to reach.
Christians need to accept the people they hope to reach.
Christians need to love the people they hope to reach.
Christians need to establish meaningful relationships with the people they hope to reach.

The Cry Of My Heart!

Holy God make me holy!
Merciful God give me a merciful heart!
Lover of souls help me love them too!
I want to be more like You!
I need to be more like You!

Today's Word - "GRACE"


There is a single word that encompasses all the riches we find in Christ - GRACE!

This magnificent word is used more than 150 times in the New Testament.

God’s grace is inexhaustible and boundless!

A Christian is saved by Grace... Ephesians 2:8
A Christian stands by Grace... Romans 5:2

Look at John 1:14 and see what it says of Christ..... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. Jesus is described as being full of grace!

Two verses further on we read that of His fullness have we all received,

and that being grace upon grace, or grace for grace!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

IT IS TIME......

Praise the Lord……... Praise the Lord
After this I looked, and, there before me was a door standing wide open in heaven: and the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, come up here, at once I was in the spirit; and there before me was a throne in heaven with some one sitting on it.

And the one that sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian a rainbow resembling an emerald encircling the throne. Surrounding the throne were 24 other thrones And seated on them were 24 elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. From the throne came flashes of lightning and peels of thunder. And I heard praise, continual praise to the Lord.

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for you have created all things, and for your pleasure they are and were created.

The Call To Worship

Praise the LORD from the heavens, praise him sun and moon, Praise him all you stars!
Praise the Lord from the earth, Praise Him among the people: Praise Him among the nations.

Praise the LORD for He is good: His mercy endures for ever.

Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

Praise the LORD with your mouth; praise him with dancing, praise him with the harp.
Praise him among the multitude. Praise the LORD with your whole heart! Praise Him in the congregation.

Praise the LORD. Praise, the LORD, praise the name of the LORD.
Praise the LORD. Praise the LORD from the heavens: praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, Praise God in his sanctuary: Let every thing that has breath praise the LORD. Let every thing that has breath praise the LORD. Let every thing that has breath praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

It Must Be A Day Of New Beginings

Wow! I just got back from our first Men's Prayer meeting. As we stood looking at each other for a few minutes we began to share our dreams and visions. The Holy Spirit began a deep work in us as each one shared his heart. The hour flew by and we realized at the end that we had been renewed with a sense of God's direction and purpose.

Awesome! There were only five of us but that was a few more than I had thought. Five men spoke about the five talents and the five fold ministry, interestinly enough we prayed until five minutes after nine. Who knows? It was exciting to say the least. Two of our guys went straight to work on the vision God had been birthing, one went to work and the other two discussed the procedure for becoming a member of the church.

It is a new day!

Monday, November 05, 2007

A Bit Of History

Each November, Poppies blossom on the lapels and collars of over half of Canada’s population. Since 1921, the Poppy has been a symbol of Remembrance. It is our visual pledge to never forget all those Canadians who have fallen in war and military operations.

Just prior to the World War I, few Poppies grew in Flanders. During the tremendous bombardments of that war, the chalk soils became rich in lime from rubble, allowing “popaver rhoes” to thrive. Fields that were barren before the battles exploded with the blood-red flowers after the fighting ended. When the war ended, the lime was quickly absorbed and the Poppy began to disappear again.

The person who was responsible more than any other for the adoption of the Poppy as a symbol of Remembrance in Canada and the Commonwealth was Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, a Canadian Medical Officer during the First World War. John was born on 30 November 1872 in Guelph, Ontario and at age 14, he joined the Highfield Cadet Corps. Three years later he enlisted in the Militia field battery. While attending the University of Toronto Medical School, he was a member of the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada.

With Britain declaring war on Germany on 4 August 1914, Canada’s involvement was automatic. John McCrae was among the first wave of Canadians who enlisted to serve and he was appointed as brigade surgeon to the First Brigade of the Canadian Forces Artillery.
In April 1915, John McCrae was stationed near Ypres, Belgium, the area traditionally called Flanders. It was there that some of the fiercest fighting of WWI occurred. Working from a dressing station on the banks of the Yser Canal, dressing hundreds of wounded soldiers from wave after wave of relentless enemy attack, he observed how “we are weary in body and wearier in mind. The general impression in my mind is of a nightmare.”

In May, 1915, on the day following the death of fellow soldier, John McCrae wrote his now famous work, an expression of his anguish over the loss of his friend and a reflection of his surroundings – wild Poppies growing amid simple wooden crosses marking makeshift graves. These 15 lines, written in 20 minutes on a scrap of paper, captured an exact description of the sights and sounds of the area around him.

In Flanders fields the poppies blowBetween the crosses, row on row,That mark our place; and in the skyThe larks, still bravely singing, flyScarce heard amid the guns below.We are the Dead. Short days agoWe lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,Loved and were loved, and now we lieIn Flanders fields.Take up our quarrel with the foe:To you from failing hands we throwThe torch; be yours to hold it high.If ye break faith with us who dieWe shall not sleep, though poppies growIn Flanders fields.

An American teacher, Moina Michael, working at the YMCA Overseas War Secretaries’ headquarters in New York City in November 1918, read John’s poem. She immediately made “a personal pledge to keep the faith and vowed always to wear a red poppy of Flanders Fields as a sign of remembrance and as an emblem for keeping the faith with all who died". Two years later, during a 1920 visit to the United States, a French woman, Madame Guerin, learned of the custom. On her return to France, she decided to use handmade Poppies to raise money for the destitute children in war-torn areas of the country. Following the example of Madame Guerin, the Great War Veterans’ Association in Canada (the predecessor of The Royal Canadian Legion) officially adopted the Poppy as its Flower of Remembrance on 5 July 1921.

Thanks to the millions of Canadians who wear the Legion’s lapel Poppy each November, the little red plant has never died. And neither have Canadian’s memories for 117,000 of their countrymen who died in battle.

Now, decades later, Canadians stand united in their Remembrance as they recognize and honour the selfless acts of our troops from all wars. We realize that it is because of our war veterans that we exist as a proud and free nation.

Information from the Royal Canadian Legion’s website.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

No Fuel No Fire!


Sometimes we get overwhelmed by our need for a great vision or unique plan. However, I have come to realize that an immediate goal for our church should be to creat a culture of warmth and hospitality. In this late hour hospitality is going to attract people to the gospel. A few of us have been seeing the need for relationship building in our fellowship. We need to build trust and heal the many broken relationships within our community. In order to be successful in our endeavor we need to deal with the recent rise of strife in our little fellowship.


As I was praying, asking God to reveal what we are really dealing with He led me to the book of Proverbs. Please meditate on these scriptures and stand in the gap with me and Judi. May the devil's plans be twarted and God's name be glorified!


Proverbs 26:20 Where no wood is, there the fire goes out: so where there is no talebearer the strife ceases.

Talebearer: One who spreads malicious stories or gossip, one trading as a peddler in scandal, whose propensity to talk leads him to betray confidence

Proverbs 16:28b … a whisperer (gossiper) separates chief friends.

Proverbs 26:22, Proverbs 18:8 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.

Proverbs 11:13
A talebearer reveals secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit conceals the matter.

Proverbs 22:10 Cast out the scorner, and contention (discord) shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.

Discord: a: lack of agreement or harmony (as between persons, things, or ideas) b: active quarreling or conflict resulting from discord among persons or factions: strife

James 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

Proverbs 6:16-19 These six things the LORD hates: yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

1. A proud look,
2. A lying tongue,
3. Hands that shed innocent blood,
4. A heart that devises wicked imaginations,
5. Feet that are quick in running to mischief,
6. A false witness that speaks lies,

7. And the person that sows discord among brethren.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Jesus Christ was and is absolute.
He said, He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathers not with me scatters abroad Matthew 12:30.

I urge you to understand that there is no such thing as an inactive church member.

If you're not gathering, if you're not drawing people to Christ, you are driving them away from Christ; you are scattering. May God have mercy on us!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Question For You....


As I was preaparing for Sunday (after three weeks away) I ran full speed into a remarkable thought. It happened kind of sudden like. I was considering the topic of servanthood vs the selfishness of the modernday church. So here is the question; What is the most important word in John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son.


I believe that most everyone who reads this verse misses it. The most important word in this verse comes after the word "world." God loved so much He did something about it. He actually manifested and demonstrated His love.

In his song, "Asleep in the Light," Keith Green raised the question: Do you see, do you see, All the people sinking down? Don't you care, don't you care, Are you going to let them drown? How can you be so numb, Not to care if they come? You close your eyes and pretend the job's done.

My message for Sunday may cause us to blush but we must address the sad fact that most of Christendom has turned inward. Keith Green goes on; Oh, bless me Lord, bless me Lord! You know that's all I ever hear. No one aches, no one hurts, No one even sheds a tear. But He cries, He weeps, He bleeds, And He cares for your needs. And you just lay back and keep soaking it in.

May God have mercy on us and remove apathy from our midst.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007



The voice of the Lord was heard as He sang through the wind among the aspens. Its sound was as a drink of cool water.

Bless the Lord O my soul, and all that is within me bless His holy name!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Drop Kick Me Jesus Through The Goal Posts Of Life!

Funny how sometimes when God impacts us it is not at all as to what we had expected or hoped for. It certainly is not always a warm fuzzy. Nor is it a "bed of roses."

There are times when going forward with God is down right painful. Or as is depicted in the photo... "It is in your face!"

Nevertheless, I will bless His Holy name! As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Ninth Century Sufi, Bayazid Bastami, says this about himself: “I was a revolutionary when I was young and all my prayer to God was, ‘Lord give me the energy to change the world.

“As I approached middle age and realized that half my life was gone without my changing a single soul, I changed my prayer to, ‘Lord, give me the grace to change all those who come in contact with me. Just my family and friends, and I shall be content.’

“Now that I am an old man and my days are numbered, my prayer now is, ‘Lord, give me the grace to change myself.’ If I had prayed for this right from the start I should have not wasted my life.”

The "Go" of Renunciation

. . . someone said to Him, ’Lord, I will follow You wherever You go’ —Luke 9:57

Our Lord’s attitude toward this man was one of severe discouragement, "for He knew what was in man" ( John 2:25 ). We would have said, "I can’t imagine why He lost the opportunity of winning that man! Imagine being so cold to him and turning him away so discouraged!" Never apologize for your Lord. The words of the Lord hurt and offend until there is nothing left to be hurt or offended. Jesus Christ had no tenderness whatsoever toward anything that was ultimately going to ruin a person in his service to God. Our Lord’s answers were not based on some whim or impulsive thought, but on the knowledge of "what was in man." If the Spirit of God brings to your mind a word of the Lord that hurts you, you can be sure that there is something in you that He wants to hurt to the point of its death.

Luke 9:58 . These words destroy the argument of serving Jesus Christ because it is a pleasant thing to do. And the strictness of the rejection that He demands of me allows for nothing to remain in my life but my Lord, myself, and a sense of desperate hope. He says that I must let everyone else come or go, and that I must be guided solely by my relationship to Him. And He says, ". . . the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."

Luke 9:59 . This man did not want to disappoint Jesus, nor did he want to show a lack of respect for his father. We put our sense of loyalty to our relatives ahead of our loyalty to Jesus Christ, forcing Him to take last place. When your loyalties conflict, always obey Jesus Christ whatever the cost.

Luke 9:61 . The person who says, "Lord, I will follow You, but . . .," is the person who is intensely ready to go, but never goes. This man had reservations about going. The exacting call of Jesus has no room for good-byes; good-byes, as we often use them, are pagan, not Christian, because they divert us from the call. Once the call of God comes to you, start going and never stop.

The above is From the writings of Oswald Chambers

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

We Don't Always "Get It"


There was a man who was asleep one night in his cabin when suddenly his roomfilled with light and the Savior appeared. The Lord told the man He had awork for him to do, and showed him a large rock in front of his cabin. TheLord explained that the man was to push against the rock with all his might.This the man did, day after day.

For many years he toiled from sun up to sundown, his shoulders set squarely against the cold, massive surface of theunmoving rock pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to hiscabin sore and worn out, feeling that his whole day had been spent in vain.Seeing that the man was showing signs of discouragement, Satan decided toenter the picture placing thoughts into the man's mind such as; "You have beenpushing against that rock for a long time and it hasn't budged. Why killyourself over this? You are never going to move it? etc."

This gave the man the impression that the task was impossible and that hewas a failure. These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man even more. "Why killmyself over this?" he thought. "I'll just put in my time, giving just theminimum of effort and that will be good enough." And that he planned to dountil one day he decided to make it a matter of Prayer and take his troubledthoughts to the Lord."Lord" he said, "I have labored long and hard in your service, putting all mystrength to do that which you have asked. Yet, after all this time, I havenot even budged that rock a half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am Ifailing?"

To this the Lord responded compassionately, "My friend, when long ago I askedyou to serve me and you accepted, I told you that your task was to pushagainst the rock with all your strength, which you have done. Never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. Your task was to push. And now you come to me, your strength spent, thinking that you have failed. But,is that really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled, yourback brown, your hands are callused from constant pressure, and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your abilities now surpass thatwhich you used to have. Yet you haven't moved the rock. BUT YOUR CALLING WAS TO BE OBEDIENT, TO PUSH AND TO EXERCISE YOUR FAITH AND TRUST IN MY WISDOM,this you have done.


I, my friend, I will now move the rock."

Psalms 19:1
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handiwork.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Kids Ask The Darndest Things

"Hey dad, why do you give the waitress 15% and God only gets 10%"?


This my friends is a great question. We often think nothing of giving a complete stranger a "tip" for services provided. On the other hand we debate wheter God's 10% is off the gross or the take home amount and in some cases the left over after paying the bills. Funny how a $36.00 DVD set is easy to purchase while giving God 10% of a $360.00 pay check is a struggle. Perhaps instead of tithes (10%) we should give God tips for services rendered. Ouch that is a whole lot more..... Thank God He only requires 10% (that is even less then the Canadian Revenue Services requires.....

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Are You Salty Enough?

It might have seemed ridiculous for Jesus to say to a handful of ordinary men, "You are the salt of the earth" Yet that little band, that pinch of salt, started something that has changed the history of mankind.Our Lord used very simple figures of speech. Nothing is plainer, more universal and old-fashioned than salt. It is such a common commodity that we take it for granted, but if suddenly no salt could be had, what a difference that would make!

What would life be without salt!

A little boy said, "Salt is what tastes bad when you don't have it."

Salt has a seasoning influence: There ought to be a flavor and a zest about us Christians. Our main trouble today is not that our doctrine is false, but that our experience is flat.

Salt preserves: Salt prevents decay and restrains corruption. One godly person in a group will restrain evil conversation.

Salt purifies and cleanses: The best gargle for a sore throat is pain salt water. The church of Jesus Christ has a purifying influence. You may think that our community is in a bad state, but take out the church and you would not want to live there.

Salt heals: Lives are changed, souls saved, homes rescued from disaster, broken hearts mended, sorrows eased, burdens lifted, sick bodies and minds made well because of the antiseptic and therapeutic power of the Holy Spirit working through God's people, the salt of the earth.

Salt creates thirst: We ought to live in such a way that others would want the peace and joy they see in us. Does anybody want to be a Christian like you?

Salt irritates: When the salt of God's truth is rubbed into this diseased old world, sick souls may smart. When the light is turned on, some will wince. The devil hates the Gospel and fights back… We are not the sugar of the earth - we are salt! We will not be welcomed by a generation full of open wounds.
We need to get into the salt business. It sounds old-fashion, but salt is old-fashioned, sin is old-fashioned and so is the Gospel.
We have been tickling palates with fancy flavors, spicy relishes, and spicy recipes borrowed from the world. Too many pulpit gourmets deal with menus from Hollywood, trying to please the jaded appetites of a fed up humanity.
We need old-fashioned salt, and if we do not start producing more of it in our churches, we shall be good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A note of encouagement....



The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladnes; he will quiet you by his love;

Zephaniah 3:17-20 The LORD your God in the midst of you [is] mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over you with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over you with singing. I will gather [them that are] sorrowful…. Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict you: and I will save her that is lame, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame. At that time will I bring you [again], even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, says the LORD.



Psalms 119:103 How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes , sweeter than honey to my mouth!


O' that we would consider the Word of God to be that delightful. O' that we would crave it like the bear, considering the bee stings to be but a small price to pay for the sweet, pure, life giving nectar.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Getting Ready To JUMP!

Sometimes when life gets to serious we need to revert to our childhood past times... skipping and jumping, and all of that for no paticular reason except that you can!

Matthew 18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Take A Walk On The Wild Side


Blown Away By God's Creativity!

I found the most incredible rock formations just minutes from our house. Does anyone dare to hazard a guess as to exactly how many minutes away. Although these are incredible there is no rock like Our Rock!

Photo Question



Anyone know where this picture was taken?

Monday, September 03, 2007


POWERFUL, SO POWERFUL, YOUR GLORY FILLS THE SKIES
YOUR MIGHTY WORKS DISPLAYED FOR ALL TO SEE

THE BEAUTY OF YOUR MAJESTY, AWAKES MY HEART TO SING
HOW MARVELOUS, HOW WONDERFUL YOU ARE

BEAUTIFUL ONE, I LOVE, BEAUTIFUL ONE, I ADORE
BEAUTIFUL ONE, MY SOUL MUST SING

YOU OPENED MY EYES TO YOUR WONDERS ANEW
YOU CAPTURED MY HEART WITH THIS LOVE
‘CAUSE NOTHING ON EARTH IS AS BEAUTIFUL AS YOU

MY SOUL, MY SOUL MUST SING….

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Visiting Beckie's (Wolfe) blog I saw some awesome pictures. I thought they looked a bit familiar and then remembered that at one of our dozen or more pit stops driving the grandkids back to the Island... I too had snapped a few flower (weed) shots. I kept this one not because of its uniqueness.... I just thought it would make a good puzzle! There is a bee in this bouquet, all the butterflys were probably prepping for Beckie's pic. I'll stick to preaching and leave the photo taking to Beckie and Casey.
Have great Sunday!
Casey took this picture of our ranch last night. Pretty incredible, we are so blessed to live in this part of God's creation. There is never the same sky two nights in a row. There is definetly nothing "same old, same old" about God's artistic flair.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


Deuteronomy 8
All the commandments which I command you this day shall you observe to do, that you may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD promised unto your fathers. And you shall remember all the way which the LORD thy God led you these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you, [and] to prove you, to know what [was] in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments, or not. And he humbled you, and suffered you to hunger, and fed you with manna, which you knew not, neither did your fathers know; that he might make you know that man does not live by bread only, but by every [word] that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. Thy raiment waxed not old upon you, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years. You shall also consider in your heart, that, as a man chastens his son, [so] the LORD thy God chastens you. Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him. For the LORD your God brings you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; A land wherein you shall eat bread without scarceness, you shall not lack any [thing] in it; a land whose stones [are] iron, and out of whose hills you may dig brass. When you have eaten and are full, then you shall bless the LORD your God for the good land which he has given you. Beware that you forget not the LORD your God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes: Lest [when] you have eaten and are full, and have built nice houses and dwelt [therein]; And [when] thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that you has is multiplied; Then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; Who led you through that great and terrible wilderness, [wherein were] fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where [there was] no water; who brought you water out of the rock of flint; Who fed you in the wilderness with manna, which your fathers knew not, that he might humble you, and that he might prove you, to do you good at your latter end; And you say in your heart, My power and the might of [mine] hand has gotten me this wealth. But you shall remember the LORD your God: for [it is] he that gives you power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he promised to your fathers, as [it is] this day. And it shall be, if you do at all forget the LORD your God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that you shall surely perish. As the nations which the LORD destroyed, so shall you perish; because you would not be obedient to the voice of the LORD your God.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


It is almost here! The season that we've all been looking forward to. The colors, the smells, the crispness in the air.... ahhhh.

Sweaters - I know that sounds strange, but I like sweaters.

Yet in all of this I really like the Fall because it is a season for families to get together. Local fairs, Thanks-giving dinner, campfires, nights around the kitchen table playing Settlers eating Pumkin pie. Our annivesary (33rd) and Judi's birthday (29th).


Or perhaps it is that the autumn season calls us back to a closer communion with God. The summer is filled with so many distractions (not all bad of course). But summer always seems to focus on self interests. You may have another point of view, but I for one look forward to the days that lay ahead.


Psalms 90:12 Teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ok! So I am having a hard time getting up from the kitchen table... I'm allowed. However, I am going out to work the ranch now. Sometimes all this revisiting the past is tiring. I think I've got jet lag. Memories are good, well good memories are good! In fact God encourages us to be ever mindful of his Faithfullness to us. I pray your memories of God in your life only serve to bring glory to His name and strength to your determination to be all that He has called you to be!
Psalms 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handiwork.

This is a picture of Beamer's Falls (dry) on Forty Mile Creek.
I don't need to look too far to see God's handiwork. The trees are a canvas to themselves. If I close my eyes I can almost smell the leaves. The bridge in the background is on Ridge Rd. It was at a vineyard locatted on this road that my mom work as an imagrant labourer. She would place my baby brother and I on a blanket among the miles of grapevines and pick grapes until dusk. God has blessed her for her many sacrifices. Live was anything but easy in those early days of them coming to Canada.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


Part Two ....
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert.

As a youngster I had myself many adventures along Forty Mile Creek in Grimsby, Ontario. Many a Saturday I would spend the whole day scrambling over boulders and searching caves along the banks of this awesome creek. Although I almost drowned on one occasion, the creek has always held a special place among my childhood memories.

However, now that I'm a bit older and less likely to be scrambling over the rocks (although I still can, really!) I favor the pathways through the woods (wilderness). But, O the Saturday adventures... Bag lunch (Mock Meat Chicken Loaf) or a campfire with a hotdog or two.... ahhhh!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Isaiah 43:19
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, [and] rivers in the desert.
I love when God makes a way in the wilderness. Our ranch I am sure is a wilderness to some, but God has made pathways there for me. And no matter the state of my mind or heart at the first step I am the better for it at the last. I thank God everyday for my wilderness. Yes, even on those days when I am bone weary tired, I sit for a moment at a campfire or hanging over a rail fence and the peace of God soothes in a way no eight person hot tub could. Never did see what those city folk saw in those things any way.