put together and on your feet for good

Yesterday was a “red-berry day”! I was excited to find quite a few little Christmas flower-picks/candle rounds, etc. with greenery and red berries–all for a dollar each. Then at Small Group, they agreed to come to our home next week!

We usually meet at just the one home, the leaders’ place. But they’ll be away next week, and feel frustrated that they’ve had to cancel a few meetings this month. So we were more than happy to take up the slack.

They are going to Toronto. :| If I let myself think about it, the sadness about missing people from our previous Home can certainly wedge its way in. It seems to take so long to get close to new people, especially in such a big church. (We left a small church in the Big City, to come to a city that seems “empty” by comparison, to a MEGA church!) After all, you can’t help but just KNOW that people who have known you for 30 years will care about your concerns.

However, we’re starting to feel the warmth in our new circle (besides the fireplace that I flicked on this morning ;P ). The lady of the home we meet in certainly has a warm hug! Interesting that they have kids who live in Toronto, who are about to move here to Ottawa. Of course they are very happy about it, just as my parents & family were about our move!

There were two different readings this morning that told me to cheer up, better things are coming; even though I don’t feel like this is a message I really need (I’m quite cheery already, thank you). Maybe I’ll need it in two years, when I read this post over again. :D Or maybe YOU need it!

“So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ–eternal and glorious plans they are!–will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.” (1 Peter 5:10-11)

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waiting another week, or so…

Remember when November was the time to be secretive about your Christmas activities? The three of us would each listen to Christmas music in our headphones, so as not to bother each other with the earliness of it.

It’s not just that the stores are all displaying decorations, but everyone on Facebook seems to be “into it” already. Maybe it’s the snow, and the sunshine, and the desire for cheering-up things in these sun-short days. And I have done my wood-floor cleaning, and we’ve put up outside lights (white, so that they can stay up all winter), and I’m getting anxious to put up Christmas decorations! But… gotta hold off *grunt*… not until the end of November now, come on…

Meanwhile, I’m still trying to get some more of these wedding photos sorted, before it’s time to look at the Christmas ones.

Yeah, not much to talk about today; but I’m trying not to skip too many days, because I MISS it when I’m reading my previous posts (from two years ago). No humility here! Well, actually it can be humiliating, the odd time. :P

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When life gets really difficult…. read 1 Peter 4 :)

Oh my, the snow yesterday was only enjoyable when we got out into that invigorating “cold” (nothing like the temps will be eventually) and heard the squeak under our feet; but today–how beautiful to see the sun on all those clinging clumps on the trees! And blue sky, and a few stubborn oak leaves hanging on in spite of the brisk wind out there.

If you’re still feeling that snowy weather is a trial though, remember that “suffering” can be something that refines our character, that “weans” you from “the habit of always expecting to get your own way. Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want.” (1 Peter 4:2)

There are so many great verses in this chapter! He goes on to say that we should “love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything.” And of course, some specific people to love are the homeless and the hungry. “Be generous with the different things God gave you,” Peter says, “passing them around so all get in on it”. (He seems to be saying that suffering people can find relief by helping/loving others.)

And then back to “when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job.” Here he’s again talking about that refining process, with the encouragement that “glory” is “just around the corner”! Yay! Hang in there! :)

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The stuff of movies

Some things never change: the Mother Goose float still leads the Santa Claus parade, and tomorrow I have to do my Wood Floor Job so that we’ll be ready to decorate in a couple of weeks! Of course, how I decorate will likely be totally different…

Some people though, just never know what’s going to happen. They trust God to guide them, and with their obedience they get to see wonderful things happen! The couple I’m thinking of is Florrie and Allan McGuirl, who started a ministry of dropping little shortwave radios, that are solar powered, in places where it would be difficult to take them, and where people would otherwise never get to hear the Gospel.

This organization (GALCOM, Hebrew for something) has been going now for 25 years, and they recently put together their 1 millionth radio. Allan & Florrie are now semi-retired, so while others take over the main part of the operations, they go around and do speaking engagements–like at our Missions Conference last weekend. It was quite something to see Allan take one radio after another out of his pockets, as he described their development.

And the stories they had to tell! How time and time again, something worked out so amazingly. Wish I could remember them all. How people with the right contacts and the right experience/knowledge “just happened” to meet up. How governments allowed radio stations to be put up. Even to see how they managed to transform a truly ramshackle “haunted house” into their home–I tell you, it’s the stuff of movies! In fact, they’ve written a book about it… I bet we could find that on their website: www.galcolm.org

Yeah, think I’ll check it out, right now!

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A Christian excuse to Eat Cookies

Here’s something shocking you might not have known: Canada has a higher rate of Youth Suicide than the U.S.! This is why a ministry like Word of Life is needed.

In this day when so many (even Christians) are down on Absolute Truth, we have failed to pass on our values to our children, who are either afraid to ask questions of their “deeply religious” parents, or their questions just don’t get answered intelligently. This is why Word of Life Bible Institutes are so important. They give a year, usually in between high school and college, to give kids the grounding they need; especially today when people are not just indifferent to Christianity, but aggressively against it.

That was the first seminar we heard at the Missions Conference last Sunday (and one of the missionaries we had for lunch was an administrator at WOL, Owen Sound).

At another seminar, the missionary talked about “Coffee as mission”! This guy (oops, can’t remember his name) was not a charismatic speaker, but he knew what he was talking about. He said “a factory can be just as transformational to a community as a church”. So now you know what his organization does in other countries (mainly Africa, I think). They do lots of other things as well, i.e. a child sponsorship program and other things. But I just love the idea of coffee beans roasting in the basement of their office… They also got the contract for the macadamia nuts that Subway uses in their cookies, so there’s a Christian excuse to eat cookies if I ever saw one!

Missionaries these days are incredibly intelligent and creative. It’s just wonderful to see, not only the various things they do, but the ordered way of reaching people–including research about the best ways, etc. And most of them seem to realize the also-importance of discipleship (not just the initial evangelism).

This guy (oh yeah–Allan Bussard, with Integra Foundation, serving Slovakia, Kenya, Ethiopa) said something interesting: Justice trumps worship. He referred to Jesus talking about those who say “Lord, Lord…”, but He ends up having to say “I never knew you”; and the chapter in Isaiah where God says He is sick of the Israelites’ sacrifices–because they were just ritual and obviously not from their heart. Why was that obvious? Because they were not helping the “orphans and widows”. In other words, not acting justly/promoting justice. Worship you see, can be all words and no action, which makes those words pretty empty!

However, I would question whether justice actually trumps worship… I think both are important. Like the old saying “Share the Gospel, and if necessary use words”–I would refer to a recent argument that says “But words ARE necessary.”

These notes-posts are longish, but at least there is only one more for this one. And of course, I’m saving the best for the last… about an AMAZING couple!!

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“Awake, join in…”

The missions conference notes that were promised 4 days ago have NOT been forgotten! Even if it is getting into the busy-time of pre-Christmas stuff.

The main speaker was Bill Hogg, and I wish we could have heard all of his sermons, but there were just so many interesting sessions to choose from. His Scottish accent was pleasant and quite easy to understand; and he looked so unassuming–like a little mountain man, or farmer.

The week began on Tuesday with missionaries speaking at the kids’ & youth groups, to the women on Wednesday morning and evening, to the seniors’ group, the missionary committee, the young adults, at a special family day, etc. But on Friday Bill Hogg kicked off his series on the theme of the conference (and indeed, of this church): “City, Country, World”. With introductory statements like “Quebec is less evangelized than Pakistan” (!!!) and “It can no longer be ‘business as usual in Canada'”, he then went on to make 5 excellent points.

  1. We need to step out, energized by a clear declaration of the Supremecy of Jesus. This is where some people have trouble, because they may believe a lot about the Bible, but their Christology is lacking. Yet, if you actually read that Book carefully, you see that it’s all ABOUT Jesus. (Matt. 28:16-20) There can be no compromise. (Though everyone is invited to believe.) Yes, we are called to be winsome and engaging in our witness, but we are NOT called to be politically correct.
  2. Jesus had compassion on the multitudes–pray that God would break your heart with what breaks His. (Matt. 9:38)
  3. Make disciples: We are NOT to make the church, Jesus will build the Church. sometimes it’s easier to run programs than it is to make disciples.
  4. PRAY LIKE CRAZY! “Ask the Lord of the harvest”, Jesus said. This is also where Mr. Hogg talked about the “Secret Sauce”–the importance of the Holy Spirit.
  5. Pour yourself into it… I think he said to pour yourself into missions, but this is where he talked about the value of church planting: the most effective evangelistic tool–not para-church activities, not mega churches, etc.

OK, that should tide you over to the next notes. ;)

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FULL!

Full of soup and biscuits, full of amazement, full of thankfulness, full of pleasure! It was our pleasure to host a couple of missionary ladies for lunch. That’s what I’ll start with.

The first girl (she seemed quite young) came in the front door exclaiming about our beautiful home, and then was so delighted with my china cabinet that she wanted to take a picture of it (“I love it!”) That made me feel good, because this is a cabinet I’ve added some design items to, and doing that always makes me wonder afterwards if I’ve done something weird. And of course, we’re always delighted when someone else takes delight in our new home.

Then the second lady arrived and introduced herself to everyone, we sat down and said grace, and then she got up and started serving soup to everyone! I just love it when people make themselves at home, because it means you’ve created an atmosphere that allows them to do that. Of course, having a serving-nature helps too… I suspect lots of missionaries do have that serving nature. ;)

I admit that, because of a couple of previous hostess-ing mishaps lately, I was wondering what might go wrong today. But everything went well, and the food was good. Everyone raved about the hot-out-of-the-oven cheese biscuits…. Story Time:

I’d decided to get everything ready for the biscuits so that all that was left to do was to add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, roll it out, cut, and then pop them into the oven. So late last night I did get the ingredients ready. This was the very moment when I was wondering that thing mentioned in the previous paragraph. And I discovered that one ingredient was missing. A long-time, well-trusted recipe, and I was missing the 1 cup of cottage cheese, to add with the milk and cubes of cheddar.

What to do? Yours truly is NOT one to work outside a recipe! I ended up adding a little more butter, and a little more milk. It was slightly questionable today when the oven was pouring out smoke, but that was just because the oven needed cleaning. (That was when I was thankful for this larger house, because the group in the Living Room did not notice the smoke in the Family Room/Kitchen!)

But yes, the biscuits were commented on several times. But never mind the food, we had a great visit. And the young lady chews her ice exactly like Sam does. :D

As for the rest of the Missions Conference, notes WILL be coming over the next several days–be warned!

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another 5K logged!

That looks cute, with no initial cap in the title, don’t you think?

Yeah, runner’s high here! My time improved by about 2.5 minutes from the last one, as far as I can figure out. I wasn’t timing it the same way before, plus it’s (of course) a whole different route this time. “Official” time: 49:36.39 –puddles, snowflakes, and all. Plus, I had little sleep last night!

But I actually kept running, and running, almost the whole time!! The Energizer Bunny, that’s me! There were 3 short hills that weren’t worth stopping for (as was planned), and 2 long-sloping hills that weren’t worth stopping for, so it ended up that I only stopped to walk up one steep hill! And then I stopped at Canyon Walk, just to give myself some cool down time (5 min.).

And now I’m going out to spend hours walking around investigating Christmas lights. ;)

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running notes

(not for publishing to Facebook–my apologies to those who receive this by email)

I’m thinking for my final, 5K “run”, to try WALKING up the Hills, and maybe that’ll give me enough extra energy to complete most of the 5K actually “running”. Then I’d like to try the “increase speed” program, but I’m not hopeful that I’ll actually be able to run for 5 whole minutes at an intensity level of 7 (in the middle of the workout).

I’ll put on my calendar for June (when I’ll be making the next run-program plans), to plan on starting this 10-week run program in August (early mornings); because the Fall is so nice just for walking, and I feel bad when Sam wants a walk, but I can’t because I’m running that day. And the weather is so unpredictable. (I can run in the rain, but much nicer to walk when the weather is good.)

That’s if it IS a 10-week program… I should mix it up and go with an 8-week program that has just running at the end (vs intervals); and then add in an increase-speed week maybe in the middle. Yeah, that’s a good idea!

 

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doodling

It’s going to be so fun one day (and one is tempted to make that day sooner), to go back and read my posts just over this year. There is absolutely nothing like it–that wonder and excitement of moving into a fabulous new home. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing, for us (when you consider we were in our previous home for 33 years). Of course, it’s not over yet, with Christmas-decoration time coming up! Each new season of the year is extra-new.

Lately I’ve taken to spending a moment here and there, just pausing to look out a window I don’t usually look out. Perhaps someday all those beautiful views will be glazed over and hardly seen, but hopefully not.

All this promotes a slightly guilty feeling. The reason I’m anxious to have people over and entertain is, I admit, in order to “show off”; but it’s also because I want to share it all, and don’t feel that I’ve done anything to deserve it! I think the guilt is exacerbated by the fact that we’re not yet involved in very much service at our new church. These things take time, especially if you want to work with children (think Protection Policy).

Meanwhile, little voices can whisper in my head that I’m not much use to God, and that I’m very shallow in taking pleasure in so many small, unimportant things (i.e. a sunny day, a good supper, etc…. what about the cloudy days, and so many who have to go without?) But like I said the other day, those small joys take on more meaning when you see them in the light of God’s presence. When you remember that God is ordering everything, and has a purpose for me to fulfill today; as small as that purpose may look to me (I, who can hardly see past the end of my nose, compared to him)–it’s important to his plan.

All that doesn’t fit perfectly with this really neat thing I read this morning, but you can make it fit.  :P The devotional is referring to the time that the prostitute was brought to Jesus, and the Pharisees asked him what should be done with her; his response was silence, while he stooped down and doodled in the ground with a stick (John 8:6). He eventually said that whoever was without sin should cast the first stone, but then he went back to his silence & doodling. (John 8:1-11)

Perhaps Jesus’ silence should be kept in mind when we struggle to hear His voice—when we’re left with just a few words in between lengthy times of not hearing Him. His silence doesn’t mean He’s absent, and neither does it diminish His power or care. Instead it invites us to reflect on whether we’ve really heard what He’s already said. (Sheridan Voysey, ODJ, emphasis mine.)

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