“…do you see how thankful we must be?”

It feels like tomorrow will be the culmination of aaallll the Moving! We’ve invited everyone (and I mean everyone) to come to a “Drop-In Celebration” tomorrow, so we can show off our new home, and so that we can have treats. It was just a Facebook invitation, so it’ll be interesting to see how many come. It doesn’t matter, because the treats can be put away, if there are any left over after WE eat them. :D

Somewhere in that invitation, about 3 weeks ago, was a mention that everything may not be perfect yet. But, it’s amazing how many things ARE perfect, already! When I think of all that we’ve done since we moved in July 3rd–Wow! Really, there are just a couple of “move jobs” left to do:

  • adjust the nail positions for the wall pictures/hangings (which will also involve filling/fixing holes), and
  • make curtains for Sam’s French Doors;
  • oh yeah, and read over the manuals that came with the house (and perhaps try cooking with the convection oven that’s not my Toronto microwave oven).
  • Oh–I thought of one more: learn about my various shrubs & trees! So far I’m pretty sure I have a Dogwood, a Nine Bark, Purple Sandcherry; as well as Spruce, Oak, the Hot Tub Smoke Tree, and of course the huge Maple out front.

As I said before, there will also be new experiences for a whole year, as we go through each season. I’m looking forward to:

  • hot tubbing in the Winter,
  • unpacking the Christmas boxes,
  • seeing what blossoms my shrubs produce in the Spring–
  • but first, seeing their Fall glory,
  • planting what *I* want in the yard,
  • having visits from old friends and family that haven’t made it yet (starting tomorrow!)

“Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander.” (Hebrews 12:28)

summer prof 2014


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Use your voice!

My cat sometimes just looks at me when she wants something. Practising telepathy perhaps! Eventually she may meow, and I’ll figure it out–this morning she wanted more water (she drinks a LOT since she’s gotten old!)

You need to speak up for yourself; you also need to “speak up” for others–encourage them.  Appreciate: raise the value. :)

Now to switch direction again, with no silly segue this time. Yesterday I shared a verse about God’s voice “shaking” things up, in The Last Day. The story continues:

“His voice that time shook the earth to its foundations; this time – he’s told us this quite plainly – he’ll also rock the heavens: ‘One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern.’ The phrase “one last shaking” means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered…. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire!” (Hebrews 12:26-29)

I like this because we’ve had to clean out so much junk recently, for moving; plus, now I’m cleaning up to prepare for a drop-in party this weekend.

It’s such a great illustration, because I remember when we first moved in, and hated to clutter up the place with all our “stuff”. We so easily get into religious “junk”, don’t we? Better to get it cleared away “so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered”!

head shot from Crystal's wedding


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Why be reasonable?

The thought was going through my mind that perhaps I should do this “word” thing (see yesterday’s post) only at the end of the week–anything can get tiresome–when I read this:

“So don’t turn a deaf ear to these gracious words. If those who ignored earthly warnings didn’t get away with it, what will happen to us if we turn our backs on heavenly warnings? His voice that time shook the earth to its foundations; this time – he’s told us this quite plainly – he’ll also rock the heavens: “One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern.””(Hebrews 12:25-26)

This writer is referring to when God spoke to the Hebrews from Mount Sinai, and comparing it to how He speaks now, through Jesus; also, the comparison is that judgement with future judgement.

I’d already been thinking about “the Voice of Reason”, for example, when the directions say to put the chemical in a bucket of water before adding it to the hot tub. However, just throwing it in was fun: a huge sudsy mass to enjoy, before the bubbles disappeared shortly afterward! Some judgements are simply consequences. Thankfully, that was an easy one to “endure”. ;)

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Language is fun

I’ve been thinking of trying something, and I’m not sure if it would be a good thing or not.

You know how I’ve got this “Word for the Year” thing–a specific word that is “mine” for the year. (My word is “plan/s”; it’s an easy one to work out, especially since it’s a word that describes me!) I wonder if that could work weekly? On the first day of the week, “choose” (or pray about) what your word for the week might be. Then each day, see what significance that word might have. Or, just sum it up at the end of the week.

It might go flat, but on the other hand, it’s something new to try. Maybe it’ll be fun!

Some words are ambiguous, and some are just necessary to everyday life (like “plan”, perhaps?) Considering yesterday’s post, should this week’s word be Truth? But that’s one of the ones that are needed every single day. Even “beauty” is there all the time. Maybe “voice” then? Like art work (e.g. working with photos), one could mull this around in one’s mind for hours. Just pick one already!

OK word for this week: voice/s.

Voice of authority, conflicting voices, quiet voice, let your voice be heard, etc. etc.

What’s your word?

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Hearing Voices

Beauty is a voice that cannot be silenced–both natural and man-made. “The heavens declare the glory of God…” Beauty is only one voice. Truth is another. (See N.T. Wright’s book, Simply Christian.)

The Truth of God’s Word is what gets served up on Sundays, hopefully where you are too. Our sermon was based on Acts 6:1-7, showing that good leadership is devoted to prayer (all kinds of prayer–worship, praise, requests) and scripture (Acts 6:4). We are tempted to think that these things mean our church leaders don’t have to work very hard, but not if they are truly devoted to them.

And we all should follow them by placing highest importance on those things, and then each of us should do what we’ve been called to do (which of course is different for each one).

So nice to see some sun today, to show up that beauty!

facebk my lilies

“Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite.” (Hebrews 12:16)

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Cheering! And jumping off the sidelines to join…

“Thought millennials are leaving the faith? They’re actually leading it.” — Christianity Today, in an article titled “33 under Thirty-Three”.

This age group does seem to have all kinds of energy, and these days I find the Christians are often not only extremely intelligent, but wise as well!

…There’s Dale Partridge, 29, an Oregon entrepreneur who starts companies that raise money for causes as varied as autism research, orphan care, and clean water. “Like our God,” Partridge says, “entrepreneurs are great creators.”

We’ve already told you about Nabeel Qureshi, a former Muslim and now an evangelist. This 31-year-old speaks with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and is author of the book, “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.” Then there’s the redoubtable Lila Rose, all of 25, who has a wonderful habit of exposing the lies of the abortion industry; there’s acclaimed photographer Esther Havens, who’s 30; Crystal Paine, who’s 32, known as “the super-frugal mom”; there’s choreographer Preston Miller, who’s 26; and Texas megachurch pastor Chris Galanos, who’s 33.

And so on…


head shot from Crystal's wedding

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Drinking poison?

“Work at getting along with each other…” (Hebrews 12:14)

That was in my second reading this morning. The first one (Old Testament readings which I’ve switched to a YouVersion one with commentary, just to keep me focused), talked about conflict (a Psalm), and how we don’t really know, on this side of the world, what conflict is. It ran through my mind that I could easily see huge conflict develop, if I allowed myself to give in to it sometimes! It’s only calling on God’s power that “saves the day”.

My third reading was an email newsletter by Rick Warren, who says “Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it’s going to kill someone else.”

“Make allowance for each other’s faults…” (Col. 3:13)… That phrase “make allowance” is the Greek word that means “to bear with, to endure, to be tolerant.” Basically it means to cut people some slack.

And while I’m thinking that “other people” should do this, should I perhaps forgive them for not being forgiving? :S

viewer with chins

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Just don’t play the game.

As far as “reaching the culture” goes, we know that it’s important to connect with people by joining them in their culture, as long as we don’t compromise the Truth. Truth is truth, but many people find it difficult to define that proverbial line that you don’t cross.

Along that line (oops, sorry), here are some interesting quotes from one of my newsletters.

…as Roberto Rivera put it, “we might as well be holy,” since seeking an accommodation with the culture is, in his words,” a “loser’s game.” As soon as we bend a little, they insist we bend some more and then some more again.

“There is no winning or even staying afloat in this game, so we might as well not play at all. We might as well intentionally embrace our status as outsiders and not care what people think of us.”

Now, does that mean we abandon the culture? Absolutely not. We engage the culture with truth and beauty where we can. But we do not participate in the unlovely and the obscene.

my small pot of begonias

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for the City

It’s kind of neat that The Met’s current sermon series is all about “Hope for the City”, and how to minister to/in the City, just when we have changed cities.

The sermon we heard yesterday, from Pastor Jeff (the Young Adult pastor), was actually the same thing that Paul (at our old church) preached years ago–but it was still good. In fact, he laid it out in nicely ordered points, under the title “A Church for the City”.

First of all, we want to be a church FOR the city versus a church IN the city, who is just “there” and very inward focussed, not going anywhere; or versus a church AGAINST the city, who takes the “us and them” posture (what comes to my mind is people being upset about messy street youth coming in and causing harm to the building); and finally, you don’t want to be a church that is OF the city, who wants so desparately to be liked that they end up compromising truth and becoming really no different from the city, being therefore unable to help them.

So there are 4 ways to be FOR the city, as in Jeremiah 29:1-7 :

  1. Be connected to the city (v. 5); which involves developing a relationship with the city–incarnational ministry as exemplified by God, who “became flesh and dwelt among us”.
  2. Be growing with the city (v. 6)–normal, multiplying kind of life, marrying and having kids [or simply enjoying those marriages and kids].
  3. Be a blessing to the city (v. 7a), by helping, having compassion, contributing time & money, and doing whatever it takes to bring peace (we are to be agents of reconciliation).
  4. Pray for the city (v. 7b)–for its well-being [not just in dire situations... btw square brackets always mean my own thoughts, not coming from the pastor.]

The first point seems to include all the other ones really… the pastor talked about ways to be connected: eat (3 meals a day means that many opportunities to enjoy people and get to know them), play (sports, hobbies, etc., are great ways to connect), and just BE (be yourself, don’t fake it out of guilt). Don’t you just love a sermon that tells you to enjoy eating? :D

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Run for it!

“Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it!” (Hebrews 12:13)

It was a little difficult, at first, to think about getting into my running programs again. As much as there is a lot of pleasure in a new home, let’s be honest, everything will have a “weird” feeling at first–everything that you come across in a whole year. Because it’s all so different. Now that I’m into it of course, it is exciting to think about all those new trails I get to try out.

It feels good to have it all scheduled, and mapped out. That 5K sure looks long! It should be quite easy though, because most of it is on gravel trails. Must remember to put bug spray on; not that the mosquitoes are really that bad, considering the wilderness area the trails run beside (trees and wildflowers on one side, beautiful yards on the other).

Now to make a few short notes for myself, since I was looking for them, couldn’t find them, and had to figure it all out again. The whole plan takes about 14 weeks, although the “increase speed” workout is not necessary, and the two Fitness Test Weeks can be done at the beginning/end of the other weeks. So it could be only 11 weeks. (These plans, by the way, are all from SparkPeople.) They only happen on 3 days per week, so the other (“cross-training”) days are good for normal walks-with-the-guys.

  1. One Mile Fitness Test
  2. Advanced Walking Intervals (for 1 week, just to get “into the groove”)
  3. 10 weeks of the 5K Training Plans, combination of two: A) weeks 1 to 5 of the Rookie Running; B) the 5 weeks of the 5K Running (NOT the “Walk/Jog” one)
  4. Try the “Increase Your Speed” workout for 1 week? (Maybe depending on the weather)
  5. One Mile Fitness Test–to see how much better it goes!

So, it’s all set to start up in a week or so!

“Running” reminds me of Psalm 2:12 that I read yesterday. It talks about God’s anger “about to explode” (The Message), and that we should “make a run for God”… Isn’t that funny, that we should run towards the One who is angry?

user summer2 060b

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