Thursday, January 25, 2007

Good times on the zipline

This is a video I made to show at our district's pastoral prayer retreat to promote peer networks among pastors.
Who knew pastors could have fun?

Fox Hat

I know it's scandalous, but still funny!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

New perspective

It's 5pm on Wednesday, in just about 2 hours my students will be rolling through the doors and I'm still not completely finished preparing for youth tonight, but that's ok, it's just a matter of filling a few things in, for once I'm not panicking to get everything finished in the last 5 minutes before people are due to show up to the church.
Why am I not just finishing and then taking a few minutes to catch up on some sleep that I've sorely missed the last couple days? Well because just now a thought has illumined my mind and I have to write it down before I forget it (for you fellow Bill McAlpine Homiletics students, WIDOLIF).
You see, I've been struggling a lot lately with my work habits, with the setting I'm in (not the people, just the laid back/easy going/small town atmosphere) and I see all these people around me (in the bigger picture of the Church in North America), I read books of great leaders in the church. I watch videos of successful pastors, and hear sermons from the "big wigs" of faith and I get discouraged. Ironic isn't it? We're supposed to be encouraged from guys like that, God speaks through them, they're leaders of other leaders, they are admirable people.
As I sift through such messages, sermons, and whatever other training that they provide I find myself discouraged cause I don't look anything like them. Well most of them, I'm glad I don't have their physical appearance cause they're just funny looking (Philip Yancey anyone?), but where they are in life, how God's used them, the tremendous leadership qualities that exist in those guys and their success in ministry, I don't look anything like that.
Then it dawned on me, I'm not supposed to look like that. Maybe I'm not ever going to lead a congregation of 20,000 people. I might not have a youth ministry of 1000+ students. I may never write a book, or be sought after to speak at big events, or have youth pastors across the nation asking me the tough questions in hopes of an answer. I'm not supposed to look like them. And even if any or all of those things do happen in my life...It will have nothing to do with me, but everything to do with God's faithfulness.
And...if any of that stuff happens to me, it's often (I say that because of course there are some exceptions) not those guys who have just started out in ministry and still don't know the names of everyone they serve in the church, it's not the guy who's fresh out of Bible college and 6 months into his first real job in ministry. It's not usually the guys who are fresh off the line who are the ones that others look to for those things...It's those guys who have been around a while, they've put in years of service, they've tried and failed, they've crashed and burned (not all of course) they've been tested and they passed.
I'm not that guy, yet. I haven't been around long enough to try and fail, or try and succeed in big ways like that. I don't know enough to be able to give answers to other people, I've got little to write in a book that can help other people.
Scripture clearly speaks of young people and the significance we have in the church and the leadership potential that there is within us. Lots of us will automatically think of that famous verse 1Tim 4:12 "don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set and example...." This is all true, I can set an example for the believers (though I'm not always a good one), but there's still an element of that "seasoned leadership" that I just won't have, unless it's bestowed upon me by God, it's called the "seasoned" part.
I don't have that kind of experience, I'm not that old, I've not been through those kinds of trials and situations.
BUT I do have my own experiences to learn from, I've got the situations I'm currently in and those I've been in before.
The big question I going to learn from them? What will I do with them as they come and go? Will I learn from mistakes/failures and successes? Will I repeat the good and drop the bad?
Maybe that's what I should focus on, instead of comparing myself to someone I'm not.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Eat at the Ruby and get gas

I have recently borrowed the first seasons of the great Canadian anomoly of television comedy known as Corner Gas. Now I've seen the show before, a number of episodes, but haven't been able to appreciate the show in all it's fullness. I've been making my way through season one, and it's unbelievably hilarious.
There is definitely something about Saskatchewanians (ites) that provides them with a sarcasm that's second to, well me.
I don't usually laugh out loud at things when I'm watching them by myself, I don't know why, but that's how I work. It takes a special kind of funny to make me laugh out loud while alone, and alas I've found myself laughing til my little heart's content a few times. I might just be ashamed to admit it, but I've even giggled like a little school girl (not sure I've ever completely understood that phrase).
It's funny how the Saskatchewan pride comes through in such a show. There's a certain small town thing that happens in this province, and even though my town isn't near as small as Dog River, I can identify with much of what happens in Corner Gas, it's hilarious.
I'm actually beginning to appreciate living in Saskatchewan, I may not stay here forever, but it's not as embarrassing as I once thought it was. The Sask. pride is seeping into my being.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Ringing in the New Year

It is now January 2nd. I am currently still working on recovering from our all night event with the youth the other night. I haven't done one of those for quite some time now, so it takes it's toll on you sometimes. But all in all it was a good night. I enjoyed myself, which of course is the least of my concerns, but it seemed like the kids enjoyed themselves aside from a few "I'm bored" comments here and there, not for a lack of trying.
It's always fun to just kick back and talk with teens, no agenda, just let conversation flow, share truth with them, and hopefully they'll gain something from it. This is something that I need to continually work on, cause I'm not the greatest at it. It's so easy to just talk about useless things, and not be deliberate about speaking truth. Not that I don't ever do it, but it's not the way it should be by any means. Of course, this comes easier with a more definite and determined relationship with God, which always requires work, and I've not really worked as hard as I could, if really anywhere near where I should.
As God continues to bring me through things that I couldn't make it through otherwise, I'm realizing how much more intentional I need to be in every aspect of life.
Here's some brutal honesty about me, but it's hard to hold yourself accountable, which is why we need other people. God never asked/told us to do it alone, to do life alone. Even though I don't have the life partner I am still hoping for, that doesn't mean I'm supposed to just sit back and isolate myself. Unfortunately I've done so on so many occasions and I'm seeing it happening again. I'm not entirely sure how to make that different. I know I can spend more time with people, but that doesn't mean that I'm not still isolating myself.
It's like I don't let people in where I need them most and I'm recognizing now that I've been trying on my own, without other people to help me and without God in the driver's seat.
So, here's the question of the day, the one that's on my mind the most at the moment...How/why does it keep happening that way? Why do I let that happen? Why do we as people let it happen? I'm pretty sure that I'm not the only one who's been here, and if I am then I'm somehow missed out on something.
Do I hear from God? Yeah, I still do, just not as I should, or as much as I should because I'm not listening. I'm not giving him every opportunity to guide me, just some.
This is not the most encouraging post I recognize, it's just what's on my head today.