Monday, April 26, 2010

Sunday Reflections

Yesterday I talked about how our culture is spiritually hungry and desperately looking for authentic Christians. Yet in this time of spiritual hunger the church is declining. Not because the church won’t accommodate the culture, many churches are changing things to make things more appealing. Despite their attempt to please, many churches have nempty seats and little impact on people’s lives. Why aren’t people looking to the church? There are several answers to this question, but I think it all boils down to the fact the world looks at the church and sees people who cheat in their businesses, cheat on their spouses, they see people who gossip (I mean prayer request), and character assassinate, jump from bed to bed, get drunk, do drugs and complain as much as they do.

George Barna reported “Of more than 70 moral behaviours we study, when we compare Christians to non-Christians we rarely find substantial differences.” Ask any non believer what comes to mind when they think of Christian, the most common answer is “judgmental” even though Jesus said that he came into the world not to judge it, but save it!

In a word, they see hypocrites. People who say they have been changed and yet behave just like the rest of the world day in and day out. We really don’t practice what we preach! And yet, as I look at what the scripture teaches I see that we need to go out of our way to lead people to experience GOD, but now in that process maybe we need to redefine what it means to be a believer?

Sometimes I wonder if we make our faith simply a religion and we conveniently leave Jesus out of the picture? I wonder if we all need to be reminded that Jesus invited people into a relationship, a journey, that he invited us to have our spiritual thirst quenched?
What are your thoughts?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

24 Part 4

The following takes place between 12:00 am – 7:00 am
One lousy sleep! But I am semi conscience!

The following takes place between 8:00 am – 9:00 am
Walked downstairs to find out that the hotel is serving STARBUCKS! Yes, so I had a Quad Venti Americano! Ummmmm….Caffeine…now the drive to Mariners Church( ) You need to check this place out! A WOW experience.

The first session began with Andy Stanley and he gave a great talk on Tomorrow. Intertwined with the history of Rome and the cross, and the one thing that has stuck out to me was that it is the CROSS which is front and center.

The following takes place between 9:00 am – 10:00 am
Once Andy was done I walked away with the question in my head “Have we as Christians, walked away from our first love?”

The following takes place between 10:00 am – 11:00 am
The next person to share was Eugene Cho. He is a pastor of a church in Seattle of about 500 people. He is also the founder of an organization called One Day’s Wages. ( ) Check it out and read Eugene’s story.

The following takes place between 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Did you know that if your combined income is 68,000 a year that you are in .86 percentile of the richest people in the world? “Generosity is to rescue us from our greed.” This session has really inspired me regarding our plan to help raise funds for Habitat for Humanity!

The following takes place between 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Charlene Li is one of the co-founders of Altimeter ( ) talked about using social media as a new way of thinking about leadership and connecting with the people you deal with. What struck out to me was the thing that I am the weakest on…the fact that people need to respond to all the feedback that is given. I always knew this was true, but I preferred not to do it, simply because it takes too much time. Well, I have to admit that I am rethinking my stand on that, add to it I am now going to make a conscious effort to work with Twitter. Yep, I said it. My Twitter tag is Soulpastor. How original!
And with that, focus on relationship.

The following takes place between 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Lunch…..mmmmmm Carl’s Jr

The following takes place between 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Mark Driscol from Mars Hill Church in Seattle is the speaker, and I must say that he was fantastic. He talked about the 11 things God does for church leaders and you can see his notes on

The following takes place between 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Getting tired from sitting and listening. Had to stretch the legs and had a great conversation with a fellow Canadian. I walked the grounds and went to the chapel to check out the prayer path they set up there. WOW. That’s all….wow.

The following takes place between 4:00pm – 5:00pm
Reggie Joiner was the speaker ( and again…a fantastic communicator. His simple question was what is the ONE THING that gives one influence over those who do not have influence? That ONE THING is to treat every prodigal as the father treats his son (Luke 15:1)

The following takes place between 5:00pm – 6:00 pm
The ONE THING that I walked away with is that a loving father throws parties while older brothers throw fits!

The following takes place between 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Met up with some friends who spend their summer in Manitoba. We went out for some good food, great talk and looking forward to the summer!

The following takes place between 8:00 pm – 12:00 pm
Talked with the family, and I love my wife and kids!!!!! (XOXOXOX)
Wrote this blog for you and now plan to do some studying for Sunday…I am going to share my heart! I submitted my titled as ‘The Stupid Things We Do’ Be prepared to come and answer that question this Sunday!

With that in mind, our landlords double booked our parking lot this Sunday. I am going to ask all of you (able body folk with no kids) who call Soul home to park on the East side (if possible) or across the street from 1111 Chevrier (if possible) at the garage stations. As the church, we need to put others ahead of ourselves and I believe this is a simple practical way to do it.

OK Pet peeve. I can’t find a hockey game on the TV in this hotel. UGH! When will the Americans learn that HOCKEY is the ONLY sport! I must say, being at the Kings game last night was fantastic! I have GREAT IN LAWS…. YEAH TED AND DEBBIE!

Now, I need some alone time…you know me and GOD…..I need to hear what He wants to say to me…Then zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

24 Part 3 Limited Edition

The following takes place between 11:00 pm – 7:00 am
Talk about having a restless sleep. The TV was left on, and I hate sleeping by myself. Anyway, after a shower, I got on the road to find Marnier’s Church, where the conference is being held.
The following takes place between 8:00 am – 9:00 am
Found the church very easily, then headed out for a coffee shop. Grabbed a wonderful quad Americano and headed back to the church. Walked the grounds…talk about a wow experience. Maybe I will post some pictures at a later date. But talk about wow. Got my registration connected and now I am ready to go.
The following takes place between 9:00 am – 11:00 am
Made my way into the main gathering space and began to wait…….2 gents from Portland joined my table and things were cool. We laughed, we cried, we shared….ok we laughed!
Around 10:30 Aaron Keyes ( lead in worship and did a fantastic job. As we are singing, I was looking around and just two tables over, I noticed a familiar face. It was Phil…..Phil from Edmonton. MORE CANADIANS! YEAH, EH!
The following takes place between 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
After the worship I connected with all the Canadians from Edmonton. Went to a session on grace and forgiveness and restoration which was lead by Jud Wilhite ( a pastor from Las Vegas) Mike Foster (formerly of and Tony Wood (a pastor who shared his story of grace). The seminar was called people of the second chance and then the 6 of us went for Lunch! Ummm Mushroom Swiss Hamburger.

The following takes place between 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Excellent seminar with Dan Kimball entitled “Don’t be a Christian: Leading others to exchange religion for the Mission of GOD.” I love listening to Dan, he says a lot of things that I have heard him say before, but it is always good to be reminded!

The following takes place between 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm
After picking up my sister in law, we travelled to downtown LA and waited for her husband to meet us. We were at LA Live. A great place of activity which was across from the Staples Center filled with food, stores and watching hockey fans play ball hockey. I must say that there were many Canuck fans. I being a Canuck, however, was NOT one of those fans. Was able to watch a number of Canadians, take on a number of USAmericans in a game of ball hockey. A repeat of the Olympic Gold Medal game.

After some wonder sushi my brother in law and my self went to the game. What a great experience. Man I miss real hockey! I had the opportunity to text my son, who was at the Moose game, what was happening and he in turn returned the favor. I think my game was better, although his went into double overtime. I have to admit that Kings fans are GREAT, LOUD and LOYAL. Not too mention they had some really funny and raunchy signs, which I cannot publish on this blog.
The following takes place between 11:00 pm. – 12:00 am
Back at the hotel, catching up on emails and this blog….must … sleep….tomorrow the book says be there at 7:30 am. REALLY? REALLY!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

24 Part 2

The following takes place between 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Take off from Calgary was beautiful. I love the mountains. Actually, I miss the mountains. What an amazing view…add to that they are still snow capped. God’s creation is…speechless….

The following takes place between 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
In flight….partially sleeping, partially watching tv…partially sleeping. No one is sitting next to me…no one to talk to!

The following takes place between 1;00 pm – 2;00 pm
Arrive in Los Angeles! Ummm, it is foggy, wait, that is RAIN!!! Add to that it is cool outside. It is actually warmer in WINNIPEG! Now, must pick up luggage and find rent a car place.

The following takes place between 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
So, I walk into the rent a car place and they laugh at me. “Sir, you are too big for the car you ordered.” To which I replied… “No, I’ll be good.” (Cheap Mennitoban response) Needless to say, the car was too small……. So, after finding my car in the rain, getting familiar with the console, I proceeded to look for my hotel.

Got honked at on the Freeway for using my blinker. I guess when it rains here in LA people get a little tense on the roads. LOOK OUT PEOPLE, I AM HERE!

Found the hotel and checked in…I love my GPS…it talks to me and makes life so much easier.

The following takes place between 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Got to connect with my sister in law and her husband and family and enjoyed a nice supper and time together. And Guess WHAT? My brother in law got us tickets for the KINGS VS CANUCKS game tomorrow night! Yeah baby.

The following takes place between 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Back to the hotel, did some reading, and planning for tomorrow as the conference starts first thing in the morning.

Good night.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A NEW 24

It is time to bring you all up to speed in the manner of 24. For the next few days, I am off to Irvine California to attend a leadership conference called Catalyst West. Now, I have to admit that this is going to be a hard time without my wife. As a matter of fact, I feel so bad leaving her that I cleaned, vacuumed and washed the house yesterday and made her a BBQed chicken dinner with baked potatoes, chick pea salad and broccoliflower. It was my guilt offering!
So here we go…

The following took place from 5:00 am – 6:00 am

I woke up! Had a quick shower, woke one of my sons up to get ready to drive me to the airport. Went to all the others in the family and said my goodbyes…even in their half woken state! Then off to the airport.

6:00 am – 7:00 am
Checked in, found my seat, checked out!

8:00 am – 9:00 am (Calgary time)
Woke up and proceeded to catch my connecting flight. So, as I approached customs and submitted my passport, the proverbial question came my way; “What do you do?” to which I responded “I am a minister.” I got a puzzling look from the officer, to which I added “I am a Pastor!” Again, there was hesitation on his part. Then after a few seconds he asked “When are you going home?” To which I responded, “I am back on Saturday!” Then he nods, “Just in time to preach!” “Yes,” I said.

That crazy little exchange got me thinking as I walked to security. This is not the first time I had this kind of interaction at the border. I think from now on I am going to say that I am a priest! Seriously, a priest. We will see how that goes coming back home.

Now, I proceed through airport security. After submitting my laptop and my shoes for testing I was asked to go through the new body scanners. “NOOOOOOOO!” (OK, I didn’t say it like that) I declined and I asked for a pat down. J After waiting for quite a few minutes, a young man came to do his job. Before he started, I told him that when we are done, he had to buy me lunch or at the very least a coffee. He quickly replied "After this YOU will have to buy Me lunch." I thought my comment drew laughs, but then entire place roared after his reply. Needless to say, this person was also considerably SHORTER than myself. I commented that I could use the massage, and he just blushed.

During this public intimate time, I confessed to him that “I don't trust the scanner, I think that they have come out too soon.” His reply floored me. He said “I don’t trust them either.” WOW, I can’t believe that he said that to me. Never mind that his supervisor was within earshot. Anyway, after my free massage, and I mean massage ( I feel somewhat violated) I found a local Starbucks and had some comfort food.

9:00 am – 10:00 am
I find a free WiFi and set up an account so I can get on Facebook, respond to emails and, of course, blog. I read, I write and I laugh.

10:00 am – 11:00 am
OK, the guy sitting next to me has the WORST BREATH! Seriously! I am two chairs away, and I choke every time he exhales and turns and looks my way. TOO funny, his name is Jerry! A friend of his just called out to him…he is on a different plane. I hope that they pass out TIC TACS! We are being called to board…must go…see you in LA!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Just thinking.........

It’s Monday morning and the question is…”what in the world did I say!!???” Yes, I am having a Monday morning hangover. Yet, as I reflect back on yesterday I am reminded that so many ‘churches’ have so many “people of faith” showing up on Sundays who have no depth to their understanding of what the Bible says.

I have grown weary of cultural Christianity. Many folk want a convenient faith. A faith in a GOD who will accept all that we want to do without any consequence to any of our actions. We live in a culture that will pick and choose how or what they want to believe to best fit their lifestyle at any particular moment. I am not sure that is how GOD intended life to be.
Why is it in our own relationships with people we create boundaries and we are very easily offended when those boundaries are rubbed up against or even crossed? But for those who consider themselves a “people of faith,” many have no problem living a life that we know is offensive to GOD, and many expect Him to simply mind His own business, until we need Him to show up.
At no point in time am I saying that I have my act together. I, as well as others, am looking to change my life and let it reflect an intense and fervent love for GOD. I have to admit that it is an insult to a fully committed GOD and a Savior who went the distance for us to allow there to be shallow and disingenuous faith in our hearts. If it turns my stomach, it must make GOD wretch all the more.
What about you? Ever look at your heart and become disgusted at the weakness of your own faith? Ever listen in vain for GOD's approval on your half hearted commitment? I know I have. What compares to his sacrificial love for us? Whose heart is like His? Just thinking..
GOD, look at my shallow and frail faith and help me to deepen my roots in your favor. I long to replicate your love to the watching world. I long to connect to your heart in a way that radically infects my soul. Help me to walk this out; to flesh it out; to commit fully to the journey. I know that there is great benefit to my heart - but let me do this in honor of your love. AMEN.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

It has been a while....

I have felt that this blog has been "out of service" for the last little while, and the only reason that it has been neglected was that I had to pick and choose where to spend my time. This was one area where I had to cut back on. But we are back!
So, I came across this post...Things I don’t understand

I came across this list and it comes from Chris Elrod’s blog ( . It made me say to myself “Interesting!” What are your thoughts?

Folks that show up to church only a few times a year but expect the pastor to drop everything to provide them with his undivided attention.
People that put nothing in the offering plate but still have the stones to expect that their opinions on the church should count.
Parents who ground their children from church or the youth group…the very things that could help them with their behavior, future and afterlife.
People that expect the pastor to tolerate their political views…but leave the church because of his.
The occasional volunteer that expects the church to throw a parade in their honor just because they finally did what the Bible commanded.
People that have basked in the grace of God…but fail to give grace to anyone else.
Pastors that leave one church for another…for better pay.
The need for church growth plans, programs, books, conference, seminars and resource kits…when we already have the Bible
Women that tolerate their husbands having multiple affairs…”for the sake of the kids”.
Pastors that would rather be political pundits or civil rights leaders…instead of just preaching the
life-saving message of the Word of God.
People that have one spiritual standard for their pastor…and another for themselves.
Folks that think the word ‘disciple’ is a noun…and not a verb.
People that make comments about needing to go “deeper” in God’s Word…as if there is a Scripture in the Bible that isn’t deep.
Pastors that think accountability means never asking them the tough questions or taking the hard line when it comes to their failure to follow Scripture.
Men that think being the head of the household has something to do with the amount of money they are bringing in or the title they acquire at work.
Care to add to the list?