Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Welcome Delight

After a great church service where my daughter lead worship and Pastor Mel preached on The Church in Philadelphia, we headed to the Tobique and enjoyed a feast of Chinese food. I then retired to read. What happened then was a total surprise - I took a nap!!

A new friend unfamiliar with church life and I were talking about work recently and he noted how he thought the ministry would be a good job because the hours were low, unlike other jobs that he had done in his life. I made a joke of it and didn't say, "Oh, we work long hours in the ministry, too!" People don't believe you, anyway, so you just smile at their mistaken notion of the church and what you do.

I said all that to say that taking naps are not a part of my weekly routine. But, on vacation, they are a welcome delight!

A snowstorm predicted for tonight and tomorrow may alter our travel plans a bit. 15 cms possible!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Pleasing People

"If you want to please only the critics, don't play too loud, too soft, too fast, too slow."

- Arturo Toscanini

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Common Sight

I awoke this morning to a common sight in Canada - SNOW! Yes, it's snowing here, the wanning strength of Old Man Winter wheezing out his final effort before pleasant weather arrives.

We're having a family reunion, with Rosalie's sister and her daughter and grandchildren here to catch up on the happenings of our lives since we last saw each other.

We'll process our Canadian taxes later today or tomorrow.

I stopped into the Irving Convenience today to get get some ice melt for the walk (wish I could have helped Jeff and bought it from him!) and treated myself to a 100% Columbian coffee - Irving style. I'm drinking it nice and slow so as to savor every drop. Tim Horton's tomorrow!

I love Canada, too.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ah, Rest!

There is a sweet moment in time when you realize that you need no longer be "On" with your work. You are free to rest, relax, and enjoy the warm sunshine, cool breezes, and subtle shifts in the color of the horizon as winter gives way to spring.

When is that time for me? Today - it's vacation!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Two Handles

"Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith." (Henry Ward Beecher)

Monday, March 9, 2009

I Will Counsel You

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you" (Psalm 32: 8.)

The call to pastor brings with it the responsibility to discern God's direction for a local church in the community where God has placed it. This means that there are times when he or she must be able to discern God's will for the assembly and declare it before the people in meetings, in one-on-one sessions, and from the public platform. While there may be those who relish declaring "Thus saith the Lord" I, for one, take this almost prophetic assignment very seriously.

So many possibilities lie before a local congregation and its leaders: programs promising to work miracles if followed to the letter and numerous books and internet sites gushing advice on any number of issues facing the local congregation of Christ followers. There is a glut of information assailing the pastor's mind and heart and the easiest route might be to take a pre-packaged product and declare it to be God's sovereign will for the next chapter of the church's life.

While there is tremendous possibiities open for excellent programming today, nothing can replace that intimate relationship that exists between the local church pastor and His Lord. After all the books and blogs have been read and re-read, the doors of the study need be shut to the outside world and the shepherd/leader must get alone with His God and seek to understand the plans and purposes of the Holy Spirit for the body of believers meeting in that local setting.

"But I'm not into the mystical!" you might be tempted to exclaim or "I'm a leader and not a prayer!" you may be wanting to explain. But leadership gifting and a refined skill set honed by years of experience are not quite enough for leading God's people. Many a leader, choosing to rest on his giftings, has painfully discover that while the leadership books and experience affirmed one course, the Lord of the Church commanded quite another (see Joshua's conquering of the Promised Land and the apostle Paul being hindered from Asia in order to preach in Macedonia).

God's promise to the Psalmist is still valid for the Pastor and should bring no small measure of comfort and consideration:

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you" (Psalm 32: 8).

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Memories Tonight

Finished up a great meeting at the church tonight and am now home enjoying a David Foster Special on Vermont Public Television. Celine Dion sang a few minutes ago and it sure caused a flood of memories of Canada and especially Halifax. What a great city. Roxham CLose, Lacewood Drive, Downtown, the Waterfront, Hwy 101 and 103, Seabright, the Twin Bridges, "Helping People Cross The Bridge to God" (John 5: 24 NIV), and the people who served Christ with us come readily to mind and usher in a warm nostalgia that even the beauty of these mountains can't slay tonight.

Interesting, too, that the spiritual burden I was given in 1999 hasn't left even after being gone nineteen months.

God, bless Halifax tonight, from the farthest outskirts to the central core of that thriving, maritime city!