Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lessons from the Prison of Disillusionment

He came from good stock, this Joseph, son of Jacob. While just a lad, he had unwittingly been given a stunning dream about his role in his nation’s future. But blind jealousy, unchecked rage, damning lust and blatant misunderstanding trampled his innocent exuberance and landed him in a prison where dreams died and men existed as mere shadows of their once-promising potential.

While we’ll never know what Joseph of Genesis fame pondered while in his prison of disillusionment, we have indications from scripture that what he experienced was for him (and us) a lesson in character development.

Lessons from the Life of Joseph

Lesson #1: Fine Breeding does not necessarily guarantee success. Joseph’s origin emerged from the bedrock of God’s faithfulness (Gen. 37: 1). Abraham, the mighty man of faith, was his progenitor, while Isaac, his granddad, sired Israel, his father-mentor. If anyone ever had a chance of “making it” in life, Joseph did. But impressive heritage alone does not guarantee a life of favour.

Lesson #2: God calls people to serve and gives them a dream to confirm it. Joseph had a vision-focusing dream that played out like a Hollywood drama: leadership, wealth, influence, success and subservience (Genesis 37: 5-7, 9-11). To authenticate its veracity, God unfolded a second dream to seal its meaning to his memory forever.

With innocent delight, young Joseph romped through the tents of his jealous siblings, regaling them with royal visions of an august future. Already stinging from their little brother’s enviable place in their father’s heart, they reacted with anger and would smell only “royal” blood being spilt over his heady revelation.

Lesson #3: Not everyone will buy into God’s dream for your life. Joseph experienced misunderstanding as a result of his dream (Gen. 37: 8, 10, 11, 19). It wasn’t Joseph’s fault that he was a “dreamer” – it was God’s! As he unearthed his inspired treasure for others to enjoy, he found a certain encouragement and strength in its hopeful promise. He could only envision good arising from the conclusive plan of a caring God.

But what Joseph didn’t discern was that people with lesser dreams were missing what God was doing and mistakenly viewed his benign verbosity as unbridled arrogance. This brought unjust criticism and harsh devaluation of the dream and its owner.

Lesson #4: Dreamers must be careful not to get sidetracked by life’s disappointments. Joseph bore the brunt of his brother’s anger and was cast away as unreliable and unredeemable. It is therefore no surprise that Joseph became blind to God’s activity in his life (Gen. 39: 2-6; 40: 12-13).

The Psalmist recorded an interesting line about Joseph’s prison experience: “He (God) sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron” (Ps. 105: 17-18 KJV). A translator’s footnote captures the impact Joseph’s imprisonment had on his cherished dream: “his soul came into iron.” (Heb.)

The fire of his desire was snuffed out by the cruel chill of sibling hatred. The vengeance of an adulteress’s unrequited lust proved yet again that integrity is not always honoured. And the hurtful rejection he endured at the hands of his cellmates chipped away at his trust in God and others. Truly, the iron chains that removed his freedom were now having a deleterious effect upon his soul and blinding him to the work God in his life. Would this be the end of a once-cherished hope?

Lesson #5: Finally, Joseph’s experience teaches us that one cannot allow difficult places to thwart the plan of God. Joseph remained in his prison two full years after his interaction with the forgetful cupbearer and baker. That’s 730 humid days and frigid nights to consider his plight. But we have indication that Joseph did not allow his incarceration to completely arrest the developing plan of God for his life.

On one of those dark nights of the soul, the Lord must have whispered to his disappointed heart, “My son, the dream has not died. I have plans and purposes for you that you know nothing about. What others intended for evil, I intend for good to accomplish what must be done for the saving of many lives“ (Genesis 50: 20 NIV).

“Maybe God has not forgotten me after all,” he thought. “Maybe there is a plan in place that only pit and prison could unveil to me.”

A freshened understanding would be enough for Joseph now. With faith restored, he took new pleasure in his duties as under-warden in Pharaoh’s prison. He earned the trust of his superiors and the respect of his fellow inmates. And most important of all, the Lord was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. Even in the prison of disillusionment, God was able to prepare a person for critical service in the kingdom.

Can You Relate?
As you read these words today, can you in some small way relate to Joseph? Has your heritage failed to deliver for you the “breaks” that you long for?

Has God placed within your heart a dream that is being betrayed by personal circumstances and impertinent companions? Do others hear your mouth speak but read your heart as arrogant for daring to utter what they, themselves, could never have seen?

Has the indifferent coolness of your present ministry oozed into your soul and left you feeling nonplussed about God’s preferred future? Are you allowing all this to blind you to the reality that God, who gives you your dreams, will one day bring them to pass in His own way and time?

What Joseph saw from the prison of his unfortunate circumstances forced him to let go of his tightly held dream and trust a God who understood that what seemed like perplexing inactivity was really preparation in the preservation of an entire race of people.

The next time you are tempted to view your ministry as a chamber of inexplicable imprisonment, remember a dreamer named Joseph. What you and others may view as evil, God will one day reveal to be truly good.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Hard Learned Lesson

"It is by attempting to reach the top in a single leap that so much misery is caused in the world." (William Cobbett)

Monday, October 25, 2010

A Monday Morning Reminder

Please give this a listen - I cried when I viewed it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Actions Speak Louder

"Actions speak louder than words, but words, sincerely spoken, are vitally important. Complimenting your loved ones from time to time is necessary. It’s easy to find flaws to pick at. But it’s much more productive to find the positive side of a person and accentuate that. We create more by building people up than we do by tearing them down." (FranklinCovey GO Tip of the Day)

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Paradox of Christian Freedom

Martin Luther said it well:

"A Christian is a perfectly free lord of all, subject to none. A Christian is a perfectly dutiful servant of all, subject to all."

Saturday, October 2, 2010

In Awe of Autumn

Wind-whipped rains have blown out to sea, replaced by a cloudless sky, composed temperatures, and a brilliance of sun that only early October days can generate.

I have known storms, too - strong and ferocious - but I am experiencing a calm and peaceful season that draws from my soul deep thanks to a Father whose nurturing faithfulness enriches my life.

I don't post long compositions here anymore. A sudden life turn helped harnessed my energy and I now guide my creativity toward furthering the Master's wishes in these mountain peaks and valleys. Great pain has made this tangibility possible. Disappointment has delivered the deeper work and spew and wag gives way to more purposeful activities. Old longings yield to new intentions, not for position or power, but for the embrace of a divine providence that focuses my life through the lens of dedicated service.

As with these Adirondack weather patterns, so new storms will arise to threaten and intimidate. But I will remember that there is One who easily harnesses the chilly blast and ushers it out to the sea where it can threaten no more.

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Fresh Wind Blowing

I asked our worship leader, Denise Caselli, if I could use this reflection she wrote to share with my blog and church family. Denise is a gifted musician, worship leader, and incredible composer of worship songs.

It’s not uncommon to hear the sound of ‘whooosh’ over my house in mid September. Besides telling me that the annual Balloon Festival is nearing, or is already in full swing, it means that summer is giving way to the coolness of the new season of Fall.

On the same morning I heard the balloon overhead, I had heard the sound of Canadian geese headed south for the winter. I ran to look, but missed the sight. Even in my 50’s I still get a thrill hearing the geese, watching the leaves turn color, and waiting with anticipation for the first snow flakes to dance in the cold air as they make their way to the gray-brown earth below.

After missing the sight of the geese, I returned to what I had been doing when I heard the hot air balloon overhead. I ran to the window, and pulled back the curtain, and there it was. It was low, I thought, and definitely not a good place to be low. I thought that the pilot was trying to land, but it was dangerously close to the center of Hudson Falls.

Headed south, there were no large fields, and the Hudson River lay just beyond where the balloon was headed. I watched as the pilot fired up the balloon with long, frequent, and what seemed to me to be desperate attempts to make the balloon rise, but it continued to drift lower and lower. I puzzled to myself that the balloon should be rising, but it didn’t. There was a point when I thought that there was going to be a terrible accident, but drawn to the drama, I could not stop watching.

And I’m so glad I watched, as the drama was not yet over, with what would be a stunning outcome! What happened next, a scientist or meteorologist could probably explain, but I can not. I was amazed! The balloon began to lift and immediately turned east. From my perspective it was like a car that took a sharp left turn – in the air!

Apparently the balloon met cooler air – a fresh wind. Did the pilot know that one more ‘whoosh’ was all it took to take him from impending disaster to a soaring success? Did he have some instruments to help guide him to the wind that would rescue his balloon from a not-so-happy-landing! I don’t know. All I know is what I witnessed. It was inspiring!

Lord, maybe RRWC needs a fresh wind. Like the pilot of that balloon that morning, we’ve applied our resources and our energies with the sole purpose of our call to do what we must do in Your strength to keep us from crashing, and we’ve purposed in our hearts to continue to be faithful. But somewhere, Lord, there’s a fresh wind blowing! Help us Lord to hear from Your Holy Spirit through Your Living Word and our conversations with You in prayer. Lord, guide us to it, that we would rise again and move freely with the fresh wind to the places You want to take us! Amen.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Strong, Inner Core

"The only truly reliable source of stability is a strong inner core and the willingness to change and adapt everything except that core."

- James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Preparation for Service

I'm again reading through the daily devotional "Holiness and High Country" by A. F. Harper. I found these words instructive this morning:

"From all of us who are true Christians, God expects a portion of our income, a part of our time, and a measure of our thought and planning to be given for the furtherance of His work in the world. Christian life begins at Calvary, but effective service begins at Pentecost."

He begins the final paragraph of the devotional with this question:

"Is my consecration such that God can call on me for some service today?"

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Writing Sermons

Ernest Hemingway said it first but I can apply his thought to sermon writing, too:

"There is no rule on how to write. Sometimes it comes easily and perfectly; sometimes it's like drilling rock and then blasting it out with charges."

Hard to explain to people when they think you get your messages from sermon outline books and pre-formed programs!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


"If your progress seems slow while it appears those around you are engaged in remarkable success, just remember: Patience! God is not finished with you yet!" (Ted W. Engstrom)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

I Cannot Call You Friend!

Is there anyone you should share with today about the Lord? Better do it now!

My friend, I stand in judgment now.

And I feel that you are to blame somehow.

On earth I walked with you day by day.

But never did you point the way.

You knew the LORD,

In His truth and His glory.

But never did you share the story!
My knowledge then was very dim.

You could have lead Him safely to Him.

You taught me many things,

This is true.

I called you friend, 

And I trusted you.

But I have learned,

And now it is too late

You could have kept me from this fate,

We walked by day,

And talked by night,

And yet you showed me not the light.

You let me live and love,

You knew I would never live on high.

Yes, I called you friend in life,

I trusted you through JOY and strife.

And yet on coming to this end, ---


(Author unknown)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

This Time

I've just started a new book- "Hamlet's Blackberry" by William Powers - and the quote at the start captured my attention:

"This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we know what to do with it." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)


Friday, July 30, 2010

Moving Toward Sunday

Hi, Folks!

Just wanted to take a moment to let you know that you are in my thoughts and prayers today as I pray toward Sunday at Ridge Road Wesleyan. I'll continue my series on living Fearlessly with a message entitled, "I Fear I'm Disappointing God." So many of you are talking about this particular series and the help it has been to you. Me, too!

If you've been away for a while, please come back soon. We miss you. If possible, make contact with me so we can catch up on how you are.

I've been in office seeking quiet this afternoon so that I might gain some quality time in the Word. The Bible is so amazing, and particularly relevant, as we race toward the end of the world and the return of Jesus Christ. In fact, I'll be speaking about the end times on August 15th at 10:30 a.m. I pray you make a special effort to be here for that message. You can catch all my sermons at

Know that with this blog post comes my deep love and thankfulness for you. You really are special and I pray you realize just how much God loves you and wants you to be on fire for Him and His cause during these warm and sunny summer days.

Pastor Dean
"Reaching and Serving 1% of our Region for God"

Friday, July 23, 2010

My Help and My Deliverer

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

1I waited patiently for the LORD;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
3He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the LORD.
4Blessed is the man who makes
the LORD his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
to those who go astray after a lie!
5You have multiplied, O LORD my God,
your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
yet they are more than can be told.

6 In sacrifice and offering you have not delighted,
but you have given me an open ear.
Burnt offering and sin offering
you have not required.
7Then I said, "Behold, I have come;
in the scroll of the book it is written of me:
8 I delight to do your will, O my God;
your law is within my heart."

9I have told the glad news of deliverance
in the great congregation;
behold, I have not restrained my lips,
as you know, O LORD.
10I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation;
I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness
from the great congregation.

11As for you, O LORD, you will not restrain
your mercy from me;
your steadfast love and your faithfulness will
ever preserve me!
12For evils have encompassed me
beyond number;
my iniquities have overtaken me,
and I cannot see;
they are more than the hairs of my head;
my heart fails me.

13 Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me!
O LORD, make haste to help me!
14 Let those be put to shame and disappointed altogether
who seek to snatch away my life;
let those be turned back and brought to dishonor
who delight in my hurt!
15Let those be appalled because of their shame
who say to me, "Aha, Aha!"

16But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who love your salvation
say continually, "Great is the LORD!"
17As for me, I am poor and needy,
but the Lord takes thought for me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
do not delay, O my God!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What Sweeter Music?

Robert Herrick (1591-1674) penned these Christmas words so long ago and his work could have been easily forgotten or overlooked by the mass of music that fills our worship services today. Gratefully, John Rutter, one of my favourite composers, has embraced this poem and linked to it this stirring choral arrangement (I'll leave the link to YouTube below so you can give it a listen). The world is better for it!

What sweeter music can we bring

Than a carol, for to sing

The birth of this our heavenly King?

Awake the voice! Awake the string!

Dark and dull night, fly hence away,

And give the honor to this day,

That sees December turned to May.

Why does the chilling winter’s morn

Smile, like a field beset with corn?

Or smell like a meadow newly-shorn,

Thus, on the sudden? Come and see

The cause, why things thus fragrant be:

‘Tis He is born, whose quickening birth

Gives life and luster, public mirth,

To heaven, and the under-earth.

We see him come, and know him ours,

Who, with his sunshine and his showers,

Turns all the patient ground to flowers.

The darling of the world is come,

And fit it is, we find a room

To welcome him.

The nobler part

Of all the house here, is the heart.
Which we will give him; and bequeath

This holly, and this ivy wreath,

To do him honour, who’s our King,

And Lord of all this revelling.

What sweeter music can we bring,

Than a carol for to sing

The birth of this our heavenly King?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Canada and Her Queen

"This nation has dedicated itself to being a caring home for its own, a sanctuary for others and an example to the world." (Queen Elizabeth II in 2010)

While the Globe and Mail suggested that the monarchy may be "a relic of our colonial past" (July 2, 2010), I believe that the Queen represents what is still an important institution for us as Canadians as we anchor to an instructive English past in order to build a more authentic Canadian future.

God Save the Queen!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Things That Go Bump in the Night

Fear. The very words strike apprehension and concern in us as we consider the potential causes of this most normal of human emotions. Whether it be the fear of losing your life savings, your possessions as a result of an earthquake like the one that touched our region this week, or even a catastrophic event brought on by terrorism, we Americans are becoming a nation of fearful people who never quite know when and if the bottom will fall out of our once-peaceful existence and we will be thrown into turmoil unlike any we have faced before.

Thankfully, God’s Word, the Bible, is not silent on the issue. It recognizes that fear is a part of being human but directly confronts fear with a message of hope brought about by faith in the One who is Fearless in the face of any and every terror.

This summer I’ll be preaching a new sermon series entitled: “Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear.” Together we’ll browse through the Bible and discover the reasons why we fear and then look at some of our biggest fears and how to deal with them appropriately. This exciting and insightful series begins July 18th at 10:30 a.m. in the main auditorium. I invite you to mark it on your calendar and plan to make every message!

Rosalie and I were out walking late last evening. We were chatting away as we walked through the small parking lot beside our home. Suddenly, and without warning, something in the tree above us moved violently. Yikes! We were immediately put in a fight or flight mode of reaction. Funnily, it was only a bird!

Many of us are walking through life and things that go bump in the night are startling us and robbing us of the peace we can expect as human being created in God’s image. I hope these messages will help you discover that your greatest fears are really only little birds in comparison to mighty power of God at work in your life.

See you on July 18th,

Pastor Dean Brown

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thank You, Volunteers!

As you know, we had quite a weekend last week here at the church. We hosted District Praise Gathering on Saturday and then on Sunday we held our very first Classic Car Rally and BBQ on Father’s Day. It turned out to be a huge success. Many people visited our church for the first time and many, many doors of opportunity have been opened to us as a church family. I believe only eternity will measure the impact our labor has had on the lives of so many.

I really want to thank you for your help in either one or both of these events. We could not have given like we did had it not been for people like you giving of yourself for the cause.

“Thank you” seems like so small a way to let you know how much you are loved and appreciated!

Our team served with excellence and genuine warmth toward those we served. I thank God that you were a part of the team!

Your Pastor and friend,

Pastor Dean
Senior Pastor

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Humble Yourself

I read this from Wisdom Chasers this week:

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1Peter 5:6

Christ’s command is clear to His children: “Humble yourselves”. What He requires is a volitional and willful act of humility. Just like I choose to love, I choose to humble myself. I can be humble, just like I can be compassionate, forgiving and gentle. Humility is not an outside force waiting to have its way; it indwells the believer waiting for action.

So, how do we humble ourselves? It is the submission to God and others that unleashes humility. Humility will lie dormant and be a doormat to pride unless we surrender to our Savior Jesus. We give up our right to be right, so that we can walk in humility. It’s taking the low position that gains the high ground of grace. Humility is the preserver of peace, while pride is the disturber of peace. We first humble ourselves and then trust God to do what’s right.

Are you at enmity with the Lord? If so, humble yourself. Are you at odds with an individual? If so, humble yourself. Did you mess up at work? If so, humble yourself and take responsibility for your poor performance. Did you speak harsh and hurtful words? If so, humble yourself and ask for forgiveness. Humility heals, while pride prolongs pain.

It’s the proactive process of humbling ourselves that keeps power from feeding our pride and fame from deflating our faith. Success is an enemy to humility because it tries to move us from submission to self-sufficiency. Leaders don’t let the accolades of man soften their submission to God. If you act like you do not need the Almighty, He will allow you to fall on your face in forced submission. Better to voluntarily submit to authorities in heaven and on earth than to be made to surrender and humiliated.

Grace is the gift you receive from God when you humble yourself. Grace is the gasoline that runs the engine of an eternal and abundant life. Humble yourself and watch the Lord lift you up in His timing. Self-exaltation is not sustainable, but eternity’s exaltation is forever. Submit under His mighty hand and you’ll decrease, while He increases.

“He must become greater; I must become less” (John 3:30).

Do I daily humble myself by submitting to Almighty God and to the authorities in my life?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Best Interpreters

"I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts." (John Locke)

Friday, June 4, 2010

What Jesus Said

1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him." 3Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." 4Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?" 5Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'

I Love This!

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3: 16 NASB)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Gnosticism was an ancient heresy that stated that matter was essentially evil; only pure spirit was not sinful.

Gnosticism, soundly defeated by early theologians, has pulled itself out of the ash heap of subjugation and once again seeks victims today.

Gnosticism teaches that a religious person can maintain spiritual holiness all-the-while reveling in fleshly indulgences and that sinful mindset engendered by a world value system completely opposed to God and His holy, just ways.

Today's configuration encourages libertinism in that it fosters an erroneous belief that a person can "live as the devil himself" yet, since what the body does is of no moral consequence to the spirit, is freed to indulge in the unholy patterns and practices of the world while still enjoying the promise of a luscious existence in eternity. It's a dichotomy that the Scripture cannot support nor does it encourage.

What is Universalism

“Universalism is a doctrine believed by many that teaches that in the end everybody will be saved, that ultimately the saving plan is universal and God's going to save anybody and in the end everybody is going to heaven and hell will not exist. That's how some people answer the problem of if God loves the whole world then how could He possibly send everybody to hell, except that few that believe. They answer it by saying that, well, in the end He won't do it. In the end His love will prevail and He will save everybody. That's universalism.” (John MacArthur)

Universalism teaches that no person, no matter how much they embrace crass disobedience to God, will be excluded from His redemption. They believe God, the loving Father, will bring all people into conformity with his will, thus saving them from eternal damnation.

Origen, in the 3rd century, speculated on this beyond scriptural warrant. Socinus, in the 16th century, brought a revival of this "doctrine." He argued that because Jesus died, ALL would be forgiven.

In the 1800's, this movement organized in the US. But after much internal debate and contradiction, lost its steam and joined with the Unitarians.

I believe in "universal salvation" - that Jesus Christ died for ALL people, even those who would reject Him. It is a "universal and saving light" Robert Barclay noted. John Wesley wrote of that "prevenient grace" a clarifying teaching that describes the universal character of God's wonderful salvation.

God, in scripture, however, declares that there are moral basis's for salvation and never gives indication that He will set these aside to accommodate those who are impenitent.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Good Read

Because it is a vacation day, I have been able to spend more time than usual reading God's Word the Bible. The porch was my reading chamber and the hundreds of cars that fly past my house the backdrop.

I read the first three chapters of the Book of Genesis.

It's good to go through the verses slowly and thoughtfully. Every now and then as these are the beginnings of the planet, our knowledge of God, our own creation, and the fall of humanity into disobedience and death-bringing sin.

I soared through chapter 1. I worshipped in chapter 2. And I wept through chapter 3.

I hope you have a bit of time to drift through these chapters yourself sometime this weekend. Let me know their impact on you.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

An Important Albeit Familiar, Reminder

"If you want to last over the long haul of ministry, you have to learn how to recharge yourself spiritually, emotionally, physically, and mentally. Here’s an easy formula to remember: Divert daily, withdraw weekly, abandon annually. Know what relaxes you and what recharges you -- and do it." - Rick Warren

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Most Evangelistic Church

"The church is most evangelistic when she is least concerned about impressing the world or with adding to her numbers."
Iain H. Murray

Friday, March 26, 2010

In God's Darkroom

I received this gift in the mail today from a wonderful saint in my church and I thought I'd share it with you. Maybe it will help you as it's helped me and others where we worship!

Ere it can be developed
A film at first must be-
Taken to a darkroom
Where there is no light to see,
The chemicals need the darkness
To do what they must do-
Produce a lovely picture
For everyone to view.

Sometimes our Heavenly Father
Will often take us through-
DARKROOM experiences in life
To do what HE must do,
Frustration, trial, and sorrow
Disappointment, stress and strife
Are the chemicals He uses
To develop our spiritual life.

If you are in God's darkroom,
Don't despair, for HE-
Is developing a picture
For HIS art gallery.

(written by Edie Wood)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Stark Tragedy

"It is a stark tragedy to love the church and its work and not to love Jesus." (E. F. Hallock)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Canada Bound

Spent a lot of today on the road checking out Providence, RI. Our Prayer and Vision Tour will be visiting this city in March and I wanted to find hotels and see what the city had to offer. You should see Providence Place!

A huge snow storm is coming so we hit the road at 2:30 p.m. and point the Camry toward northern Maine. Lots of traffic most of the journey. Settled into our motel now and processing email.

Tomorrow we'll cross the border into the Homeland. Looking forward to catching up with Canada and her people. Although I listen to CBC every day, I'll be glad to be on soil once again. Canada - the world next door!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Speak When You are Angry?

Get a load of this quote I found on Kelly Forrester's Twitter:

"Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret. " (Ambrose Bierce)

Ever done this and been sorry?

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Single Hand on My Shoulder

The music had been worshipful and appropriate. The prayers had been heartfelt and compassionate. The scripture reading focused and familiar. And the sermon delivered by my daughter almost lost to me because it was my little princess all grown up standing before me and speaking with such clarity and depth about her subject.

Then came the appreciation time: it's Pastor Appreciation Day at our church today and I was deeply touched by how dear the gratitude was that was being expressed about me and my better-than-me partner in ministry. And the poem and gift will be cherished forever!

But you know what really meant the world to me? A single hand on my shoulder! One of the ushers came to stand beside my pew to wait for prayer to end so he could collect the joyfully-given tithes and offerings. While he waited, he did a most human thing and simply rested a supportive hand on my slumping left shoulder. This single act communicated emotions true and validating and I was filled with a very real sense of my Heavenly Father's hand on me, too.

Mr. Usher (you know who you are!), thank you for caring enough to express it in this simple but profound gesture. You put the capstone on my Pastor Appreciation Day!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Son Born to This

In a meeting I led this week, one of the participants spoke about an event that occurred back in 1976. I was a part of that event. It sent my mind whirling to those days and the realization that I was born in Glens Falls, the very city where I now serve Christ and His church, and that this city is truly my home by birth.

There is something deeply satisfying about serving with the people where I was born. I'm thankful for the years that are mine to serve where God has placed me.

There is a connectedness I sense in it all, a feeling that rises up within me each visit I make to the regional hospital where I, too, was born on that frigid day in January, 1961. I sense it again as I sip coffee in a favorite downtown shop and idolize the shopping trips I made there as a child, long before the malls reached out to consumers like me. It emerges as I drive to the westerly on Quaker Road and observe the majesty of the mountain range that surrounds this city and her residents and I feel embraced by a region that was once my home, then was not, but is now once again.

Sons and daughters of the Adirondacks, come home. There is a place for you in these wilds that no other place of earth can offer. Your people are warm and inviting. Your economy is strong and recovering. Your churches are healthy and growing. Your possibilities for happiness are endless. And more than anything else, you simply owe it to yourself to re-discover what has been lost to you in your global galavanting!

I am a son of the Adirondacks - and I was born to this!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lament by Evangeline Paterson

Weep, weep for those
Who do the work of the Lord
With a high look
And a proud heart.
Their voice is lifted up
In the streets, and their cry is heard.
The bruised reed they break
By their great strength, and the smoking flax
They trample.

Weep not for the quenched
(For their God will hear their cry
And the Lord will come to save them)
But weep, weep for the quenchers

For when the Day of the Lord
Is come, and the vales sing
And the hills clap their hands
And the light shines

Then their eyes shall be opened
On a waste place,
The smoke of the flax bitter
In their nostrils,
Their feet pierced
By broken reed-stems . . .
Wood, hay, and stubble,
And no grass springing.
And all the birds flown.

Weep, weep for those
Who have made a desert
In the name of the Lord.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Use Power to Help People

"Use power to help people. For we are given power not to advance our own purposes, nor to make a great show in the world, nor a name. There is but one just use of power, and it is to serve people." (George H. W. Bush)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Left Undone?

The Book of Common Prayer (General Confession) leaves us with this thought-provoking admission, "We have left undone those things which we ought to have done."