Wednesday, January 30, 2008

HIding From the Cold

The warmest temperature (including wind chill) I have seen for here today is -41C. WHen I got up it was -48C. THe poor furnace is running constantly.

Given that most of us would stay home no matter what. Add in the fact that our vehicle is in the city with the rest of the family (who were going to come home today but given the high winds and the lack of urgency in returning they did the sensible thing and stayed for another night) and there was no way I was going anywhere today.

SO it has been a day of planning. GOt calls to worship and hymns set for LEnt, planned for tonight's discussion of Islam and tomorrow's Bible study.

Next up (after a break) the extended Care worship for the morning. ANd maybe line up transport to get me to that as well...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Reading Rating

blog readability test

Interestingly teh church blog and the worship blog both rate as junior high...
HAt Tip to Peter

THis SOunds About right

You Belong in 1957

You're fun loving, romantic, and more than a little innocent. See you at the drive in!

Although to be honest I have never been to a Drive In
Hat Tip to Klee

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Perils of Interactive Children

THis morning at Children's time we start by talking about how everyone is unique/different. THEn we talked about things people had in common.

Then a brief discussion about Paul writing to the Corinthians and division/unity.

THen I talk about how we are all part of one big family. WHose family would that be? IT starts with G. Who do we talk about in church? G...

ELdest PK answers: "JEsus" General laughter. ANd she was of course right.

NOt just JEsus but remember at Christmas we said JEsus was teh son of...
"Earth" (also a valid theological statement but not wher I was going)

FInally middle PK follows the (by this time very blatant) hints and sounds daddy is giving and say "God".

THis is why I usually just tell/read a story.

Peter Did You Know?

THis morning I decided to rewrite Mary Did You Know for possible use in today's sermon SO with apologies to MArk Lowry and Buddy Greene...

Peter, did you know
That this stranger here will change your life completely?
Did you know
That this stranger here will preach love oh so meekly?
Did you know
That this stranger here has come to make you new?
This man that you are hearing
Will yet deliver you

Andrew, did you know
That this stranger here will give sight to a blind man?
Did you know
That this stranger here will calm a storm with his hand?
Did you know
That this stranger here is light to all the world?
And to walk the path he’s leading
Brings hope to boys and girls

Sons of Zebedee,
what brings you in?
What makes you leave
your lives to follow him?
You’ve only met
and now you choose
To be fishers of men

Fishers, did you know
That this stranger here will speak for God most holy?
Did you know
That this stranger here will die on cross most lowly?
Did you know
That this stranger here will rise out of the grave?
This man that you are following
comes us all to save

Friday, January 25, 2008

A Wintry Friday 5


1. What is the thermometer reading at your house this morning? It was warm this morning -- only -20 C (-4F) yesterday it was -34C (-29F) and a few days this past week the daily high hasn't even been -20C.
2. Snow—love it or hate it? Like it. Watching it sift down, the sun reflecting off it, even enjoy shovelling it.
3. What is winter like where you are? Traditionally this is deep snow and deep cold country. THat seems to be changing for some reason (I hear some rumour about something called climate change....) Mind you this year was lots of snow in December and a week of deep cold recently.
4. Do you like winter sports? Any good stories? Curling and I used to x-Country ski. CLosest I get to a good story involves curling on a recently dislocated knee and not being able to stand (or walk, or drive) the next morning...
5. What is your favorite season, and why? Can't really say I have a favourite, but teh closest to that status would be mid spring when everything is greening up.
Bonus: Share a favorite winter pick-me-up. A recipe, an activity, or whatever. Curling up beside the fire with either a) a good book, b) hot chocolate (with or without a bit of added pick-me-up), or 3) a co-cuddler

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Lenten Worship -- The 5 W's of Church -- now with Scriptures!

(Added Feb 4) Each week as the opening thoughts are posted on the church blog I will add a link into this post.

Lent 1 – February 10, 2008 – Communion Service
What is the Church?
Focus: Social club? Meditation Center? Political Action Center? Drop-in Center? Rites of Passage Co-Ordinator? All of the above?


  • Amos 5:21-27
  • Psalm 63 (VU p.781)
  • John 21:10-17

Lent 2 – February 17, 2008
Where and when is the Church?
Focus: Only in special buildings on special days of course. Or not. Where else could/should it be?


  • Genesis 28:10-19
  • Psalm 121 (VU p.844)
  • Matthew 18:10-20

Lent 3 – February 24, 2008 – Presbytery Weekend
Why Church?
Focus: Hearing people’s stories about why they go to church.


  • Deuteronomy 26:5-9
  • Psalm 9 (VU p.732)
  • Acts 2:14-28
  • John 4:5-29, 40-42

Lent 4 – March 2, 2008
Who is the Church? Who isn’t?
Focus: Looking at the people who are and aren’t here. How do we make the “unchurched” feel welcome?


  • Genesis 18:1-15
  • Psalm 15(VU p.736)
  • Hebrews 13:1-3
  • Matthew 25:31-40

Lent 5 – March 9, 2008
How are we the church?
Focus: What are we doing right now that makes us part of the church?


  • Joshua 24:14-21
  • Psalm 78:1-7 (VU p792 Part One)
  • Acts 6:1-6
  • Matthew 28:16-20

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I DOn't Get IT

This afternoon a CD arrived in the mail. On it were pictures and other items from last summer's 20th reunion of my high school class.

Looking at the pictures from the party I was struck by 2 thoughts. One was how I would have liked to have been there and join in the fun. The other was who are these people?

Not just not recognizing them--some had changed greatly and some looked practically the same. BUt it was the names that didn't look remotely familiar. I know its been 20 years and my grad class was bigger than the whole high school here, and I certainly wasn't close with all (or even most) of my class mates but still shouldn't I recognize the names???

Monday, January 21, 2008

Had to Happen...

Saturday afternoon I walk into the den where eldest is playing a computer game (featuring the Backyardigans). Middle Child is in their watching.

On the floor are clumps of hair.

"What happened?" I ask.

"I cut my hair!" Middle child announces proudly/"she cut her hair!" Eldest informs me.

I guess they found the scissors in the desk...
ANyway, after a discussion about not playing with scissors and not cutting hair, and a bit of a pout from Middle Child -- normal when she is scolded. All was well. And really we go off easy -- no baldspots, only a short spot where one ear now sticks out of the hair cover. ANd hair grows back after all.

As long as it is the only time it happens(fingers crossed)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

New Blog

I have just started a blog to put any worship resources on. I have re-posted a lot of stuff to it today, and think I have cross posted everything from here and from the church blog.

It is called Worship Offerings

Saturday, January 19, 2008

PAssion(ate?) Worship

6 years ago I wrote a series of monologues for Palm/PAssion Sunday. Since we are once again in the year of Matthew, I thought I would post them in case anyone wants to use them. You can find them on the church blog or onmy worship blog (7 stories so it is a long post).

Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday Five: Read Any Good Books?

  1. What book have you read in the last six months that has really stayed with you? Why? Does Harry Potter count? THe end of a saga is always worth a read. Another one would be "I REfuse to Lead a Dying Church" -- it gave me things to think about.
  2. What is one of your favorite childhood books? Well let's see... Lord of the Rings, went through a Hardy Boys phase, NArnia Chronicles
  3. Do you have a favorite book of the Bible? Do tell! FAvourite Gospel is Luke, With John creeping closer.
  4. What is one book you could read again and again? Lord of the Rings again.
  5. Is there a book you would suggest for Lenten reading? What is it and why? My reading will include "Christianity for teh Rest of Us" as part of my sermon series. I would suggest one from last year called "Singing A SOng of Faith" which explores the most recent UCCan Faith Statement.

BONUS: If I were ever to publish a book it may be a book of liturgy (if I ever had a book's worth of publishable stuff). Or maybe I will eventually head back to further study and publish a thesis type thing. IF it ever happens anyone willing to endorse my work would be welcome--maybe a (by then former) UCCan moderator from this Presbytery....

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A Light to the Nations, Made to Shine

Years ago, in a Peanuts comic strip, Lucy and Linus were talking about big questions. “Why am I here?” Lucy asked.
“To make others happy” replied Linus.
“Why are others here?”
“To make people happy.”
“I’m not happy.” (pause) “SOMEONE’S NOT DOING HIS JOB!”

In his quiet philosophical way Linus hit on a deep truth. We are here to help make life easier for others, and vice versa. In her normal self-centred way Lucy misses the point. It isn’t about us.

For people of faith, particularly the three Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) it is indeed a command that we bring happiness and hope to others. To cite just two examples:
It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth… (Isaiah 49:6)

You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see… (Matthew 5:14-16)

We are lights, not just to our friends and neighbours, not just to those who think like us, not just to those who share our belief structures, we are lights “to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth”. WOW! We are light to the whole world? Little me? Little Atikokan? Light to the world? Really?

Yes really. We all have light to share. WE all have the gift to help heal the broken spirit, to find hope in the midst of despair, to remind each other that there is good in the world. And why would we keep that to ourselves? Why would we hide our light?

Well think back to Lucy. In all those years that Schultz wrote Peanuts Lucy was rarely a beacon of Godly light. Lucy tended to be very self-centred, wanting her needs and wants met first and foremost. It seems that is often what leads us to hide our lights. When we begin to focus on our lack, on our needs and wants, then our light is dimmed. When we focus on others our light shines brighter.

In all of Northwestern Ontario I see lights dimming. I see a need for more of us to remember why we are here. I see a need for us to take off the baskets and stand up tall. We can be lights to our neighbours near and far. We can’t make everything be “okay” but we can share the light we have been given. It is why we are here. And I believe that when we share our light, we end up getting more light in out lives. It is one of those things that grows by being spread.

And thanks be to God from whom all light flows, who shines within each of us.

Monday, January 14, 2008

FInished! FInally!

After having great difficulty getting it started, I finally got my Annual Report written. Rather than post it twice I'll just let you know you can read it on the church blog.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

What Do You Do when?

The tank seems empty?

LAtely my Get up and go seems to have got up and gone. NOt really the best of self-starters at the best of times, I find myself quite draggy lately.

Mind you, if we are being honest, less than optimal (or even inadequate) nutrition, sleep and exercise(exercise? what's that?) might play a rather large part in this...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Forward or behind?

Which direction should an Annual Report focus?

IS it only a time for reminiscing and remembering about what happened in the last 12 months?
Or is it a chance to ask what needs to (or might) happen in the next 12 months?

Or is it both?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Lenten Worship -- The 5 W's of Church

A Month from this Thursday will be the first Sunday of Lent. Yikes! Here is a tentative plan for a Lenten worship series this year (the next step will be to determine Scripture Readings -- suggestions for readings are more than welcome):

Lent 1 – February 10, 2008 – Communion Service
What is the Church?
Focus: Social club? Meditation Center? Political Action Center? Drop-in Center? Rites of Passage Co-Ordinator? All of the above?

Lent 2 – February 17, 2008
Where and when is the Church?
Focus: Only in special buildings on special days of course. Or not. Where else could/should it be?

Lent 3 – February 24, 2008 – Presbytery Weekend
Why Church?
Focus: Hearing people’s stories about why they go to church.

Lent 4 – March 2, 2008
Who is the Church? Who isn’t?
Focus: Looking at the people who are and aren’t here. How do we make the “unchurched” feel welcome?

Lent 5 – March 9, 2008
How are we the church?
Focus: What are we doing right now that makes us part of the church?

Monday, January 07, 2008

Servant Liturgy

The focus Scripture for my sermon this Sunday will be Isaiah 42:1-9. Here are some service bits to go with it:

Servants of God, come and listen!
We come to be charged with our duties.
Servants of God, change is in the air!
We come to have the vision redrawn in our hearts and minds.
Servants of God, it is time to be prepared for the task!
We come to worship and to be refreshed.

God, in our baptism we are called to be one with Christ, claimed as Your children, and commissioned to a ministry of love, peace and justice.
But in the day to day of life there are times when we struggle to live out those realities.
In our baptism we embrace the task of bringing your hope to reality.
But in the daily grind of life there are times when we fall into despair.
For the times when we could have done more to be people of hope and love, we ask strength
For the times we have slipped in living out our Baptismal reality, we ask forgiveness.
…time of silent prayer…
The God who is present at our Baptism is present in every aspect of our lives: there to forgive, to challenge, and to encourage. We are a forgiven people.
Thanks be to God! Alleluia! Amen.

Servants of God, you have been given a task!
We go out to fight for truth, justice, and peace.
Servants of God, the task calls all of us to change!
We go to turn hearts and minds and realities towards the hope of God.
Servants of God, you go out surrounded and supported by the love of the One who sends you, the One who you serve. Thanks be to God! Amen.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Installing Love

This was a part of Ralph Milton's e-zine Rumors this morning. (To subscribe to Rumors send a blank e-mail here). Ralph writes about it:
This from Chris Duxbury in Australia. It's been bopping around the internet for years, and Chris is simply the last person to send it to me. I'm not sure why I've resisted putting it here in Rumors. But I will trust your powers of discernment because it's interesting and quite possibly useful to you.

Tech Support: Yes? How can I help you?
Customer: Well, after much consideration, I've decided to install Love. Can you guide me through the process?
TS: Yes. I can help you. Are you ready to proceed?
Cus: Well, I'm not very technical, but I think I'm ready. What do I do first?
TS: The first step is to open your Heart. Have you located your Heart?
Cus: Yes, but there are several other programs running now. Is it okay to install Love while they are Running?
TS: What programs are running?
Cus: Let's see, I have Past Hurt, Low Self-Esteem, Grudge and Resentment running right now.
TS: No problem. Love will gradually erase Past Hurt from your current operating system. It may remain in your permanent memory but it will no longer disrupt other programs. Love will eventually override Low Self-Esteem with a module of its own called High Self-Esteem. However, you have to completely turn off Grudge and Resentment. Those programs prevent Love from being properly installed. Can you turn those off?
Cus: I don't know how to turn them off. Can you tell me how?
TS: With pleasure. Go to your start menu and invoke Forgiveness. Do this as many times as necessary until Grudge and Resentment have been completely erased.
Cus: Okay, done! Love has started installing itself. Is that normal?
TS: Yes, but remember that you have only the base program. You need to begin connecting to other Hearts in order to get the upgrades.
Cus: Oops! I have an error message already. It says, "Error - Program not run on external components." What should I do?
TS: Don't worry. It means that the Love program is set up to run on Internal Hearts, but has not yet been run on your Heart. In non-technical terms, it simply means you have to Love yourself before you can Love others.
Cus: So, what should I do?
TS: Pull down Self-Acceptance; then click on the following files: Forgive Self; Realize Your Worth; and Acknowledge your Limitations.
Cus: Okay, done.
TS: Now, copy them to the "My Heart" directory. The system will overwrite any conflicting files and begin patching faulty programming. Also, you need to delete Verbose Self-Criticism from all directories and empty your Recycle Bin to make sure it is completely gone and never comes back.
Cus: Got it. Hey! My heart is filling up with new files. Smile is playing on my monitor and Peace and Contentment are copying themselves all over My Heart. Is this normal?
TS: Sometimes. For others it takes awhile, but eventually everything gets it at the proper time. So Love is installed and running. One more thing before we hang up. Love is Freeware. Be sure to give it and its various modules to everyone you meet. They will in turn share it with others and return some cool modules back to you.
Cus: Thank you, God.

Friday, January 04, 2008

SExism: Alive and Well

I just saw an ad for a new show called The Week the Women Went.

The concept for the show is that all the women in town go on vacation and leave the menfolk and children at home. THe tag line? Will this town survive?

Excuse me!?!?!?!?! This concept actually got approved???????? Imagine if someone suggested the mirror of it? They would be roasted alive!

SExism is sexism is sexism. DOn't think I will watch this one. ANd CBC, you can do better than this.

Therefore Be It Resolved -- Friday Five

1. Do you make New Year resolutions? Not as a rule. In fact, I can't remember the last time I did so.
2. Is this something you take seriously, or is it a bit of fun? THe whole concept is meant to be taken lightly in my opinion. That actually increases the chance of keeping them I think.
3. Share one goal for 2008. REad more (which means less screen time).
4. Money is no barrier, share one wild/ impossible dream for 2008 Pay off the van in full, build a house with room for the kids to have a real playroom.
5. Someone wants to publish a story of your year in 2008, what will the title of that book be? The Rather Mundane Account of 4 women and 1 Man.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Drinks anyone?

The Recipe For Frodo

3 parts Courage
2 parts Panache
1 part Happiness

Splash of Tease

Finish off with an olive
HAt tip to Sue