Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Brief Trip Down Memory Lane...

Today my wife and I headed into downtown Philadelphia with another couple to enjoy some cheesesteaks and do some filming for church. It was freezing cold, but it has been years since we've traveled into downtown Philadelphia apart from taking in some sort of sporting event. As we drove around, we couldn't help but take a trip down memory lane from our Philadelphia Biblical University days when we would often head into the city.

So here are a few of the random memory lane thoughts that went through my mind...

We laughed about the "fresh, warm" pretzels sold on the street corners of the city and the news story back in the early 90's that made me swear to never eat a soft pretzel again.

We celebrated what a powerful impact our days at PBU had upon our lives which has shaped the very couple we are today for the Lord.

We gave thanks for parents & grandparents who faithfully sacrificed incredible amounts of resources to see us successfully graduate with degrees in Bible so as to serve the Lord well.

We thought all about our fun dates to the city that saw us taking in ball games, the aquarium in NJ, dinner cruises, ice skating and standing on the steps of the old spectrum at 1:00 AM. (That's a whole other story...)

We laughed hard about the guys at US 1 Pizza that made the best pizza after they had enjoyed a few beers. It's true... the more beers these guys drank, the better the pizza.

All in all it was a fantastic day of looking back and celebrating God's goodness in our lives. We may not have the fanciest cars, biggest home or much money in the bank. BUT... how blessed to be serving Him together as a couple. How blessed to have been raised in families that have sought to pass on the legacy of faith. How blessed to be in a wonderful marriage. How blessed to have our health and two wonderful children. How blessed to be children of the living God. I pray my kids will one day be able to sit and reflect upon their lives with laughter, joy and a sense of God's incredible work in their lives.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Fight Is On!

It's Friday AM and I am profoundly aware of how real the cosmic spiritual battle really is today. It's not that there is a huge spiritual battle raging within me today, but rather this spiritual reality that I (along with all other Christ followers) are in a war against the Evil One and his armies.

Even though I am one who has grown up in the church, I must confess that I don't usually spend much time throughout any given week focusing on the fact that we are daily engaged in a battle for the hearts and minds of people where eternal consequences are at stake. I know it doesn't sound real spiritual coming from a pastor, but life gets busy and the details of a day can consume all of us. Plus, it is much nicer to think about being a child of God who is a joint heir with Jesus enjoying life with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I also have no doubt that this is closely tied to the fact that we live in relative comfort here in North America and only give thought to these types of things when global or personal tragedy hit and the normacy of our weeks is disrupted.

So... what does all this mean? Well, if I am in Christ's army, here are a few realities I must be willing to accept as I live out my life in Him and for Him.

  • I will be confronted with the reality of causalities along the way.
  • I will most likely be wounded multiple times along the way where periods of healing are needed.
  • I will be scared at times as there is nothing pretty about war.
  • I will be asked to follow my general (Jesus Christ) into battles and I will have to choose whether or not I will obey.
  • I will be asked to give up some of my earthly comforts so as to contribute and be a part of making an eternal difference in, through and for Christ.
  • I will be asked to trust my general (Jesus Christ) even though I don't know what the immediate outcome of a particular battle strategy may be.
  • I need to be OK with giving my very earthly life for my general (Jesus Christ).
  • I need to be OK with using all of my resources (gifts, family, money, time etc...) for the cause.

I believe the list could go on, but the reality is that I need to be willing to face all of the above mentioned with great confidence because the outcome of this overall war has already been determined. Jesus has overcome and death has been defeated. War is ugly and the day to day battles leave us bruised, battered and weary at times, but the victory that is ours in Christ Jesus our Lord makes it all worth it. The fight is on... let's keep on keeping on for Jesus!!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

What Should I Read Next?

I am looking for some suggestions on books to read. I am looking at my shelf and there is really nothing there that peaks my interest right now. If you know of any good books related to any of the following topics, please leave a comment on my blog for me.

  • Commentary on Proverbs (Especially first nine chapters)

  • John Grisham Style Fiction

  • Contemporary Church Issues

  • Leadership Related

  • Biography on Abraham Lincoln

  • Book on the implications of God/Faith on the battles/people of the Civil War

Any insights or suggestions would be appreciated! I am also open to hearing about other books that you feel are a "must read" even if it doesn't relate to any of the above mentioned topics.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Global Awareness

Like most, I have a tendency to get very inward focused. There is something within all of us that makes it much easier to think about "me" rather than "others". I believe this can also be true of churches as well. We can get so wrapped up in ourselves that we fail to see a great big God at work in our cities, country and world.

One of the benefits of my recent missions trip was a fresh new awareness of just how big our God really is and how much He loves all peoples of the world. He sent Jesus to die for the sins of the world and not just the people of Lititz or PA or even the USA. Therefore, it is imperative that we begin to take off our self serving glasses and put on our global glasses to be a part of God's bigger plan to reach all peoples and countries with the transforming message of Jesus Christ.

A website that has been helping me process all of this information is I would encourage you to check it out periodically and keep a global perspective on God's work within our world. I know I will!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A tough loss...

Congratulations to the U.S. Jr. Team that beat us last night 6-5 in overtime. It was a tough home ice loss that left a nation quiet. Canada had not lost this tournament since 2004 when they last lost to the Americans. Oh well... I now have the Olympics to look forward to since my Toronto Maple Leafs leave so much to be desired this year...

Also... I will look to post some thoughts on my recent missions trip over the next few posts as I reflect and process all that we did now that I've gotten some hockey out of my blogging system.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Having grown up in Canada, one of the traditions we most enjoy throughout the Christmas season is the IIHF (International Ice Hockey Federation) Jr. Tournament. It takes place all over the globe and this year it is being played in Saskatoon, Canada.

Tonight is the Gold medal game between the Canadians and the Americans. They have met before in the finals and Canada lost back in 2004 when the Canadian goalie shot it off of his own defenceman into the net. So tonight is a big night for this Canadian as I settle in on my couch to watch the big game.

So... I am back from Europe, happy to have my lazy boy, my HDTV and my Canadian Jr's going for gold at 7 PM tonight on the NHL network against the Americans. I will have my Canadian sweatshirt on and my flag waving for the boys in red and white. Go Canada!!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

More Pics from the Trip!

The 2009 GBIM European Missionary Conference participants standing along the Sea.

A great view of the Chateau in St. Albain.

There were some long days and the team grabbed sleep whenever they could. This is Josh on the Metro heading to the Paris airport after a long day.

The team enjoyed an authentic French Lunch with the Plasters (missionary couple serving in Paris) and Jay Hocking.

These two (Marlin and Brad) were the winners of a New Year's Eve tradition of finding the little toy in our dessert bread that won them these crowns. A fine pair of kings!

A great couple!

(Emma, Maggie, Debbie Hocking and the Chateau cat)

One of the highlights for me on this trip was getting to hang out with Jay and Debbie Hocking who took over for Marlin and Sue Weaver at the Chateau in St. Albain. I met this young couple shortly after I arrived at Grace as they were visiting churches and raising support. I didn't know much about them before this trip, but came away with a new appreciation of who they are and what they do after this trip.

I mentioned this about the Becker family in a previous post, but I want to say it again about this couple. We at Grace Church are blessed to be partnering with a couple like this who serves the Lord with excellence. I was impressed over and over again with their servants heart as they never seemed to tire of serving and encouraging others with their actions. They in many respects are missionaries to the missionaries as they use the Chateau ministry to support and encourage those serving Christ throughout Europe. I cannot help but get excited about the fact that we at Grace Church are seeing those connected with our church meeting and moving others all around this world.

I look forward to hanging out with this couple again someday as they were a true joy to be around!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Home Sweet Home

It's been a few days since I've been able to blog (Internet connections haven't been great and we've been on the go) and I wanted to let everyone know that the team is safe and sound at home.

After being up for almost 24 hours now, I'm feeling a little tired, but Susan and I have spoken to our mothers (this is a must), the kids are showered and sleeping and I'm typing away with red weary eyes still smiling over this experience we've just all had. I will look to post for a while on our trip as the pictures come in and I process all that I've seen and experienced.

Until then let me just express a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to all who prayed for us. When I think about the miles we have covered and the things we have done, God's gracious hand of protection was definitely upon us all.

Well I am off to sleep in my bed. My wonderful, comfy, soft, warm, own pillows, flannel sheets bed... Can you tell I'm excited to be home!