The Reeses decided our vacation time this summer would include time spent in one of the most beautiful parts of the homeland of Canada, Banff National Park. Just before you get into the park along the #1 Highway you come to Canmore, Alberta. An impressive little town with ginormous sentinel mountains surrounding the town.
One of those mountains is called Ha-Ling Peak, named after a Chinese cook for the Canadian National Railway who in 1896 was double-dog-dared for fifty bucks to plant a flag at the top of the mountain. Those wagering the fifty bucks said he couldn’t do it in less than ten hours. He started at 7am and was back in time for lunch, planting a large enough flag for the doubters at the local watering hole to see. That was before any paths were cut to make it “easier” to get to the top. Continue reading →
I have been re-reading the Bible. It’s been a while since I’ve read it from ding to dong. Usually my intake of the Word is guided by a bit of a gut check to be honest with what book of the Bible or passage I need to land on for a bit. And I have never been disappointed in the Spirit’s way of timing what I read with the particulars of my life. Maybe that’s part of the “living and active” thing.
I’ve been making my way through Genesis over the past several weeks. There have been many foundational blocks laid in Genesis that our faith has been built upon, held together by the mortar of God’s Spirit. Quite frankly, I have found myself saying to myself many times on this read through, “Holy moly. Talk about your crazy narratives and timelines!” Continue reading →
Last week twenty-seven of us gathered together in Sioux Falls for a retreat. By the end of our two days together we realized we were no ordinary group of twenty-seven people. We became a remarkable community of brothers and sisters in need of some space, perspective, words, silence and friendship. The theme for our gathering was “A Sacred Heart.” The hope for the gathering can be heard in David’s prayer, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me (Ps 51:10).
There are no shortage of things that get us entangled and snared along the way of this deal we call ministry. This unusual gathering of saints had plenty of tangles and snares to share, but more so plenty of presence, experience and from time to time a word or two to offer. Continue reading →
We recently had a VP3 staff team day, complete with Christmas party. One of the things we did was share stories about the people we have encountered this past year through the ministry of VP3…people who have been gifts to us. They have given to us the gift of knowing a little more of their story of change toward becoming the person God has intended them to be…a person with new hope to live more incarnationally…becoming a gift to others in Jesus’ name.
Sometimes we sit back in amazement at how the Lord has used what seems like our “two-fish-and-five-loaves” to help deepen and empower so many good people in various communities across North America. Continue reading →
I loved going to the Ocean City, NJ boardwalk as a kid. The stores and amusement rides, the pizza places and popcorn shops, the balloons and cotton candy were all wonderful.
Sundays on the boardwalk, however, were something less than wonderful. When I was growing up there were the Blue laws in Ocean City. These New Jersey laws restricted a number of economic activities from taking place on Sundays. These laws meant one thing to me—all the shops on the boardwalk were closed every Sunday. And because of it, going to the boardwalk on Sundays was not so enchanting to me. It meant walking by one closed shop or ride after another.I can recall on a number of occasions taking long walks with my family on ‘the boards’, exercising off the flounder and shrimp and crab and fries we had for Sunday dinner.
(Sunday on the boards was actually my dad’s favorite day to ‘go shopping’ since one began and ended the excursion with the same amount of money in one’s pocket. On more than one occasion he stood up from Sunday dinner and teased with a smile, “Anyone want to go shopping on the boards? ” The older I got the funnier this little scene became. But as a young kid I did not find it so funny.) Continue reading →
This weekend my good brother in the Lord, Rob Loane, and I will be leading a spiritual formation retreat many of you have experienced at some point in the past called, “Making Space.” Robert will be leading his retreat at Black Lake Bible Camp in Olympia, WA for folks going through the Emerging Journey process in the Seattle/Portland area…I will be leading the same retreat at Sioux Falls Seminary for folks going through the Emerging Journey in South Dakota and Iowa.
The retreat leans into three particular themes…all of which are necessary to walk well and far in the journey. These themes include: making space for God, making space for myself, and making space for others. Simple. Hard. Needed. Continue reading →
We face tremendous pressure in our lives today to be simply spectators of thisJesus. But faithful living has never been a spectator sport. Over 150 years ago Danish Christian thinker Søren Kierkegaard emphasized this by drawing a contrast between being an admirer and being an imitator. He wrote:
What, then, is the difference between an admirer and an imitator? An imitator is or strives to be what he admires, and an admirer keeps himself personally detached, consciously or unconsciously does not discover that what is admired involves a claim upon him to be or at least to strive to be what is admired.[i]
We can become too self-satisfied in our admiration of Jesus and thereby keep his claim or demand upon our lives at a safe distance. But Jesus is seeking something far different than mere admirers or knowledgeable spectators. Jesus calls us to appreciate who he is to such an extent that we seek to imitate him day-in-day-out. It requires getting out of the stands and onto the field to follow him… Continue reading →