Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas Traditions

Our family doesn’t have a lot of formal Christmas traditions.  No readings, no singing, nothing like that.  We go to our church Christmas eve candlelight service where we sing Christmas carols and greet our friends.  I usually ski on Christmas eve, getting home just in time for the service.  Maybe skiing is one of my traditions!  Christmas Day we get up later than many, open gifts and have a Christmas dinner with family and friends.  Sometimes we’re at our home, sometimes at my sister’s home.  We try to have a relaxing day, except for Sandra who is often cooking. 

I think that Christmas is supposed to be relaxing.  It should be fun.  After all, it’s a birthday party and you can’t celebrate a birthday without fun and excitement and joy and laughing.  We remember Jesus’ birth, and God’s love and mercy in sending His Son to us.  Can you imagine how exciting it must have been for the shepherds who heard the angel choir?  For Mary and Joseph trying to comprehend what was happening?

We can’t truly celebrate Jesus’ birth if we don’t also remember that God gave His Son to die for us, to die in our place as a sacrifice for our sins.  That’s what Christmas is all about.  A little baby, God’s own Son, born to a virgin, come to reconcile us to God.  Jesus was the most incredible Christmas Gift of all, offered to us by God Himself.  What sorrow that so many people refuse the gift of salvation God offers to them.  Instead of peace with God and eternity with Jesus in heaven, so many reject him and face an eternity of unimaginable torment separated from God.  This Christmas, make sure you truly have asked Jesus to forgive you for your disobedience to God and ask Him into your life as your Saviour. 

May your Christmas truly be a wonderful one of Peace and Joy.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Christmas Rush

It is so hard to celebrate a nice, peaceful Christmas.  Everything seems to get so rushed in December.  All the friends who haven’t seen you in months suddenly want to see you before Christmas.  There are Christmas parties and more Christmas parties that we just have to attend.  Dinner’s, luncheons, the list seems endless.  We shop, we visit, we send cards which of course have to have nice long letters included in them.  We’re seemingly busy all day, every day, morning to late at night.  There’s nothing wrong with any of these Christmas celebrations or activities, but together they tend to gang up on us and steal the peace and wonder of Christmas.

Stop.  Stop everything for a couple of minutes.  Breathe deeply, smile, think about what Christmas is really all about.  Think about our Heavenly Father who sent His Son to earth to atone for our sins.  Think about the wonder of the birth of Jesus to a virgin, Mary, a young teen who suddenly found herself the mother of the Messiah.  Think about the stable, the animals, the shepherds in the fields tending their sheep, the angels and the birth of our Saviour.  It all happened.  It’s real.  And today we can know the Saviour.  We can have a personal relationship with Jesus.  Each of us is offered the opportunity to truly know God’s love and forgiveness.  That’s what Christmas is really all about. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks

Many countries around the world have harvest festivals, but only two that I know of celebrate Thanksgiving Day.  Canada celebrates Thanksgiving in October, the United States in November.  It began as a day of thanksgiving to God for a good harvest and His provision of our needs.  I think that for most people in both Canada and the United States today, it is just another vacation day and opportunity to get together with friends and family.  For some of us though, it is still a day to thank God for all He has provided for us.

In Canada and the United States we have a great deal for which we can be thankful.  We have life.  We have family and friends.  We have all of our basic needs met and most of us have far more than just the bare necessities of life.  Even more important, we have the opportunity to know God.  The opportunity to truly know Him through a relationship with his Son Jesus.  Through that relationship with Jesus we can have peace and joy as we live here on earth and we will spend eternity with Jesus in heaven.  I can’t think of anything more exciting and for all those things I give thanks.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I receive dozens and dozens of e-mails every day, sometimes almost a hundred per day.  Some are work related, some are notes from friends, many are just things people think I may find amusing or interesting or beautiful and so pass on to me.  I watch the news each day on television and read news articles on the Internet.  And then there is Facebook, and everyone I know there.  Often I feel that it is all just too much.

I want to stay current on news, I want to know what is happening in the world and in the lives of my friends, but how much is too much?  Some days I feel like I am drowning in information.  All that information can overwhelm you and crowd out time for important things.  Important things like family, like friends, like time to read the Bible and time to talk with God.  How do we find a balance?  How do we find equilibrium in our life?  I think the best way is probably to start with Jesus first.  Talk with Him each day.  Study a bit of the Bible each day.  As we do those two things we can ask Jesus to order our life so that all the other seemingly urgent things don’t crowd in and push out the important things like time with family and friends.  And time to ourselves as well.

I want Jesus to be first and foremost in my life.  I know if that happens, everything else will fall into place.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Lesson from Cuba

I’ve been in Cuba for a while.  I love the people of Cuba.  I always have a great time with my friends there.  This time I was at the Los Pinos Nuevos Seminary with a group from Journey of Faith church in Manhattan Beach, California.  We painted buildings by day and spoke in churches almost every night.  It was a great trip.

The enthusiasm of Cuban Christians is contagious.  In worship they truly celebrate the Lord.  Their life is not easy, but Jesus helps them with their burdens and their cares.  They have learned the true secret of living.  They know to turn all their anxiety and problems over to Jesus and allow Him to help them through each day.  Here in our land life is much easier, yet often we feel so burdened, so beaten down.  I wonder if we have learned the secret Cuban Christians have learned.  Instead of depending on ourselves we need to depend on Jesus.  Instead of trying to carry all our own problems we need to let Jesus help us carry them.  Throughout both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible we are instructed to turn our cares over to God, to trust Him with our problems, to allow Him to be our strength.  Do we?  Is our Lord Jesus really the first one we turn to in times of need or is He our last resort? 

My time in Cuba once again reminded me that we need to maintain an intimate relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ and allow Him to guide us every step of every day.  We need to talk to Him always and let Him know our worries, problems and trials.  He will always be our help and support.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Weakness or Power?

Last week I was in a nice cabin in the hill country of Georgia.  We were doing planning in a place where there were no disturbances.  No e-mail, no internet access.  It was a beautiful, peaceful place.  Blue sky overhead, our cabin sat in a narrow valley with trees towering all around.  Part of our work was looking at the Gospel of John, chapters 13 to 17, a really familiar, really important and meaningful passage to Christians.  Jesus’ last words to his disciples. Something that jumps out at me from John 13 is Peter's reaction when Jesus tells him He is going to wash the disciples feet.  Peter didn't want any part of that.  He didn't want Jesus to wash his feet, didn’t want Jesus to serve him.  Peter wanted to do things for Jesus.  Peter wanted to prove his worth.

Peter's reaction was pretty normal.  Although we love to have people do little things for us, we really like to operate out of a position of power.  We like to be in charge.  We’re the ones who do things for other people.  We like to be in control and we don't like to be humbled by the thought that someone else has to help us.  That's the problem with Christianity, with faith in Jesus.  We have to admit that we can't help ourselves but need God's help in life and in death.  We have to agree with the Bible that the only way to God is to ask Jesus to forgive us and we have to ask Him to enter our life and be our master.  We have to allow Jesus to “wash us clean” from our sins, the things we do which are not what God would want us to do.  Most people would much rather prove to God how good they are, show Him by the good things they do why they should be let into heaven.  God says it doesn’t work that way.  None of us can meet his criteria of holiness and purity.  Like Peter at the Last Supper with Jesus, we have to allow Jesus to wash us.  When we humble ourselves and accept Jesus’ sacrifice of Himself for us, then we become holy and pure.  The road to heaven is one of admitting failure, not one of showing strength.  It isn’t a popular road.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

It Has To Be New

Sandra and I were at a lake, loading our ten foot cartop aluminum boat into our Dodge minivan.  It is incredible, but if we take the back seats out of the van, the boat slides into the back and fits like a glove.  Yes, it sticks out the back about three feet, but that's legal as long as we put a red flag on the end of the boat which hangs out.  We load the boat motor, gas and anything else we have into the boat which is inside our van and tie down the rear door.  It works wonderfully.

A fellow watched us load the boat and said, "Those Dodge minivans are incredible, aren't they.  There's nothing like them."  We of course replied that we agreed.  He asked what year our van was and we told him that it was a 2001 model but ran perfectly.  He replied, "Yes, but the new ones have an incredible ride and really are fantastic.  Come to the Chrysler dealership and I'll show them to you."  He was trying to sell us a van, right there at the lake. 

We don't need a new van, but the man's words started me thinking that maybe we should replace it.  I saw the glossy advertisements in magazines and the paper.  Maybe we should get a new vehicle.  I went to the internet and looked at the new vehicles, their prices, their new features.  I figured out how we might be able to afford it.  I got myself excited about a new vehicle.  Then I came to my senses and realized that our 2001 minivan is perfect for us.

Advertising tries to make us believe we need something new.  We need something that is better and shinier and which has better features.  It leads us to want, to want more.  It leads us to materialism.  The not-so-subtle message of advertising is that we are not complete if our possessions are not the newest models.  Well, I'm not buying it.  I'm not buying the new vehicle and I'm not buying the advertising.  My old stuff works perfectly well.  It looks good and it isn't costing me anything.  I am going to ignore all that psychological warfare aimed at me by the advertising companies and not allow them to rule my life.  I am content.  And I have one thing they can't ever sell me.  I have peace and joy because Jesus is my Saviour.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fun in the Sun, or Rain

We love to get out of the city on weekends.  We like to be outdoors.  We like to hike and walk and just be with friends.  But what happens when it rains?  In the winter we go skiing and often it is snowing heavily or blowing?  Do you just go home?  If you are in a city you can always go to a mall, but what do you do when your are so far away from the city that there are no malls?  You can read, you can talk with friends, and if the rain isn't absolutely pouring down you can go for a walk in a forest where the trees will give shelter from light rain (if you've not hiked so high you're above the forest!).  We always want things to be convenient, just right for me, but not everything in life is convenient. Sandra and I go out on weekends no matter what the weather.  You would not believe the looks you get when you tell people about the weekend when you barbequed outdoors in a hurricane.  Or about going for a hike with the snow falling as you walked through the white draped forest.  We've learned to enjoy almost anything that we encounter outdoors. 

Life isn't always the way we want it to be but we can live in joy no matter what we encounter.  When things get tough, when they don’t go as I want them to go or as I have planned, that’s when I am so glad that it is Jesus who brings joy to my life.  Always.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Summer Time

Summer in Canada is a time of vacations and getting away from the city.  Sandra and I love to get away every weekend, and whenever possible, we like to get away for a nice long summer vacation.  The places we go are generally remote, no telephone, no cell reception, no internet.  Nothing.  Totally unplugged.  We love it.

Some of our friends can’t understand how we can go away for a couple of days or a couple of weeks and be out of contact with people.  “How can you get by with out Facebook for two weeks?”  “How can you be out of range of texting or cell phones?”  It’s easy, we just are out of touch.  I love it.  No one can bother me, no one can find me.  I can totally relax, just the way it used to be just twenty years ago.  Yes, just twenty years ago!  That’s how quickly electronic technology has changed our lives.  No, changed isn’t a good enough word.  Technology has transformed our lives.  We expect to be able to instantly connect with anyone at any time.  We want, what we want, when we want it.  People seem to want everything “Right Now!” Well, there are lots of days, every week, when no one can connect with me.  And I love it.  I am happy to drop out of the instant access society for a while.

There is only one instantaneous, always there, always available connection I need.  Jesus is always only a prayer away.  If I have Jesus I am completely satisfied.  He doesn’t have to text or phone or skype of tweet me.  He is just there, always ready to talk, to laugh, to smile, to help.  I’ll use technology when it suits me, I’ll let Jesus use me when it suits Him.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Spectacular Hike

I had a great time backpacking last weekend.  Actually a four day weekend, beginning on Thursday, July 1 which was Canada Day.  Francisco and I went to the Stein Valley, a spectacular, rugged part of the province.  Near vertical rock walls rise heavenward, towering above the narrow valley, some so steep they look like they are overhanging.  For the first 14 kilometres of the valley the Stein River is a raging torrent of boiling white water.  As we walked the narrow path, sometimes in forest, sometimes clinging to the side of a steep mountainside, it was easy to get lost in your thoughts of the beauty of creation and the Creator who made it all.  How wonderful a God we serve that has placed us upon this earth, a place created especially for us to live and enjoy. 

The Stein Valley is pristine, almost untouched.  It was a reminder that we have a duty to protect and look after the world the Lord has created.  No garbage left behind on the side of the trail, no plastic wrappers thrown into the river.  Thankfully the people who visit the Stein Valley are good stewards of it’s beauty.  We need to take just as much care of all areas of our earth.  The Lord created the earth, it is His, we need to take care of it.

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Destructive Few

This past weekend leaders of the most powerful countries in the world met in Toronto to talk about how to make things better for the people of their countries and the people of the world.  Some have great motives, others may have no motive other than having their citizens re-elect them to power, but they all want to see their citizens do well and their countries prosper.  The whole thing cost a huge amount of money, over a billion dollars for Canada to host the conference.  Why so much?  Security.  There are always protesters at these events.  Most are peaceful, wanting the world to know about their particular cause.  Others, a tiny few, come only to cause mayhem, to damage and destroy.  They don’t really have any other agenda and they spoil it for all the others who peacefully let their voices be heard.  These violent few hurt others, that’s their only real goal.  The cost to protect people and property from these few is enormous.  At the end of it all the media always try and make the police look like villains.  The police either don’t do enough, or are too violent.  The police are doing their job, responding to violent young men and women who want to commit wanton acts of destruction. I truly feel badly for the police.  They do an admirable job.

The cost of protecting people against the destructive acts of a few is always high.  A few criminals in society cost so much to control and incarcerate.  But think further.  Think about the bad things that everyone does against God and the good He wants to do.  Think about what that costs to rectify.  God Himself took on the nature of a human being, came to earth as a baby, lived a perfect life and then was crucified and died as a sacrifice to make it possible for each of us to have a personal relationship with Him.  God gave Himself for us.  That is a high price to pay to reconcile us to God.  And the end result?  A few receive the offer of salvation and eternal life.  Most just decry God’s injustice because He won’t receive us except His way.   Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  God protects us from ourselves, our own destructive natures, but we have to do it His way. 

Monday, June 14, 2010

Nothing Stays the Same

We had an interesting weekend.  Saturday was sunny and warm.  Sunday started with sun, changed to rain, then the sun came back out, more rain and then a sunny evening.  What a mess.  It rained on the way to church, was sunny while we were inside, then rained all the way home.  The sun came out for an hour then another shower.  Then it cleared again.  I received an e-mail from a friend who was boating.  She and her husband had a nice, sunny run on the lake.  Friends who were on the water later in the day had rain and wind.  One sailor was so upset he said he wasn’t going out again unless the forecast was for days of sun.  He was cold and wet by the time he got back to the dock.  On Sunday the weather changed almost faster than you could change your clothing.  I hid indoors most of the day.

Sometimes life is just the same.  One moment everything is great, the next you are blind sided by something which comes out of nowhere.  You can't make any sense of it.  Like the weather, we can’t control all the things around us in life.  The recession we’re just coming out of hit many people hard, others weathered the storm with hardly a ripple.  We just don’t know what is coming tomorrow.  That’s why I am so glad that Jesus is my Saviour who will never leave me.  No matter what happens I can lean on Him.  I can pray and ask Him for help, for counsel, to just be beside me.  And I also have all my friends at church and in my Bible study group who are there for me as well.  I never have to face life alone.

Weather changes.  Life changes.  The one constant in my life is the presence of Jesus with me always.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


It’s been sunny today, and although I am working in my office I know it is sunny outside.  My office is bright and it makes the world seem happier, nicer, more beautiful.  We’ve had a couple weeks of rain and it does get a bit dreary, a bit tiring, even if the grass and flowers are happy.  I like to get outside and go for a walk in the evenings, but I don’t like getting wet so on rainy days I don’t go out.  Okay, I’m a wimp, but I prefer to be dry.

Isn’t it amazing how we like things to be nice, convenient, just right.  I want to be in shape, I want some exercise, but not if I’m going to get wet.  People, me included, just don’t like to be inconvenienced.  That’s one of the problems with our faith as Christians.  It sometimes inconveniences us.  To truly follow Jesus is a bold step which alters everything you do in life.  If it doesn’t alter everything, then there is a really good possibility you are not a Christian.  It’s that inconvenience that causes many people to reject Jesus and all that He offers us.

As a Christian I no longer direct my own life, my life is directed by Jesus.  I want to please Him, not myself.  I want people to see Him praised, not me.  I want others to come to know Jesus personally, just the way I do.  Yes, Jesus changed my life, but I am so glad that He did.  I am so glad that I can let Him be in charge.  My task is to just figure out what He wants and then do it, and in doing it I have joy. 

Being a Christian is sometimes a bit inconvenient, but I am so glad that I can be a bit inconvenienced for my Saviour.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

God's Family

The other day I was part of a Bible study group looking at Romans chapter 12.  The emphasis of the study was on God’s family and what it means to be brothers and sisters in Christ.  We read the Bible and we know we are all brothers and sisters in Christ.  We’re a big family. It sounds so nice.  But do we really understand what is meant by being brothers and sisters in Christ?  The teaching of the Bible, specifically the New Testament, is that those in our Christian Community, our church, are to be as close to us as real, flesh and blood, brothers and sisters.  We are to treat one another like family.  We’re to be involved in each other’s lives just as if we really were brothers and sisters.  We are to care for one another, love one another, help one another, hold one another accountable.  We give and we receive.  Whether it’s hard or easy, we are to be open, vulnerable, caring and helping to each other.  In our church we are to truly be family.

That’s the teaching, but what is the reality?  Do we really consider our church to be a family, or is it more like a club?  Are we involved in the lives of others in our church in a meaningful way?  If not, how do we get started?  What’s the first step?  Those are the questions that sprang to my mind as we talked about this passage. 

Truly being Christian family is not easy and it’s certainly not natural.  It is only because of Jesus in us that it is possible.  But the key is that it is possible.  Not only possible, it’s what Jesus wants, how He wants us to live.  It’s part of our obedience to Him.  That has to be enough incentive to make us choose to live as true, Christian family.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Wonderful Wedding

We just had a great weekend.  An incredible weekend.  David and Katrina were married on Saturday.  It was a beautiful day, not too hot, not too cool.  The bride was beautiful in her wedding dress, and my totally unbiased opinion was that the groom was handsome in his tux. The reception was catered in a local hall, the meat cooked by Katrina's uncles.  They spent all day barbequing pork and beef!  The beef was great, the pork was the most unbelievably tender and tasty pork I have ever had in my life.  This was their wedding present to their niece, and to all of us who got to eat it.

Now our family has grown by one, our household has shrunk by one.  It is a strange feeling to see an empty bedroom and realize that David isn't just out for the day.  Yesterday I completed a survey and it felt strange to write "three" when asked how many people lived in our home. 

Life is a flowing river, ever moving, ever changing, sometimes fast sometimes slow.  We share the river with our family and friends and how incredible that we can share life with our wonderful Saviour Jesus who stands with us always.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Changing the Past

Yesterday I was playing around with a digital picture.  It was a beautiful picture taken during the winter in the mountains of British Columbia.  In the picture I was standing on my snowboard with spectacular mountain spires behind me.  For fun I changed the picture a bit.  I exchanged the face of one of my friends for mine in the picture.  My friend doesn’t snowboard, but that’s not a problem.  Now he has a beautiful picture of himself snowboarding in BC.  That’s one of the things you can do digitally and easily.  You can change a picture to be whatever you want it to be.  You can change your pictures so they look however you want them to look.  In a way, you can change the past so that it fits what you want to remember.  You can digitally make your dreams come true.

It’s so easy to play with digital images and change them.  You know, many people would really like to do that with life itself.  Change the past, re-write it, make the future different.  We often dream about what might be, what could be, what we would like our future to look like.  Sometimes we can work hard and our dreams come true.  Other times our dreams are impossible dreams.  They’re dreams we know will never come true.  That’s probably okay, as long as we don’t begin to live in our impossible dreams and become disappointed when they don’t come to pass.  I think that’s one of the reasons why many people are unhappy.  Life has not turned out they way they had dreamed it would be. They dream about what could be, might be, but it is often an impossible dream.  But they live in the dream, so they can never be happy with the present, with reality. 

When we truly live in Christ, when Jesus is our Saviour and best friend, we can be content, happy, joyful with the present, trusting Jesus that all is as He wants it to be and trusting Him to use every circumstance to change us into what He wants us to be.  I’m so glad that Jesus helps me live the joyful life He wants for me.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Volcanos and Life

It sure doesn’t take much to mess things up in life.  A volcano erupts in Iceland.  On television or the internet we see spectacular pictures of the eruption.  It causes real hardship for people living nearby but we don’t think much about it, or about them.  A couple days pass and the volcano is spewing ash high into the air, right up where aircraft fly.  Suddenly there are no aircraft flying near Iceland.  The ash cloud drifts and soon there are no aircraft flying in Europe.  All of a sudden a volcanic eruption in Iceland is a huge international crisis.  Cancelled flights have people stranded all across the world.  Airlines, just recovering from the worst recession in 90 years are once again teetering on the brink of financial collapse.  And what happens?  Stranded travellers want their governments to do something.  Airlines will soon be asking for financial help.  Suddenly everyone wants someone else to look after them.  That’s human nature. 

Human nature.  We want to live our own lives, have our own way, do our own thing, but when real trouble comes, we want someone to bail us out.  Someone else needs to do something to get me out of this mess.  Someone else is responsible.  Life, and our eventual death, is no different.  Many people want to live as they please, do their own thing, but at the end want God to take care of them.  They want to ignore God all their lives, then have Him take care of them after it is all over. 

God is wonderful.  He is kind and merciful.  He will take to me heaven, but it is on His terms, not mine.  He is God.  He can dictate terms and His terms are pretty straightforward.  We need to honestly ask Him to forgive us for not doing things His way.  We must put our faith in Jesus as the one who will save us from our sins, the things we’ve done that aren’t what God wants us to do.  We must agree to turn to God and try to live for Him.  The terms are easy to understand and the payoff, the return on investment, is incredible, yet few choose to take God up on His offer.  It’s our selfishness and pride.  We want to do it our way and we don’t want to submit to anyone else’s authority, not even God’s. 

The volcano spews ash and fire and brimstone.  People are extremely inconvenienced.  Who is going to help?  In the case of life and death and judgement, God in His infinite mercy has provided a safety line.  He will help.  I just can’t believe that so few people are willing to grab hold of the line, grab hold of Jesus.  At the end we will find out that there are no negotiations about heaven, hell and eternity.  We have a lifetime to choose, but once life is over there are no more choices.  Our choice must be made while we are still alive.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Instruction Manual

I was working on an engine last weekend, something I don’t do much of at all.  I’m not the mechanical type.  I can change the oil, change the spark plugs and filters and do simple things, but after that I’m lost.  It’s stuff I’ve never done.  The day actually went well.  I was following a set of very good instructions and the three hour job only took about four hours. I thought that was pretty good for my first time.  When you have good instructions it sure makes things easy.

The engine got me to thinking about life.  Christians always want to know the secret to a good life.  They want to know God’s will, how to live a joyous, victorious life.  Many get really upset at God because He doesn’t tell them what to do.  But you know what?  Most of God’s will for us is already given to us in the Bible.  Probably 80 percent or more.  It is a wonderful instruction manual on how to live that joyous life and many Christians don’t even bother to look at it.  It’s all there: relationships, marriage, money, kids, planning ideas, employer-employee relations and of course salvation and the key to joy.  It’s all laid out for us, but people, Christians, don’t really read and pay attention to it.  It’s like trying to work on an engine for the first time and ignoring the instruction manual. 

There are other things in life that aren’t in the instruction manual, things like, “Which job should I take.”  I’ve come to the conclusion that if we pay attention to the 80 percent of God’s will that is give to us, He will let us know what to do about the 20 percent that isn’t there.  On the other hand, if we ignore what He has already given us in the Bible, why on earth would he even bother to help us with the last bit.  And you know, maybe he does show people the last bit, but they are so used to not paying attention that they miss the last bit as well. 

Want a really fulfilled life?  Ask Jesus to be your Saviour and live within you, and then follow the instruction manual.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New and Exciting!

I was skiing the other day and conditions were fantastic.  The season ends in a few days at Manning Park where we ski, yet ski conditions are as good as they have been at any time during the year.  Over the last few days over 70 centimetres of fluffy light snow has fallen.  There is a base of almost 3 metres of snow on the ground.  Skiing is incredible right now.  So why end the ski season so early?  Simple.  There are almost no people left skiing.  Everyone is out playing golf and tennis.  They are jogging and riding their bikes.  It’s spring.  Lots of snow, wonderful skiing, no skiers.  It’s the same every year.  Manning Park closes for the season because of a lack of skiers, even though the conditions are fantastic.  It’s almost a really bad April Fools joke.

People are amazing.  We get so excited about something, but as soon as the novelty wears off we move on to something else.  In December skiers are out on slopes which have barely enough snow to cover the rocks.  They want to be skiing after a summer away from the slopes.  A couple of months later they’re done for the season.   Throughout life people jump on something new, soon tire of it and move on to something else. Even marriage is often the same.  No long term commitment, people stay together as long as things are new and exciting, then walk away looking for someone else who will be new and exciting for a while.  And in our Christian faith?  The Bible teaches us that many people get all excited about Christianity, get involved, but after a while fall away.  Why?  They were excited about Christianity, not about Jesus.  They didn’t really ever have a personal relationship with Jesus, just a relationship with the precepts of Christianity.  When we truly know Jesus, when we allow Him to enter and change us, the excitement lasts for a lifetime as God’s Holy Spirit lives within us, challenging and helping us through each day.

Monday, March 22, 2010

New Life - Spring is Here!

What a change comes over people when they think spring has arrived.  For the last while we have had blossoms on the fruit trees, mainly pink cherry blossoms and white plum blossoms around where we live.  We have had a spectacular display because many of our city streets are lined with cherry trees and we have a huge plum tree in our back yard.  Aa few days ago, on the official first day of spring, green leaves appeared on all the trees around us as the temperature rose to 18 degrees Celsius. Spring is indeed in the air and everyone seems more cheerful, happy that winter is over and forgetful that we still have a few more months of rain before summer arrives. 

It often doesn’t take much to give people a bit of joy in their life.  Around here cherry blossoms and green leaves will raise people’s spirits.  But real joy?  That’s a bit more elusive.  We can have it though.  We really can have joy in our life.  Jesus brings true joy to our lives when we know Him, when we follow Him, when we accept Him as our Saviour and allow Him to guide our life.  What a delight to live with Jesus every moment of every day.  True joy can be ours always.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Joy and Tragedy

It snowed, and snowed, and snowed.  Over the course of two days just about a metre of new snow fell on the slopes.  A metre of beautiful, light, fluffy, powder snow.  After weeks of mainly sunny skies and hard packed surface, the entire mountain was a powder skiers dream.  My first run was down under one of the chairlifts, the beautiful, light snow at times billowing over my head as I linked turn after turn down the slope.  Paradise; a huge smile across my face as I danced down the mountain, half submerged in the newly fallen snow.  Pure joy.

On mountain ranges all across the province snow fell.  At Manning Park, where we ski, a sign was posted at the bottom of the chairlifts warning of the extreme avalanche danger.  We were warned us to stay within the ski area boundaries where it was safe.  Avalanche warning bulletins were broadcast on television and radio so everyone would know to stay out of the back country until conditions stabilized.  Looking at higher peaks I could see the many new avalanches which had fallen.  Yet on this weekend, one of high danger, many people ignored the warnings and set out into the back country.  In their minds they knew that nothing would happen to them.  But it did.  In one avalanche alone, a group of 200 snowmobilers were hit by an avalanche.  Thirty were buried, two died.  They were warned, but they knew nothing would happen to them.  The fun was worth the risk.  The fun cost two of them their lives.

There is another warning which most people ignore.  The Bible warns us that every, single human being is in danger.  Every one of us will face God’s judgement of our sin.  The warning is clear.  It is repeated often in that wonderful book.  We are told there is only one way to escape the danger and that is to admit to God that we have done wrong, to ask Him to forgive us and to accept Jesus into our life, receiving the sacrifice of himself which Jesus made on our behalf.  The warning is clear, the way of escape is clear, yet most people choose to ignore it.  And not only do they ignore the warning, they miss the incredible joy of knowing Jesus.

Why do we ignore such clear warnings?  Why do we pretend all is okay and nothing will happen to us?  The death of snowmobilers who ignored a warning is tragic.  How much more tragic the eternal destiny of those who ignore God’s warning of judgement to come.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Last weekend I was in Vancouver, downtown, site of the 2010 Winter Olympics.  All was quiet.  No crowds of 150,000 people partying in the streets.  No flags flying.  No athletes.  No media.  Nothing.  One week after the close of the Olympics it was as if it had never taken place.  It is incredible how one day you can’t move in the streets because of the throngs of celebrating people, and the next day life is back to normal.  All that was left was a memory.  Life happens, time passes, people move on, there is more excitement somewhere else.  Things in life can be so fleeting, even huge events.  They hardly leave a mark.

Some people’s Christian experience is the same.  There is a flash of excitement about Christianity, lots of emotional energy, but all soon fades away and the person moves on to something else.  But others have a different experience.  They don’t get excited about Christianity, they get excited about Jesus, they actually get to know Him, they ask Jesus to come into their life and live there, forever.  They make peace with the creator of the universe.  That person’s life is changed forever.  Nothing ever goes back to the way it was before.  All becomes new.  The party with Jesus goes on forever.  Olympics come and go.  I am so thankful that the one constant in my life is the abiding presence of Jesus Christ.

Monday, March 1, 2010


Sometimes you just need to celebrate something.  February 2010 was one of those times for Canada.  All across Canada people celebrated the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and they celebrated Canada.  We drew together and celebrated in a very, overtly in-your-face, non-Canadian way.  Crowds in streets spontaneously breaking out in singing our national anthem.  Flags waving everywhere and flying from cars.  Streets a sea of red and white.  We had a party.  A two week long block party, but all across the country.  And at the end, in the closing ceremonies, we showed our pride in being Canadian and showed that we can laugh and make fun of ourselves.  During these past two weeks Canadians have truly changed and our nation will be forever different.

When we ask Jesus into our hearts we also change and become forever different.  Our Creator, the Creator of the universe, becomes our Saviour and our friend.  His Holy Spirit begins to change us from the inside out and in that transformation what we were becomes something altogether new.  Maybe we need to celebrate that a bit.  Some spontaneous singing and praising our Lord.  Hey, it’s way more exciting than the Olympics!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Winter Blues

I have the winter blues.  It has been sunny and warm for weeks.  It’s more like April and May around here than February.  Many people may be happy with that, but I’m a skier.  I like lots of new snow up in the mountains not sunny, warm days.  The weatherman says this horrible, sunny, warm weather is finally about to change, and not a day too soon. Hopefully we will get some nice, cold rain down here in the valley so there will be lots of new snow up in the mountains.  At least the Olympic spectators in Vancouver are happy and dry.  Their having lots of fun in the streets of Vancouver.

Isn’t it amazing how discontent we can become when things don’t go exactly the way we want them to go.  The same often holds true with our relationship with God.  When our life isn’t the way we want it to be we often blame God.  We usually don’t pause to consider that He may be using the circumstances we don’t like in order to work on our character.  In order to do something great in our life.  Do we really trust that Jesus wants the very best for us and is working in our lives to help us become the people He wants us to be?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Olympic Fever

We Canadians are known as people who have a rather quiet type of nationalism.  We love our country, think it is the best one in the world, but don't go around shouting about it.  We're not flag wavers or screamers.  At least not until now.  Somehow the Vancouver Olympics have transformed our nation into one of fanatical Canadian patriots.  People are running down streets with Canadian flags.  At Olympic events they spontaneously break out singing "Oh Canada."  Somehow the Vancouver Olympics have galvanized us, united us, in a way I have never before seen.  You know what?  I like it.  I love our country and maybe we need to get a bit more emotional about being Canadians.  We do have a great country .

A lot of Christians are the same with regards their faith.  We love Jesus, but in a quiet sort of way.  Maybe we need to take a lesson from what is happening at the Olympics and begin to wave our Christian flag a bit more proudly, to declare our faith in Jesus a bit more loudly, to take a stand.  I think that maybe that is what our life in Jesus is all about.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Back to Work

We were on vacation last week, no e-mail, cell phone off, just skiing, boarding and hot tubs.  Just Sandra and I. No interruptions, no outside world.  Wonderful.  We were at Panorama Mountain Resort in British Columbia and had a great time.  The only downer was that this immense mountain had no new snow so everything was hard packed.  We spent most of our time looking for the best snow skiing the steeps in the trees; black and double black runs under sunny, blue skies.  It had been so long since it snowed that even in the trees there were moguls, but it was fun.  After a week of it we are almost bump skiers!  Now we’re home and back to work.  Oh . .  the work!  How can so much e-mail accumulate in so little time?  A week of pure fun, now we pay for it with lots of hard work catching up on things.  That’s life.  I’m glad I don’t have to face it alone, but know that Jesus is with me every step of every day (and every turn as I ski).

Friday, February 5, 2010

Ups and Downs

I love to drive, find it quite relaxing. During the last couple of weeks we drove to San Diego, California and back without a mishap, without any problems, with easy driving and mainly good weather. We arrived home yesterday.  It was a great trip. This morning I left the house at 6:50 am to drive to Manning Park Resort where I teach skiing on Fridays.  I wasn’t five minutes from the house, just on to the freeway, when a big rock appeared out of the darkness and hit my windshield.  BANG.  In the dark I couldn’t see anything, but as the sun began to rise I could see a nice, big set of rings on my windshield where the rock hit.  We drove over 5,000 trouble free kilometres to California and back, but I couldn’t get 5 kilometres from our home!  It’s just life.  Bad things happen, good things happen.  Life happens.  And where was Jesus, my Saviour through all this?  Right with me, all the time, every moment, looking after me.  He said He’d do that.

Friday, January 29, 2010


We came to sunny California for a conference but got snowed out!  Yea, snowed out in southern California.  We were supposed to be in Big Bear Lake, but the day we were to drive there the roads were closed.  The town was closed.  The town was digging out from under 5 feet of snow, there was no power, the conference centre was closed.  In southern California in the mountains between LA and San Diego.  So we're at the beach instead.  It's just life.  You can fight it or go with it.