Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Miracle Wedding

This afternoon I was privileged to officiate at a remarriage. A couple of dear friends, Joe and Debbie McFadden, went through a full dress Wedding Ceremony today in the presence of about 100 friends and family. In a couple of weeks I'll be showing an interview in church (see picture) that I did with Joe as a testimony of God's great grace.

Joe hit the streets as a 10 year old boy, living by petty theivery and ultimately off the sex trade on the streets of Vancouver. Dad had deserted the family and mom could most often be found drunk on the couch. Joe learned early to survive any way he could. About 4 years ago, a golfing buddy, who attends our church, and Joe were sitting in a ferry line-up. Because there are no co-incidents with God, Robby used the time to introduce the spiritually hungry young man into a relationship with Jesus.

I don't know if I've ever seen a couple mature as quickly as Joe and Debbie. They jumped into every ministry that they were allowed. They now lead an ushers team at our 9 am service, as well as head up a signifigant kids church program on Saturday night. A while ago Joe told me that there was not one kid in his large group who had two parents. Joe understands them and they listen to him.

One regret that Joe had was that he and Debbie had never had a Christian wedding. Theirs had been a civil ceremony and a drunken bash. So he spared no expense in putting on a wonderful Christian wedding celebration as a deep expression of his love for Debbie and for God. I was thrilled to partner with them in their nuptuals. It was so fitting to hear the great hymn, Amazing Grace as we received communion together.

Pacific Life Bible College

Last August I was asked to co-chair the Building Leaders Campaign for our Foursquare Bible College, Pacific Life. Their stated goal was to build a new Learning Center for the College at a cost of about 1.1 million. Today marked the end of the first round of pledges and giving, with a tour or the new building and a meeting with the Board of Governors.

It's been 35 years since I graduated from Life Bible College, which at that time was housed in the basement of our church. Over the last several years under the capable leadership of my brother Rob, the College has grown in numbers, in academic quality and in influence. Last year when I asked the class on Church Growth that I was teaching, where they all came from, I was surprised by the several continents, as well as countries, that were represented. Today was very touching for me to tour the new facilities and see how my Alma Mater has matured. It is going to be such an honor and pleasure to teach Pentateuch in the new facilities this fall.

Although we're still looking at a big challenge of building up our staff, adding to our video production capabilities, building new dorms etc, there's a palpable energy that is in the air. Our little Bible School that grew out the Pentecostal revival in 1928, is coming of age. God bless Pacific Life Bible College!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Piano recitals

For me it was the dreaded accordian (Iwonder what has happened to all the accordians of the world!) I remember the trepidation I used to feel when I had to play Blondie Polka at our accordian Recital.. It was worse for me because I took lessons beside my sister Heather, who could actually play!

This week it was our grandchildren, Alex (pictured) and Madeline, who had to endure the recital jitters. For Madeline it was no big deal She's only been playing for a few weeks, but she's so confident that she switched songs a couple of days before. She ended up with the old favorite, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Alex took it much more seriously, but both of them did us proud!

Graduation Day

I always love Sundays. They are supposed to be encouraging and stimulating, and that's what this Sunday was for me! Every June at around this time, we honor our graduates; not just the ones who are finishing High School and College, but also those little ones in our church family who are moving from one season to another. This week in all 3 services we had the tykes who were "graduating" from nursery to their big 2 year old class, walk under the arch of honor and receive their special gift and a welcome to their new department. We did the same with the kindergarten classes moving into Grade 1 (that's my granddaughter Madeline receiving her grad certificate), the grade 6 kids move up to the youth class, and best of all, the grade 10's get to sit in church and listen to me.

Graduations are what I call pivotal points in life. They are a bit scarey because everything is new and we're pushed out of our comfort zones, but again that's how we grow. Encouraging is when we say "Good job ! Congratulations you passed!" But stimulation comes when we are kicked out of the nest and have to learn to fly with the big birds!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Gardening with God

Yesterday I finally got smart and installed individual watering spouts for all of our many hanging baskets. It has been a big job, mostly by Susan, to water all the baskets every day. Because we're going away for a few days in July to see our grandkids in Disneyland, and because these last few days have been so hot, I figured I'd give the new system a try. I guess lesson #1 for me was how easy some tasks that I tend to procrastinate doing, are.

But the #2 lesson was that we, like our flower baskets, need to be consistently watered by the Holy Spirit. I received an email from a man today who has been walking through a particularly challenging season in his life. It wasn't the time for me to preach a sermon to him about trusting God through the hard times, but I did remind him how important it is to be daily nurtured by the Holy Spirit. One lost day will tend to begin the drying out slide backwards.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Tyler and Nicole

Almost immediately after Susan and I arrived home from Amanda's wedding, we changed our clothes and left for another wedding. What a delight it was to be there to see one of our lovely young secretaries say her vows to her new husband, Tyler. Tyler is the son of Rebecca Friesen, one of our church's pastors. Nicole was cute to watch--she was so excited to be Mrs Friesen! By the end of the evening, we were tired but very happy for the two handsome and promising young couples.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Today I married my niece

Amanda, my little sister's daughter and her new husband Dean, are actually the 10th of my nieces and nephews whom I have had the privilege of marrying. Amanda and her twin sister Diana are a delightful pair. Susan and I have loved watching them grow into two very beautiful women.

As I said to the guests this morning before Al and Linda gave Amanda as a bride to Dean, raising a child to maturity is like painting a masterpiece. As an artist does, we parents pour ourselves into our work. We give unreservedly of our gifting, personality, time, money and love into producing the most lovely, godlike man or women ever made. That masterpiece is worth more than any amount of money could ever buy. And then, we don't sell it, we simply give her away to another man! (Actually we don't just give her away, we pay big bucks for the ceremony and reception) but the fact is that even though we've given our creation away, she (or he) will always be very near to our hearts.

The process for me is reminescent of putting my heart and soul into a book, like mine that I wrote for each of my daughters and then putting them up for sale. Or maybe better yet, it's like God putting his very nature into us, loving us with all of his heart and then letting us choose another love other than him. Anyone who has given his son or daughter away in marriage understands what I am saying, So my dear niece, Amanda and Dean, may God shine the light of his love and grace on the special path that he has created for the two of you to walk side by side. Enjoy the journey!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Video in church

At our elders' meeting last evening, we talked about some expansion ideas for the near future. One of them was using video as an alternative teaching tool. We've been using the Alpha videos with Nicky Gumbel for years now with great success, so why not expand its use to include the regular services?

The way I suggested that we would introduce the concept of video, so that the church could slowly adapt, would be something like this:

1. We'll begin by setting up 3 monitors in each lobby to put all of our announcements , advertising and missionary trip pictures on a revolving cycle. We may even add in clips of a church softball game or kids camp

2. We'll begin setting a camera up on the stage and showing what's happening in the sanctuary, out in the lobby.

3. Start using video clips, interviews, and testimonies more regularly in the service. When one of us pastors is away, we will give greetings to the church from wherever we are.

4. From time to time we can video the 9 am service and when I arrive at 10 or 11 o'clock service, I'll simply play the video.

5. We'll record our seminars such as Leadership development, Beta or Life Purpose and use video to teach the classes.

6. We'll offer alternative venues with live worship and a video teaching; say on Thursday at 7:30 pm or Sunday at 8 am or at a seniors' home. The music style might vary according to whom we want to target.

7. We'll use the video and stream it on the web for viewing around the world.

8. We can add a fourth service on Sunday morning; two at 9 am (at different campuses) and two at 11 am. At the same trime we can add a service with a live pastor and worship team at any number of other cities and towns as church plants.

Think along with us how video can be used to expand the Kingdom of God. I'd love to hear your ideas. Meanwhile I'll keep you updated.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Blue Sky Day

Every quarter or so our executive staff get together at Susan's and my home for a day of planning. We call it Blue Sky Day. Today, before our elders meeting tomorrow evening, we spent the morning talking about some philosophical topics, such as what the expansion in our Coquitlam campus should look like (we already have our preliminary drawings) and how we should train new and younger staff members. We also covered the way we will be using video in the near future to widen our ministry scope. We find the few hours of prayer and discussion to be extremely profitable. It's so easy to get caught up in the busyness of life and press out the time necessary to look objectively ahead.

Tomorrow evening we'll do the same thing with a wider circle of a hundred or so elders. We want to hear what God is saying to us from many angles and through a variety of gifts. We as leaders do not asked to be led by our elders. Rather we want to lead, but with as much wise counsel as God has given to us. God has no trouble speaking loud enough to be heard, but we must learn how to see and hear clearly. That's the process we are giving time to now, before we step into the unknown adventure of tomorrow.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Gardening with God

Barbara Walters used to ask her famous question, "If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?" For me, not that she has asked me, I'd like to be a cedar tree. This picture is a cedar that I planted in my back yard a few years ago. As often happens, a tiny seed blew into my yard and settled into the soft soil. A year later, there was a 2" sprig sitting in my garden. I have a hard time disgarding little trees--they are so full of promise that even though I don't have space, I find somewhere to transplant them. Maybe after they grow I can give them away to one of my kids.

This tree has grown into a lovely strnog tree with about a 4" thick trunk. Now it's too big to move. I like cedars for several reasons: They're attractive to look at, they smell great, are very useful for building ( the cedar wood resists decay and rot), they grow huge. The first gowth trees in B.C. grew to be 400 feet tall, with trunks that were 12 feet across. But most of all they are slow and steady in their growth. They are not blown over by strong winds and will even survive a couple of years of drought. Their secret of course is the strong and lengthy roots that hold them secure through all kinds of adversity.

Best of all, God chose to use cedar in the costruction of his holy themple. Allof the furniture, including the altar and the arkof the covenant were made of cedar which was covered in gold.
Each of us are now part of the spiritual temple of God, so I guess we souild all aspire to be like the little cedar tree in my back yard. Do you see now why I couldn't not plant it?

Thankyou Father

Yesterday I gave my Sunday message about honoring our fathers, as we've been commanded to by Father God. As I was preparing I had more than one occasion to think about the number of dads who are difficult to honor--almost every week I listen to horrendous stories about distant , absent, or abusive fathers who have mis-shapened or mis-directed their precious children. I can hardly imagine how grieved God must be when he sees us abusing our trusts.

Yet we still must honor our parents--not only because God tells us to, but for several other reasons too. My entire 2 week message will be available on my web; Life Pathways Audio program in a couple of weeks, and the notes are always posted on our web, but here are 4 reasons that we are told to honor our dads:

1. Not honoring our fathers robs life from us. Because we were created in the image of God, the health of our spirit and soul are a reflection of the love that we choose to give.

2. There are physical effects that flow from dishonor.

3. Honor shines a light on the path before us and keeps us out of darkness.

4. Honoring our parents opens the door to our destiny.

Thankyou Father that you gave me and my siblings a father who is so easy to love and honor. And thankyou dad for being such a great and trustworthy role model.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


I'd never done a book signing before today, so sitting at Blessings with my Marketing genius, Sarah, was a pretty exciting adventure. I was pleasantly surprised by the good response to my books (mind you, many of them were my very supportive friends from our church!) I did enjoy meeting the many people who have been reading my column in the Tri-City News. By the way, those weekly articles are available on our church web page

I'm always amazed and delighted by the connections in the church. It's said that anybody that you meet in North America is only four people away from knowing you. That is they know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone, who knows you--but it's especially true in the church. I can ask a believer where he goes to church, then "do you know so-and-so?" and presto, we're connected. Of course better than that, we're already joined together in the same family, because through our relationship to Jesus, our spiritual roots go back to Abraham; and then, on top of that, we all come from both Adam's and Noah's family.

Anyway, it was a good day! I'm thankful to Linda and her staff at Blessings Marketplace for making Sarah and me feel so comfortable, and also to all those who bought my books. My intention has always been to bring truth to as many people as possible in a practical and understandable way. Blessings to you all!

Spiritual Energy

There's an interesting phenomenum that most people do not understand. You may have experienced it, and did not know what was happening to you. I've worked in a variety of careers and so have personal knowledge of what I'm writing about.

When I was a young man, I worked in my dad's lumber yard for several years. After my mom died, dad sold the family business and I continued working for the new owners. Although I worked hard physically every day, I was still well able to study at Bible College each evening. I actually felt energized spiritually after working all day physically. Then after I was married and our first baby was on the way I switched careers and began working with Canfor. I always got a kick out of the mill workers who thought they were the only ones who really did any work. They felt that we office guys just drank coffee and flirted with the female employees. But the truth was that after a day of using my brain and talking business, I was more tired than when I worked physically all day. I learned that mental/ emotional work can be more draining than physical exertion.

When I began pastoring full time, I actually wondered what clerics did all day. Soon my time was full and I was experiencing the drain of spiritual work. The energy drain far surpassed what I had experienced in my 2 previous careers. It's like when Jesus was touched by a woman in the crowd around him. "Who touched me?" he asked. How did he even know he'd been touched? According to Jesus, he said, "I felt power go out from me." There is a physical drain that comes as we do spiritual work.

Yesterday, after I had listened to a very sad 5th step confession, And then counselled a woman in our church whose son has just murdered a friend, I was exhausted. I know that our sessions were much more difficult for the other 2 ladies, but I was done. It wasn't hard for me to go to my daughter's and put in a full evening of physical work, but spiritually I was drained. I think that a healthy balance between physical and spiritual exertion, for any of us is a healthy secret.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Man's Best Friend

I know that dogs are supposed to be man's best friends, but I'm not really a dog kind of person. If I want a best friend, I'll choose a person over a puppy every time. When I was a kid, we always had a dog--I even got my own Water Spaniel for my 16th birthday. When I say Water Spaniel, I mean that my dog Laddie would find every puddle he could to waddle through when we were on a walk together. He was always dripping in dirty water. Of course my mom loved it when we'd come home, and Laddie would trample all over her clean floors.

We never bought a dog for our girls. Gold fish that lasted for a few days, maybe a turtle or two, and of course some quiet cats were all that we ever had. I knew from experience that I'd be the one to clean up after, feed and care for the dog if we ever gave in to the persistant pleas of our girls. "I'll look after him daddy, I promise." Sure they would!

But Jeremy and Kristy just fell into the world of proud dog owners. They bought for their kids a baby white German Shepherd. Since I'm a shepherd (pastor) by occupation, I guess that's a pretty good choice. They figured he'd provide protection for the children from bears, raccoons and coyotes who wander into their back yard. They brought her home a couple of days ago. Jeremy and Jacob named her Rooney after some soccer hero, but Madeline didn't think Rooney was a very feminine name, so she gave her the second name of Pearl--Rooney Pearl Low. Quite a handle for the little furball. Actually she is kindof cute. I hope she doesn't grow any bigger, but she probably will. The picture is of Jacob cuddling his new best friend. Welcome to the family Rooney!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Book Signing This Saturday!

We hope you can join us this Saturday at Blessings in Coquitlam. With Father's Day coming this Sunday, Dad may enjoy a signed copy of one of my books.

Gardening with God

I can't imagine gardening without God. Really; can you fathom seeing a rose like this one in our front yard and not having anyone to thank? I know it's true with everything that God has created, but wow! Lord You are awesome--this yellow rose is beautiful. I consider it as a personal gift to me.

There are some things about roses that lift them above their peers. Not only are they beautiful to look at, but they are delicate to feel, smell terrific, are even edible, and bring great joy to those around them. We purchased this particular Rose bush for only 1 dollar. In truth the Garden shop owner was going to throw it out, because it didn't meet the standards of other plants around it. To me that is a challenge I'm up to--we took it home, pruned it, and pampered it over the last few years. By the second summer our new little bush was flourishing.

There's a season to Roses. All winter long they prepare themselves for Springtime, and then suddenly in God's perfect timing, new branches, leaves and buds appear. Now in June, they blossom. Lovelier than one would ever imagine they could be. When one bud fades, several more will take its place. This one will cheer up my life for a lifetime. God and I will make sure of that!

Richmond Foursquare Church

Susan and I had a refreshing visit with Richmond Christian Fellowship, pastored by Shawn and Sonya Van Dop. It's so good to see new churches spring up like young healthy plants. RCF meets for now in a High School, so for us it was reminescent of the 8 years we spent in Lincoln Elementary School when we were in our beginning years.

These guys are far ahead of where we were though. They enjoy the leadership of a mature young couple for their youth, Chris and Jane; have an intern leading their Kids Church, and a real secretary (Janet does an awesome job of keeping order behind the scenes). Shawn also does some commendable work with graphics and technology. When I think how I struggled to get an overhead projector working, I'm in awe! These guys are well placed to have a strong influence in the growing Metropolis of Rich Mound(I'm not sure where the Mound is) We were treated royally, as are all their guests, and had a great time. May God continue to bless our Foursquare family in Richmond!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Why do good people suffer?

I'm not sure that anyone this side of heaven knows the answer to this eternal question, but here's what I said to the hundreds of Sharon's family and friends at her Memorial service today. Among the top ten contenders as the Biblical hero who suffered the most in life was the Apostle Paul. In his testimony to his friends in Corinth, during one of the most difficult seasons of his life, Paul wrote about four benefits of affliction.

The first was that those who have suffered the greatest are uniquely qualified to bring comfort to others. In my ministry I've been so thankful to the different people who've gone thru various afflictions, and can bring encouragement to others going thru similar circumstances. Only they can honestly say "I understand."

Secondly, those who have suffered the most seem to enjoy the comfort of God the most. I've been with people, like Sharon, who literally radiate in the glow of Jesus' presence. I'm almost envious of the closeness they seem to enjoy.

Then, there is something about pain and affliction that has a way of pushing the ugly self-centredness out of us, making space for God-centeredness. I guess #3 explains #2. Later Paul wrote, "When I'm weak, Then I'm strong." Only sufferers really get that!

Finally, affliction helps us understand the interdependance of the body of Christ, There are no "independant patients" in the acute care ward. They understand! We need each other. That's the way God intended for us to live our lives--interdependantly.

Sharon Schofield Memorial

Among the many Funeral or Memorial services that I have officiated, over my 35 years of Pastoral ministry, this service today for Susan's and my dear friend, Sharon Schofield was both the most difficult and the most celebrative.

Sharon was one of those very special women whom everybody loved. She and her husband Vic met while both serving as musicians at Youth for Christ about 1966. Vic was a national champion trumpet player and Sharon used to harmonize with her 2 sisters. She was beautiful, talented and lovable.

It wasn't long after they were married, with 2 young boys in arms, that Sharon developed muscular sclerosis. For years she carried on her motherly responsibilities, but soon Vic was caring for his dear wife constantly. "I married Sharon for better or for worse, in sickness and in health", he used to tell me. About 15 years ago, Sharon had to be cared for full time. She was the very first patient at Eagle Ridge Extended Care Centre. Always with a sweet and godly attitude, she would cheer up anyone who attended her bedside.

Finally, at only 60 years old Sharon succumbed to cancer and died. Her wish to see Jesus and be totally well was fully granted. Today we celebrated not only her life, which was a testimony of God's love, but also her homegoing. The eulogies could not have been truer and the many songs from her musical family could not have been sweeter.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Thank God for Politicians

I enjoyed having lunch with the Mayor of Port Coquitlam today. I'm not sure why anyone would want to serve in local, provincial and national politics, but I sure am appreciative that some do. In my view, a person would have to be very altruistic to want to expose himself to so many controversies. No matter what decision they make, there will always be a good group of people who oppose them. I can't imagine what pastoring a church would be like if you had to get voted in every few years . (I realize that some churches actually operate that way)

I think my responsibility as pastor is to not only cooperate with our civic leaders, but also to pray for and speak supportively of them. In our case, both in PoCo and Coquitlam, that's an easy assignment. I"ve found all of them to be extremely congenial and cooperative. In reality, we both have the same ideals; to make our cities and neighborhoods safe, healthy and prosperous places to work.

Life Purpose

I was encouraged today to read a thoughtful letter from a young woman, whose life was strongly influenced by listening to an interview that I did with Willard Theissen on "It's a New Day" last December. She wrote how life had pressed her into a very low place. Her self esteem had been squeezed out of her and she despaired for her future. Talking about the fact that we all have a uniquely designed purpose given to us by God, the conversatiobn caught her attention as she was flipping through the channels.

The amazing thing to her was that she had just prayed, "God, I don't know what to do. Please speak to me." It was, immediately after that, that she heard us on TV . Then I began talking about about the meaning of names. Wondering what that was all about, the young woman checked out the meaning of her two names. "Wow!" she cried, the meaning of both of her names was exactly what she needed to hear from God!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Gardening with God

I snappedthis picture of a determined weed that had pushed its way through our concrete front steps to illustrate that power of persistance. If the weeds of our world are so pushy, how much more do we have to be about pressing forward with the flowers of our lives!

Consistently, throughout the Bible, God honors perseverance. I love the little story of Perez in Genesis 38. Squeezed inside of Joseph's life journal in the latter half of the book, Perez, although usually unrecognized as a hero, stands tall in God's record. Not as a weed, but as fragrant flower.

His beginning was notably ignoble. Without telling the whole sad story, his mom conceived him in a very desparate and unrighteous way. She, while dressed as a prostitute, seduced her father-in-law Judah to sleep with her. From that unhealthy liaison, she became pregnant with twins. The saga continued with the second child, Perez, pushing his way out of the birth canal ahead of his brother Zerah. That's why his mom named him Perez . It means forging ahead.

Throughout Perez's life, even though he was raised by a single mom, and knew that his grandfather was his dad, Perez pushed on. The credits that the Bible writers gave him through his years and even with his decendants are noteworthy. God honors the man or woman who presses through family disfunctions and does what he was born to accomplish.

Now you see why I took a picture of this little weed before yanking it out. If our weeds push forward so diligently, then how much more should our virtues!

Graduation Celebration

Last evening Susan and I were honored to have been invited to a very unique and pleasurable graduation celebration for Torrey Janzen. Terry and Ingrid Janzen have been dear friends of ours , as well as fellow pastors in our church, for over 20 years. I had the privilege of dedicating Torrey when he was a baby-- now he towers over me as an 18 year old graduate. He is a gifted intellect and has wanted to one day be a Supreme Court Judge, for as long as he could talk. I have no doubt that he will succeed!

The purpose of the dinner was to bring together a group of men and women who have been most influencial in standing beside Torrey's dad and mom, serving to train up their son in the way he should go. Not including family, who will attend his graduation, and who've carried most of the weight of role modelling, they invited representatives who've helped shape Torrey intellectually, socially, emotionally and spiritually. After a delicious dinner, Terry and Ingrid thanked and honored us who'd been invited, as did Torrey. Then each of his family thanked and blessed him for been such a good son and brother (I was especially touched by Torrey's brother Brody's and his sister Cassidy's complimentary remarks). Finally each of us guests had an opportunity to bless him by sharing our dreams and prayers for him. Torrey responded to each of us with maturity and grace. It was an evening given to honor. Torrey nor we will ever forget it.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Why do we go to Church (cont'd)

I think the biggest change in my thinking about church came as I was writing my Life Journey book. Thinking about Psalm 23 where David affirmed that "The Lord is my Shepherd", I came to realize that I'm really not the Pastor of anyone. I understand that I am called pastor, and that's all right. The fact is though that the Lord is our Pastor (that's what the word shepherd means) That makes me his little helper! What a relief to not have to carry the weight of anyone on my small shoulders.

My job then is to simply do what the Shepherd tells me to do. That's why Jesus said, "Take my yoke upon you... the work is easy... the burden is light". He does the carrying of people. I simply have to walk beside and in step with Jesus. When I came to understand that the Lord is the pastor of my church, it took a huge load off my back. Leadership is actually fun! I just have to keep pointing people to Jesus. Like the Apostle John wrote about John the Baptist, "When they heard John speak, they followed Jesus."

So back to my friend's concern that not everyone shows up in the summertime; it's really not my problem (I've got enough managing my own life without running everyone else's) The Lord is still their Pastor whether they are in church or on the beach. But don't misunderstand what I am saying; I believe that we should faithfully be in Church. I"ll write later about why we must go to church regularly, but my point is simply that it doesn't help me to fret about it. My job is to walk beside Jesus and keep pointing people back to him.

My friends in the Prairies

I just returned from a quick trip to Calgary and Saskatoon last evening, where I had a wonderful visit.

In Calgary I spent some time with my dear friends, Gary and Merilyn Webber, who Pastor the Garden, a Foursquare Church. I always enjoy visiting Gary and Merilyn--we get to talk about philosophy of ministry and share ideas. Iwas so thankful for the encouraging stopover.

On Friday I set out for Saskatchewan where I was to teach our Foursquare Pastors and leaders in their annual conference. What a treat it was for me to stay with Gary and Sherrie Waugh in their home, which once belonged to Prime Minister Diefenbaker's uncle, who was a Pastor. On Friday a few of my friends took me out to the Berry Farm, where we enjoyed Saskatoon berry tea and a scrumptious meal. They laughed when I expressed my suprise with the beauty of their province. Who knew that Saskatoon was so green? We walked along the river bank in the warm sun under the blue sky -- I was almost tempted to pack up and move East. (I'd left rain behind in B.C.)

I spent the afternoon alone , sitting, praying and studying on the grass by the river bank; then in the evening, we began the Seminar on Pastoral Leadership. I loved renewing my relationship with the pastors from both Saskatewan and Manitoba. I'm always delighted to learn of the various cultures. Even in that group, there is such a difference between a church in the city pastored by prophetic Leaders, a church on the Native reserves, a small town church where the Pastors are known and respected by the entire town and a resort, on the shores of a beautiful lake, type church. Success for each of them is measured by totally different markers. There's a very attractive warmth and Godly enthusiasm among all of them. I'm not sure who pr0fited the most, speaker or participants.

I stopped in at a very inviting bookstore called Parables (the store has a cozy coffee bar, reading room and was full of customers) to check on how my books were selling; then I headed for the airport for my flight home. Flying for me is a good quiet time to study for my Sunday sermon and do some editing on my new book. I sit in my little window seat and enjoy the ride. But its always a happy treat to get back and be with Susan. She and Madeline met me at the Abbotsford airport.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Da Vinci Buzz

Several people have asked me what my opinion is on the Da Vinci code. Since I haven't read the book or seen the movie, and don't intend to, my comments would only be a restating of what I've heard from others. My tendancy with movies such as this is to not give them too much attention. I think that the controversy has served the producers well. All press is ultimately good press. If you think of Jesus Christ Superstar, after the hype passed it was all but forgotten. After all it's a fiction story, so it's not such a big deal, as we make it. God is much bigger than Dan Brown! If you'd like more info, I recommend Campus Crusades web page.

A Tribute to Friends

On Sunday I was asked to say a few words on behalf of Brian and Marilynn Morris fo their 50th Anniversary. I'm always impressed when a couple is happily married for 50 years, but especially when the journey is marked with such difficulty. (Brian told me this story from their early marriage years and said I could share it) Brian was only 19 when he met 16 year old Marilynn, who was ready to give birth to her first child. Marilynn's mom was anxious to get her married before she delivered so she pressed Brian to ask her. Although he hardly knew her and was not in love with her, he thought it would be the gentlemanly thing to marry her. She agreed to the arranged wedding. Knowing that he would not get his parent's permission, they headed south to the States. Arriving in Cordelaine at night, they began Knocking on various pastors' doors to see if they would marry them. Suprisingly one agreed, let them stay at his home that night and married them the next day. That same day the newlyweds headed home to Vancouver and Marilynn gave birth to her first, of 6 children, that night. Their next child was born before their 1st anniversary. Over the years I've known this couple, I've walked with them through the death of one son and the near death of their other 2 boys. It would take a book to write about all their life journey. Today, although bound to a wheelchair, Marilynn is one of of our most tireless workers in the church. It was easy to pay tribute to my 2 dear friends.