Monday, April 30, 2007


So I’m driving back from Quebec City (being driven actually, I’m not that crazy) and I just saw some geese fly by, which triggered some thinking.

I’ve often heard, in sermons and teachings, examples pulled out of how geese fly. The synergetic formation, taking turns breaking the wind >, etc. This led me to picture this perfectly formed “V” with the geese taking timed turns at the front and the whole thing flying straight for the goal/destination. This picture, however, has been smashed by actually seeing flocks (or is it gaggles) of geese flying north and south.

What I’ve actually observed sometimes seams much more chaotic and unorganized. What I see is geese switching “V”s, constant leader changing, and constant changing of form (sometimes appearing more as a W or a slash “/”). What’s the deal? Are they a different species then the ones from the examples? Are these anarchist geese?

“So Ben has lost it”, some of you may be thinking (don’t worry, that happened a while ago). What am I getting at? Here it is.

I guess it is more of a reminder to us all. In the body of Christ, things like organization, teamwork, leadership, etc. are all super important. Paul, in 1Corinthians, speaks of “orderly worship” when we meet together. He also, to Timothy and others, lays out criteria for elders and deacons. Structure, I think we can all agree, is important in any body (human, buildings, plants, even water). Where would we be without it?

So that’s the first point; Order/structure is GOOD.

Thankfully, however, we are the BODY of Christ. Go ahead and move your body around a little, would you say that the movement is structured or fluid? Natural body movement is fluid. Our joints work so that we can move in graceful dancing motions. What am I saying by that? I guess my second point is that fluidity/movement is GOOD. When we reduce movement to the structured steps, we can still get around, but I’m not paying to see that dance.

Conclusion, when as a community of Christ followers (i.e. a/the Church) are overly focused on fluidity, we may end up as a blobish heap that isn’t good for much at all. And for the other side of the coin…when we are overly focused on structure, when we seek movement for movement’s sake, we loose the beauty of the graceful dance that is meant to catch the eye of a seeking world.

Think about it, you goosey honkers.


Friday, January 26, 2007

Creative Worship

I was in the shower yesterday, and I got to thinking. Actually, I do a lot of my best thinking in the shower. Anyways, I got to thinking about worship, worshiping, singing, etc. I was focusing on how in congregational worship, I often have my most positive experiences when I am leading or helping to lead (i.e. playing and/or singing), then when I am not. At first I thought maybe I just wasn’t “entering in” like I should or whatever, but I don’t think this is the case, at least not always.

What I realized was this; when I am playing an instrument, I am, to various extents, being creative with a gift that God has given me. I think there is much to ponder here, this aspect of creativity and worship.

God is creative. If you believe in a creator God, you cannot then say He is not creative. We are created in His image. That’s what we are told in Genesis. Therefore, we are creative. I think a major lie that the Devil spreads in this world (especially in the church) is one of “I am not creative.” The phrase is NEVER TRUE when spoken by a human being. We are created in the image of a creative God and are, ALL of us, creative. This being said, we are not all “Artsy”. I’m NOT talking about being artsy, but creative.

There are two ways, which I can think of, that will kill a man’s soul. The first is isolating him so that he can not be in relationship. The second is not letting him be creative. To never have the chance to build, to sing, to write, to design, to equate, to play. Nothing saps the soul like working in a production line. Therefore, when we approach God in worship, if we can not be creative, we will feel that something is lacking.

Now in corporate times of worship, as my room mate pointed out, we can “link” ourselves to someone else being creative, and worship in this way. I believe this is true. To be a witness to someone expressing their God given creativity can lead us to worship.

So what do we do? Get creative! Try new things, do things you enjoy, and worship God that you can enjoy these things because He made you that way. Let the awesomeness of being made in His image flood you with wonder until worship flows out naturally. Don’t get caught in routine and pattern, but let each encounter with God be new and fresh and wonderful.

I could go on, but I will stop now before I digress.

For more thoughts on Worship, check out my roommate’s blog:

Cheers y’all!

Monday, August 21, 2006


So I'm traveling right now. Driving from Montreal to Manitoba for YWAM Canada's national conference. I find myself in the passenger seat, with a full stomach after a late dinner in Cochrane,Ontario. Yes, that's right, we are taking the north road (transcanada). So now it is late, and we are on the long stretch between Cochrane and Thunder bay. Night has fallen, and my co-passengers are drifting off (except the driver of course). But I had to pull out my laptop to write. Why? you ask. Well you see, we were just blessed with a magnificent viewing of the northern lights. I have never seen them so clearly or so long. They were straight in front of us on an extremely straight highway, so even the driver could fully apreciate the beauty of the show.
Just watching them dance and swirl, twist, spread out, come together, all together with Tom Waits crooning in the background. It lead me to once again be marveled at God. To witness the beauty of His creativity, in a display that few ever get to truly witness. I wish you could have been here to share in this moment (Certain yous more then others[no offense meant to anyone]).
Good night then.....

Thinking about Armour

So this is a little late, but recently, when I was leading the YWAM team in Europe, I kept hearing references to Ephesians 6 and the "armour of God", in prayers, in discussions about evangelism, etc. Some of it I agreed with, some of it I didn't, some I was sure. One thing is for sure though, it got me thinking about the passage in question. So heeeere we go!
The first piece mentioned is TRUTH. It is our belt, it holds our tools. Any tool we use in life needs to be anchor in truth. Truth is NOT an offensive weapon. It is something we wrap ourselves in to stand firm and not be swayed. If we do not know what is true, we will go chasing after every wild goose that comes our way.
The second is RIGHTEOUSNESS. It is described as a breastplate. It protects our body. As week seek to live righteously, we protect our body parts from being used as "instruments of wickedness (iniquity)" (Rom. 6:13) Now we are not righteous in/through what we do, but through Christ's sacrifice that covers us. But being covered in Christ means no longer living for ourselves, but living a life that please Him. It involves walking in purity and uprightness, not to gain anything, but because of who we have put on.
The next element is READINESS or being prepared. The Gospel of peace should lead us to a place where we are dynamic. Where we can adapt (not change) the message that we have so the everyone can hear AND understand. We need to be flexible to changing circumstances, and ready to drop everything and GO when we are called elsewhere.
Then comes FAITH. "Above all, taking the shield of faith..." (eph.6:16) Faith is the key. I don't want to play favorites, but in a battle, if I could only choose on piece it would be the shield. It is the most rugged, and most versitile. Faith comes "above all" because without it the other pieces get bashed to bits. Truth is not always popular, it requires Faith to walk it out. Faith is needed to walk righteously when the world, and our flesh, are racing towards all things unrighteous. If we don't have faith to believe the message, we won't be ready to go share it. Without faith it is impossible to please God (heb.11:6). If we don't have the faith to believe that God is who He says He is, the rest won't stand.
I have to admit, I got stuck at salvation. Why is salvation a helmet? It wasn't until i got home and was discussing it with a friend that I found something that seems to fit. My friend was telling me how the Roman helmet had the plummage to show rank, but als who you belonged to. It's pretty key to be able to easily locate your friends in the heat of battle. Taking on the helmet of salvation is saying "I belong here. This is my camp. These are my brothers, I fight wih them." If you're are ashamed to claim Jesus as your general, or other christians as co-soldiers, you need to start thinking why, and how you can change that.
Finally, things are wrapped up with the SWORD of the SPIRIT, which is the WORD of GOD. And every little boy in Sunday school sighes in relief. We finally get our sword. This, however, is where things get delicate. Often people mix up the sword with truth. It is an honest mistake, the two are related. The difference is subtle, but key. The sword is not the belt, but it hangs on the belt. And yes, the word of God IS truth. It is our source of truth. However, it only becomes an effective weapon when it is guided by the SPIRIT. It is His sword. He tells us when, how, and where to use it. When we start waving our sword around without guidance, the most common result is one shown in the garden on the mount of olives, yes that's right, ears getting cut off. In modern terms, the difference is that of carpet bombing, or using guided smart bombs.
I conclude with one final remark. In all this, we need to manage our lives in soldier-like discipline, but manage our relationships in love. This is how we will be effective as dancing sheep warriors in this crazy upside down world.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The ultimate end.

So I'm on vacation now, and have finally found some time to sit down and get some backed up thoughts on my blog. Being staff on a YWAM DTS is a funny thing. You get to spend 6 months observing people grow in their faith (ideally they're growing) and in relationship with others. One interesting thing I've observed is the topic of this post.

Many students come to the DTS with the desire to "find out what God has for my future". This is a noble pursuit. To walk in what God has planned for us is the greatest way to live out this life we have been given. But the funny thing I observe is this; the harder people look for it, the more elusive it seems. The students will spend time praying, reading, probing the teachings, discussing with others, etc, looking for that key that will unlock their destiny and unveil God's hidden plan. And they will do this for months, to the point that it sometimes appears obsessive. And the clarity they seek remains lost in a Saint John fog. Why? Doesn't God want us to walk in His will, His plan for our life? The answer is yes, He does. "But the elusiveness..." you may ask. I'm getting there.

The following thing I observe is one of the following two scenarios, or phases. The first is pure frustration, a continued hunt with no results. It's sometimes hard to watch someone going through this knowing what they need to do, but saying nothing so that they can learn a more powerful lesson by arriving there on their own. This first phase will last until the person in question learns to let go, to let go of the need to know, to give up the controls to a better pilot. You see, our future can become just as much an idol as anything else in this world. We think it's okay because we are seeking 'God's will", but that is the essence of the problem. See it?

We are to seek God, and to delight ourselves in Him. God is the ultimate end. He is never a means, because there is no higher end to get to. That's what Idolatry is; placing anything higher then God. Until we can be satisfied in Him alone, without knowing what is to come, not caring about a position or title or what others will think, we won't be satisfied at all. To be still and know that He is God is a humbling experience of losing our control. Our pursuit of God should purely be to get to know Him more. He is the goal, our great reward, and not a means to get it.

I close now with an analogy of my own creation. Life is like a wet bar of soap. If we grab it tightly we are sure to lose it, if we hold it lightly it will stay in our hand. Learn to let go. Learn to seek God. Watch in awe as your future unfolds.

Matthew 10:39
Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Matthew 6:33
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A Big Step

This will be short, and will not be deep reflections or political rhetoric. I just wanted to get the news out that in the evening of May 29th, 2006 I ask Johanie to marry me, and she said yes. It was somewhat spontanious, and sometimes it feels fantastic as if it were just a dream, but it's for real, and we are both very happy. So there you have it. I have no other details to give you, but they are sure to come over the monthes.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Full-serve or Self-serve

I was recently at a conference, and on the closing night, John Dawson, the guest speaker, was giving a message out of the book of Jonah. While I was reading along, there was a passage that stuck out to me. It was verse 2 of chapter 4. Jonah was ranting about how he knew how God was merciful, and compassionate, and forgiving, etc, but his attitude was one of self-pity, and pride. What caught my attention was that it reminded me of the servant, in Matthew 25, that buried his talent instead of multiplying it. Now the thing that I observed in these passages is two guys who think they have their masters all figured out, don’t necessarily agree with their masters, and act/speak out of their prepackaged assumptions. I see a lot of pride in both these guys, thinking that their own ideas/ways of doing things were better. They both did the bare minimum that they were asked. There was no joy in serving, and therefore no joy in the final results. If they had better understood their master’s characters, they would have done their best with the tasks they were given. What would Jonah’s reaction have been if he had gone straight to Ninevah, and from his heart pleaded with the people to change their ways? Would he not have been overjoyed, with the people, in the light of God’s forgiveness?
So where am I getting with all this? To sum up, when God gives us a job to do, and the resources/talents to do it, we should go at it with our whole hearts, and seek to multiply was has been given to us. That way, when we see God move, forgive, heal, or whatever it was He wanted to do, we can rejoice in His work instead of wallowing in self-pity and pride.
In closing, where else do we see people, in the Bible or in our own lives, robbed of their joy because they served grudgingly, or were satisfied with doing the bare minimum? Think about it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Righteousness and Justice

When I first came to Montreal, it was the first time I really listened to “Christian” French. (Side note: As Christians, we use a certain vocabulary that is not really used elsewhere. That’s what I mean by “Christian” French). There were words like redemption, Heaven, etc. that were never taught to me in a public school setting. Luckily, the classes I was in were translated, so I quickly made the link with these new words. However, as any bilinguals (or multilinguals) will understand, some things translated poorly. It is a constant challenge that, as a translator, I enjoy very much.
Now to the point. There were a couple words that got on my nerves. I felt the translators were not doing justice to the speakers. Specifically, I’m taking about the words JUSTICE and RIGHTEOUSNESS. You see, in French, both of these words are translated as JUSTICE. I felt the French language was missing out. Not covering all the angles. And I have to confess that my attitude in that area were not always right. When translating, I would use the term “Droiture”, which translates as Uprightness, for righteousness. I would leave “justice” to translate justice. It made sense to me.
Let’s fast-forward a few years to the present. What am I getting at? I’ll tell you. Recently, I have been reflecting on these words, and how interrelated they are. And I got to thinking; maybe the French aren’t so far off. Maybe these terms are close enough to share the same word. Can justice exist without righteousness? Can I be righteous without practicing justice? What is my duty in the eyes of God? Abram believed what God said, and that was credited to him as righteousness (Gen.5: 6). Here we see an aspect of faith connected to righteousness. I see faith in justice as well. It sometimes requires a lot of faith to act justly. In business + politics, for example, it takes faith to stand up for people over profit. To trust that God will provide when we value people over revenue. Here in Montreal, there was a proposal to move the Casino into a community that is in a lower economic bracket. Why? So it’s closer to people, so it makes more money. I don’t think I need to go into detail about why this is wrong. The plan failed, Praise God!, and the casino will stay out in the middle of the river. Here is an example of a righteous decision being made. It is also practicing justice in a neighborhood that would have suffered greatly otherwise.
All over the world we can find examples of this, as well as unrighteous decisions leading to situations of injustice. They go hand in hand. Inseparable budies.
The way I see it now is that one is the inward conviction, and the other is the outward expression.
Let’s practice both.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


It's not always harevst. Let's face it. Correct me if I'm wrong but, it is impossible for things to always be producing fruit. Unless we take ourselves to have more wisdom than Solomon, we need to understand that there is a season for everything. (Ecc.3)
Why do I say this, you may ask. Let me continue. How often do we seek constancy in our relationships? With God, with spouses (significant others), friends, aquaintances, etc. We think every time we are with our loved ones it should be an amazing wonderful time. Every time we open our bibles, we expect divine revelation, and profound wisdom from God. Every time we share the gospel, the person should joyfully respond to the truth. Yet the reality is that this doesn't happen. And we get frustrated, we blame ourselves, we doubt God, as well as others, we try to purge our sin so that we can "open up the heavens" and hear God speak. Is this healthy? I mean really.....How much better would our lives be if we understood seasons? In this generation, in the western world, we are losing our notion of agriculture. We live in cities and buy our produce pre-packaged and ready to serve. We never have to wait for it to come, to grow, ripen. If Jesus is the vine, and we are branches, wouldn't it be worth finding out, at least the basics, about how fruit, or vegetables, grow?
When a seed is planted, sometimes there is a long periode before we seed it again at all. even when we start to growth, there is another time when the plant is maturing. Then there is blosoming and fertilizing, which is beautiful but still no fruit is there. Finally there is fruit that shows, but we still need to wait for the fruit to ripen before we can enjoy it. Then it continues to produce fruit consistently until God "calls it home", right? Not so much. After the fruit is harvested, it's winter time. Seasons, cycles. It's all around us. And there is lot's of work to do during the seasons when there is no fruit. Even in the winters.
So in conclusion, I believe that we can apply this analogy to lives. Whether it is in ministry, or in our relationships, we need to be aware of the seasons, and be ready to do the appropriate work during those seasons, so that we can experience good fruit in our lives.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Transformed into my image of Him?

In the last few weeks, I've been seeing, listening, talking with, all sorts of different people. Each one a seasoned Christian, but so very different in their expression of God. I also just finished reading "The Jesus I never knew" by Phillip Yancey (side note: A book well worth reading), which only added to my reflection.
So here goes. I work in an environment where we seek to train others to grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Some speak of being transformed into his image. This, I believe, is a calling on my life; to facilitate people becoming more like Christ (all the time seeking to become more like Christ myself). But now I've got to thinking; How often do we seek to help people grow into, not the image of Jesus, but into OUR image of who Jesus is? Now let's be honest with ourselves, I do it myself, we judge people's "Christian growth" through how much they fit into our view of who Jesus is. Just look at our churches. We create so many molds and boxes that push conformity of expression, and preach submission to those who don't fit the mold. We create lists that people need to live by, and, knowingly or not, seek to control behaviour, again, to conform it.
So why do I bring this up? Simple, the only thing we are to conform to is the charater of Jesus. God is a God of diversity, and our expression of Him is to be diverse. If every person who is alive, add that to everyone who has ever lived, expresses part of who God is differently (and I believe they (we) do), He will not have been fully expressed. That's how great He is. Yet we seek to conform expression to what we know and what is comfortable and feels nice.
We need to be constantly seeking who Jesus is, and how that affects our choices, things we need to change, etc. That's our personal duty. On top of that, we need to be asking God to show us how He is working in the lives of others around us. We need to trust in the greatness of God to be working in the hearts of people.
Now thankfully (or not, depending on how you see it) God calls us to work with Him in the restauration of our world. This includes interacting with people as we all journey to be more like Jesus. This is an awesome responsibility, not to be taken lightly. This is why we should be quick to listen (so we can see what God is doing in the person's life) and slow to speak (so we don't "give advice" or judge, and possibly mess up what God is doing). If God wants us to speak into someone's life, he will guide us in our speech, but even then, we need to be humble about it and act with "fear and trembling" when dealing with the lives of individuals. We are not God. Therefore, let us be humble and obeidient to God when interacting with those around us.
Hope this makes sense.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

No one wants to lead the Liberals

In the wake of the election Paul Martin, for his own reasons, has stepped down as the leader of the liberal party of Canada (LPC). This has created a void at the head of this party.
Now we all remember when Jean Cretien had been in power for 10ish years, there was some pretty intense power struggles within the ranks of some of the potential sucessors. There was Paul Martin (obviously), John Manly, Brian Tobbin, Frank McKenna, and others.
When Paul Martin announced that he would step down, the media began their coverage of these same men, who they naturally assumed would be the contenders for the open position. However....
First there was Frank. He step down as the ambassador to the USA shortly after Martin's announcement. Here comes the new leader of the LPC. Oh wait, suddenly he feels he has served in the public eye long enough. 16 years is a long time, true.
Then I read in the paper, Manly was out. Oh. Things are looking good for old Tobby. I turn the page and there it is; Brian Tobbin announces he will not run for the leadership of the LPC.
Wait a minute! What happened to all these go getters, these potential leaders, prime ministers even?
My conclusion, I don't think that anyone feels very keen on getting the captains hat when there is a huge hole, and the boat is half sunk. I think that this era of liberals is really coming to a close. Some may say "it's about time". I wonder who will take up the challenge to rebuild this party. Who will lead the scattered flock so that there is an official opposition? I guess we'll find out soon enough. One thing I'm pretty sure of is that Stephen Harper isn't shedding any tears over the situation as he tries to settle into his new position.
But let's not gloat over the fallen giant. The liberals still have a role to play in Canadian politics. No democracy will work if there is only one strong party. The liberals themselves showed us that.

Quote board

I have often been in situations where hilarious things were said, and there was no way to record them. Recently, I have come across friends that have "quote walls" in there homes for this very purpose. So I have decided to bring this idea to my blog. If you hear, or say, something ridiculous or ridiculously funny, just post it as a comment. My desire is for it to be simple and a good time for those who come and read. Therefore, no context please, and nothing inapropriate or hurtful.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Let’s not abandon logic

So I was watching the evening news last night and they were going through an update of all the Party leaders and their day’s activities. When they got to Paul Martin, I was completely blown away (in a very negative sense) by some things that he said. Here is the situation;

Martin was in BC and was trying to win over some NDP voters in that region by claiming that Layton was abandoning things that the NDP stands for (i.e. social programs, environment). This left attacking left was already odd, but then in struck me. Martin, in a desperate attempt to claw his way back to power, make the claim that the left needs to unite to “…stop Stephen Harper, which is the fundamental issue in this campaign.” Did you all catch that? The fundamental issue is keeping the Conservatives from forming a government? How odd. I would have thought that the issues should be concerns for health care, Canada’s place in the international community, having a little less corruption in politics, helping the economy grow, TAKING CARE OF THE CANADIAN CITIZENS. The next thing Martin said (I didn’t get the exact quote, sorry) was something in the way of “We are running the risk of voting in a gov. that doesn’t represent Canadian values” WHAT??????? I almost fell off my seat! Are we not in a democratic society? Is the idea no longer that; if the most people vote for one party, we can assume that those people at least believed that that party would BEST represent them up on the hill?

This is where logic needs to come rescue us. I needed to calm down, think about what Martin had said, realize in was filled with fallacy, and move on to strengthen my resolve to not vote liberal.

I’ve often been criticized for being too logical (which is sometimes true, I’ll admit), but here I will not back down. I’m sick of politicians playing on emotions, using scare tactics, and basically destroying the rules of argument through political campaigns. I’ve only taken one university course on logic, but on any given day in the news I can pick out several fallacies. So I am appealing to you not to get caught up in emotional appeals, and to logically analyze each statement made by politicians. To get the facts, and then vote (DO IT) for the candidate that will best represent your moral values.

For it is our morals, not our economy, that make us who we are (if we stand by them).

The rest (econ, foreign affaires, health care, etc.) flows out of the values we will choose, as a country, to live by.

Friday, January 13, 2006


I'll just spent some time reading the blog entries of various friends, and have decided to give it a try.
I like dialoguing with people. I think it's constructive. I think it allows people to grow and get to know one another in a deeper way.
I hope to share certain thoughts that cross my mind from time to time. As well as humerous anedotes from time to time.
I don't have internet at home, but I'll do my best to keep things active and dynamic here.
I guess that's it for now.