Saturday, December 19, 2009


I have recently started to play chess again after a couple of decades or so. It is a truly fascinating game which I have no illusions of mastering, but would love to at least enjoy on a recreational level. My kids have also shown an interest as I have recently purchased a nice set from the stalls at Stanley Market here in Hong Kong. It has the pieces carved from ox bone in the fashion of emperors and warriors, which adds a certain enjoyment to the whole process of playing.
I think the thing that fascinates me most about chess is the whole aspect of forcing the other player into moves until you finally pin then down in checkmate. That sensation of helplessness is unlike any other. This is what lead me to the though I would like to share today. It all revolves around the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ and the "Checkmate!" that has resounded throughout the cosmos ever since. It has the same effect on all of us as we survey the board and try our best to see if there are any other options, or perhaps our opponent missed something that will allow us to escape the inevitable outcome. For example, there is the whole argument about evolution....Checkmate! What does it matter if there is or is not a shred of truth to evolution? Christ rose from the dead. Perhaps there is are many ways to heaven.....oops...Checkmate! Christ rose from the dead, not Buddha, not Vishnu, not Mohammad, not Freud, nor any other pretender, only Christ. What about all the evil in the world today?.....there it is again...Checkmate! Christ rose from the dead. The choice is upon us all as to what we will do with this. It really doesn't matter what comes up the resurrection of Christ trumps it all, quite resoundingly. Please don't come out with some lame new Dan Brown styled pseudo science trying to refute what has been a point of fact for 2000 years either. Those so-called hypothesis's are laughable at best.
The nice thing about this checkmate is that there are battles that rage against all believers in the court of their own minds, and this gavels all of them down as empty, unsubstantiated objections against the truth of Christ. It is somewhat debilitating when you are on the receiving end of checkmate, but oh how wonderful when you hear the Lord sound this out like a trumpet before all your enemies!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Drawn From Water

I saw this on a friend's blog and was moved to post this here and help spread the word. It is true that once you have seen you cannot turn aside without action. This is why we are where we are in the world, and it is why you are where you are in the world. There is so much need, but why else are we in this fleeting little life of ours than to trade it for all the riches of the heaven we can live right now. It is impossible to imagine the poverty of this life when seen through heaven's eyes, and equally impossible to imagine the richness of this life when lived through heaven's heart.

Drawn from Water from Drawn From Water on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

How Do You Rest??

This has been an ongoing thing for me, the lesson of rest, especially guilt-free rest. It probably has a cultural root in me, but some roots grow weeds and I don't want weeds. These weeds come from a heritage of hard core work ethic that grew up in fertile soil of personal insecurities. Really rich stuff, and like any other rich, dark soil it had plenty of shit in it too. The work ethic was fine, because the word says that if a man doesn't pull his share of the load then he shouldn't eat either. The school I am volunteering at right now teaches the students the value of work in the setting of a healthy community, so the whole work thing is not the issue. The issue is being ok with being at rest.
God actually had to command us to be at rest, because He knew that many of us would have a tendency to ignore the off switch. God then cursed people by saying that, because of their rebellion, they would never enter His rest. It is apparent to me that God takes this whole thing quite seriously. It is apparent to me that I struggle with the concept quite a bit. Even in this season my family and I are in right now, there is still work to be done each day, and tasks that we need to complete, but the overall emphasis is rest. I am discovering in this season how deep the roots of these weeds go and that they choke out so much of the joy of my relationship with my Father. They then spread from there to my wife and kids, as I externalize this struggle with them. It becomes increasingly evident that this is an area where I need to do some weeding, and that my Father's command is no light thing.
Until I actually begin work at the school this will be a struggle with the physical reality of rest, and after I begin work it will become a spiritual necessity. I am so glad that in all of this my Father is always good!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Some LOL While You......You Know

I love all the cultural oddities that you come across when you leave your own cultural for a decidedly different one, it makes everyday life a lot less ordinary. You never know when you are going to run into a little tidbit that will make you smile, so it is like a bizarre kind of Easter egg hunt you don't even know your on. I guess it could be easy to use these times to criticize or point out all the differences, but I prefer to just sit back and enjoy it all. Actually this time I was standing and enjoying it, because I was in the public washrooms at the bottom of our hill. Back home these are usually fairly fetid little rooms with questionable sanitation sequestered in some corner of the park where the smell won't scare people off. Here on Cheung Chau, though, it is actually a relatively pleasant affair in a clean facility (which a lot of people back home may find hard to believe, of course after using a public toity in downtown Shanghai I would be thinking the same thing) The picture below may give some indication of why the place is looked after so well. (Just click the pic to enlarge it)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

God Of The Lesser Things

As I lay here on the floor of my empty house I am taking a moment to reflect on our family's passage to the next part of our lives. I am taking a moment to take it all in so that it doesn't rush by in a flash of packing and paperwork, swirling down to an indiscernible tangle of lifeless memories. I need to take it in, because this whole journey is about knowing my Father, and in fact if I don't know Him the journey is a pointless adventure, because I have nothing to give when we get where we are going.
My Father speaks. Unlike the lifeless concoctions of the human psyche, He lives, and He speaks. The words He speaks are truth, life, and love. I am so glad that He speaks to me! He infuses my whole being with life and hope in a single word. Not really that surprising when mere sentences ushered galaxies into existence, flinging them to unseen reaches of the universe. Surprising, though, when I consider that His voice does not destroy my frail form, but rather strengthens and comforts me. Absolutely magical when I consider the comparably infinitesimal things that He will speak to me about. Never has He explained the existence of the substance of His creations, nor has He given forth on the distinctions between time and eternity. What He has talked to me about are the smallest things in my life, the things so small most people around me wouldn't even notice, and He does it like a hopeless romantic. Have you ever considered that the voice that whispers in your ears, that drops like rain in the desert, that sends showers of life through parts of you that only exist for that interaction, that voice will thunder the end of this heaven and earth? When I ponder this I marvel not so much that He commands all the heavens, but that He has the time to tell me where I've misplaced something, or even a secret little tip on how to parent my child through a sea of transition. Little things, really. Yet, in all these slight details He speaks. Not for show, simply for love.

Friday, July 31, 2009


I had to write something tonight, even though it will in no way capture the feelings that cocooned my psyche this evening in a tenderly woven, sensationally evocative, baby blanket. It may have happened because of a simple act of surrender, or perhaps it was a unyielding embrace from a Father who understood the depths of my need this night. I surrendered to my family and went to a beach for a cool off swim, and was lifted up from this earth in a sublime warmth of spirit for which words fail me. As I slowly swam on my back away from a far distant shore lit by the last fragrant fires of this day's death every movement, sound and color was like a harmony of living caresses. I've tried before to manufacture such a moment, but those were pale corpses gnawing on my desires compared with this rapture. The slightest movement of my hands beneath the surface bent those reflections into crystal beauty, resurrected in true form to lightly flow away from my open hands. Even the sound of the buoy chain beneath the water blending with my own rhythmic breaths became the refrain of a much larger melody my body felt dripping from the fingers of my spirit. I was captured by the perfection of the water's reflection of my movements within its womb, the waves of force it expressed as it allowed me to propel myself through its form.
These words grasp so weakly, but the source of this great peace knows His breath upon my weary, dry soul.

Thank you.........Dad

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Not Again!!!

This is a little too strange, and already tragic. There are memories of 2003 and the fires that destroyed over 200 homes in the Lakeshore area of Kelowna.

(Pics from 2003)
This time it is going on in the Glenrosa area south of Westbank, on the other side of the lake from Kelowna. We are listening to the local AM station online and there is so much going on already. Today was a very sunny, hot day and there were high winds in the evening which have whipped the fires very dramatically. There are currently two fires burning, one in the Glenrosa area and one west of the Fintry area north of Kelowna on the west side of the lake. There are over 10,000 residents evacuated from the Glenrosa area already this evening.
We are also weirded out by this on another level because it was after the fires in 2003 that we left for China the first time, now we are preparing to leave again, and it is happening all over again. A friend of ours actually had a dream last year that there was a huge fire right where this one is happening.
Like our 8 year old son said, with no trace of accusation,"What is God up to dad?"

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I had to laugh when I came across this. It was roundabout as most surfing is, and this ride started with a search for a story about the Neverland Ranch replica being built in Shanghai for the Expo there in 2010. When I went to the Shanghai Daily online paper I stumbled upon this section in the sidebar where they highlight a certain block of the city and give links to businesses. When I hovered over the links I noticed this one for the Big Bamboo on 南阳路 (Nanyang Road). This was the bar where the other Canadian guys I worked with would hang out. I went there with them once and ended up talking to an American gal who was oozing American attitude, although it was obviously to make up for being so out of her element.
Just a bit of a laugh for me this morning.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

How Great Thou Art

This has been a very interesting season for us, with lots of work and lots of waiting. It has been a season of many hopes being fulfilled and many hopes walking the wires of public opinion. If you look over at my wife's blog you'll see some of the fallout of this season that we have both had to deal with. On this post I will try to synthesize the other half of what we have been going through, the half that involves the family that lives outside our personal four walls.
The gathering of saints (I humbly refrain from calling this a church) that we have been traveling with for the the last decade and a half has found itself in yet another crisis and there is no end of meetings and media being spun from it all. We have been a part of some of these, both small and large. We have mostly been listening for the words that we long to hear, we yearn for the waking of the dream we have dreamed. We yearn now, with hearts that are turning to the east (actually that would be a European perspective as it is actually 6500 miles to the west). We yearn, knowing we are leaving. We yearn with the hope of Christ.
I know this all sounds a little too ethereal, but truly, as we look inside, there is a deep love for the people that the Father has joined us too. There is not just a history, there is a shared DNA and a common lineage. This is where the hopes find their roots. Not to say that I am more mature than any of the people, because I actually feel that the opposite is closer to the truth, but there is a sense in which we look with hope as we do towards our kids. We hope and dream for them, and we pray to the Father to see them through. We see so much potential, and in the Father we hope. Personally I see these people as so much more than myself and actually see a lack within myself when I watch them. I know it would be so much easier to just pass judgment on them and go my way, but I could no more do this to them than to my own family.
This is a time where the Father is calling them to so much more than they have ever imagined for themselves, and yet there is so much fear to overcome. I do believe that there will be an overcoming, but not because of the people, rather because of the greatness of our God who loves us enough to continue this work He has begun. This is where the substance of my prayers lies, in the purpose of God, and His eternal desire revealed to us in an ever increasing measure. When I step out on this ground there are seas that part, dead that rise, angelic armies unveiled, and simple gatherings of saints that overcome.
The only sadness is not actually being there for the working out of these purposes.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Under The Volcano

I was reading a friend's post about the chaos in Iran, and he gently, but effectively put a face to the troubled people of Iran. This typically is the problem for us in the information age is that we don't see a face, we see multiple faces streaming past at a billion bits a second as we make our way through the issues of the day. While this seems on the surface to be a way of bringing the world together it is truer to say that, at its roots, it is having a more dehumanizing effect on us. It is encouraging to see the connections like my friends have to the people of Iran, or other friends of ours to peoples of diverse ethnic and ideological backgrounds, but there is still an ominous undercurrent sweeping away so much of what connects us.
While there is much talk and dialogue going on there is a sense in which we are constantly being asked to make a judgment call on all of these issues without ever having sat with the person involved to see who they really are. We are called upon to decide the answers for our generation and the next. We are called upon to perceive what we have not seen. Called to lay hold of what we cannot touch.
When I look around at the media we are surrounded with, so much of it is clamoring for our opinion. Reality television wants us to takes sides and decide for or against given the facts as we are shown them. News reports (they're unbiased???) purport to tell us like it is, and yet there always seems to be another side of the story that pops up somewhere else as the news hounds scramble for yet another angle to sell us. Blogs (including mine) seek to present what they feel is a more honest, in your face, take on things; a personal synthesis of all the stories and issues floating around out there. Even in the realm of the arts, there so many issues and ideas being presented to us with arguably the most powerful medium out there. Musicians, playwrights, actors, directors, and even their producers are pushing their ideas out there with ever more lavish trappings, and ever more subtle slants.
If your like me (mostly I pray you are not) your head gets spun around by all the 'stuff'. I end up emptied out of much of the empathy that is given me at the start of the day. Sadly all that is left for so heavy a price is a swiftly fading sense the rightness that shone out from the trail head of deliberation, discussion, and dialogue. The hope for justice lays down and looks me in the eye, voiceless by the glowing embers of today's news. Behind her eyes I see the faces of the people I passed on my way here.
We live under the volcano. We live with each other in the presence of our looming destruction. We live together.

Friday, June 12, 2009

A Few Thoughts That've Been Knockin' 'Round My Bean

I've been munching on a few things for a week now and finally needed to write it down somewhere. Please remember that these are ruminations and not necessarily conclusions.
I have been coming across a lot of stuff from within the Christian community that has troubled me very deeply, and I have been trying to take it to the Father rather than just snap at it. There are so many blogs and threads out there that are so full of frustration and anger that it can be dangerous to head out into the blogosphere without a slicker and boots for fear of getting nailed. Admittedly I have shot some out there as well, but the cooler head I am married to always points me back to the cross and prayer, thankfully. I grew up in a Christian setting and early on I became aware of the dislike that some Christians had for each other, but for the most part these were doctrinal differences and the people involved just kept their distance. There were some watchdogs out there who had radio shows that would inform their listeners of the offending members of the body in great detail. These were the exception, though, not the rule.
Today with all the communication technology out there it has all changed so much. At the same time as I am seeing so many finding common ground and working together on the central themes of their faith, there are so many who are launching attacks at the ones who claim the same faith. Again, I must say that I am not free from this melee, as I too have launched out with my teeth bared. Again I am glad for a wife who tugs on the leash or at least tells me to pay attention to the tugs on the leash. (I'm not sure she would like either description)
Our posts and websites have become like badges that we wear and the means by which we identify each other and where we all stand. Perhaps we don't even like the image of being portrayed by what we are putting out on the web, but it does not negate the fact that it is our cyber-image. I admit I have not wondered enough about what people might think of what I am writing or thinking, but it has not caused me to be truly thoughtful enough. That being said I still find that there are certain things here which have tagged me in the eyes of many, oops, a few, let's be honest here, five followers are not a crowd. There are things on their blogs and links that have tagged them in my eyes and others as well. Not necessarily the right thing, but there it is.
These days the pressing thought for me is how does all this weirdness connect? Amidst all the blog-lashings and rhetoric it seems to me that there is a truth that is pulsing so strongly that we dare not miss it. It is a pulse that comes from the throne, and it pounds the ground flat where we stand. It pounds it flat because the whole point is to bring equity and a personal revelation of ourselves before our Father. In my mind, sometimes, it plays out like we are a bunch of unruly kids who have just had their dad come in the room. What is our reaction? My first reaction is typically to declare my innocence and say that whatever misdemeanor I am being charged with was precipitated by someone else's action. What is yours? In the end, does it matter? Or does it matter what the Father will say once all the kiddies have dropped their toys and really paid attention to what He has to say?
The ones who listen to this voice, these are the people that I am looking for in my life. I want them to help me and teach me the better way. I have found some of these people here in K-town and I am so pleased to say that I have met some in Hong Kong as well. I have seen something in them that has been able to retain the truth of the gospel and the joy of it as well. They have shown me a way that is hidden from so many eyes because it is too revealing, I think. It has revealed so much in me that I do not like, and yet has also shown me the deep desires that lie beyond the reach of those detestable things in me. They have graciously offered me a hand up out of the armchair. I hope I will take it.
If any of this is too vague I apologize. My words can come out very pointed, and I wanted to avoid that here, if possible. This was actually meant to be a pointier post at the outset, so perhaps it all ends well after all.

Monday, June 01, 2009

little things and a great God

I was visiting a friend's blog this morning, and as Rick MacInnes Rae on CBC's 'Dispatches' always says, it put me in mind of a dispatch of my own. Actually this story always comes up when I think on the monstrosity of this world, both in the sense of scale and the sense of tragedy, because it reminds me of the even greater scope of the God who is over all. I need this story because it helps me feel both frightfully small and immensely significant at the same time, like a child looking up at his Father.
This story came upon the heels of our first great adventure as a family and the beginning of the downtime in between. It was in the suspended moment when we thought the 'fun' would just keep going on and that the adventure was what it was all about, and the moment when we discovered that it was all about falling into the yawning chasm that is the deeps of our God. It was the reassuring transaction with a Father who wanted to take my hand and just walk together while I struggled to let go of all the 'doing'.
Appropriately the story happened out on the vast expanse of prairies south of Saskatoon where we sojourned for three months before returning to Kelowna to begin the sojourning in earnest. The lodge that we were staying at had a large field spreading out from the road where you drove in, and it had been mowed regularly to allow the owner's son to use it as a driving range. I found this to be a wonderful surprise as I had a huge golf obsession back then and had purchased some new clubs when we lived in Shanghai. The cost of using them in China with my one day a week off work, wife, and three kids meant that they had never been broken in; except for that memorable father's day round of golf at Bin Hai Golf and Country Club, Shanghai. This was as dissimilar a vista as could be imagined from the manicured fairways and greens of Bin Hai, but the stubbly grass of the prairies suited me just fine, and the hours whiled away whacking and searching became a meeting place with my Father. It may seem odd to those who do not know me (please refrain from too much chortling Steve), but God often speaks to me through numbers, patterns, and circumstances, and the thing with the golf balls was no different. It was during one of these sessions that I had been wandering about the field looking for my balls, and had my favorite pen, purchased from a little stationery store on GuYang Lu, tucked behind my ear. When I finished up and readied to head back to the lodge I discovered that the pen was missing. There was no chance of finding it out in the huge field of six inch prairie stubble, so I chalked it up as a sad loss and headed in.
The next day when I had a chance to sneak out to the field again to whistfully whack (read: spray) some balls out across the prairie the Lord began to do that thing with the numbers and such again, just to let me know He was there. I know this was the reason, because to this day I cannot remember what the number thing was exactly, but I do remember that lying right next to a particularly significant ball was my favorite pen. I was stopped in my tracks by a little thing that my Father was all too aware of. A little thing that was important to Him because it was important to me. A little thing that was not important, beyond telling me that I was.
I recently told someone some of the things that God has done to make a way for my family to return to China, and in the telling I realised that the story of what He did is why we are going. The stories are not about getting my family there to do exploits, the stories are about why I am going. The stories are there to tell people about this amazing God who fills more than Hubble's weak little eye will ever see, and to let them know that He will also gladly fill the smallest spaces we will ever occupy. The stories are the currency, the money is just the ticket.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Tearing Can Cause Tearing

English is a funny language with many eccentricities that I am sure were put in place just to make what could have been simple appear to be more complex, and thus give the air of intellectualism. It's either that or a hodge podge of borrowed words and phrases that never really left their home languages. This leaves me with a blog title that may need some explaining, and an excuse to write that explanation, and even possibly come off as semi intellectual myself.
The first tearing in the title is referring to the inevitable, emotional letting go of things that are close to the heart. Actually 'things' is not the correct word because stuff is stuff, and it can all be replaced with more, and sometimes even better stuff. The tearing here is caused by the upcoming absence of people who are familiar, and very dear to me. The awareness of this is caused by the tearing, and the eventual tearing that happens in my eyes when I think on it for too long. You see the tearing (târng) causes the tearing (teer-ing).

Sidebar here. We just had a visit as I was writing this from our neighbours who are heading off to El Salvador and Nicaragua for 4 months, partially to do research and partially to visit family and friends. They have been absolutely wonderful people and a great addition to the nieghbourhood. Their kids have played multiplied hours with ours and their son and our oldest boy are best friends. We thought that we were not going to see them again before we leave for HK and they just showed up because they forgot something and we had the opportunity to see them and say a quick prayer with them. It is hard and yet if it wasn't such a blessing it would not be so hard. You can't have one without the other.

I realised this morning at church that I have a very large place in my heart for the church that my family goes to. It holds a place in my heart of not just familiarity and comfort, but it has the place of hopes and dreams that are not for me. This body of people is special to me and their future is very dear to me as well. We had someone come and share a message this morning that was a prophetic word for our gathering in particular. While none of what he said was new to my wife and I it was refreshing to hear it coming from the front. That doesn't mean that it has the big stamp on it or anything, but it does mean that the people heading things up are perhaps seeing what we have sen for a long time. Please don't get me wrong here, I do not think I have all the goods, just a strong sense of the piece of the picture I was meant to hold and hopefully reflect. Hearing this stuff gave me a renewed hope that is not for myself because soon we will be departing this place, but rather it stirred a deep longing for the people who have populated the seats and aisles next to me for the last ten or so years.
The leadership called for prayer meetings for the next four Monday evenings to corporately pray into what this all means for this group of people. As we sat around and worshipped our Father that first night I found a real wrestle going on inside of me. At the outset I asked the Lord what to do about the things I felt I was seeing that were awry (which things, if they were addressed, I felt may help to get some things on track). The only thing the Spirit said to me was "Shh". Most of the time I take this as a rebuke, and probably have been somewhat pouty as well, but this time I just did as I was told. As we moved into this time of preprayer worship the Lord slowly began to peel away some stuff that I cannot even identify, and my heart began to soften. I realised how easy it is to see the things that are wrong, and how desperately difficult it is to understand, from a human perspective, the way that God corrects those who are earnestly seeking Him. As He washed over me I began to see more clearly that the things He was saying were coming from a heart that is desperately in love with the people I was sitting with. This broke me afresh. I wept as I thought of leaving these people. I wept as I thought of the hope that God holds for them. I wept because of the tearing.
I thank the Father for this because it can become a simple thing to move away from people, and subtly throw up an emotional barrier to the pain we will feel if we truly desire the people of God. It is an all too common problem in the body. I thank the Father because I don't want to leave thinking I am better, rather that I am less than these that the Lord loves so much. From this place the tearing, and the tearing, will bring me to throne where we all belong together as a family.
By the way, while I was a snotty mess, and others were praying for me, someone else spoke out the truth of the word I was feeling inside. It was a word of blessing and it should have been.

Monday, April 06, 2009

The Age Of Persuasion...At Church??

Wow did they evr nail the church in the West on this one. Terry O'Reilly has a show on CBC that I enjoy very much called "The Age of Persuasion" which explores the whole world of marketing in our world today. It was only a matter of time before the popularity of the show would allow it to go where, as Terry says, angels fear to tread. I gotta admit, it's pretty close to the mark. OUCH!!
Maybe this has some hints on where we went wrong......hmmm.
Here is a link to the show if you have just under 30 minutes to spare. He is a very engaging speaker.
The Radio Show

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Maybe I Should Let It Go

I hope this doesn't come across as a rant, because it is actually more of a bone I have been chewing for a lot of years as I am sure many Christians do. Money is hard to ignore as one forms their worldview and harder still if you are seated week after week in a local church. I don't know about you, but we are reminded every single Sunday for about five minutes before the plate (or in our case the planter.....seriously) is passed around. I assume that this is done just in case we have forgotten. Pretty hard to do when we are faced with its reality every day of our lives.
My thoughts on money have stomped around my head for a long while now and I found out how close they are getting to the surface when somebody poked that particular area of my "thought-o-sphere" yesterday. We were listening to a podcast from a church down in Simi Valley California and this guy was talking all about our finances and the kingdom in a way that I had never heard from a pulpit before. I actually cried as I listened because it was like hearing of a victory in a long fought battle that has raged to and fro for many years. VM day, so to speak. (Victory Money, right) If you want to listen to it you can download it at iTunes. Just go to the store and under podcasts do a search for Cornerstone Simi Valley, the message is the latest on and it is called "Living to Display the Gospel" by Francis Chan. My buddy at work said that he disagreed with most of what Francis was saying and that was all it took to get me going. I won't go into everything I said, because I am writing this before I head off to work, but the gist of it was that I am so tired of hearing us ask "How much is it OK for me to have?" instead of "How little is it OK for me to have?". Now you may say that the one word is just semantics, but is it really? That one word changes everything, doesn't it?
Please don't get me wrong here. I am not talking about tossing your wallet in a plate, or planter, every Sunday and walking out with a smile. I say that because, now I am going into the public confessional, I don't tithe. I haven't for years. If you want all the reasons why I don't, just comment on this and ask for an answer, I'll email it to you. I have come to believe that the Lord doesn't want my little 10% nod, He wants it all. What that means for me is probably different than what that means for you, but that is what I believe and in the end it is far more dangerous a belief than the old 10% rule. This has radically changed the whole direction of our lives and set our eyes firmly on heaven rather than a cosy retirement here. Besides, don't we tip 15% for servers? What do they do that my Father doesn't do??
Anyway the basic meat of this post is the difference between those two questions up there. Let them knock around your head and see what happens. Who knows, life might just get a whole lot more exciting!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Men Of Honour

The time is at hand for us to be moving on. China has been on our hearts ever since we returned from there in '04, and now five years later we are finally on the verge of going back. Right now it looks as though the move will happen at the end of May, but this is still contingent on a few things happening. The thing that put us over the top, and also spurred this post, was a substantial donation from a dear friend and mentor. When I was thinking about what he did, and thanking my Father for men like him it seemed appropriate for me to post a brief tribute to the men who have been in my life to help move me along the Way.

The first of these is Scott Fortnum who was my College and Career pastor back in Abby. Scott was the first pastor I remember who not only spoke to my potential in God, but he backed it up with actions. I was a very troubled and difficult person to get a handle on and yet he very purposefully took steps to see that I was getting discipled through the issues that were hindering me. This included looking into some things that were even somewhat doctrinally challenging for him, and when it became apparent that this was an avenue that had some merit he sought outside help and was there to help walk me through it even after I caused at least two aborted attempts to see it through. It is Scott's dedication and desire to see young men discipled in Christ that gave my life the first major push it needed in the right direction and I can honestly say that if not for his obedience to the call of God I may have ended up in a ditch somewhere back in my home town.
The next fellow that crossed my path was Dennis Melzer. This fellow kept the light in my eyes for the first year or so that I was in Kelowna and even though I was kind of the anti-Dennis in so many of my behaviors he persevered in friendship and prayer. He was instrumental in God positioning me for the big tackle. Though our friendship waned and we went our separate ways it was never due to any kind of conflict, it just seemed to be that he was the man that God used to pray me into the next season.
That season was the spring of '94 when a lady, who to this day remains nameless, prophesied over me and led me back to the kingdom for good. I am still not entirely sure whether this was the day I got saved or if it was the prodigal finally coming home, but either way it is the touchstone of my faith and the place I go back to when the storms close in. It was the Jordan crossing and I dearly love that little heap of stones that remains by the waters even now.
The next man that God put in my way to shepherd me to the places He had always intended for me to go was Kerry Donovan. For some reason that I can only attribute to God, Kerry picked me out of the crowd of God-rockers in Kelowna to be the next wag to move into the Joshua House which was a loose association of young men who wanted to be mentored into a deeper relationship with Christ. I cannot overemphasize the impact this had on my life's direction. Seeing Christ lived out in the life of Mr. Donovan has been a lasting impetus for direction and action in my life. Kerry always lived out the faith that he spoke of, and when you live with someone for 2 1/2 years you surely get to know if they are for real or not. His dedication to mentoring young men in grace and truth is a cornerstone of my desire to go to Hong Kong and mentor the young men of the Christian Zheng Sheng school. His emphasis on character over personality still resides in me today, and is a large part of what helps me get up again when I screw up. Kerry and I are still best of friends and I always look forward to chatting with him about what God is teaching us today. We are thousands of miles apart, but I still feel that we fight side by side. I thought it was so cool that God gave him a dream about a year before we heard about this opportunity in Hong Kong and he said that in the dream I was leading a squad of young men in the jungle. I sent him these pictures and asked if this was close to what he saw.

The last man I will mention is a friend who believed in me enough to tell Alman Chan (the principal of the school)about me and my family's desire to return to China. Unfortunately he and his family will be moving to the mainland shortly after we get to HK, but at least we will be in the same timezone again.
His name is Steve and he too is following God as best he knows how. I guess this is the uniting attribute of all these guys.
I am so very grateful for the influence, commitment, and friendship each of these guys have poured into my life. I know I would not be who and where I am without them.
Thanks guys.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Typhoon Season

I guess we'll have to get used to this just like all Hong Kong residents, but wow, what a change from the Okanagan Valley. Might have to take up windsurfing.
The first video is of Typhoon Hagupit the edge of which struck Hong Kong when I was there in September at my friends' place. The second one is of a typhoon pounding Cheung Chau where we will be living.

The storm got much worse that evening and we could even feel the tower my friends live in shudder every now and again. It was a pretty cool experience really and they were very nonchalant about it all, but were obviously peeved by all the water getting through the windows. Next time I think I'll go for a walk, or maybe some sidewalk surfing, who knows.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Over Halfway There!!!

I just had to do our taxes this year as I was expecting a fairly good return from last year. We just got our T4's at work and I finally did the hard part tonight and the total we are getting back puts our total at 51% (you can follow the counter on the sidebar for updates). This includes cash in hand and committed funds. This is exciting news for us and it really seems to pull the curtain back just a little bit more. Kind of like spring after a long (if you're from Kelowna) winter.
I shared with a friend at work today about the journey that God has had us on ever since we have been married and it was good to look it over again from that perspective. It is somewhat like reading through the bible and realising that the stories we read have so much more spaces between the lines than there is life lived in the lines. Our lives have been so much like that with seasons of God just downloading on us and moving us around the globe at what sometimes seemed to be His whim. In between, though, there have been much longer seasons of holding patterns and 'cloudy sky' waiting. Abraham knew what this was like. He tried to make it happen and had Ishmael. God actually gave us the leeway to call the company that I worked for in China back in '04, and nothing happened. I think He just wanted to assure us that that door was firmly shut. I can thank Him now, but it sure hurt back then (that was 2 years ago). I thank Him because we don't have an Ishmael now. I thank Him because He let us see.
So now we work towards the goal of getting to Hong Kong this year and He encourages us everystep of the way. He really doesn't have to, but He does anyway. He's a good Dad. I love Him. I want to show Him off to the boys in HK. I want them to know they can have a good Dad too.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Mario As A Family Cohesion Substance

So we have been playing Super Mario Galaxy with the kids for the last month or so and have found that it is actually a pretty cool interactive kind of activity. It does lack the shoulder jarring athletics of some of the Wii family of games, but we all have fun. The latest breakthrough was when Sammy finally collected enough stars to get the observatory flying through space again. The excitement was off the charts as Sammy came charging upstairs to declare his final victory over the evil Bowser. What a moment. That was just today so now he has a whole new realm of galaxies to explore and levels to conquer, most of which will require at least some parental aid. Drat, you mean I have to play Wii again =] .

Friday, February 06, 2009

Not Sure Who We Sent This To

Here is a Youtube video of a report that the South China Morning Post did on the school I will be teaching at. It is a very accurate account of what is currently going on there. I believe it was done shortly before I was there last September.

A friend of mine had a dream about me before we had heard of this school and he said that he saw me leading a squad of young men in the jungle. Hmmmm, you think God was telling him something??

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

My Son's Murderer

I know that is a bit of a heavy title, but it is the thought that was on my mind today. There was some music playing that spoke about the love and holiness of God, and while I gathered up the tools for the job this thought came careening into my heart. It saw the Father watching His Son as He formed the first human being from the dust of His newly created sphere. The Son, by, for and through Whom all things were created crafted the limbs and shape of this man. This dust that had never known the pulse of life received the very breath of Yahweh, and it responded by breathing in, and out, and in again. The eyes opened and at that very moment they looked up into the eyes of eternal love, but this is not what set my tears to flowing. It is the eyes that looked down with love on the one who would ultimately murder Him. Somehow this context had eluded me until today.
This is one of the ones that will be shined up and safely tucked away in my pack. Perhaps the next time I get up and brush the dust off I will take a moment to remember the One who knew from eternity past the cost of loving me, and yet belied not a hint of regret when His eyes first laid eyes on me. And you.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Homework (here too)!!!!

Homework abounds and the time slips by so stealthily. The course load is a bit heavy for me but not completely unmanageable. There is just so many other things to do and to want to do.
Sigh....I was told to prepare well. This means that I must, and not with a heavy heart. So I remember that it is my Father who calls me and He will make me able.
If you are a praying person and you read this, please pray for this week as I will be doing some catching up and also prepping for my research paper.
When we are in HK it will be so worth it. Even now it is so worth it; just a lot of it to do.

Thursday, January 01, 2009


As a photographer the word resolution means a lot to me. It gives me the ability to crop and zoom without losing focus and clarity. I think a true resolution at the New Year should do the same thing, bring clarity to the smaller matters of one's life. To resolve in this fashion is to make a strong determination while in the camera it is to bring the viewer as close to reality as possible, again a great crossover. I really want to find myself closer to reality this year than last and that means I will need to set my sights differently.
A friend said that he felt that God has been shifting His people's focus off of the things of this earth in a renewed way lately. The first thought that popped up was that this is the business that God has always been in and perhaps it is just a place we (40+ years old) are in where we start to take in our perspectives with the goal line slowly coming into view. Not to say that there isn't a lot of track still left to lay or that we are at death's door, but the view ahead is seen with the understanding of how quickly the view behind us has already passed by. This puts the mind onto things of eternal value and also shines a disturbingly bright light on the temporal things that surround us and take so much of our time and considerations. It seems that any time I spend time thinking about our finances, our vehicle, the house we'll never afford and all the other stuff clambering for my attention this light slowly breaks through and the gleam or gloom starts to fade away. Of course if I don't pay attention to the light all that I am left with is the stupidity of bending myself out of shape for things that will never last. There is also the despair that awaits my thoughts when I ponder all this without the eternal in mind. Really, what would the point be then anyway! It might seem grandiose to think that my life has made some impact on the future, but that only assuages my anxiety in the now and is completely pointless from a personal standpoint if who I am ceases to exist in the end. It's like the people who think about suicide and then fantasize about the people's reactions at their funeral. Pointless. Pointless because it has to involve two or more people to actually mean anything at all.
Blah, blah, blah.
Point is that I want to keep the eternal in focus and live it with other people. That to me is resolution. Eat your hearts out Nikon!