prayer groups

This morning was early prayer time, and I readily confess that many times it's work to get there and work to focus and work to pray. You wonder sometimes if its working.


Then you get an occasional morning and God is waiting for you to arrive and get going and he is giving you directions for prayer and accomplishing it through you.


On those days its all good.


Tody was one of those days.

Well, today is the first day of the rest of your life...

I'm back at work today and it feels like the first day back in school.


I'm nervous and excited to see who my teachers will be. To try out my new supplies and wear my new clothes.


I've done the things I knew to do to get ready. I've walked, and rested. I've thought deep thoughts and done some physical labour. I've prayed and listened. So by rights I should be ready.


Still nervous though, about many things.


Now, here we go.

"Father..."




Our help is in the name of the Lord
who made heaven and earth.
      
Most merciful God,
we confess to you,
before the whole company of heaven and one another,
that we have sinned in thought, word and deed
and in what we have failed to do.
Forgive us our sins,
heal us by your Spirit
and raise us to new life in Christ.  Amen.
      
O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.



Be present, O merciful God,
and protect us through the silent hours of this night,
so that we who are wearied
by the changes and chances of this fleeting world,
may rest upon your eternal changelessness;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.



Abide with us, Lord Jesus,
for the night is at hand and the day is now past.
As the night watch looks for the morning,
so do we look for you, O Christ.
      
Come with the dawning of the day
and make yourself known.


      
The Lord bless us and watch over us;
the Lord make his face shine upon us and be gracious to us;
the Lord look kindly on us and give us peace.
Amen.



Holiday is nearly done

Well, it seems as though vacation 2005 is nearly completed. I feel rested, if doing something different produces a rested feeling.


I've got the house gutters cleaned out, and considering that it's been raining for the last 10 days, I consider that a huge accomplishment!


We've got the house cleaned up and out. It feels better than it has for a long long time, and that is good.


Lauralea and I have spent copious amounts of time together hanging out, talking, catching up. That is a good thing too. A couple times we headed over to the Bison for coffee and a muffin, and a talk. It's been nice to have time to do that, ya know?


Coffee at the Bison

And, I've heard some things from God again, clearly. Three times, through three different ways, he's been talking to me about my work here.

Healing. That is the kind of work I was made to do. I need to refocus on that work that gets ignored when I get distracted doing other church things. 


Healing. Personal and corporate. Spiritual and physical and emotional. Healing for broken people and groups of people.


I need to be more deliberate about living into that again.


Gateway has progressed so well these years, in spite of me and my pastoral fumbling. I am so proud of what she is becoming. I'm looking forward to what God has for us this year. It will be good.


And this place.


I've taken some time and looked back through my archives. There have been times when the writing has been quite profound and deep even. Thought provoking and occasionally insightful.


But it has struggled of late. Rather I have struggled. Like the girl who suddenly is unable to be herself because she's told that the dress she's wearing isn't very flattering, I too have become very conscious of my writing and thinking. And I think it bungs me up.


I want to push through this difficult place in writing. Into a more productive lush place where words hold the power they once held.


So, Tuesday I'm back at it. And it's shaping up to be an interesting Autumn.


Let's see where this goes shall we?

It's 11 am

... and I've been up for an hour, and now I'm going for a shower.


 


only a few days of holiday left.

Lauralea gets her Groove on

The time draws near, and Lauralea begins a transformation right about now.


She should write a book.


Or a Magazine!


Like this.



UPDATE:


Alright, before you all fill up my inbox with requests to put you on the cover, you can do this yourself.


Head to this link and create your own Magazine.

Speaking of Friends

Today was to be the birthday of a friend's daughter, Sarah. If you've been reading this space any, you will recall what happened three months ago, nearly to the day.


So today we're just taking some time to pray for Chris and Toni, Ben and Dan.


Why don't you take a moment right now, and do the same.

The Gopher has left the building

Yes, yes it's true. It has left us.


Follow the trail here...



You bring Christ to me

I think it would be fair to call me more of an introvert than an extrovert. I mean I enjoy eating by myself and I don't mind going to a movie by myself at all. I am ok company.

That's how I'm made, but it can also be trouble because I need friends.

Yesterday Lauralea and I went to Saskatoon to do some school clothes shopping and hanging with my mom and dad. But we also had another agenda, we wanted to visit some friends.

We met some new friends in Christy and Colin. Christy is someone I've known online for a while now, and I wanted to put a face to the name and writing. So we made contact with her. She and Colin were as willing to meet us as we were with them, and they were wonderful hosts.

We easily lost an hour visiting and talking and drinking good coffee (and eating awesome cake -that boy can cook!) They really are good people. I hope we will get more opportunities to know them better.

Later on in the day we spent about one minute at Leighton and Carol's house. I had to drop off some papers for them. It was amazing seeing them in their new environment that of a married couple. The place was positively glowing and the starstruck looks on their faces answered any questions I had about how things were going. It was only one minute, but very much worth it.

Finally, on our way home we drove through Osler. It seems that a childhood friend of mine has taken on the pastoral responsibilities at our old church, Westmount Evangelical Church. Yesterday was the day they were moving from Manitoba to this small town just outside Saskatoon. On a bit of a whim we though we'd drive through town and check if we could see a moving truck.

The first street we turned down, there it was. We drove up behind it in the dusk of the evening, unsure if this was it. Then I saw the familiar form of my old friend. We parked and moved over to where he was as his eyes focused on us, realizing finally who we were. His eyes lit up and he smiled as we hugged. It was so good to see them again. Both Dale and his wife Sheryl have not had an easy time of it lately, and it was good to see them and their moving on with the things of life. We got a quick tour of their home and got back in the van to complete the day.

New friends, two-year-old friends, and thirty year old friends. Each of whom are a great blessing to me. In fact, each is a gift to me. You see, I need them. I need them because they bring Christ to me. They share Christ's interest in me by asking me questions about who I am and what I do. They share Christ's concern for me and ask me how I'm doing. They support me and check up on me as I walk down roads less traveled. They love me, even after many years of not being face to face, they hold me.

I need people in my life exactly because they bring Christ to me in ways I would never ever know if I were busy being alone.

So, thank you to those who are my friends. I love how I grow in Christ through you.

Blogging from my good chair

Well, my daughter Hillary took my advice and got a Dell Inspiron 2200:  For HERSELF!


She's been working and saving for one for a long time and it came today. I've just spent the whole afternoon getting it tuned and ready to go. Looks like a very nice piece of work.


And this blogging from the couch stuff, well that's just the cat's meow. Very very sweet. If I wasn't a pastor I'd be green.


:-)


I am green anyway.


One day this too shall be mine!

Gopher 4, Thomas 0

Ok, the gopher has figured out each trap set by The Boy, and now we are onto idea number 5. What's sad is that I'm silently starting to cheer for the Gopher. You gotta give the guy a lot of credit for keeping it together and not getting caught!


Then, this morning he was standing on my bottom step, up on his hind legs looking at me, wishing he had a big shovel to wack me on the head with.


The saga continues.

Site Tune up

I may indeed be a Bast*** but I can still mess with code with the semi-best of em. (Or should I say "Them.")


On the left I added a little picture of my latest upload to Flickr. So people know when it's new.


I added a response to the question, "why do I do this blogging thing?"


I've now included, for your viewing pleasure, a browse feature at the side. You may now browse my posts by theme.


Of course you may still view all the banner photos on this page.


And some other assorted fix ups.


Perhaps I should include a statement warning all lovers of Her Majesty's English, that they may encounter some rough waters here indeed.

Apparently I am a Bastard.

Bastard!
You are a complete and utter BASTARDIZATION
of the English tongue!

Unless English is your third language,
there is absolutely no excuse for your
ignorance. You shame us with your speech. Go
back and finish your schooling, Bastard.

How grammatically correct are you? (Revised with answer key)
brought to you by Quizilla


 


Thanks Marc!


(Now I have self esteem issues too.)

Great White Hunter

So, Thomas has taken to getting rid of the vermin settling in under our back stairs. He's tried three traps already and in each the gopher has retrieved the cookie and escaped.


So, being a child of the 90's, he took to the Internet and searched for a sure fire gopher trap, and made one.


I think we're laying odds on it actually being trapped.


Any takers?

Twenty years today


The Other Side of Me


If they were to write about
The story of my life
They would have to mention you
With every page they´d write
There´s another side to every story told
If I were the ocean
You would be the shore
And one without the other one
Would be needing something more
We are the shadow and the light


Always love me
 never leave me now
now you are the other side of me
Always love me
 never leave me now
now you are the other side of me


I have known the emptiness
Of feeling out of touch
And living life without you here
Would be living half as much
Cause I´ve a need that only you can fill


If love was mathematical
You´d understand the sum
To the heart´s equation
Where one and one makes one
And lonely equals me minus you


Always love me
 never leave me now
now you are the other side of me
Always love me
 never leave me now
now you are the other side of me


(michael w. smith and wayne kirkpatrick)


Update:


We had a great day today. Went out for coffee and later on for supper. Lauralea purchased me two very old books on John Donne, a hero of mine. I tried to skip out to Shoppers Drugstore to get her a gift when I discovered she had found these two books for me...


And, we worked through our stuff. Our conclusions were that yes, sometimes I am an ass, and yes, sometimes she is hormonal.


One to grow on.


Now, on to another 20 years.

Holidays: week one completed

This week I:


Went to a small, quiet Saskatchewan town.


Ate 6 toasted coconut covered long johns.


Watched 2 movies.


Played 4 computer games.


Had one big fight with her.


Played Mr. Mom for three days. (Not related to the above.)


Made one bowl of my famous guacamole.


Nearly bought a 110 year old church.


Enjoyed 4 naps.


Went for coffee at my favourite watering hole.


 


Not a bad week. Now onto week two.

More Nouwen on hiddenness


Protecting Our Hiddenness


If indeed the spiritual life is essentially a hidden life, how do we protect this hiddenness in the midst of a very public life? The two most important ways to protect our hiddenness are solitude and poverty. Solitude allows us to be alone with God. There we experience that we belong not to people, not even to those who love us and care for us, but to God and God alone. Poverty is where we experience our own and other people's weakness, limitations, and need for support. To be poor is to be without success, without fame, and without power. But there God chooses to show us God's love.


Both solitude and poverty protect the hiddenness of our lives.



Sunday morning,

and I look like any other Sunday worship consumer I normally preach against. :-)


Which church should I go to today?


I think I'll pick that one.


See you later.


UPDATE:


That was good.


The small worship space made the 48  people feel like the room was nearly full. The worship service itself, was simple. The congregation participated as much as the worship leader did, in song and stories and prayer.


The music was accompanied by the piano, and the songs were all older and sung out of the hymn book. We even sang some old German songs I knew which were translated into english.


The Meditation was good, reminding me of God's love for me, and my need to live out of that place of love, with a radical faith.


Beyond all that surface evaluation stuff, I met with God there, and a few friends from the city.


It was good.

Nouwen on Hiddenness, a Place of Intimacy


Hiddenness is an essential quality of the spiritual life. Solitude, silence, quiet, ordinary tasks, being with people without great agendas, sleeping, eating, working, playing ? all of that without being different from others, that is the life that Jesus lived and the life he asks us to live. It is in hiddenness that we, like Jesus, can increase "in wisdom, in stature, and in favour with God and with people" (Luke 2:51). It is in hiddenness that we can find a true intimacy with God and a true love for people.


Even during his active ministry, Jesus continued to return to hidden places to be with God alone. If we don't have a hidden life with God, our public life for God cannot bear fruit.



Broadview Pics


I've uploaded some of the pics taken during the past week.

Take a look.






We're home

...and I haven't seen this bad a houseful of PMS since...


I don't remember when.

Happy Anniversary


Happy Anniversary


Happy Anniversary


Happy Anniversary


Ha    -    ppy Anniversary.



In Praise of Slow

I just went for my last walk here in Broadview. I've been walking a lot in this berg, and that's a good thing. Walking helps towards recovery, and restoration.


I used to walk a lot. I mean a lot.


As a young pastor in Winnipeg, I would walk and pray. I'd pray that I wouldn't blow it. I'd pray for fruitfulness. I prayed for the people I was caring for. I prayed for enough to pay the rent that month. I just prayed, a lot.


But there is something about Broadview that really encourages walking.


Sidewalks, for one. Smooth, unbusy roads to walk on. Interesting things to look at while you walk. People who will drive wide around you if you are walking on the road, and smile, and wave. Tonight two teenage boys rode their bikes past me and both said "Hey". Wow.


Then too, there are not a lot of distractions here that take away time you can use to walk. I mean really, there's just not a lot to do here, except walk, and go for coffee, oh, and get a donut.


So I've been walking, and praying. Eating the occasional donut.


Praying for the kids. For the future. Prayin for you. Prayin about that church that's for sale. Praying.


Tomorrow we head back into the City. Hopefully a bit better.

Small Town Saskatchewan

Today over the lunch hour we heard that Lauralea's mom is going to call Bingo at the town hall tonight.


Seems a bit of an honour, but it sounds just like an episode of Corner Gas.


Ah, life in small town Saskatchewan.


And Micah is pumped. Last time he came home having won a couple of bucks.

Decompression: Day Four

As the result of staying in a home that values the Weather channel, 24/7, I have learned what a Low Pressure system is, and that we're in one now.


I'm convinced that this is a direct result of an act of God. A God who loves me.


If you watch one of the many maps they display all day and night, you see this low pressure system pushed down from the Canadian Arctic, down through Saskatchewan, just past Broadview Sask.


This Low Pressure system has mean't that the temperature has remained at a balmy 20C during the day, and down into the single digits overnight.


This makes everything better.


The conversations, the relationships, the yardwork, the walking, the sex, the chores, the hanging out. It's all better when it's not 30C. 


Some more proof that He likes me. Not because of what I've done, or that I've been good. Not because of who i married, or what family I come from. Not because of my skin colour or gender or even sexual orientation. Not because I mix coke and eggnog, and certainly not because I like Electric Light Orchestra and cheer for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.


He likes me, just because.


And he feels the same about you. Low pressure system, or not.

Decompression: Day Three

Well, I woke up at seven this morning, which was exactly when I wanted to wake up. I got up and out and went for a long long walk around town. The early morning seems so fresh and still around here ... it's good.


The back pain is mostly gone, as is the headache. And the weather is cooperating perfectly. Highs of 20 C makes this place a refreshing place to be, and it allows us to sleep at night.


This morning the guys and I walked up to the town Bakery and got some apple fritters, glazed donuts, and my favourite, a toasted coconut Long John. This town has the most amazing bakery I've experienced in a long time. And the town seems to agree. The bakery has launched a huge building program on a vacant lot downtown. The first building program in 40 years. So that bodes well for this place. At least they will be able to eat good bread.


We also picked up some cheap fireworks for tonight. We'll make our presence known in this berg.


Yesterday while out walking, Lauralea came across an old Anglican church that they've put up for sale. A small wood frame deal that has always been a thing of beauty tucked under the trees. To say it is a goal of ours would be much to strong a phrase, but we've always thought it would be cool to buy an old church and turn it into a home/prayer space/community place. On a whim, we called up the person responsible. We are going to look at it this week.


I don't see us moving or even buying it, but it will be fun to look and dream a little. Maybe even through this rest time while our bodies and spirit's are being renewed, some of our dreams or ideas of the future are being renewed too. Again, while I don't see us moving or even purchasing it, it's good to dream and think again. To place your dreams in the safety of Gods grasp on your future. 


It'll be fun.


Thanks for your prayers and your little notes of encouragement, they are indeed a blessing.


Peace, God's peace to you and yours.

Decompression: Day Two

Yesterday, after a five hour drive here, I hit the bed for a little afternoon nap. Three hours later I dragged myself out of the bed with a huge headache, and a swirling cloud around me, and made the best of things.


I lasted through a Miami, Chicago Preseason NFL Football game, which was great, but by 10 I was in bed again.


I woke up this morning at 7 with searing back pain. Now, normally I don't have back pain, just a policy I've instituted in my body. But this was a, "You're not gonna sleep anymore with this pain around so you might as well get up" kind of pain.


i got up.


I took some drugs and had some nice quite time to myself. Got out the camera while everyone was sleeping, and headed out uptown. Took a lot of pics of smalltown Sask.


When I arrived home most everybody was up. The pain was getting worse so I went to lay down a bit. I didn't really sleep till the last 20 minutes, then it was lunch.


The quiet here is good for my spirit. I think my soul is catching up to the rest of me. I am somewhat surprised how I'm responding to it physically. The headaches and back pain are new to me. And the back problem might be something else, but I have my suspicions that its related to the sudden stop.


And i am enjoying the stopping. The kids keep asking when and what we are going to do. I keep answering with, "More of the same."


There is enough here to keep the kids busy if they want to be. And Lauralea is busy connecting with her mom and dad. That gives me prime opportunity to explore the silence.


And today I'm here to remind you that the silence is indeed golden.

Decompression: Day One

I usually find that it takes about a week to undo and untie the connections to my work. This year to help with that, Lauralea and I are heading to small town Saskatchewan. Her mom and dad's place is in a small prairie town that allows for nothing much more than a daily walk to the coffee shop.


Oh, and it has a great bakery.


:-)


Hope everybody will be ok here.


 

Did I mention that I'm tired?

Tonight I'm waiting for the time to come


That I can go to bed, - again.


This afternoon I slept hard.


I got up and did a bit of housecleaning and yardwork.


And I'm so tired.


Tired.


Waiting for bedtime.



My eyes ache.
 
My head too.


And my chest.


 


Tomorrow my holidays start.


WooHoo.


Did I mention that I'm tired?


I am.

A new look ...again.

Alrighty, i think it's simple, clear, and has room to post a few larger pictures, if i want.


I know it's changed a lot lately, and if you were followers of the randallfriesen brand, well I lost you long ago.


Maybe it reflects an inner struggle of identity. Of changing values and fine tuning direction.


or maybe I'm just an anal perfectionist, looking for the perfect site....


Whatever, here it is. And thanks for your input last week. Believe it or not, it did help.


Now, go ahead and hit reload. Come on, you know you want to.


And if any of my Apostrophes are misplaced, Marc can tell me.


:-)

Happy Birthday to me

Thanks to those of you who have reminded me that I'm 42 today.


First was Lauralea.


Second was Micah


Third was Nikita.


Then the rest.


I think my mother deserves more credit than I do. She spent the day in pain, pushing...


UPDATE:


Well, not a bad day at all.


I started by taking the day off. Because of all the work lately I haven't taken a day in a while, and tomorrow I'll be in the office getting ready for Sunday, so there you go.


Lauralea made me burnt bacon sandwiches for breakfast, a real treat! Then her and I ran some errands and stopped for coffee at my favourite place.


The gifts were, amazing. Hillary got me a HUGE bath towel. I assume that since her bedroom is between the bathroom and my bedroom, she's tired of me travelling between the two with a small towel half around my waist!


The boys got together and bought me an extension pack for a favourite game, Call of Duty that my brother and I play. They got the game to Saskatoon, my brothers place, and got it installed on his computer, then they got it back here to give to me, so that tonight Jeff and I can play a game together. Very cool.


And I'm presently being called for turkey supper, my gift from Lauralea.


Good day all in all. And thanks for your good wishes.

Canada's new governor general


48 year old Micha?lle Jean


48?


Boy, have I underachieved or what.

Overheard from the pallbearers in the hearse, on the way to the grave side;


"My mother-in-law paints every three months."
"In Calgary they've got no place to bury people eh!"
"Is that Dave in that ***** truck?"
"I seen the new Lincoln trucks"
"Let's get some beers and steaks!"
"My friends shot a blond black bear once..."
"I'll buy the Tim Horton's coffee if you stop..." the hearse.
"Now, the first thing you gotta do when you install a toilet is..."
"Carpenters are stupid!"
"Which is better, light or dark rye?"
"That was a beautiful casket. I'm doin my kitchen cabinets in that kind of wood."
"I don't get eggs or fish at my house."
"Who has the best Slurpees in town?"
"Hey look, the drivers yawning!!"



Closing Prayer


You have given me eyes to see with, O God,
and ears to hear life's sounds and sorrows
and yet my seeing and hearing
like my tasting and touching
are wounded and weakened by failures.
As rest can heal the sores of a body
and sleep restores its strength
so may your angels of grace visit me in the night
that the senses of my soul may be born afresh.
Visit my dreams with messengers of grace, O God.,
That the senses of my soul may be born again.


J. Philip Newell



Thanks

Thanks, to those of you who have mentioned me to God in the past little bit. It has helped, a lot.


The combined work stresses, together with hot weather and no sleep, and some kind of illness has left me a bit done in. Add to that some serious extended family stuff and car stuff, windows, flat tires, etc. And I'm hosed. There were a few moments I seriously thought I might be loosing it. 


But it's better now. There are moments of feeling overwhelmed, but there is a steady growing sense of God's presence and strong leading. He's taking me through some things, and he's going there with me. He is so strong, there is comfort in his strength.


Feels like a season of deep ... I don't know, "testing" seems so cliche, but the strength of the man is being tested. Some points are found weak and needing attention.


This week has been an extra blessing. Time to listen and hear. Time to feel his strength, and my weakness. Still a few scary times, but then there is strength, and mostly peace.


So thanks eh? I really do appreciate it.


You are good people.

Morning Prayer


Thanks be to you, O God,
for the night and it's light,
for stars that emerge out of evening skies
and the white moon's radiance.
Thanks be to you
for the earth's unfolding of colour
and the bright sheen of creatures from ocean depths.
In the darknesses of the world
and in the night of my own soul
let me be looking with longing for light
let me be looking in hope.


J. Philip Newell



A funny thing happened on the way from the wedding...

The groom Leighton, who runs PrairieFusion and the server on which this blog resides, announced yesterday that for the first time in how many years, he was turning off his cell phone for the night.


Shortly afterwards the server crashed, and he was, um, unavailable.


I blame myself though. I told him to have lots of sex.