Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

31 December 2008

Freedom wears Boogie Shoes

Tonight at Freedom House... we're cranking up our mirror ball, putting on our boogie shoes, and having a real live 70's party. Costumes... disco... mocktails... even dancing. It's gonna be a blast but I gotta hunch that we'll likely be the only church in town doing this. QUITE safe to say.

Honestly... I'm usually moody New Years Eve because of my assumed mass public stupidity for throwing a GIGANTIC party celebrating one day passing. Ask Krissy... I've made her New Year's life unpleasant for nearly 15 years now for seemingly no good reason. But this has been going on in me for much longer than that.

When I got saved and began to sense spiritual things, I interpreted my New Years depression as "feeling the heaviness of sin" that was filling our community accompanying the debauchery of the night. I think this was, and is, partially true. But until recently, I haven't been honest with myself about my New Years issues.

The most significant change I think I've gone through personally this year has been in the discovering of how to live out the concept of being "blessed beyond the curse".

Galatians 3:13-14

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree." He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.

When I grew up, my house backed on to my elementary school playground. At night, when all the cool kids would be a hanging out and flirting... I used to see it all going on, wondering why I was funny enough to laugh with AT school, but not after it. Now... I was far from a social outsider... but I was the "ha ha ha... Dave you're so funny. Now go stand over there while I make out with your friend OK?" guy. Celebrate good times come on. New Years always seemed like the IN party that I wasn't invited to.

Then when I got saved, and party's were rare. Half of the church would pray in the New Year because of the evil evil world out there. And while part of me wanted to do that too... I knew that I wasn't totally happy with that. Frankly, I thought it was pretty lame to hide away from the big bad world. I also didn't want to go out mindlessly and throw my convictions to the wind either! The church has such a hard time reconciling "fun" for some reason.

So I sulked.

The whole chapter of Romans 14 has meant a lot to me in 2008. But what God specifically convicted me of were verses 14 and16:

As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil.

Sandwiched between those verses is the part about giving up a food (or whatever the gray area is) if it causes my brother to stumble. God spoke to me that I'd put a disproportionate value on giving things up, so as not to cause people to stumble. So much so that I'd started calling clean things unclean. And it was wrong. In my attempts to be pure, Holy, set apart... I wasn't living being "blessed beyond the curse"... and I was missing out on freedom. I was taking some of the heavy yoke on me that was supposed to feel light (since Jesus took the heavy away).

New Years is not evil. Or heavy. Or wrong. Neither is disco dancing in stupid 70's shirts and drinking punch in cocktail glasses. There are dumb things done for dumb reasons... but I'm BLESSED BEYOND THE CURSE and I'm thankful for freedom. Real freedom.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1

So I'm gonna head down to the house of God tonight... put on my boogie shoes... and dance the Freedom Dance with some of the most amazing people I know.

30 December 2008

Dave does "construction"

Thought I'd give everyone a walking tour of our brand new Freedom House building and how it's coming along.

I'm very excited about how we're going to be able to use this new home for our house. It's, quite literally, right in the heart of our all-of-a-sudden thriving downtown and will serve as a wonderful base to serve both the community and the thousands of University students living in Brantford's core.

See Freedom House, while we have church in it, is not just a church. We see ourselves as a Ministry Center... where every member is a minister. Where everyone has a ministry. Where everyone is free to dream and we just get to partner with their dreams and help make them happen.

We really do believe that Brantford has a destiny as "The City of God". Someone asked me recently what we mean when we say that. It's a long story... but the "in a nutshell version" is that we believe that God wants to influence every area of our community. Socially, economically, educationally, media, politically, entertainment... all of it. And that takes EVERYONE getting free, living free and being released to free others.

Plus we laugh a lot doing it. So that's pretty awesome. You should stop by and see the place.

You Googled WHAT and found me?

One last time for 2008... the funniest things that people Googled this month... and found my blog.

1. "worlds fattest man's intestines explode"

THAT would be bad. Unless you were wearing goggles. And a smock of some kind. That's ridiculous, who wears a smock? Maybe a clay artist. So it would DEFINITELY be bad unless you were doing pottery with the worlds fattest man when his intestines exploded. But not near the kiln. That would also be bad.

2. "what was tim horton driving when he died"

A double double. Like... like 2 sets of 2 tires is what I mean. See because... oh never mind.

3. "ultrasound said boy but it's a girl!"

This was searched for by a sobbing dad on a blue laptop in a baby blue bedroom, curled up in the fedal position in a transformers crib, while mopping his tears with a tiny little baseball hankie

4. "the worlds fattest dog and how much they white"

I'm not sure how a dog can "white" itself. But it got me interested to find the world's fattest dog. So after 2 and a half years of travelling the globe, going from county fair to county fair, and radio morning show contests everywhere from Moose Jaw to Moose Factory... I finally tracked down the world's fattest dog.

Then I ate him. But he didn't "white" at all. Burp.

5. "tenth class bits"

Oh I've got plenty of those Sally. Just wait and see what 10th class bits 2009 has in store!

6. "square dancer demographics"

Pretty old is my guess

7. "rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr"


8. "smurf bumper sticker"

Someone should keep an eye on this person. They are either a very sweet, sentimental cutesy pie... or a serial killer.

9. "monkey poo msn wink"

Half of the time I don't understand what the youngsters are saying to me with their net/text code speak. I pay pretty close attention in the non-verbal communication department... but how do you interpret having online monkey poo winked at you?

10. "mrs claus porn"

I try to keep the rude stuff out of these lists...

... but really???

11. "lost leg in a crackhouse"

Now where did I leave that leg? Oh no. There will be kittens and magazines that smell like vinegar all over it.

12. "fun gifts for a urologist"

  • edible catheters
  • a novelty toy that periodically screams "OH NOOOOOOOO" for the operating room
  • a year's supply of apple juice and litmus tests
  • A Vas Deferens shaped licorice rope. (It's extra fun to get him to cut it into pieces)

13. "info@gg.ca"

This one was searched for an astounding number of times this month! It's the email address of the governor general of Canada. See if you can tell which day people wanted voice their opinions to her...
Turns out she listened.

29 December 2008

Do you believe Bernie?

"If at age 20 you are not a Communist then you have no heart. If at age 30 you are not a Capitalist then you have no brains."
George Bernard Shaw

I laughed when I read this.
Then I thought about it.
I'm still thinking about it.

What do you think about it?

28 December 2008

Sitting in a coffee shop writing

Sitting in a coffee shop writing is one of my favorite things to do these days. I like turning the music up loud and locking myself into the world I'm creating while watching the real world going on around me from time to time. Plus I like coffee. So it's a win win.

What keeps me up tonight is... is what I'm writing, worth writing (and maybe the coffee).

Is what I'm writing funny enough?
Is it insightful enough?
Does it point to God enough?
Will ANYONE even be interested enough in my stories and thoughts to want to read this thing?

I have become someone who loves to write. I don't think I'm a terribly skilled technical writer... but I love crafting words together to communicate a thought and I've improved my capacity to make it happen on a blank page over the years. I think I love writing, because communicating is really my passion. And writing is a communication discipline that I've intentionally worked at developing.

Speaking comes very easy to me. During our Post-Christmas "too much crap in the house" purge, I came across my Broadcasting College awards for best on-air personality. I won it all three years at school without really trying too hard. It's a God gift and I use it as such, but it just comes naturally. Writing wasn't like that. It was hard for me. It takes more patience than I have. It's made me slow down and expound upon thoughts that I'd normally try to find the quickest, most direct way to say.

I only write ANYTHING at all, because God told me to. Many years ago now, a friend gave us (a recently returned to Canada Missionary Couple) a very old hack-job computer. I had never owned a computer and knew very little about them. I made it through college on an electric typewriter (believe it or not). One day, I heard God tell me to start writing. Just anything. It didn't matter what it was. I just knew that I had to learn to make writing a disciplined part of my life... for HIS purposes... not mine. I did. And here I am today. Which is really nowhere...

...sitting in a coffee shop, plunking away, wondering what will come out of obedience and obscurity.

Isaiah 26:8
Yes, LORD, walking in the way of your laws,
we wait for you;
your name and renown
are the desire of our hearts.

27 December 2008

One funny kid

Bag on

Bag off

Bag on again

Bag off again

My Funny, quirky, beautiful girl.
My kids are amazing.
Go breeding go.

25 December 2008

Stand by me

We were driving home from my Mother-In-Law's house tonight and as we pulled into town, we were noticing all these houses with lights on... Christmas trees in the main rooms... families gathered around. Krissy said, "You know, it's nice that people make point of getting together with their family and friends." And she's right. It really is a nice thing. Christmas Day is rarely revolutionary on it's surface. It's usually the same script on a yearly loop. But people coming together for one reason all throughout out land...really is wonderful. We spend so much time alone, that to know that this day, almost everyone is with someone they love doing something GOOD... is nice.

This is an amazing video from an organization called "Playing for Change" featuring people from all over the world singing "Stand by Me" together. The idea of people doing things as one, together in love, helping one another out along the way is a very hopeful thought.

Makes you remember why people so cherish Christmas.

24 December 2008

That's MY King

One of the reasons I don't get too freaked out about the gifts, shopping, and Santa type things of the season... is because the story of Christmas itself is so beautiful, poetic and powerful that the rest of the crap is just faint background noise. This is what Bono wrote about the moment the true meaning of Christmas hit him:

“The idea that God, if there is a force of Logic and Love in the universe, that it would seek to explain itself is amazing enough. That it would seek to explain itself and describe itself by becoming a child born in straw poverty, in shit and straw…a child… I just thought: “Wow!” Just the poetry … Unknowable love, unknowable power, describes itself as the most vulnerable. There it was. I was sitting there, and it’s not that it hadn’t struck me before, but tears came streaming down my face, and I saw the genius of this, utter genius of picking a particular point in time and deciding to turn on this.”

On Sunday at Freedom House we watched, for the umpteenth time, S.M. Lockridge's "That's my King". I can't watch it enough. I don't cry often, but there are 2 things that I can guarantee Dave-tears from. Field of Dreams and "That's my King". Each time I watch it, something new stands out and overwhelms me. On Sunday I heard the words "He Beautifies the Meager" and the tears started flowing about the way in which my King has choosen to communicate with ALL of us. But then the list keeps going... and going and going... each attribute more radiant than the last... and all about this King of mine who was (as Bono says) was born into shit. Both metaphoric and literal.

But my King... He... you see He gave us a way out of the shit. He took the lead. Took the blows. Won the Freedom Fight... then looked at us and said, "follow Me and bring your family with you!" That's my King.

Merry Christmas.
That's my King.

23 December 2008

I changed my mind about what Christmas is all about

I changed my mind about what Christmas is all about.

Actually this Garfield Minus Garfield tell me what Christmas is all about...

Actually this Chimpanzee Riding a Segway is what Christmas is all about...

Actually this ASBO Cartoon about camels snorting is what Christmas is all about...

Actually this Christian DJ spinning remixed classics is what Christmas is all about..

Actually this picture of my son dressed up in a blue wig pretending to be David Crowder is what Christmas is all about...

Let me see that Monkey one more time...
Yep... it's the about the Monkey on the Segway

22 December 2008

Santa Claus and the human meat pies of death

Santa Claus is a touchy subject in the church. Perspectives range anywhere from Fred Phelps "Satan Claus" to families who fully embrace the myth of the jolly red elf. I think, after years of discussion, my wife and I have decided that we're not going to make a big deal out of Santa Claus one way or another. We're not going to wrap up gifts from Santa or convince the kids that there is a real master-tinker at polar north with a minion of tiny slaves flying socially outcast deer around the world. In the words of George Sr. (Bush not Bluth)... "wouldn't be prudent at this juncture".

Instead, we're going to teach our kids about why the legend of Santa persists (and when you think about it... it's one of the only real myths that our society as held on to). Starting with Saint Nicholas. This guy's got some AWESOME stories. Like the story of why we give gifts. From Wikipedia:

"A poor man had three daughters but could not afford a proper dowry for them. This meant that they would remain unmarried and probably, in absence of any other possible employment would have to become prostitutes. Nicholas decided to help him but being too modest to help the man in public, or to save the man the humiliation of accepting charity, he went to his house under the cover of night and threw three purses (one for each daughter) filled with gold coins through the window opening into the man's house. In one version the father confronts the saint, only to have Saint Nicholas say it is not him he should thank, but God alone."

Very cool. But not quite as cool as Saint Nick's other best know exploit... as someone who was used by God to raise the dead!

"A terrible famine struck the island and a malicious butcher lured three little children into his house, where he slaughtered and butchered them, placing their remains in a barrel to cure, planning to sell them off as ham. Saint Nicholas, visiting the region to care for the hungry, not only saw through the butcher's horrific crime but also resurrected the three boys from the barrel by his prayers. Another version of this story, the man murdered them, and was advised by his wife to dispose of them by turning them into meat pies. The Saint saw through this and brought the men back to life."

Go hard Santa Claus! Way to raise the dead!
Note to self: Be careful with meat pies.

It's doubtful that we'll get into the hookers and ground up human flesh aspects of Christmas with the kids... yet... but I TOTALLY love these stories. How much better is raising the trodden upon from the dead and investing in the destiny of young woman than the Coca Cola/Gene Autry/Dickens/Mall employee melange that we now have. A bit more cutting edge? Maybe?

Santa is nice. I don't dislike him. How can you? It's a nice little story that we've developed about a generous man who gives and encourages other to give, so I'll tell the kids that story too. We won't purify our temple on Santa purge or make him of any more importance that Frosty the Snowman, Clementine Oranges, or Nog in it's many forms.

But we will honor the God who empowered Santa's namesake to do what Jesus proclaimed in Luke 4:

18"The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
19to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.

In message right after that verse it says:

"He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the assistant, and sat down. Every eye in the place was on him, intent. Then he started in, "You've just heard Scripture make history. It came true just now in this place."

Saint Nicholas was a history maker and we still feel the ripples of his life today. The Christmas story turns my affections towards Jesus who is too marvelous for words... and reminds me of my role in writing the story of the history of the earth.

20 December 2008

Rick Warren on Dateline

So here's how it went down. Rick Warren wrote a book and wore a Hawaiian shirt. Then Obama became president and declared his love for Rick Warren. "Rick Warren?" his supporters inquired politely. Then people started calling Rick Warren a hateful bigot. How much does one Hawaiian shirted man have to do?

So he went on Dateline last night and spoke VERY well.

You can see more here.

Rick Warren's done more for America and the World at large than Barack Obama... by a mile. It's not even in ballpark. I think I'm a bit tired of people slandering Christians they don't know. Good on Rick Warren and good on Obama for recognizing someone of vision. Barack Obama will have to work hard to have the influence and vision for the world that the person helping with his inauguration does.

19 December 2008

Wash Away on a Snowy Day

Woke up today singing this song from Lost. It's a really simple, beautiful little mandolin-driven song called "Wash Away" by Joe Purdy.

I try not to dread blizzards like today but it's tough not to.
It's an inconvenient interruption to our life plans.
It makes you stop, freeze and really listen.
It forces you to be aware of the things bigger than you.
It makes our safety bubbles pop.
At any moment, given a strong wind blowing the "wrong" direction, your day is changed.

This song closed out the first episode of Lost. Hope juxtaposed with carnage. I love how every 5 or 6 episodes... they'll end the hour with a peaceful, hopeful beach panoramic scene like this. A grounding moment where the castaways have a "remember the important things in life" oasis. They breathe, stretch their arms, and remember that even though this is not the life they expected... they can make it.

Maybe blizzard days are important for the soul every now and again.

They make you stop and remind tomorrow... that it has to stay tomorrow.

Art by David Hayward (AKA "The Naked Pastor)

18 December 2008

Hark the Herald Angels sing

Three and a half years into my desire to write something more substantial than woman's underwear ads and blogs (don't hate me Mr. Big Ear) I'm working again at the book that's been on my heart to write for a long time. It's an exposed, funny look at sex, marriage and relationships; and their correlation between the God as the Groom and Me as the Bride relationship. I know what I was thinking when I was the groom at the wedding. And God's thinking THAT about me... since I'm the girl. Yowza.

Anywho... at lunch today I was writing a bit about my unsuccessful adolescence in the girl department and how I arrived at THIS horrible place:

My "comedy" took a very focused, intentional, ugly turn. Instead doing my homework, at night I'd spend my time analyzing people's personalities and identifying their areas of personal vulnerability. Wherever they were hypocritical and full of crap, I'd prepare material for class the next day with the sole intention of attacking that spot and wrinkle with a mean spirited, verbal, comedic barrage that they'd have no answer to. I'm talking "A" Material too. See I was good at this. I'd go hard, strong and public until I achieved my goal... tears. I used to be very proud that I could reduce even the heartiest soul to tears should I choose to. Especially Christians. They were the easiest because I had insider information. I knew what they were supposed to be, and I knew what they actually were. The secret was to have so many other people laughing with me that my point would win the public perception game. Combine my new "Mr Congeniality" manifesto with excessive amounts of alcohol and you've got quite the recipe for... ummmm... exactly what I wanted. Girls and acceptance.

Such a treasure I was. Now... going through this era of life DID help me to discover my much more authentic self in a healthy way (eventually) but sometimes it's just frightening to think about the dark things that lurk in the shadows of our soul. It kinda hurt to see my darkness written out on my Sony Laptop. It hurts because I know what lived in me... and realize the degree to which I was (and am) in need of reconciliation.

Yesterday I had the distinct pleasure of viewing the latest chapter of the Greensboro Baptist Church's "God Hates" series. In today's episode, God hates Santa. If you feel like getting angry while seeing the "depths of disturbed" as sung by church kids... this is the video for you.

Made me want to reverse my "Santa in moderation" stance with my kids and go full on, "this mysterious man is eating cookies in the living room" just to stick it to these honky nitwits. But then while writing today, I was listening to Vince Guaraldi Trio's "A Charlie Brown Christmas" score. I listened to the kids singing:

Hark the Herald Angels sing
Glory to the newborn King
Peace on Earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled

God and sinners reconciled is the story of Christmas. It's the story of how "a wretch like me" can be loved, accepted, forgiven and free. We all need it. And it's open for all of us. God asked me today how much better would the words I mutter under my breath or shout in anger privately sound on YouTube?

The story of Christmas is a very cutting, beautiful and significant story isn't it? The manger... like the cross... is quite confrontational and revolutionary.

17 December 2008

Christmas Sweaters

We had a youth Christmas Sweater party tonight... so I couldn't resist doing the cheesy sweater by the tree shot. For your viewing enjoying. Hope it enhances your holiday season... or something.
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Sometimes life just makes you wanna #@!$$%^

Last night over the span of a couple of hours... my wife and I heard 3 terrible stories. One of crisis. One of tragedy. One of manipulation. All of which just left us with that "sick in the pit of your stomach" feeling. That horrible feeling of "this is just so wrong". I (personally) usually have a couple of reactions to these type situations.

First... I get mad where one person's stupidity drags somebody I love down with them. I can't stand for that.

Second... to those who are hurting I feel like I want to give them spiritual mouth to mouth. My first reaction is to make a connection with them and remind them to keep breathing. That no matter what today feels like, there IS a tomorrow and hope comes in the morning. I feel like I want to be first on the scene to say, "Don't you let this jade your spirit. God's here. Let's get through this and find out where we're headed", as I begin to speak to the darkness and prophesy light.

That's what naturally happens to me. I sometimes have a difficult time actually mourning with those who mourn. Often I'll ask God to allow me to have tears if I need them. Because as a minister, it's not about me and my feelings when someone else is going through a terrible situation. It's about being what others need... and doing what needs to be done to release Jesus in a room and in lives. I desperately want to weep if my friends need tears. My wife said to me today, "You know, in all three of these situations, I wish it was me... not them".

I'm thankful that the phrase "the way you should go" appears in the Bible... although when we're winded after a life-punch in the gut... finding that way seems darn-near impossible. The context that it appears in Psalm 143 is amazing though, because it comes out as David is taking refuge from the storm.

7 Answer me quickly, O LORD;
my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me
or I will be like those who go down to the pit.

8 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.

9 Rescue me from my enemies, O LORD,
for I hide myself in you.

There is a way we should go.
The morning brings unfailing love.
Keep breathing.

Remember when snow was good?

I can barely remember when waking up to THIS...

Was a good thing.

Hi ho hi ho... it's off to work i go.

16 December 2008


The word "Good" has a LONG list of definitions. A couple of my favorites are:

"having the right or desirable quality"
"not spoiled or tainted"

Psalm 119:68 says of God, "You are good, and the source of good; train me in your goodness." I'm inspired by people who have been trained by goodness and have the faith to genuinely let it spill out of them. People whose hearts are full of God. Full of Good.

Good Magazine's Blog today had this clip of Fred (Mr.) Rogers back in 1969 appearing before the US Senate trying to convince them of the value of public television. Check it out. It's worth the 7 minutes.

What a stunning example of GOOD in action. What a reminder that when you believe in something that has RIGHT qualities that aren't SPOILED or TAINTED, it breaks the darkness. We're not RIGHTEOUS, UNSPOILED OR SPOTLESS, but the one who is functions through us to achieve the miraculous.

In this case... a humble gentle man, speaking of simple goodness changed the "climate" in the US Senate. Using his passion and anointing (that aligned with the will of God to bless children) Fred Rogers was used as an intercessor in 1969 and he saw 20 million dollars released to facilitate his ministry by reciting a children's song.

The Holy Spirit in action on YouTube.

15 December 2008

The Groaning of Creation

There is a small small part of me that feels bad for those us who really desire to see God change our world. It seems an uncharted, mysterious, whispered-about road that we're compelled to walk down. We COULD say no. But we can hear the groaning of creation beckoning us... and we're pulled by a force that is larger than life. In fact... it IS life itself.

The phrase "the groaning of creation" has been woven into nearly every one of my recent prayer sessions, worship times, and thought processes of late. It's the "what MUST be" of our present reality. The longed for fusion of heaven and earth. It's what intercessors feel and respond to with reciprocation.

I spent last night with some new friends who have heard the "groaning of creation". They responded to the beckon, and find themselves where so many of us stand together. In the pale light of our small lantern
of hope, surrounded by thick black being led by the sound of a voice at the end of the path... often not seeing our brother standing in the dim light beside us. We groan right back at the sound like a humpback whale looking for a date. And it's our good God who led us here. This is what Paul says in Romans 8:

Future Glory
18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

Even Paul recognized that there are "sufferings" involved in functioning together with God to make His plans come to fruition. And it's BECAUSE we have been subjected to frustration by God. Why in the nertz would a loving God do that? Because keeps us dependent on following the Holy groans. I can't stop here for... there is a better camp site ahead.

This is why "hearing God" and praying "YOUR Kingdom come and YOUR will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven" is so important. Because we are in a place of weakness... and often even foolishness. When we stop and think our way out of the dark path, our logic tells us we're lost. But we know better. We can HEAR, FEEL, TASTE, SMELL the childbirth already in process and we know that we MUST be there to see that baby born. The Cities of God.

I love U2's song "40" from Pslam 40 where it says:

"I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God
Many will see and fear
and put their trust in the Lord."

The refrain that Bono sings in 40 is "how long to sing this song" echoing the lament of many of David's songs. How long God?? How long?? As he hears us, He comforts us, reminds us that He knows full well how long, puts a new song in our mouth and packs us a picnic lunch of provision to make sure that we can focus on "seeking YE first".

Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord.
It's the groan of creation.
Long live the King.
I will follow him.

13 December 2008

The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead

Heard this song on the radio this morning. I hadn't heard it in a LONG time.

Isn't it interesting that any change needs a martyr to make people notice what they were talking about. A sacrifice. Maybe it's because people talk a lot and change very little for the most part. People are mostly sheep. Obviously the ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead is an absurdity... but when people see that someone cares enough about what they believe in to die for it... it makes others stop and take notice.

Then once people change... they follow like sheep again.

I guess the moral of the story is that people who are called to live THE MESSAGE need to be ready to go to the wall with it... for the sake others.

12 December 2008

Cleaning out the "that's interesting" notebook

When I come across something interesting on the internet that I think will make an interest blog one day, I put it in my Google Notebook. It's nearly the new year so let's clean it out with "that's interesting" fest!

- Media is changing so rapidly. Did you realize that the AVERAGE age of a television viewer hit 50 back in June? That's outside of the profitable 18-49 age group. Mark my words... things are gonna change because of it. Radio too. Can you hear grim gurgle of death? In words of Weird Al Yankovic making a tower out of a pile of mashed potatoes, "this means something"

- This is an amazing collection of photographs called "Days with my Father" that tells a truly moving story of a son dealing with the rapid decline of a father's health.

- Charlie Peacock talks about the death of the Christian music "industry".

- The reality of the Olympics

- A very cool old tobacco ad featuring Charles Spurgeon's quote about cigar smoking... I think I SHOULD blog about this one!

"Well, dear friends, you know that some men can do to the glory of God what to other men would be sin. And notwithstanding what brother Pentecost has said, I intend to smoke a good cigar to the glory of God before I go to bed to-night. I mean to smoke to the glory of God."
Charles Spurgeon

11 December 2008

Christmas music that both FEELS and SOUNDS good.

When December hits... our car radio is always tuned into a station that just plays Christmas music. At home we're locked into the Rogers Digital Music commercial free Christmas station. Whatever "the Christmas feeling" actually is... the music of the season seems to play a big role in it. No matter how bad it is.

Last week I found myself listening to Chris Rea's "Driving Home for Christmas" and nodding along, until I realized that this song just sucks. Honestly. I'm sure you've now got your back up saying, "Shut up Dave! That's a CHRISTMAS song! Back off!". Yeah I know. Me too! But really now. It's not a good song. I'd never listen to it in July. Neither would you. But it's got that "Christmas feeling" so pour me another bowl of gruel sir.

So I was thinking about this...
What Christmas music DO I actually I like?

1. The SkyDiggers do a really nice version of Good King Wenceslas. It's just a really simple and honest version of an underrated Christmas song. The song was based on the life of Saint Wenceslaus I Duke of Bohemia (a martyr) who was considered a saint (907-935). Little known fact Normy.

2. The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl - Fairytale of New York. Hardly the most edifying song ever, but it's by far the best Christmas song with the words Drunk, Mountain Dew, and "cheap lousy faggot", in it. It's a really beautifully raw song with the old Irish feeling of an imperfect couple, struggling to get by, and coming together at Christmas. One of my favorites.

3. I've always LOVED the Crash Test Dummies version of "The First Noel". Brad Roberts has the deepest singing voice I've ever heard outside of a Southern Gospel Quartet. And how can you not love a video where he teaches his "dummies" about Jesus in a bathrobe?

4. Sting's Version of "I saw three ships" ads a very unique sound to a really lovely song (even though Jesus and Mary are sailing into Bethlehem on ships Christmas morning to East Coast music) So there are some minor contextual issues. When I hear Christmas... I hear Ireland and Scotland in my mind.

5. Paul Coleman Trio's Version of "In the Bleak Midwinter" is a recent cover of a really really beautiful poetic song written in the late 1800's that was actually in hymnals at the turn of the century. It's very minimalistic and gentle . The Blind Boys of Alabama did a version too that is completely different but quite haunting.

"Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago."
Christina Georgina Rossetti

6. The Pretenders song "2000 Miles" has the fantastic voice of Chrisse Hynde singing a wistful song about separated love. Coldplay has a cool version of it too. I like it because it explores what Christmas "feels like" especially when everything in your own life isn't the painting of perfection that you think it should be and something is missing at a time where everything should feel complete.

7. I believe in Father Christmas (originally by Greg Lake as covered by U2 for Redwire). Such a wonderful song about some of the reasons why the "Christmas feeling" exists. And it's not JUST the baby Jesus part. I believe that part of "the Christmas feeling" DOES have something to do with the fact that our society focuses on Godly attributes just like it says in Philippians 4:8-9

8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

We don't do Christmas right yet. I know that. But it's such a beautiful time of year. Set apart from the rest. And there are reasons.

Brian shared something on Sunday that I found very insightful. That the "REASON FOR THE SEASON" isn't just "Jesus". It's me. I'm the reason for the season. It was because I needed a savior. Because of me... Jesus was born in a manger, died naked on a cross and then rose again... so that we could think on things that are right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, praiseworthy... and there be real value behind them.

10 December 2008

Some things mean something... and some don't

I walked out the office tonight... turned my key and... nothing. No van go. Honestly. Cars drive me nuts. And usually when they don't work, I go into a spin cycle that drags me down.

But tonight I didn't for some reason. I was preaching at youth about the gift of salvation. Actually I found a way to make an analogy out of shaving my beard. It was pretty sweet. I preached as I shaved. Bet Joel Osteen's never done that one.

But behind it was the reality of the amazing gift of salvation. Really something to talk about. Really something to experience. Really something to share.

A dead car in a parking means nothing. Cars are hunks of metal. There are much bigger things than cars.

8 December 2008

Music is a balm

Music is a balm.

A boy would dream it.
Peace swept in from far off lands.
Troubles went away.

I will worship the one who calmed the raging sea .
I will worship the one who hushed the rage in me.
Bart Millard

You shouldest not mess with "Oh Canada" my dear

I feel a little bit bad for poor little hippity hoppy Kreesha Turner today. But not really.

Yesterday was the first ever NFL regular season game in Canada as the Buffalo Bills invaded "The Ted" (RIP) only to be massacred by the Miami Dolphins. This excruciatingly boring, field goal laden game... all but killed the Toronto/Buffalo Bills playoff chances, and put many to sleep. BUT... what a moment the national anthem was.

I love the national anthem at sporting events! It's about the only part of Toronto Maple Leaf games I still watch. Me and my boy will sing the anthem together. Unfortunately, I'm more often than not disappointed by some ridiculous, self-indulgent rendition of this cherished symbol of national unity. That's what happened yesterday at the Rogers Center as Kreesha launched into her hack-job of an anthem. This is what her Wikipedia page ALREADY says today:

Kreesha's performance was uniformly panned and ultimately drowned out by fans heckling or starting to sing the anthem over top of her performance.

And this is how it sounded.

Poor girl still hippity hopping away in the background as the "true north strong and free" showed her how it's done. Man I LOVE it when people sing the national anthem. It's amazing!

In 1994 "Oh Canada" hit a new low when a lounge singer from Las Vegas name KC Parks turned it into "Oh Christmas Tree"at a Las Vegas Posse CFL game.

Um yes. That's horrible.

Thankfully... 12 years later... Oh Canada hit it's highest peak of perfection in the spring of 2006 at an Edmonton Oiler playoff game.

Bringin' down the house.

7 December 2008

Sunday Morning Aislin Quote

"Daddy... you smell dirty"

I love getting my tri-daily "how you smell" update from Aislin. Our status changes throughout the day but I'm just glad she's on the case.

6 December 2008

Work, work, work

Since our new church building is right now a big empty space in the lower floor of a big mall... there is a quite a lot of work that needs to be done between now and the beginning of January when we start filling it with guitars, mics, and neighborhoodies.

And most the work that needs to be done... I have no idea how to do. Give me a blank room and tell me to "create" something and I'll just stare right back at you blankly. Thankfully... we have friends who DO know how. And are really good at it. I stood back and observed the hive of activity in our amazing new space that's packed with potential and possibility and what I saw was "the church" in motion.

"The Church" where everyone sells what they have and gave it for the common good. Where builders are free to build and those who aren't (me) are their willing helper monkeys. It's a wonderful thing having a church family full of people who care about each other and a common goal. People who will WORK for it. Christians can argue until their blue about how they don't need church to experience God... but God gave the church to his people for a reason. And I think it's partially for us. Because we need other people, who know other things than we do, and who will sow into YOU as you sow into them, as you both sow into things together.

Now... I can't erect a wall, or be trusted to paint with any precision whatsoever... but I am growing quite a lovely beard to fit in in construction world.

Yeah... I need to shave very quickly.

We'll be down at the Market Square from 9 until later today if you'd like to come swing a hammer or just see the place.

5 December 2008

Things that make me know the world is still a pretty good place

5:45am: Watching Brianna catch her last few moments of sleep in my arms, breathing on me just inches from my nose. Then opening up her eyes to smile at me and touch my face.

6:10am: Hearing Aislin say, "Daddyyyyyyy" while twirling her hair into Coolio knots as I open her door. "Why are you putting knots in your hair?" I ask. "I don't know" she says with a goofy grin. "Daddy, I'm your princess!" And she is.

6:15am: Jared coming down the stairs and quickly setting up the living room for the day. Christmas lights on. Pillows arranged as drums. Girls sitting properly. Then stopping to say... "Daddy I forgot to give you a good morning hug".

6:55am: Going upstairs to wake my wife who is wearing her sister's old "BCI is #1" t-shirt. The same shirt she's worn to bed since I met her 13 years ago.

7:20am: Hearing the Fan 590's twenty-twenty sports update. Knowing the Leafs still stink. The Jays still can't sign free agents... And we're all still OK.

7:50am: Peanut Butter...
8:05: ...chased by my first silver travel mug of coffee of the day

8:20am: Hearing Brianna scream "BUH BYE" and then slamming the door behind me.

8:40am: Seeing the snow-speckled farm fields and the light drifting across the "back roads" to work, reminding me of a storybook about the Prairies I had when I was 8.

9:10am: Hearing the trickle of coffee #2 brewing in the kitchen around the corner from the office. "I love coffee because coffee has caffeine and caffeine gives me hope. (Mary Mack)"

10:35am: Having my first "hey check this out" Instant Message of the day. A friend sees a video of a redneck impaling themselves and thought of me.

11:01am: Fighting with my wife
11:11am: Making up with my wife
11:13am: Typing... "I love you" and meaning it.

12:08am: Sitting down in a mostly empty, somewhat dimly lit bar and grill with a bright white new laptop that someone who believes in me gave me so that I can write. I write.

3:37pm: Instant Message from home saying, "I can hardly wait for you to get home". Replying, "Me too".

5:32pm: Opening the front door. Waiting 3-4-5 seconds. Saying, "Helloooo kidos". Being attached by the three saying "Daddyyyy" in unison accompanied by an attack knee-hug.

5:45pm: Standing over my wife giving her an impromptu back rub. Stopping. Then starting again after being told otherwise.

7:00pm: Saying for the 37th time, "Hey kids it's Moo Goo Guy Pan". Being told that it's "Ne Hao Kai Lan". Acting shocked.

7:17pm: That 45 seconds of silence. Right before the noise starts again.

8:01pm: When Jared asks for a "Daddyback" up the stairs. Piggybacks are for Pigs see.

9:00pm: Closing the bedroom door on the last pee session of the last child. Turning off the big lights and laying together under the Christmas tree with my bride on the couch to watch pointless programing about crime, love and dancing for the 5005ist night in a row.

9:02pm: Knowing she's gonna be on my couch tomorrow.

10:03pm: Switching to something interesting while the little cute Christian girl who wore blue sweat pants and a wool sweater from my history class sleeps on my chest.

It tells me the Lord is in His temple
And there is still a faith that can make the mountains move
And a love that can make the heavens ring

Rich Mullins

4 December 2008

How to use a laptop

I got a new laptop last week and I'm still figuring out how to fully convert to being a "laptop person". This is good advice.

Duly noted

I'd like you to meet my friend (RED) because...

... new strategies are needed to solve big problems and we're not thinking big enough yet.

If you haven't met Red yet... meet Red.

Here's how it happened.
Bill Gates tells the story in a Time magazine article about "Creative Capitalism":

"a few years ago I was sitting in a bar with Bono, and frankly, I thought he was a little nuts. It was late, we'd had a few drinks, and Bono was all fired up over a scheme to get companies to help tackle global poverty and disease. He kept dialing the private numbers of top executives and thrusting his cell phone at me to hear their sleepy yet enthusiastic replies."

As a result, today I bought an Espresso Truffle from Starbucks and a nickel went towards AIDS initiatives in Africa. Just a nickel? Why not give the whole 5 bucks away Mr. "Generous-on all occasions hypocrite consumerism sucker yuppie boy"?

Because I wanted a coffee and a place to read my book for an hour.

AND... because strong, generous businesses are a missing component in our global puzzle. Why? Because they have the money to change my city's future and my world's health through what they do with their money (since they have MUCH of it). The literal fate of millions depends on what they do with their money.

But companies are greedy right? The rich are getting richer. Yep.
So that money needs to be released.

American Express...

... have all created RED products. They give away portions of their profit on the sale of red shoes, shirts, itunes cards, laptops, greeting cards...

Hold on!
Don't they know there are starving children????
Those greedy b*#*#*ds!

Check out these verses in 2Cor: 9

Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

I want companies to make money so that they will have seed to give to sowers... like ME like YOU... and in doing so... they will prosper. I want them to know that I'll buy their things when they are generous and give. I want them to pay people a generous salary so WE can be personally generous on all occasions. THIS is a fully working, healthy, economic strategy. THIS is a wonderful, doable system of prosperity. In economics... do you know what happens when people stop investing in each other (spending)? Depressions.

The only enemy of this strategy is greed (played out as selfishness) and fear (played out as close-handedness). It can choke out the whole thing like a weed. Unfortunately, our economy (as I wrote about a while ago) is currently based on a cycle of greed and fear. So we'll need to change that... won't we.

Let's sow where we want to go!

As we intentionally sow/spend with companies that are intentionally generous... they will be motivated to continue because they'll see profit AND benefit. I went to Starbucks today looking for Red gifts to give for Christmas. I only found Red Christmas drinks. This tells me that this is a test.

Will being generous work economically?
Can they survive... AND give?
Sound familiar?

I'm faced with this scenario every time an offering is taken.
Giving is always the right answer.

I plan on telling companies that are Big Thinking, generous and strategic, that they should press on and be generous on every occasion. Think about the chain reaction that could happen if companies were exceedingly generous? And all we need to do it make smart choices.

3 December 2008

Relationships are NOT like 10th Grade math class

"It's not a religion, it's a relationship"
Charlie Church

I'm afraid I have a difficult time faking being exposed to a fresh new revelation when someone shares the religion/relationship thing with me. I think that once a phrase becomes too cliche for a bumper-sticker, it might be time to put it bed (even if it is true). Trick is... Relationships are harder!

They're not hard like 10th grade math equations are hard either. I didn't all out fail many courses in school. But 10th grade math I failed twice. The first time around I knew I was in over my head and aborted the mission at about week three. My 45% was a surprise to nobody. The second time around, I knew the only way out of 10th Grade math purgatory was to get down to business and solve those problems. I poured over the numbers and letters. My 49% was a surprise to nobody. Mercifully my teacher had pity on my pour soul and told me he'd fake a 50% if I promised to never come back and turned my focus to telling jokes and pretending to be trapped by an invisible box in Drama class. Knowing that this skill would eventually come in handy when doing evangelistic outreaches while miming the smashing of beer bottles and breaking free from chains, I took the deal.

Relationships are not like 10th Grade math. Because no matter how elusive the answers to the math equations are, there ARE answers in the back of the book. If you work hard enough at it, you'll arrive at an answer. A=B. Using the proper sequence of pre-determined absolutes will result in the once and for all solution to the problem. Once you "get there", you can close your workbook and go to sleep confident in the fact that each x and y are sleeping peacefully in their own finite bed. Unless of course you have a mind like mine. A mind that used to give either baseball statistics or line of classic poetry as answers to numerical questions, because I couldn't find the way to solve the problem (which incidentally is rarely appreciated those who mathematize). People like me were asked to leave the club.

Relationships are not like 10th Grade math. Relationships are more like running naked through a never ending gauntlet in front of your 10th Grade math class. That's a bit harder to fit on the bumper sticker although I can see a tastefully designed silhouette coming in handy.

Relationships can leave you exposed for the dufuss you are, in front of the very people you want to look cool in front of... as a way to try and solve the great mysteries of life. Pretty simple isn't it? Such a picture kinda makes me wish it was a religion. Bells and Smells, a Swiss Chalet lunch and a punch-clock would be a workable scenario for most of us if it worked. I could get a cheat sheet and solve the equation and I'd go to bed happy knowing that whatever the next day held in wait for me, I'd have the equation solved. I could count on it. It would be finite. Never changing. There would be a beginning and an end. It's very easy to see how we fell into the religion trap because that's what we need from a God. A solid. An anchor. Something immovable. And we're in luck that that's exactly who we've got.

So where's the big issue? Why did we have to come up with earth shaking quips like, "it's not a religion, it's a relationship" to remind us of what we're really doing here?

Because A does not equal B. Actually:

A= (x+selfishness) - y times running naked through math class divided by love.

In relationships, there are variables upon variables. There are feelings. Moods. Deaths. Passions... it's an extraordinarily complex equation that can seem to have changing governing rules from day to day... even with person you share your bed, bath and beyond with. Remember when Homer renewed his marriage vows to Marge after years of... well... being Homer. After years of bumbling, belching, scratching, failing, judging, screaming, strangling, and loving? As presided over by Reverend Love Joy:

"Dearly beloved, I will now read the special vows which Homer has prepared for this occasion. Do you Marge take Homer in richness and poorness, poorness is underlined, in impotence and im-potence, in quiet solitude or blasting across the alkali flats in a jet powered monkey navigated... and it goes on like this."

A decade in... Homer knew it was best to cover all his bases, because relationships are hard and messy but he knew that all he wanted was Marge. See we're locked into a doozy of a relationship. According to Paul... we're married to God who wants us dry cleaned and ironed crisply...

Revelation 19:7-8

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear." (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)

Ephesians 5:25-27

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

...and apparently I'm the girl. I always knew I'd look stunning in white lace. That's just super cus I've been crumpled in the corner and I'm just a bit stained and wrinkled. Isn't it beautiful? See... it's a relationship. It's about growth, patience and the woo of the spirit to a banquet table of freedom. It's an absolutely intoxicating process that excludes not a one because it's never SOLVED. We're never "good enough" but the he keeps on holding our hand in His on our sunset walk into tomorrow.

2 December 2008

Email Michaelle Jean at info@gg.ca

This is what I just emailed our Governor General (who must be sweating bullets and wishing that she could just travel the world and say nice Canadian things like Clarkson did right now)

Even spellchecker thinks there is something wrong with the NDP. I honestly can't believe that these are the choices she has:

  1. Prime Minister Stephane Dion (followed by Michael 'don't wave that finger at me' Ignatieff or Bob 'spendin like a sugar daddy' Rae)
  2. Another election
There is NO good answer. There is NO greater good going on here on any side. I spend A LOT of time trying to justify why I place value in politics to a generation that couldn't care less.

This DOES NOT help my cause.
I am an unhappy Canadian voter.

I don't care about my (or your) political affiliations in this scenario. That's not the issue (at least to the Canadian people it's not). Handing the government over to parties who are less popular in Canada than ever and one who wants to separate? No sir. That's wrong.

1 December 2008

Latest Freedom House News

We made a BIG Freedom House announcement on Sunday. Head over to the FH Blog to learn more... but in short, we're moving from a "Big Blue House" to a

GIANT BROWN HOUSE in the very heart of the city

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