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.

24 May 2011

Fasting Fun!


6 years ago I fasted meat for a year. Over the course of that year God took away other edibles bit by bit culminating the year with a full-on, 40 day, no food at all fast. It was the mother of all fasts. I lost about 50lbs, learned some life-long spiritual lessons (These are my Top Ten Fasting Tips), and now 6 years later... I've become a bad faster again. Dang it.

If you're a Christian, I hope you DO fast somehow, someway, something... sometimes. Unfortunately, stats say that most don't. Fasting is up there with respecting the Sabbath on the "Biblical principles we like to ignore" list. But the Bible talks about how some things can ONLY happen with prayer AND fasting.

Fasting never feels like you think it will. Sometimes it's almost like a social experience. "What would happen if a person was without food for a period of time. Hmmmm let's watch shall we." It doesn't take long before our body, soul and spirit begin to panic, because it's not being soothed with food. I'm on Day 3 of a planned 7 Day fast. My tongue is now pasty white and nasty (a WONDERFUL by-product). It's a fast that's been a long time coming. In fact, it's likely been in the spiritual cue for some time just waiting for me to say yes and begin the process of CHOOSING to do it.

Fasting is ALL about moment by moment choices. You always want to quit. It's a constant temptation. During my "Mother of all fasts" year, every day I'd come out of my office to the smell of the greasy spoon burger joint next door... taunting me with charred flesh. Not fair! But that's how it works. The hunger that regularly rises is a reminder of

WHAT you're doing...
WHY you're doing it...
And a challenge to do it!

So you take a deep breath of meat aroma, take a big drink of juice, and thank Jesus for this season of teaching you that "life is more than food".

It's a discipline. During the Freshwind conference this year at "Catch the Fire" Toronto, Carol Arnott talked about a new way she's using to remember to pray without ceasing like 1 Thessalonians talks about. She puts a little buzzer on her belt set to go off every 10 minutes. When it does, she just remembers to thank Jesus for being Him. I'm SURE it getting a little annoying sometimes... but so does fasting. The results of both however, are effective and beneficial to personal growth AND practical accomplishment. And some of those things just don't happen without being reminded to pray and humble ourselves.

9 May 2011

The Scout Promise


I was a VERY reluctant boy scout growing up. I actually hated going to boys scouts truth be told. My parents put me into "Beavers" and I hated it. I figured that every minute I spent in a goofy scouts uniform was a minute I wasn't playing baseball, so I pleaded to leave. They told me that I had to try one more year of "Cubs". I hated it so much I that I used to jump off my elevated deck to try and sprain an ankle or something so I didn't have to go. Suffice to say... it wasn't my thing.

Despite my stubborn boyhood experience with it... it's an excellent organization. The words of "The Scout Promise" have been ringing through my brain for weeks now. Before each meeting we had to stand, raise our right hand, and recite our pledge:

"I promise to do my best to do my duty to God and The Queen, to keep the laws of the Wolf Cub pack, and to do a good turn somebody everyday"

It's powerful actually. I remember vividly working with my Dad at committing this promise to memory as he went through what it meant to to have a life-duty to God and our Queen. I remember the charge I was being given to do something GOOD to someone each and every day. It felt like a high calling... even though I didn't much care for the goofy uniforms and having to care about woodworking.

Originally in 1908, Lord Robert Baden-Powell, a lieutenant-general in the British Army, writer, and accidental founder of the Scout Movement wrote it this way in "Scouting for Boys":

Before he becomes a scout, a boy must take the scout's oath, thus:
On my honour I promise that---
  1. I will do my duty to God and the King.
  2. I will do my best to help others, whatever it costs me.
  3. I know the scout law, and will obey it.
He was the accidental leader of the scouting movement because all he really did was write a book based on values. Powell was inspired by a group of young boys who he saw serving and functioning at a high level during the 2nd Boer War and he began to write a handbook for good citizenship, on which men of strong character and impact could be grown. From there, 150 million copies have been sold since 1908 and scouting troupes of different cultural flavoring populate the globe. A powerful movement spawned by simply a foundation of GOOD and RIGHT.

Powell's last letter to the Boy Scouts said this:

"I believe that God put us in this jolly world to be happy and enjoy life. Happiness does not come from being rich, nor merely being successful in your career, nor by self-indulgence. Try and leave this world a little better than you found it and when your turn comes to die, you can die happy in feeling that at any rate you have not wasted your time but have done your best. Stick to your Scout Promise always — even after you have ceased to be a boy — and God help you to do it."

As we further escalate "The Kindness Project" in Brantford, one of the things we're likely to introduce is a "Kindness Commitment" that might sound quite reminiscent of The Scout Promise. We're going to propose that a CITY raise their right hand together (maybe metaphorically but hopefully in physically too) and pledge their commitment to active kindness. A citywide promise to value others higher than themselves... at least once a day as we re-learn how to live.

How that plays out in our real lives is up to us. I didn't personally care for the group camping & whittling scenarios that happens at boy scouts meetings in school gyms. But it doesn't matter! We all have our own contexts and areas of passion that are just WAITING to be transformed BY good INTO good through the kindness that we all have within to give.

This is a high calling and charge to mankind.

3 May 2011

"To the courts!"


"To the courts!" he called with an anxious, powerful burst. "To the courts!"

He moved like a missional wildebeest, running freely across the plains. As he flew past the curious crowds, they FELT the repeated "To the courts!" resonate in their bones. They asked each other what that was... although all knew full well. It was clear that they were witnessing a chase of critical consequence, but no one could see a pursuer. They somehow knew that he WAS the pursuer of an invisible, but Holy carrot. It stirred the crowd into inquisitive motion, straggling at a safe pace behind the increasingly urgent cries of "To the courts!".

"Open the gates!" he bursted foolishly on a dead run before even the most attuned gatekeeper's ear could possibly hear. "Open the gates!"

The crowds, watching a safe distance, mumbled and snickered to themselves. But it didn't stop their inquiring minds from drawing their bodies onward. "Open the gates!" he hollered. "Open the gates!" he repeated without slowing even though he drew dangerously close to the wall. Suddenly the onomatopoeic clank of the iron chains were faith-cued. The gates opened without breaking stride. If anything, he was moving faster as he passed through the gates. The fascinated crowds peered carefully around the walls.

"To the courts!" he heaved sloppily in broken breath. The air was sweet and harmonious. "To the courts!"

In the courts... The Ghost awaited with open arms. His smile was warm & teasing... knowing & eminent. He collapsed in relief on the floor of the courts... and it was good. The crowds came in too. They saw that it was good and lay prostrate as well. Their hunch was right. It WAS good.

A thousand days past. None could tell.

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