Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Parenting 101 v14 - Burn in hell!

When I am confronted with a difficult parenting situation, I'll put the issue out there to plumb the depths of the vast parenting knowledge of my beloved readers....Here is our fourteenth edition of Parenting 101.
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Today at the supper table Lukas was telling us about his day at school.
He mentioned that some of the kids at school asked him if he was a Muslim or a Christian. Now, this happens all the time and the kids are usually nice about it. But this time when he said he was a Christian the kids gasped and said:

Oh no - you're a Christian! God only loves Muslims. You'll be put in a fiery place

Now I've never had somebody tell my child he's going to hell before. Wasn't really sure how to respond. Any advice?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sayings of Sylas v10 - Overflow

Last night the kids were getting ready for the bath.
Lukas peed in the toilet and jumped in the bath
Sylas peed in the toilet and jumped in the bath
Olivia peed, but when she flushed the toilet overflowed!

Grammy put Olivia quickly in the tub and tried to deal with the overflow.
Sylas, looking over at all of the water said:

Wow, Olivia sure had alot of pee!!

Monday's hot topics - Why can't I own a Canadian?

I posted an article on the forum, which raises some questions about applying Old Testament laws.
When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
Interesting. How do we know which laws to apply and which not to? If we are under grace then are these laws abolished? If so, how can we argue against homosexuality. If not, then how do we know which laws apply to us today?? Post your thoughts in the comments below, or on the forum - here

Friday, October 26, 2007

Video of the week & Need a title v37

Hayley and I laughed so much at this video we couldn't decide wether it should be in 'video of the week' or 'need a title' so it's both. Can anyone think of a good title:

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Willow Creek got it wrong...

...and they have the humility to admit it. This article details Willow Creek's round of research called "Reveal".

I would encourage all of you to watch this video, and also Bill Hybels response to it.

My favorite quote: "Our dream is that we fundamentally change the way we do church"

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Parenting 101 v13 - Birthdays and Monsters

When I am confronted with a difficult parenting situation, I'll put the issue out there to plumb the depths of the vast parenting knowledge of my beloved readers....Here is our thirteenth edition of Parenting 101.
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Today is a special day! Well actually tomorrow is, but today is Lukas and Sylas' birthday party!! Woohoo! As posted in the Markham Economist & Sun tomorrow is Lukas' 6th birthday and Sylas' 4th. It's fun having boys that share the same birthday cause we just have one big fun party.

Aside from the birthday excitement Sylas asked me a question today that I needed a little help with. We were walking back from the park when Sylas said:

Daddy, why don't Monsters have hearts?

I couldn't think of a real good answer. Any ideas?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Only the Injil v2 - Jesus' first followers

Recently I became a 30-something, which at first glance was quite depressing. There has been, however, one sweet consolation - I am now in my 'Jesus years'. These years in Jesus' life (between 30 and 33) were powerful, dynamic, miraculous and ultimately led to the greatest grass-roots revolution in human history.

Realizing this, I picked up my Reese Chronological Bible and each day, for the next 3 years, I will seek to read about exactly what Jesus was doing at my age!

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For this second installment of 'Only the Injil' I wanted to look at how Jesus built momentum and gathered his first followers, or disciples. What is the picture you get in your head as you think of Jesus gathering followers? I wonder if we think much past the scene of Jesus walking along the beach, stretching out his hand and saying 'Come follow me' and then by some mystical powers people would drop whatever they were doing and follow him. Is that all there was to it?

> Jesus @ 30 years 11 months - Let's start mapping this out. It would seem Jesus called his first followers after coming back from 40 days in the wilderness. He had already made a very public appearance by getting baptized at the height of John the Baptist's ministry, so Jesus would have been well known to the people he called to follow him.

First of all, imagine with me the hoopla surrounding John the Baptist around the time Jesus got baptized. Mark 1:5 states that "All of Judea, including all the people of Jerusalem, went out to see and hear John". Everybody was there. This was like Superbowl Sunday and Jesus decides at this exact moment to get baptized! Think of the strategy as Jesus walks through the massive crowds and then the person they are there to see, John the Baptist, turns and says to everyone 'Look, it's the Messiah, he's the one you really want to talk to'.

The whispers would fly! Not only through the crowds gathered in the wilderness, but to almost everyone in the entire country as these spectators traveled back to their own towns. This 'publicity stunt' was the background for Jesus' return from the wilderness. Everybody knew who John said he was, and were waiting with anticipation to see what he'd do. This is an excellent lesson on momentum building. Jesus didn't just show up on a street corner and say 'Hey everyone, I am the Messiah", he was very strategic in how he used natural networks to spread his message and build curiosity and anticipation.

Now, if you look at the map of Jesus' travels it shows an interesting pattern. In John 1:35 John the Baptist is stationed in a town called Bethbara. On the map to the left this town is near the area simply called 'River Jordan'. John is walking around Bethbara with his disciples and Jesus shows up, fresh out of the wilderness, everyone wondering what he'll do. It's interesting to me that all Jesus really does here is piggy back off what is already going on with John. He leverages the momentum John has created. He shows up the first time where John is baptizing. He shows up a second time when John is teaching his disciples.

What is really amazing is what happens next! John is walking with two of his disciples, he sees Jesus and says to them 'Behold the lamb of God' (ie: hey, remember this guy I told you about?). John 1:37 then states 'the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus'. Did you catch that?? Jesus scoops John's disciples!! And John has no problem with this. Today's equivalent would be if a minister at one church encouraged their congregants to join another church with a better minister! We find out later in verse 40 that one of the disciples Jesus scoops is Andrew, Simon Peter's brother.

Now we see Jesus really start to teach us about networking. What is Jesus' next step? Does he set up shop in Bethbara and tell his new disciple Andrew to bring people to him for a synagogue class each Sunday at 11? No, John 1:41 says that Andrew finds his brother Peter and says 'We have found the Messiah!!". Peter comes and follows as well - 2 disciples for Jesus. Next we see Jesus travelling up to the city where Andrew & Peter are from which is Bethsaida. If you look on the map you'll see that it is a considerable distance up the Jordan River to the sea of Galilee, where Bethsaida is located.

Why does Jesus travel all this distance? He is working Andrew and Peter's natural network. He visits the town where they are from (John 1:44). He finds Philip, probably someone Andrew & Peter knew from town and then Philip brings Nathaniel - his brother? relative? we're not sure, but it is someone in Philip's network, which resulted from someone in Andrew's network, who was from John the baptists network.

I want to pause here to contrast what we are used to in church with what Jesus is doing here. Usually we experience church leadership that does not spend a whole lot of time exploring someones natural network of friends. When someone comes to church they are given a list of meetings and groups to go to, which may actually extract people from their natural networks!! Jesus does the opposite. He natural flows through the contacts that his new disciples are most comfortable with. One person at a time he works Andrew's network to gather his disciples. It's all there in John 1:35-51.

To many of us discipleship is a mystery. Over the years I have heard many complaints by Christians who have longed for someone to 'take them under their wing' and teach them about Jesus in a deeper, personal way. I've also heard lots of people yearn to know how to reach out to their friends, neighbours and coworkers. Jesus has the answer for both. For me I am thankful to God that this did happened when I became a Christian. I came into the church via a natural relational network (girlfriend) and met with many people who were more interested in me and my network than how many meetings I attended. One person I am most indebted to asked me where the teenagers I knew hung out. We would visit these areas (where I used to go drinking) with Bibles to talk to the people in my natural network. The emphasis was me going to them, not them coming us. Quite the difference.

I feel this is a very significant lesson for the church. We need to be going where people are. We need to not be so concerned about our holy hymn singing times and instead seek to reach out to real people, get into their lives so much that they will open up their natural networks to us, and as leaders, with grace and humility introduce ourselves and our faith to them. We may find that if we take this approach entire communities will open up (like Bethsaida) for us to show the love of Jesus.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The sayings of Sylas v9 - Hot soup!

Today we were sitting at the supper table when Hayley brought out some hot soup:
Hayley: Don't touch this soup, it's burn-your-mouth-off hot!
Sylas: Don't eat it daddy...or you'll die...like that other time when you fell down the beanstalk!

The story of the Canadian 10 dollar bill

If you have a Canadian $10 bill, look at the back right side of the bill. You will see an old veteran standing at attention near the Ottawa war memorial. His name is Robert Metcalfe and he died last month at the age of 90.

That he managed to live to that age is rather remarkable, given what happened in the Second World War. Born in England, he was one of the 400,000 members of the British Expeditionary Force sent to the mainland where they found themselves facing the new German warfare technique - the Blitzkrieg.

He was treating a wounded comrade when he was hit in the legs by shrapnel. Enroute to hospital, his ambulance came under fire from a German tank, which then miraculously ceased fire. Evacuated from Dunkirk on HMS Grenade, two of the sister ships with them were sunk. Recovered, he was sent to allied campaigns in North Africa and Italy. Enroute his ship was chased by the German battleship Bismarck. In North Africa he served under General Montgomery against the Desert Fox, Rommel.

Sent into the Italian campaign, he met his future wife, a lieutenant and physiotherapist in a Canadian hospital. They were married in the morning by the mayor of the Italian town, and again in the afternoon by a British padre.

After the war they settled in Chatham where he went into politics and became the warden (chairman) of the county.

At the age of 80 he wrote a book about his experiences and on his retirement he and his wife moved to Ottawa.

One day out of the blue he received a call from a government official asking him to go downtown for a photo op. He wasn't told what the photo was for or why they chose him. "He had no idea he would be on the bill," his daughter said.

And now you know the rest of the story of the old veteran on the $10 bill.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

October 16th - the greatest day in history

From a quick perusal of the Wikipedia article on October 16th it would seem this day is the best day of all. Some highlights:

1775 - Portland, Maine burned by the British
1905 - The Partition of Bengal (India) occurred
1914 - Mohammed Zahir Shah, King of Afghanistan born (d. 2007)
1923 - The Walt Disney Company is founded by Walt Disney and his brother, Roy Disney.
1931 - Charles Colson, American Watergate conspirator, born
1951 - The first Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, is assassinated in Rawalpindi.
1962 - Flea, Australian musician (Red Hot Chili Peppers) born
1995 - The Million Man March is held in Washington, D.C. The event was conceived by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
2003 - Apple launches its iTunes Music Store, an online download music store, for the Microsoft Windows platform.

Today is also Boss' day, World food day and HM President Johnathan Macris' birthday

King of Afghanistan? Walt Disney founded!! Church Colson born? Itunes! This has to be the best day in the entire calendar! Happy October 16th everyone!!

Video of the week - kids today

A lot has changed since 1976. Here is a video by some University Students in Kansas.
a short video summarizing some of the most important characteristics of students today - how they learn, what they need to learn, their goals, hopes, dreams, what their lives will be like, and what kinds of changes they will experience in their lifetime.
Just imagine if this video was made in a church.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

In my Jesus years | Only the Injil v1 - The wilderness

As some of you know my 31st birthday is coming up soon. While I won't reveal the exact date here, I will say that the process of transitioning from a 20-something to a 30-something has been fairly traumatic to my youthful outlook!

While it's been difficult to think of myself as a 30 year old, there has been one sweet consolation - I am now in my 'Jesus years'. These years in Jesus' life (between 30 and 33) were powerful, dynamic, miraculous and ultimately led to the greatest grass-roots revolution in human history.

Realizing this has stirred something inside of me. Recently I picked up my Reese Chronological Bible and each day, for the next 3 years, I will seek to read about exactly what Jesus was doing at my age! The Chronological Bible actually goes so far as to put dates on the events in Jesus life, so I'll be able to follow along fairly well. These may not be exact dates, and I may use other sources but it should be a fun project retracing Jesus' steps each day when he was my age and posting my findings here. I may call this series 'Only the Injil' or 'My Jesus years', I haven't decided yet. Probably 'Only the Injil' as this title lends itself to a better understanding by my Muslim friends. The word 'Injil' is an Arabic word for the gospel, derived from the Greek word Evangel, or good news. So maybe that makes me an evinjilical :)

As an intro I thought I'd post a bit about what happened during Jesus' 30th year, seeing as my 30th year is almost over:

> 30 years 1 month - John the Baptist begins to preach, ferociously condemning the religious leaders. When people ask John 'What should we do' (Luke 3:10) he answers by saying in verse 11 'He that has two coats, let him give to him that has none, and he that has food, let him do likewise'. Do you have two coats? John the Baptist states you need to give one of them away. Perhaps now is a good time, before we in Canada have to face winter. Try to find someone this week that needs your coat and give it to them. I'm sad to say I've rarely done this, or witnessed Christians or churches that have done this. I wonder why we shy away from helping those in need. One Christian leader I know, upon being asked this question shamelessly stated 'Well, you know what they say...if you feed a stray cat" as if to lower the value of a human life in need to that of a garbage picking feline! Folks if we are believers in Jesus we are commanded to help those in need. It's not enough to simply study scripture until you can quote it from memory. If we are not doers of the word then what profit is our bible knowledge? Knowledge puffs up and perhaps this pride, which is often seen in evangelical bible memorization clubs is exactly what the Pharisees were suffering from.

> 30 years 9 months - Jesus baptized and 'full of the Spirit' is led into the wilderness to be tempted. It's very interesting to me that the Spirit is the one leading Jesus into temptation. The Spirit leads each of us into tests, to make sure that we can handle the power that is on the other side of the test. Each of us go through the 'wilderness' at times. As John Piper states in the 'video of the week', God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in him in the midst of loss. This is what makes the health and wealth gospel preachers so hideous - they would not have allowed Jesus to go to the wilderness. But God does and will 'lead us' into wilderness situations. During these times may we follow Jesus' example of satisfaction and obedience to God in the midst of desolation, loneliness, temptation, isolation, sorrow, hunger and thirst.

Up next - Jesus' first disciples

Friday, October 12, 2007

Need a title v35 - Wedding kiss

Here's a picture of our dear summer intern Dan Carlson attempting to kiss his new bride Pam Janzi on their wedding day, August 11th. Can anyone think of a good title?

Last day of Ramadan!

Imran gives us some insight into the last day of Ramadan:
Today could be the last day of Ramadan...My biggest problem is not thirst / hunger. Although the first day caffeine deficiency bothers me. Lack of sleep is my biggest problem. You wake up at 5:30 to eat before starting the fast. Then you try to sleep right after with full stomach. I woke up tired, stomach hurting and dry mouth. I shouldn’t try to go sleep but I’m so sleepy then.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Give peace a chance

Well I'm done crying about the Ontario election. It seems Dalton McGuinty and his catholic faith hid far enough under the radar to scare everyone away from John Tory. Perhaps now McGuinty will cancel funding for Catholic schools?

In other news it seems something extraordinary has happened in Muslim-Christian dialogue:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21248862/site/newsweek/from/ET/
Oct. 11, 2007 - Getting religious leaders to agree on anything is notoriously difficult. So this morning’s announcement—that 138 of the world’s most powerful Muslim clerics, scholars and intellectuals from all branches of Islam (Sunni and Shia, Salafi and Sufi, liberal and conservative) had come together to write a letter to the world’s Christian leaders—is being hailed as something of a miracle.
Wow, it will be interesting to see how the Christian leaders respond.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The sayings of Sylas v8 - Dentist

Today was a monumental day in the life of Sylas Cuthill. It was his very first dentist appointment. No cavities, his picture on the 'cavity free' wall and a new shrek toothbrush. Tonight, I sat down to talk so Sylas about how the dentist was:
Daddy: What did you think about your first dentist appointment?
Sylas: Well...it was a bad saditudety
Not sure if that's a good thing, or a bad thing??

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

John Tory endorsed by the East York Mirror

Recently our local paper, The East York Mirror endorsed John Tory as their choice in our riding of Don Valley West:
Friday, October 5th. “Ontario needs a different type of leadership, and John Tory provides it.” “In Don Valley West, we are obviously endorsing Progressive Conservative candidate and party leader John Tory…we believe he is the best choice for Ontario and therefore must be elected in his own riding. Voters are reminded that Tory’s roots run deep in the Don Valley West riding and it took great courage on his part to run in this riding against Liberal incumbent and education minister Kathleen Wynne. Tory did not take the easy route and seek a safe seat, he chose to run in his own community and deserves to be elected by its voters..."Tory's Tories should form next Ontario government"
That endorsement is good news for Tory as it will be a tight race to beat out Kathleen Wynne. Personally, I've been accosted by way too many desperate Kathleen supporters here in Thorncliffe to take her seriously and Tory just has way too much experience to pass up voting for him. That's also how many others here in Thorncliffe feel.

Despite the negative attention the Liberals have sought to cast on the issue of faith-based schools (hey wait, doesn't McGuinty's wife teach at a faith based (Catholic) school? Hypocrit!), I think if we look at what Tory has done in the past, the choice in Don Valley West is simple. Tory has run major corporations like Rogers, been the chairman of the United Way and CFL as well as being a long time volunteer here at the Salvation Army. He did all this *before* he was a politician. He's not getting into this for the money or the fame, he actually wants to make a difference and show Ontarians what can happen when Ontario is run properly, by someone who has proved himself in the real world. The East York Mirror is looking forward to a Tory win, and so am I.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Thorncliffe Park - "Canada's highest immigrant concentration"

While blasting the Liberals in a recent Toronto Star article, Immigration and Diversity reporter Nicholas Keung refers to the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office, stating:
Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office, serving an area with Canada's highest immigrant concentration.
So not only does Thorncliffe have the highest Muslim concentration in Canada, it also has the highest concentration of new immigrants to Canada. Just one more reason you should move in to the area :)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!


I wanted to wish all my readers a happy thanksgiving by quoting the Canadian govenment decree that instituted this holiday:

From : http://www.pch.gc.ca/progs/cpsc-ccsp/jfa-ha/graces_e.cfm
Monday, 14 Oct. 1957
For general thanksgiving to Almighty God for the blessings
with which the people of Canada have been favoured
May you all have a wonderful day off, reflecting on what the Almighty God has done for you!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Dawkins - Lennox 'God Delusion' debate

Well the debate is over and I've been trying to get the audio from this site but i guess it's pretty busy.

People are writing responses here and a few people blogged the debate. Hopefully I'll have a better update soon. The group that put the debate on is selling DVD's so I'm not sure if we'll see a video surface on YouTube any time soon.

There is a good video of John Lennox on YouTube that should tide you over:

You can check out more on Dr. Lennox on a website called gladyouasked.org, where he answers people's tough questions about God. Hopefully there will be some updates from the debate soon!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Early Wednesday prayer requests - Richard Dawkins debates John Lennox!!

Christian (and Brethren) legend Dr. John Lennox will debate atheist Richard Dawkins tomorrow (click here for details). I wanted to ask for prayer for John since Dawkins is a pretty fierce opponent!

For those who don't know Dawkins, he is a staunch athiest, recently wrote the book 'The God delusion' and has been described as 'Darwin's pitbull'. For those who don't know John Lennox I've heard him speak live and he's a serious genius, able to kindle the mind and spirit with his logic and enthusiasm for Jesus. This should be a good debate!! Go get em Johnny!

Karachi stock exchange - 'Worlds biggest mover'!?!?

Today there was a surprising leader among world stock markets - The Karachi stock exchange!
Oct. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Pakistan stocks surged the most in a year after the Supreme Court ruled that President Pervez Musharraf will be able to seek a second five-year term in an Oct. 6 election...The Karachi Stock Exchange 100 Index rose 384.06, or 2.9 percent, to close at 13,737.74, its highest since Aug. 3. That's the biggest gain since August 2006 and the largest fluctuation among markets included in global benchmarks.

``The rally was to be expected after the court decision,'' said Abdul Azeem, an analyst at Invest Capital & Securities Ltd., in Karachi. ``There is a perception in the market that Musharraf's re-election will be good for the economy.''

Monday's hot topics - Christians and Environmentalism

Forum member Daoust posed a thought provoking question in the form of a hypothesis on the forum:
Hypothesis: Christians who have a general understanding of the 'big picture' of world events, ie. where the world came from and where it is going to are less likely to be concerned about or active in environmental issues, environmental policy, and environmentally friendliness...Agree or disagree with my hypothesis?
Do you agree that Christians should not be concerned about the environment? Do you disagree and think that Christians should be more active environmentally than others? Post your thoughts in the comments, or on the forum - here