Saturday, August 30, 2008

An Interesting Look at George W. Bush's Presidency

Here is an interesting look at the "surprisingly liberal" presidency of George W. Bush's presidency. Not sure what to make of the article.....your thoughts?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Traditional Church Buildings Favoured Among Unchurched

As I have mentioned before - I subscribe to the journal Touchstone and I am a big fan. In each edition there is a section that contains little "snippets" of news of the Church from around the world. Here is one that caught my attention:
"Unchurched people prefer traditional church buildings to contemporary buildings, and over half said that the style of building would affect their response to visiting a new church, found a study by the Southern Baptist agency LifeWay. Those aged 25-34 were notably more inclined to the traditional church building than the average, while those over 70 were notably less inclined."
How interesting! Are you surprised? Any ideas as to why this may be?

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Dreaded Laptop Ship Away

Today I ship my laptop away to HP for repairs. I am not pleased. First, I am not pleased that I have to ship it away after just a year for repairs. The battery no longer charges and the AC input is wonky (to use the technical term). The repairs are part of an extended warranty deal HP introduced - I assume because these problems on this model were wide spread. It is amazing how dependent we become upon the computers and how strange it is to use another. Where are my files? I hope I have that file on this computer, etc. It will be a fun two weeks!

And to the Mac users out there - I don't want to hear it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Saskatchewan Finger Flip or Wave

I am not sure if this cultural phenomenon is restricted to Saskatchewan. I believe it may also be found in Manitoba and perhaps in certain areas in Alberta. It may also be found in the rural areas of the US but I have no idea. It is the finger flip or wave while driving. NO - not that finger! You will find that everywhere. This I believe to be found only in rural areas.
When one is driving in rural Saskatchewan one will find that almost every vehicle that passes by the driver will wave. But it is a particular wave. It is not a real wave as that would be both dangerous and over demonstrative - which we Canadians abhor. It is only a slight raising of the two fingers while holding onto the steering wheel. This is, of course, reasonable for safety reasons (especially when one is driving on a gravel road where the finger flip/wave is universal). The finger flip/wave is also often accompanied by a slight nod of the head at the same time. I have also noticed that this is, as far as I can tell from my scientific calculations, solely a male practice. I cannot recall ever receiving a finger flip/wave from a woman driver.
I grew up in a city where the finger flip/wave does not exist. It would be ludicrous to drive around and wave at every vehicle that you passed. But I was aware of the finger flip/wave as I had been waved at many times while driving out of the city - but I never reciprocated. I thought it was weird and silly and I even mocked the finger flip/wave. I realized that the people who were waving at me were only doing it because they thought that since I was driving down that road I must be a local and they ought to wave. You wouldn't want a neighbour to pass by and not wave - so therefore you wave at every vehicle no matter what! I always wondered what they must think when I did not wave back.
However, now, since I have been out in the rural areas more driving around making visits and driving to and from Indian Head (as Vacancy Pastor) I have become a finger flipper/waver. I have had to discover a few new routes out on the grid roads where, as I mentioned, the finger flip/wave is a universal practice. I have embraced it. I have grown to like it. I am sure 99% of the time I don't know the person. But I figure, why not? I even have my technique down perfectly. A slight raising of the two fingers with an almost imperceptible head nod.
So if you are out driving around Fort Qu'Appelle and/or Indian Head - wave!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Check This Out!

This is a great episode of Table Talk radio - it is linked on Extreme Theology's website (which is also a great site!). The episode is called "The Biggest Loser." The episode looks at some evangelical sermons (i.e Rick Warren) and cuts out that is not Gospel. See what is left!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Great Start to My Day

When I shower and brush my teeth and such each morning I listen to the radio. This morning there was a call in competition on the radio. The question was: "In what year did Canada win the most medals at the Summer Olympics." A fellow called in - I didn't catch his name or where he lives. He is asked the question again. He said only one word. His answer....


Great start to my day.

Monday, August 18, 2008

4th Annual St. John Chrysostom Lutheran Preacher's Retreat

This just in! The speaker for the 4th annual St. John Chrysostom Lutheran Preacher's Retreat June 22-24, 2009 at St. Michael's Retreat - Lumsden, SK is..............The Reverend David Petersen of Redeemer Lutheran Church - Fort Wayne, IN.

More information will follow but check out his site at

Check out more information regarding the retreat at our website:

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Great Article!

I have subscribed to the wonderful journal Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity for 5 or 6 years and I also read it often while attending seminary (Dr. Ed Kettner had mentioned it favourably a number of times). The journal is not Lutheran but its contributors are made up of those who are committed to historic Christianity from across the spectrum of denominations - Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, Reformed, etc. While I do not always agree with what I find in the journal I ALWAYS find it thought provoking and usually helpful. It can at times be too focused on American issues - but to be fair it is published in the US - but it also has a very wide view of the Church and includes news of the Church from across the world which is very helpful to keep us from thinking the Church of Christ only exists in our backyards.
In the most recent edition there is a fantastic article regarding the issue surrounding Jeremiah Wright - but it is not political. It points out the real problem with Wright's preaching and notes that the problem is not only to be found in Wright's sermon but in many white suburban churches as well. Truth is, when I read the article it was as if I was listening to one of Todd Wilken's sermon reviews on Issues, etc! Which makes it all the more encouraging that the author, Russel D. Moore, is noticing the same thing. It is a brief article - check it out!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

From the Lacking a Sense of the Holy File....

Read this..... I promise you won't see this any time soon at Our Saviour Lutheran!
Vicar George Brigham, right, conducts the marriage ceremony of Darren McWalters, left, and Katie Hodgson, as they fly over the English countryside near Rendcomb airfield, England, Tuesday Aug. 5, 2008. The wedding service for McWalters, 24, and Hodgson, 23, was conducted over an airborne communications system, with the ceremony played through loud speakers to the congregation waiting on the ground below.(AP Photo/ Barry Batchelor-pa)
So I assume the Vicar in question is of the Anglican church. What would posses a clergyman to agree to such a ceremony? I mean all of us parish pastors have done things we regret or "given in" when we should have said "no." But this? Yikes. What's next - flying funerals?

Great Quote and an Important Reminder

Thanks to Paul McCain's email list ( he brought to mind this morning a quote from an article I read a while ago (from the most recent Logia journal). Here it is:
"I declare myself for the Lutheran Church for the sake of the treasure. The Lutheran Church lacks many things I would like to see in it, but it has something that lets it be the true church despite all shortcomings, and for the sake of which I find it easy and beautiful to be faithful to it in its outward misery. Do you know what I am talking about? I am talking about its utterly pure confession and its pure doctrine in conformity with its confession. Who has ever proved that its confession is in error in any doctrinal article? When speaking of its confession, I am not only talking about the Augsburg Confession, but about the entire Book of Concord from the Augsburg Confession all the way to the Formula of Concord. You do not know these writings, dear reader, otherwise you would agree with me. Get to know them and you will agree. What is more beautiful, lovely, powerful, and lively than Luther's catechisms? What is more catholic than the Augsburg Confession and its Apology? What is more thoughtful and bold than the Smalcald Articles? And what is slandered more wrongfully than the beautiful Formula of Concord in its clean but mild definition of all teachings? Dear reader, I repeat, you do not know your Church's confessions of faith. Get to know them in order to know why you adhere to your church."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ripped Off Canadians!

So the Canadian dollar is at about 94 cents to the US dollar. Why is it that we are still paying so much more for items in Canada than people pay for the same item in the USA? Good question! An article on this very topic:

My Cute Kids

Some pics of my cute kids -Noah, Naomi, & Abigail - from our brief visit to the farm this past weekend. Obviously, they take after their mother.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Installation of Pastor Arron Gust

It was a great joy to gather last Sunday evening at Christ Lutheran Church - Lanenberg, SK as my good friend Pastor Arron Gust was installed as the pastor of the parish (which also include Christ - MacNutt and Immanuel - Landestreu). It was my honour to preach at the Service of Installation. Note the red stoles. There is ongoing controversy over what colour is the appropriate colour for an installation. I believe according to the rubrics it is to be the colour of the day. However, there is some unclarity here as I am told it depends upon whether the service is the chief service or not. I like to cause trouble so I make a much bigger deal out of it than I ought. Anyway - Pastor Gust was installed - red stoles and all. Below is the sermon.
Installation of Pastor Arron Gust/08.10.08/Langenberg, SK/Genesis 3:1
Did God Really Say?

Gen 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?"
It is my honour to have been asked to preach here this evening as Pastor Gust is installed as the pastor of Christ Lutheran Church - Langenberg and of Immanuel Lutheran Church – Landestreu and Christ Lutheran Church - MacNutt. Hmmm……3 congregations in one parish. 3 in 1 and 1 in 3. How very Trinitarian of you all! It was almost 9 years ago that Pastor Gust, then a Vicar serving in Vanderhoof, BC first preached at Immanuel - Landestreu. That was when I married my bride and Pastor Gust preached at the Service. He didn’t embarrass me too badly at that occasion so I will try not do so tonight. Pastor Mark Dressler, who is here tonight, he was the MC for the reception here in the Hall…well that is another story….He did embarrass me badly…..but he has never asked me to preach. I preached in this pulpit almost 10 years ago when I served as the Camp Vicar at Jackfish that summer. So, Pastor Gust preached at my wedding and it is my honour to preach here again tonight.

The Lord of the Church has called Pastor Gust here to serve this newly formed parish. Many of you here may be thinking this is something you have done. Certainly the Lord has worked through you to this end. But make no mistake – this is God’s doing. Our Lord has called His under-shepherd, Pastor Arron Gust, to be His mouthpiece, His Ambassador, to you here in this parish. He has called Pastor Gust here to speak the Holy Word of God to you, to teach you, to feed you and protect you. He expects much of Pastor Gust. He expects faithfulness.
Dear friends, the Lord of the Church has called you through Holy Baptism to be His people. He has given you a home in the Church in this newly formed parish. In this home he feeds and nourishes you and guides you through His Word and Sacraments. He has given you a pastor to distribute these gifts to you. He expects much of you as well. He expects faithfulness

Did God really say? That question is a devastating question. It is the question of doubt. It is the question of unbelief. It is the question the serpent asked Eve in the Garden of Eden. It is a question to shake our faith in God’s Word. Did God really say?

We all seek certainty. We like to be sure. Measure twice cut once we say. Tonight there is some uncertainty. Tonight the people of this new parish are not entirely certain what the future will be like. New parish alignment. What is it going to be like? How do we function together? What is our new pastor going to be like? Does he like sausage and sauerkraut?
For Pastor Gust this is also a time of uncertainty. He might be thinking: What is a correction line? Is it pronounced McNutt or MacNutt? He might have a nagging doubt about leaving the people in Lappe – was it the right decision? What is it going to be like here for me and my family? There are a lot of people in this parish – can I keep up?

Did God really say? Did God really call Pastor Arron Gust to be your pastor? Or do we doubt that? Perhaps we like to say such pious sounding things – but do we really believe it? Perhaps we say the words but believe otherwise and think it really is our doing – it is all human arrangement. It looks that way doesn’t it? The Call meetings at times do not look particularly faith filled do they? Did God really say?

And Pastor Gust, did God choose you, out of all the pastors eligible for a call to this parish – did He really choose you? Or do you doubt that? Perhaps you think it sounds too arrogant to say such a thing. Perhaps you think that despite your time in prayer and contemplation you really took this call based upon human notions rather than the will of God? Did God really say?

Members of the parish and Pastor Gust. In many, many, many areas of life there is uncertainty. And that uncertainty will remain. But in this area, in what we are talking about now – there is NO uncertainty! Did God really call Pastor Gust to be your pastor for this parish? Yes. It is absolutely certain. Has the Lord of the Church chosen Pastor Gust to serve in this particular time in this particular parish? Yes. It is absolutely certain.

Did God really say… To the people of this parish - this is your pastor? To you Pastor Gust - this is your parish to serve? Yes. It is absolutely certain!

And what a blessing this certainty is for both pastor and people! This is not some accident! This is not a trial run. This is the way God wants it. What a joy for you to know that you are meant to be together. We gather this evening to celebrate this fact.

Certainty. Our Lord is all about certainty. He does not want you doubting who your pastor is. He does not want His pastors doubting whom they are to serve. Furthermore, He does not want His precious blood bought people to doubt their salvation.

So He has given us the Church. The Church is made up of people and pastors. Jesus spoke to the Apostles: Joh 20:20-23 "Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you." And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld." Here our Lord instituted the Holy Ministry – a ministry of service. A ministry to give out assurance and certainty by way of the Gospel.

When you come to church you come to receive the gifts of God. These gifts are given with absolute certainty. The Word of God in the Bible and spoken in the sermon. The Lord’s Word of forgiveness spoken through the pastor in Holy Absolution. The water and the Word in Holy Baptism. The Body and Blood of Christ given in the Lord’s Supper. God works through these means to give you assurance. To speak His certain Word of grace.

It is God doing these things – not a mere man. With a man there is always uncertainty. With God things are certain. What He says is true. If God says your sins are forgiven for the sake of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection – they are! This is certain. Your pastor has been called here to remind you over and over of this fact and to distribute to you the gifts of God in Word and Sacrament.

We celebrate the joining of pastor and people together this evening. It is a blessed event. It is a joyous event. Dear friends, give thanks to God for your new pastor. He is here to serve you with the Gospel. He is God’s gift to you
Pastor Gust, give thanks for the gift of these fine Christian people whom you are to serve. They are God’s precious blood bought people. They are His gift to you to serve. He has entrusted them to you to feed and guide and nourish. The Lord has promised to work through you to that end as you preach, teach, and administer the Holy Sacraments
Did God really say... Yes. He did. And with thankful hearts, we as God’s children receive the gifts He gives. And all of God’s people say – Amen!

It Has Arrived!

My copy of Charles Porterfield Krauth's The Conservative Reformation and Its Theology has arrived! I recall reading this book on several occasions in seminary and found it to be so clear and enlightening. I am so glad that CPH has published it. I look forward to digging into it soon!

On the Mountain Overlooking the Promised Land?

I have travelled through the wilderness of being "crazy" busy. VBS last week and I was privileged to preach at both my brother's ordination/installation a couple weeks ago and at my good friend Pastor Arron Gust's installation this last Sunday evening. But now it is time to slow down. I think. I hope. A couple weeks? I can see it.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Crushing Disappointment

I could have went to the Riders game this evening had I not already had a meeting scheduled. Free tickets were offered to me this morning. Ouch. You might think that being in the middle of VBS would be enough to stop me from going to the game tonight. Wrong! But I can't do much about prior commitments. I'm taping it and I'll watch when I get home.... don't tell me the score yet!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Free Speech IS Under Attack....Seriously....It IS!

Free speech is under attack in Canada. The so called Human Rights Tribunals in Canada are an appalling travesty of justice. If you have not heard or been following the charges against Mark Steyn you ought to be - ESPECIALLY if you live in Canada. Just Google Maclean`s and Steyn and you will get all you need. You should also be following the charges against Ezra Levant who had the audacity to publish the cartoons that many Muslims found offensive. He to has been brought up on hate charges and is before the Human Rights Tribunals. Friends, for us Canadians this is a scary time and a pivotal time. While I think it appalling that the magazine Maclean`s was brought up on human rights charges for publishing an excerpt from Mark Steyn`s excellent book America Alone (soon to be a hate crime in Canada is the newly added subtitle to the paperback edition) I think it may be the best thing as it has and will continue to expose these Tribunals for the joke they are. I have some strong opinions on these tribunals - for reasons that in the future I may write about.

However, the above is mainly dealing with Canadian freedoms. But it will not stop there. In fact it has not. Everybody ought to be aware of what is happening in the UN. The attack against freedom of speech has gone global. It will not matter if you are in Canada, the USA, England, France, etc. There is a blatant attempt to stifle discussion regarding Sharia. There is a blatant attempt to stifle any conversation regarding Islam. This article from the recent Maclean`s presents a startling issue -

Read it. it. Tell me what you think. Be afraid....

Monday, August 4, 2008

VBS Madness!

Our Vacation Bible School begins tomorrow. We have 36 kids registered. Over 20 of those kids are between the ages of 4-6. We have never had that many kids for our VBS! In the past few years we have had 15-22. It is a blessing - and a challenge. As I began to panic slightly as I realized that we only had crafts and other supplies for 30 kids (and I rarely panic over anything!) - some of our wonderful volunteers came in this morning to get set up and organized and calmly assessed the situation and worked things out. We should be fine with our numbers. Thank God for such great volunteers! I will focus on my duties and they will focus on theirs - which makes it so much easier and enjoyable.
Today is a civic holiday in Saskatchewan - but for me it will be a day for VBS preparation! I am thankful I have this day to prepare mind you!
Keep us in your prayers!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Windows Down!

Yesterday was the first day of August. It was 34 degrees here (that is really hot, at least for me). I have been busy this summer and it hit me yesterday that I have not really enjoyed the summer as a unique season.

I think this can happen to us in our climate controlled lives. I am blessed to have an air conditioned study at the church and our home is also air conditioned (which is truly a blessing since we face West and have a large bay window). Our vehicles are air conditioned. It can be possible to go for a few days and not really experience the weather as it comes.

So last evening on my way back from Indian Head where I had a wedding rehearsal I decided to go "old school." I stopped at the gas station and bought a bottle of Mountain Dew. I rolled down the windows and drove home. The air was heavy and humid and hot. I could smell the canola blooming in the fields as I drove along the highway. There was off in the distance a thunderstorm approaching complete with fork lightning - and only in the Prairies do we get that awe inspiring sight. As I then descended into the Qu'Appelle Valley I had the beautiful sight of Katepwa Lake and a couple boats with some late evening water skiers in tow. My view of Katepwa was at a slightly more elevated angle - but similar to that in this picture. Note the canola field spilling into the Valley on the other side of the lake.

It was a lovely drive home - and it had a somewhat nostalgic sense to it - back to a time when air conditioning was not as common and we always drove with the windows down and felt the air and smelled the crops as we drove on the highway.

I'm not giving up my A/C. But I will try and remember to enjoy the weather as it comes a bit more in the future. When I am driving home tonight after the wedding - I think I will do the same - but maybe this time with a Dr. Pepper!

Note: That's not me in the pic - but I was driving the same make of car.