This past Sunday, the Mexico team shared personal testimonies about their time in Mexico. Steven Cogbill put together this fantastic video which shows the team in action:
Pastor Mikel surprised the team with this heartfelt video from Jose and Ines, expressing their thanks to the team for blessing their family. In case you missed it, here it is:
In March, Back Porch Gospel embarked on a tour in Alberta including many wonderful places with terrific people and amazing opportunities to share life and hope with people of diverse and sometimes sordid backgrounds. We saw several men in the Bodden Prison give their lives to Christ; many seniors get inspired by seeing the Chomlacks and Woolseys invest their time, talents and resources in ministry to Japan; and precious billet families become forever friends! I am constantly amazed at all the things that boggle my mind (which anyone who knows me would not be surprised at!) and must be filed in my gray matter as ‘Mysteries’. The older I get, the more things I have no answer for, and the more I realize I don’t know. One the other hand, the older I get, the more I am satisfied with not knowing and simply trusting the Lord with all those things that are too deep for me (Psalm 139:6).
Some examples of the mysteries I speak of could be illustrated by these photos:
This is one of the stained glass windows we played under at 1st Baptist church in Calgary. Who could visualize such a piece of artwork and take the meticulous effort to fit every tiny piece or colored glass perfectly in place so that it emerged as a beautiful piece of art?
Or when we heard the amazing majestic richness of the pipe organ fill that church with pure, high tones and low rumbling bass vibrations... how did that gifted organist play on three stacked keyboards and a multitude of pedals when he only has two hands and two feet?
What about the home we stayed in where the retired gentleman, who was also a craftsman, made unique pieces of art like this one with a fully detailed tall sailing ship (complete with masts, sails, lines, hand rails, cannons etc.) built inside a light bulb and mounted in a carved wooden frame that was suspended in mid-air. I was amazed to learn that the only connection to the frame is a loose piece of fishing line at the bottom attaching the suspended light bulb to the base and upper arm!
Now I am not a particularly bright fellow, and my intellectual capacity is pretty limited, but I am quite inquisitive and would like to know how all these things work. I am also a deep thinker when it comes to God and the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ of the things that He does. The thing that satisfies me and keeps me on track is that God is a God of mystery and His ways are far beyond mine. I must accept those facts instead of thinking that unless I completely understand everything, it can’t be so! The New Testament refers to a mystery twenty-seven times and in almost all cases it is referring to the mysteries of GOD! Why would I think I could know all of that? How do kids survive when there is so much they don’t know? Answer: they trust their parents to care for them even though they don’t understand all the details and can’t control all circumstances.
The bottom line for me and for you is that the mystery of God is revealed (in increasing measure as we mature and grow in understanding) in the person of Jesus ... who lives within us through repentance and surrender. What we don’t know and understand will be revealed in His time and only when we are ready to comprehend it. In the mean time... relax and enjoy rest in the strong arms of the One who has it all figured out... because He is the source of all Mysteries and knowledge!
“God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is.... Christ in you the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27
I really enjoy watching Bill Cosby. He has got to be one my favorite comedians. How he relates to parenting and life is brilliant!
The other day I was watching this clip entitled “4 year old on a plane”. I’m sure as a parent you can remember a “Jeffrey” moment or two. Parenting is not easy! The “Jeffrey” moments don’t always bring out the best in us, do they? They make us question: “Why again did we become parents?” Or, “Hey babe, remember when it was just us? Let’s run away, just me and you…”
Parenting is tough and whether you are a brand new parent or a parent of a child just about to leave the nest, raising children can take its toll physically, mentally and emotionally.
I am sure many of you watched the 2014 Sochi Olympics. I watched more winter Olympics this year than in years past, partially because our kids took such an interest. As I watched, I found myself asking the question, “Do we as parents put in the training and determination that these Olympians do?”
Maybe it’s not fair to make the comparison between training for an Olympic sport to parenting, but as I dug a little deeper I found that there were quite a few aspects of an Olympian’s life that could be applied to raising children and being parents.
2014 Olympic Gold medalist Kallie Humphries said this about being a bobsledder:
“When the deepest part of you becomes engaged in what you are doing, you are doing what you are meant to be doing; you are exactly where you are supposed to be.”
Here is an incident that happened at our house. It was the middle of the night and we were all fast asleep. I heard a noise and because I have the innate ability to quickly come out of a deep sleep and engage with my surroundings, I found myself lifting my son Nathan out of a pool of barf. My pace hurried as I was trying to move him to the bathroom before round two hit but halfway there the second vomiting session started, which hit the wood floor and splattered everywhere!
After cleaning up Nathan, changing his sheets and putting him back to bed, I then found myself wiping up vomit splatter off of the floor, walls, railing, and me. I’m pretty sure at that moment I could honestly say that the deepest part of me did NOT want to be engaged in what I was doing and that this was NOT what I was meant to be doing. I was sure this could NOT be exactly where I was supposed to be. No, what I was supposed be doing was sleeping.
But whether we are doing really gross stuff, or enjoying being a part of the truly amazing stuff our kids do, we are doing what we are supposed to be doing. God has called us to be parents. And as hard (and maybe even impossible) as this task may seem, the deepest part of us needs to engage this aspect of our life as parents.
With this in mind, it is also okay to be human and to feel overwhelmed some days.
Do you have those days where you feel like you’re in the parenting trenches and are overwhelmed? What have been some of your worst parenting moments? How do you get through them?
I always know when Spring is near because I get to take my daughter to the annual Sparks Father-Daughter Night at SBC. This year was my ninth time taking one of my girls (and occasionally one of their friends) to the event and as I prepared for the evening I realized that next year will be my last. So it is with fond memories and a little sadness that I sit here and write this, as I will miss these special nights for the time being. However, perhaps when I am a grandfather I will be able to take one of my granddaughters to experience the thrill all over again. Ah, but I digress... so back to the task at hand, which is telling you my story about the night.
Well, each year there is a theme for the night with this year being, for obvious reasons, the Olympics. This entails coming in some sort of costume that suits the theme. As we are not a family that tends to put a lot of forethought into our outfits, (unlike some others... the bobsled team that showed up or the men’s figure skaters with wonderful looking hairpieces and stylish costumes) we scrambled for last minute solutions. I quickly decided that I would be a famous, multi-medal winning slope-style skier and Jocelyn would, of course, be a figure skater (since she almost does this for a living based on the amount of time we spend at ice rinks). I threw on my ski pants, large winter coat, goggles, and quickly rounded up several medals from my older children to wear for the night and off we went. By the way, I forgot to factor in that I would be in a heated building for two hours wearing snow pants and a winter coat... glad I decided to forgo the inner liner on my coat, whew…
When you arrive at the event, you and your “date” get a picture taken to commemorate the night and then you move on to a craft or other event. This year we made a family flag and then competed in the home-made, soon to be introduced slalom-and-shoot event. I will say that I did not miss one target and mentioned to someone (my older daughter who was helping out with the night) that I think I should take up hunting. She promptly responded, “Well, you are pretty close to the targets so it’s not like they’re that hard to hit”. Sarcastic tone noted. Once I picked my self-esteem up off the floor we headed down to the gym for some random facts and trivia. After finding all the answers (well not all of them), we were treated to a fabulous Olympic-themed dinner and listened to a speaker telling us fathers to be intentional in our relationships with our daughters. We need to train for those moments when we are called upon to be there for them and for the times when we just hang out. It always is a good reminder to me that daughters are a precious gift from God that need to be treasured and built up and that, as fathers, we are called upon to be their strength when needed, and to let them know that they are, above all else, loved and beautiful.
Well, that’s my experience of this year's Sparks Father-Daughter Night and as I look towards my last one as a father next year, I am truly thankful for all the people that help make these special nights happen.
Here are some more awesome photos from the night. Thanks to Erna Schram for taking photos of the girls and their dads!