December 27, 2012

The Innkeepers Tale- My 2012 Christmas Eve Message

Tonight I would like to tell you a story. It is a story of a man that we don’t know much about, but one who is very familiar to us. He is the inn keeper of Bethlehem. We know him as the man shouting, ‘there is no room in the inn. But tonight I think we ought to try to get to know him a little better. So let’s get to know Larry the innkeeper.

December 20, 2012

Sermon Illustration- Plane over a fire

Assumptions can be quite dangerous. For example, the photographer for a national magazine was assigned to get photos of a great forest fire. Smoke at the scene hampered him and he asked his home office to hire a plane. Arrangements were made and he was told to go at once to a nearby airport, where the plane would be waiting. When he arrived at the airport, a plane was warming up near the runway. He jumped in with his equipment and yelled, "Let’s go! Let’s go!" The pilot swung the plane into the wind and they soon were in the air. "Fly over the north side of the fire," yelled the photographer, "and make three or four low level passes." "Why?" asked the pilot. "Because I’m going to take pictures," cried the photographer. "I’m a photographer and photographers take pictures!" After a pause the pilot said, "You mean you’re not the instructor?"

October 30, 2012

The Moral Landscape

A few nights ago as I was driving home I listened to a discussion on Sam Harris' newest book, ' The Moral Landscape' on CBC radio one. This book came out in October 2010 so we have just hit the second anniversary of its publication which is probably why the CBC was running the interview again. The book is getting old and it got a lot of criticism by Christian and Non-Christian alike but since I am sure I wasn't the only person who caught the interview and the recent reply of the TED talk I thought I would write down the thoughts I had as I was listening.

September 21, 2012

Did Jesus Hear Wedding Bells?

In the Gospel of John Jesus debuted his miraculous abilities at a wedding in Cana. But that is not the wedding that people have been interested in of late. For the last few days people have been interested in the question, 'Was Jesus married?' This question has been brought to us by Harvard Divinity School Prof. Karen King. While far more learned people have already weighted in on this I thought I would toss in my two cents as well*.

September 8, 2012

Feeling Very Moved

We have just moved. Again. This move marks the forth move since my wife and I got married back in May of 2008. Yes that means four homes in a little more than four years.

Now it is not entirely our fault that we have moved so often. Life just kind of kept changing. School ended, children were born, jobs changed. The combination of these life events simply caused us to move.

August 21, 2012

New Guy On The Block

Well the time has come to finally dust this blog off again. The silence of this blog has come because a number of things caused me to ask; 'why am I writing this?' A few answers quickly flooded into my head;

May 9, 2012

Life After "The Jesus Shirt'

Well it has been rather interesting these past few days here in Nova Scotia. What began as a local school discipline decision over the appropriateness of a t-shirt ended as a international debate/discussion on the topics of freedom of expression, freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

If you want to read the events in detail simply Google the phrase 'Jesus T-Shirt Nova Scotia' and you'll find plenty of information. If you'd rather stick to the Coles Notes (CliffsNotes for you American readers) allow me to bring you up to speed;

May 1, 2012

Project- Keeping The Faith

Faith is not easily. It is a deliberate choice, a daily choice, and at times a very difficult choice. There are a lot of forces that attempt to tug, tear and trash our faith. Some of these forces are intellectual, some are emotional, some are spiritual but none can be overcome alone. We need each other.

If you have been following this blog for any length of time you have likely started to get a sense of my story. You know where I have struggled and where I am still struggling. You also know the issues that make me passionate.

But at my very core I want to help people grow in their faith, I want to help people keep their faith. And I need your help.

Over the next few weeks and months I want to share as many stories of faith I can find. Because I believe as we share our stories of how we have chosen and continue to choose faith, 'iron will sharpen iron'. If we share our stories more people will be able to proclaim with Paul; 'I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.'

Now here comes the ask. I need people, and I need stories. If you are a person who would like to share your story I want to hear from you. Or if you know someone who's story needs to be told, I want to hear from you. Connect with me via the comments section in this blog, or track me down on Twitter or Facebook.

Let me be clear on one thing. Your story does not need to be an epic spiritual battle, a major health crisis, or a time of near insurmountable loss to count. Faith struggles can come on red hot, or they can burn quietly under there surface unnoticed by anyone except yourself. If you have a story of faith struggle that you want to share, I want to hear from you.

Let's help people keep the faith together!

April 27, 2012

Christian Student Vs. Atheist Professor-The Professor's Concluding Remarks

The time has come to start bringing our discussion of the Christian Student vs. Atheist Professor to an end. In this post we will take a look the professor's closing remarks;

Professor : According to Empirical, Testable, Demonstrable Protocol, Science says your GOD doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?

Student : Nothing. I only have my faith.

Professor: Yes, faith. And that is the problem Science has.

April 26, 2012

Christian Student Vs. Atheist Professor-Challenge and Response 2: Scientific Method

Today we are continuing our look at the parable of the Christian student vs. the Atheist professor by looking at the professor's second challenge and the student's response. The professor's first challenge was centered on the presence of evil. The professor's second challenge takes us in a different direction. Here is the professor's challenge;

April 24, 2012

Christian Student Vs. Atheist Professor-Challenge and Response 1: The Presence of Evil

Finally after our opening comments, and one slight detour it is time to starting working our way through the story of the Christian student verses the Atheist Professor.

The first challenge the professor gives to the existence of God is the existence of evil. A little more than a year ago I tackled this question in five different posts (1 2 3 4 5) so I won't go into great length here. Instead I want to make some quick comments on what the professor says and then talk about the response from the student.

April 20, 2012

Christian Student Vs. Atheist Professor- Afraid of School

We are going to take one more post to speak in broad strokes about the apocryphal story about Einstein as a Christian student facing down an unnamed atheist professor. I think it is important to put into words the reason why this and other like stories tend to be repeated.

Many Christians are afraid of universities.

April 18, 2012

Christian Student Vs. Atheist Professor- It's not true

As I mentioned earlier we are dealing with the story about young student Christian Einstein facing off against a older unnamed Atheist professor. There are some good points about this story, and we'll get to those later. But before that we are going to deal with some of the flaws. The first, and most glaring of them is;


Christian Student Vs. Atheist Professor- The Story

I have heard/read this story plus of minus a few details a number of times. And it seems to be making it's rounds on Facebook again right now so I feel it bares reflection. There are a number of items that are good about this tale, but a great many that are incorrect and not overly helpful. I originally thought I would do this all in one sitting. But then I realized I would have a blog post as long as a term paper, which no one would read in one sitting (including me) .Instead we're are going to take some time to pull this parable apart piece by piece and really try and think clearly about it.

Without further adieu here is the story;

April 12, 2012

Holy Week 2012 Collection

Sometimes it is just helpful to have everything all in one spot. In that light here is the 2012 Holy Week Collection;

Palm Sunday- A reflection on not missing the grandeur of Jesus and his mission.

Holy Monday- Jesus offering healing and grace in the temple just after he cleared it.

Holy Tuesday- A reflection on giving to Caesar what is his and giving to God what is his.

Holy Wednesday- Is Judas the only one who betrays Jesus?

Maundy Thursday- Reflecting on attending my first Tenebrae service

Good Friday- Are we too busy to take notice of Christ?

Holy Saturday- Today is the day to take time and embrace pain, sorrow and confusion

Easter Sunday- God provided me with some odd weather to help me reflect on the true meaning of Easter.

Thank you to everyone who read one or all of these. I hope they helped you prepare for Easter even half as much as the helped me.

A Remembered Love

I had a wonderful time last night.

That is what I kept thinking to myself once I got home. Ok maybe not always in those words, I subbed in 'great', 'fun' and a few other synonyms for good measure but you get the idea. Last night I had a great time. Now before you ask no my wife and I did not get to enjoy a date last night. Nor did I have a night with 'the boys' (whoever they are) or some well earned time with one of my many gaming devices.

No last night I helped out a friend with his youth ministry, and it felt great.

April 10, 2012

Stillness Is Not One Of My Strengths

When I first begin to look for my first apartment, one that I would need in September 2006 I started looking in January 2006. Every time I spoke to a landlord they told me I was pretty much insane. If I wanted an apartment in a university town starting in September ask them in May, maybe June.

I have done the same thing every time I have needed a new place to live. As soon as I know I will need it, even if it is six months down the line I start looking, and Landlords tell me to stop bothering them. I have come to two inescapable conclusions;

I am terrible at waiting.

And I hate loose ends.

April 8, 2012

Holy Week-Easter 2012- A White Easter

Today I woke up to what I think was a strange sight. A fresh cost of snow covering the ground on Easter morning. Which was a little odd, but it was great reminder.

First I found it odd because in a lot of ways the snow was at odds with so much of the Easter imagery I am used to seeing.

April 7, 2012

Holy Saturday 2012 Redux-What Do You Do When Nothing Is Happening?

Holy Saturday. Is there such a thing? Good Friday has come and gone. Jesus was arrested, tired, crucified, has died and is buried. Easter Sunday is a whole day away. So where does that leave us on the Saturday of Holy week? Is there such a thing as Holy Saturday? Or should we just skip over this day entirely and go about our normal lives until Sunday?

Many would do so. I am sure many people go to a Good Friday service and are reminded of the sacrifice of Jesus. Likewise I am sure many people attend a Easter service to celebrate Jesus' defeat of death. But what about Saturday? There are few services to attend, and no obvious action of Jesus to mediate on; is today just a day to ignore?

You could, but if do you'll miss a lot.

April 6, 2012

Good Friday 2012-Where Would You Be?

I have what I think might be a strange habit. Whenever I read a biblical story, I try to picture myself there. I want to know where would I be in this story. More to the point I want to know who would I be in the story.

The events of Good Friday are no exception. I want to know where would I be and what I would be doing had I been in Jerusalem during Good Friday.

April 5, 2012

Holy Week 2012 Maundy Thursday- Darkened Night

This blog is late. Sort of.

I should have said earlier that I wanted to wait and write this post after I went to my first Maundy Thursday Tenebrae service. I wanted the experience of 'darkness' well on my mind and in my soul before I attempted to talk about tonight.

Because tonight is a dark night.

April 4, 2012

Holy Wednesday 2012- All Is Not Well

Holy Wednesday was a quiet day for Jesus and most of his disciples. But not for all of his disciples. It seems that while Jesus and most of the gang were taking the day off Judas was at work. Tradition holds that it was today that Judas reached out to the Pharisees and Sadducees about turning Jesus over to them.

April 3, 2012

Holy Tuesday 2012-Penny For Your Thoughts

Holy Tuesday contains my favorite sets of passages in the gospels. It is the showdown at the Temple. Picture it with me. Yesterday Jesus spent the morning clearing the Temple and the afternoon healing the sick and blessing the children in the newly freed up space. The religious leaders were fuming that Jesus would dare to come to their city and pull such a stunt.

They wanted him punished. But first they need the crowd to turn against him. And today on what is now known as Holy Tuesday it was time to try and do just that.

April 2, 2012

Holy Monday 2012- From The Mouths Of Babes

I don't know how I have missed it. I have lost count how many times I have read the Gospels but I honestly felt like I have never seen this passage tucked just after Jesus clears the temple;

The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.
“Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.
“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,

‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise'?”
Matthew 21:14-16

April 1, 2012

Holy Week-Palm Sunday 2012

Every time I think of Palm Sunday I have Sunday School felt board flash backs. I remember little felt Jesus, wearing his little felt blue sash riding on his little felt donkey, past the group of 5 or so little felt men. The picture is so vivid that I sometimes have difficultly remembering that this is not just a "children's story."

March 28, 2012

Holy Week 2012

I've decided.

I have been more or less absent from my blog since the end of November. Since then I have only managed a few sporadic posts. Far less then the once every Monday and Wednesday I had been blogging. I have made no secrete that some things have changed for me lately, and that it has been somewhat difficult sorting through how I feel about them.

February 6, 2012

Our Mr Mom Who Art In Heaven

Over the past few weeks I have read two articles that talk about Christianity and masculinity.While each article has its own idiosyncrasies the main message of both is that only the hyper-macho, jock type masculinity is of true value to the church. All other types of men, and women are by default of lesser importance. This has bothered me quite a lot. I cannot help but hear echoes of locker room bullying in these pieces.

I am not sure if it is my past experiences (hearing someone basically pointing and laughing at me for not being 'man enough') or my current situation as a 'sort of' stay at home dad (as if I were not struggling enough with the gender role stereotypes of breadwinner and homemaker) that has set me on edge.

But I would like to respond in an altogether different vein . One that is a little more theological.

January 31, 2012

Good-Bye Quest Youth

As I sit down to write this I have roughly 5 hours left as your youth pastor. By the time I post it, be that tonight or tomorrow that time will have come to a conclusion. I have wrestled with what I wanted to do and say for the past three months. It is not easy to say goodbye and I have been saying goodbye a lot lately.

Tonight I will/I did offer you the last devotion that I will have a chance to. I want to reiterate some of that here.

January 21, 2012

After The Debate: Simple Vs Simplistic

On Thursday night I got to watch a debate that I had been looking forward to for a number of months, Religion Soup hosted at Saint Mary's University by the Navigators. This was the first of what is shaping up to be an annual event. What a first debate it was, we listened to the arguments for and against the historical reliability of the gospels. Bart Ehrman argued that they were not reliable; Craig A. Evans argued that they were.

Before Ehrman began his opening statement he asked two questions. First he asked how many Christians were in the audience, to which a large percentage of hands went up. Then second he asked how many people wanted to see him get thumped, to which a similarly large percentage of hands went up.

I suspect that a similarly large percentage of people went home disappointed. In my opinion Ehrman won the debate.

January 10, 2012


In what feels like a previous life I once held the position of 'Advertising Manager' at MSVU Students Union. It was a new position when I filled it, and I sincerely hope that whoever replaced me did better than I did. Never the less there are two things that stand out in my memory about that position. One was when I was asked to tell the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association that the Union was uncomfortable with their overt Christianity and we would only run their ads if they toned it down some (I am sure we will talk about that someday). And second were the giant metal monoliths that became our newspaper holders.

January 3, 2012

Why I have Been MIA And What I Have Been Doing

I have been off the grid now for about a month and a half. I didn't intend to do that. In fact I had intended to do something quite different. I had planned on blogging about my positive experiences at West End as my tenure as associate pastor comes to an end in a scant 28 days (Or in 4 youth groups, 3 young adult bible studies, 5 staff meetings, 4 Sunday services, 3 sermons and 1 youth leaders meeting).