We attended an evening with Charles Price event last night -- a dinner/celebration banquet at the Ramada Place Hotel in Abbotsford.
We sat with a couple we'd never met before and in the course of getting acquainted, found the gentleman was a roofer (our son is a roofer, so some instant common ground) whose avocation is acting. We were sitting with Andrew Abrahams, an actor who has played parts like C. S. Lewis in "The Shadowlands," Atticus Finch in "To Kill a Mockingbird" and others. He has acted with Abbotsford's faith-based Gallery 7 Theatre Company as well as the drama department in his church, Northview Community.
We had an interesting discussion about drama and its place in church culture. His convictions about how a Christian participates in this art were -- well, refreshing. Not every Christian actor feels as strongly as he does about not compromising his principles. We were formerly subscribers to Pacific Theatre in Vancouver (another faith-based company), but didn't renew our subscription this year -- even though the acting was superb -- because so many of their plays were laced with nasty language, often, it seemed to us, gratuitous.
Andrew has noticed something interesting. When he asks a non-Christian director if he can skip the swearing bits in a script, no problem. But when he puts the same request to a Christian director, there's a lot more resistance. I wonder why. We agreed that in all our time of attending theatre, we'd never heard the complaint that a play would have been so much better with more swearing.
Then Charles Price spoke. He is the pastor of People's Church in Toronto and speaker on the popular weekly TV program Living Truth. What a great communicator! Not only is he a fabulous story teller with a dry sense of humor but also a meaty, interesting, and inspiring Bible teacher.
Living Truth is now being broadcast in all kinds of places. It can be seen in the U.S., Australia, across India, UK and Europe as well as South Korea.
The Living Truth website has also been updated. Visitors can now get Price's weekly 45-minute message as an MP3 download for the week after it is broadcast. They can also listen to other messages (Resample versions - not quite the entire message it seems). Right now a series on the life of Abraham is running.
Friday, May 30, 2008
We attended an evening with Charles Price event last night -- a dinner/celebration banquet at the Ramada Place Hotel in Abbotsford.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
The Fraser River is high with the spring melt. We walked through the Derby Reach campsite yesterday. Many campsites are occupied - not by campers but water.
The campers who were there didn't seem the least bit concerned, though. I suppose the rise in the river is altogether predictable so if there were danger of even higher water, there would be lots of time to get away.
We walked the Edgewater Bar Trail to Derby, the first Fort Langley. In one place the water was about to nibble at our toes.
For comparison of how much the river has risen, this photo of the cutaway bank near the Derby heritage cairn was taken in January this year...
and this is what it looked like yesterday.
Our pastor (Brent Cantelon) began a series on the Holy Spirit last Sunday morning (May 18th). First message: "Something New in the Holy Spirit."
Also last Sunday night Mike Pilavachi from England -- former pastor to Matt Redman and Tim Hughes, now working with Soul Survivor -- spoke on "The Gift of Prophecy - Hearing God Speak."
Saturday, May 24, 2008
When FBI agent James Benedict books a two-week holiday on a cruise ship to Hawaii, he doesn't expect to be working through much of it. But one after another, passengers who are perfectly healthy die painful and grotesque deaths, and he quickly finds himself in the thick of a mystery. Are these deaths caused by a virus that will inevitably infect the whole ship, or a poison targeting a select few? If the latter, is a passenger or crew member the murderer? In Vengeance Donna Dawson weaves a cat-and-mouse tale of death and investigation on the high seas.
Back in San Diego, Benedict's girlfriend, Dr. Julie Holding, fellow member of the FBI and a psychologist, has her own challenges. How will she get traumatized abuse victim, six-year-old Cassandra, to talk again, let alone trust a man? Her nightly conversations with James are sweet therapy for both of them, until the deadly plot begins to engulf him too. Will she be next?
The plot smells sinister right from its chilling Nunavut "Prelude." The cruise ship setting of most of the story, with its atmosphere of vacationing passengers immersed in relaxation and amenities, is a perfect foil for the gruesome death that stalks the ship. The plot plays out like a movie as we segue from one action scene to another, following James, then the killer, looking in on James's boss Steve in San Diego's FBI headquarters, even flashing occasionally to the dark mastermind in his bunker on shore.
Though the sleuthing makes steady progress, it continues to lag one step behind the criminals till the end, when even our seasoned investigator is shocked by who the perpetrator turns out to be. The romantic sub-plot adds a human touch and gives us a break from the tense on-board scenes.
Main character James Benedict is drawn realistically, though to be honest I was far more involved in following the plot than getting to know him - competent investigator and lovelorn swain that he is. Ditto for his sweety, Julie Holding. The most interesting of the characters was Nam, the shadowy figure who haunts the tale from its beginning and who shows himself to be a genius in loyalty, obsession and evil.
Dawson's crisp writing style and cryptic dialogue fit this action-packed tale. Her story-telling instincts are evident throughout as we get just the right amount of information and at the right time to keep the story a tantalizing bob and weave till the end.
The desire for vengeance is an idea that not only generates the plot, but is the theme that flows through plot and subplot too. Nam answers his need for revenge one way. Little Cassandra, with Julie's guidance, arrives at an entirely different answer on how to handle hideous evil, fleshing out the Bible saying, "A little child shall lead them."
Vengeance is a suspense thriller that will put you in an oblivious-to-time space. Just block off an afternoon to read the whole thing - because you won't be able to put it down anyway.
Donna Dawson 's web site
Friday, May 23, 2008
Lawyers should never ask a Mississippi grandma a question if they aren't prepared for the answer.
In a trial, a Southern small-town attorney called his first witness, a grandmotherly, elderly woman to the stand. He approached her and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know me?"
She responded, "Why yes, I do know you, Mr. Williams. I've known you since you were a boy, and frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, and you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you're a big shot when you haven't the brains to realize you'll never amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you."
The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, "Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?"
She again replied, "Why yes, I do. I've known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster too. He's lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. He can't build a normal relationship with anyone, and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women. One of them was your wife. Yes, I know him."
The defense attorney nearly died.
The judge asked both counselors to approach the bench and, in a very quiet voice said, "If either of you idiots asks her if she knows me, I'll send you both to the electric chair."
Thursday, May 22, 2008
From the Steven Curtis Chapman web site:
MARIA SUE CHAPMAN, DAUGHTER OF STEVEN CURTIS CHAPMAN, DIES IN ACCIDENT AT FAMILY HOME
NASHVILLE, TN...5/21/08... At approximately 5pm on the afternoon of Wednesday May 21st, Maria Sue Chapman, 5 years old and the youngest daughter to Steven and Mary Beth Chapman was struck in the driveway of the Chapman home in Franklin, TN. Maria was rushed to Vanderbilt Childrens Hospital in Nashville, transported by LifeFlight, but died of her injuries there. Maria is one of the close knit family’s six children and one of their three adopted daughters.
How unthinkable (especially since the person driving the vehicle was one of their teenage sons). This family needs our prayers.
They have set up a blog In Memory of Maria with a YouTube video celebrating little Maria.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Every year around this time wisteria transforms ordinary looking woody vines into romantic bowers. Here are a few facts about this most beautiful of flowering vines.
~ Wisteria is a member of the pea family.
~ It likes well-drained acid soil and lots of sun.
~ It is known for its hardiness, vigor, longevity, and the ability to climb high. But it needs support.
~ It can be grown in a barrel or other large container.
~ Wisteria grown from seed may take 10 - 15 years to bloom. Choose grafted plants or those grown from root cuttings.
~ Wisteria blooms in colors from white to purple, and also pink.
~ It has a beautiful fragrance.
~ Regular pruning helps it bloom more extravagantly.
~ It can live for 50 years or more and grow up to 38 cm. in diameter.
I don't own a wisteria. Every spring when I see them bloom, I wish I did.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
So you want to be a writer? Keeping Heinlein's Rules will help.
In his article "On Writing" Canadian Sci Fi writer Robert Sawyer lists Heinlein's Rules and shows how only one or two out of 100 people will actually follow through to success. Are you one of them?
Rule #1 - You must write.
Rule #2 - Finish what you start.
Rule #3 - You must refrain from rewriting, except to editorial order.
Rule #4 - You must put your story on the market.
Rule #5 - You must keep it on the market until it has sold.
Sawyer's sixth rule:
Rule #6 - Start working on something else.
"On Writing" by Robert Sawyer. (Though Robert A. Heinlein and Sawyer are both science fiction writers, I'd say Heinlein's rules and Sawyer's explanation apply to writing of all kinds.)
Hat Tip: Quiet Life
Saturday, May 17, 2008
“Take care o’ the wee ones. Don’t let them out o’ yer sight. D’ya hear me lass?”
“I hear ya, Da,” Maelle gasped.
These are the last words Da and Maelle ever speak to each other. That night a tenement fire takes the life of both her parents. Maelle Gallagher, her little brother Mattie and baby sister Molly are quickly shipped from New York to Missouri. There, much to Maelle’s dismay, they are claimed by different families. And thus begins her search to find the siblings she feels she’s abandoned so she can keep her promise to her father.
In Kim Vogel Sawyer's My Heart Remembers, we follow the lives of the three children from New York in 1886 to Shay’s Ford Missouri, where most of the story takes place seventeen years later, in 1903.
Sawyer succeeds in portraying three very different, believable and complex characters. The story is rewarding character-wise as each shows their stuff when put in the vise of circumstances. What will bring Maelle to confront the ghosts of her past that keep her dressed in trousers and men’s shirts? Will Jenks’ presence force Matt to go on the lam yet again? Will Molly ever get off her high horse of breeding and convention? Though Maelle and Mattie were my favorites, bossy Molly did grow on me so that by the end I applauded with the rest when lawyer Harders comes through for her.
The plot is a braiding of the experiences and lives of the siblings. When, independent of the others, each finds their way to Shay’s Ford, I knew their meeting was inevitable. Still Sawyer held my interest by keeping her characters in hot water. Something is always going awry for one or the other with scarcely a peaceful interlude, and she kept me in anticipation of the big reveal until the last possible minute.
Sawyer’s writing style is clear and not show-offy. She spells out some conversations in Irish brogue, but uses it sparingly enough that it doesn’t get in the way of a smooth read. Because the third person narrative switches among three characters, the chapter headings, with the name of the viewpoint character, place and date, helped me to keep on top of whose story I was following, where I was and how much time had elapsed from previous scenes.
Not surprisingly, one of the story’s main concerns is with family. The seriousness of having no family is underlined when the author introduces us, through a skinny little wastrel named Petey, to the child labor situation widespread in America in the early 1900s. The theme of justice for society’s most vulnerable runs through the book. The theme of faith is also prominent. Main characters all subscribe to a Christian worldview and numerous times the story illustrates the importance of faith in God who sees each one no matter how alone and destitute.
This is the first book I’ve read by Kim Vogel Sawyer and I was surprised at how effortlessly it went down. I credit her plotting skill, which kept me turning just one more page, and another, and another. For fans of Americana with a dash of innocent romance, My Heart Remembers is an obvious and no-risk choice. Load your beach bag with more than this one book, though, because you’ll be finished before you know it.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Gospel singer, songwriter Dottie Rambo was killed in a bus accident in Missouri Sunday morning. This prolific songwriter was renowned for such Gospel classics as "He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need," "We Shall Behold Him” and “I Go to the Rock.”
A bit more about her life (from a news bulletin distributed by Strang Communications - Charisma Mag):
Born in Kentucky, Rambo began writing songs at age 8 and launched a full-time music career at age 12. Married to Buck Rambo at age 16, she toured widely with her husband and their daughter, Reba, as The Rambos for several decades.
Through the course of her career, the Dove and Grammy Award winner wrote more than 2,500 published songs...
(Check out this list of songs written by her.)
This 74-year-old singer was making a comeback after the difficult '90s which included a divorce from Buck Rambo, two ruptured disks and many back surgeries. Her '08 summer schedule was full. She was also going to release a new CD this summer.
On her MySpace page you can hear her sing one of my favorites: "I Shall Behold Him." Just think - she has now done what she has dreamed of for so long.
Title: A Tale of Two Kingdoms
Author: Heather A. Kendall
Publisher: Essence Publishing, 2006
Genre: Bible Study, Reference
When Heather Kendall's pastor began teaching things with which she couldn't agree, she found herself studying the Bible in depth on her own. The result was a Bible study that morphed into A Tale of Two Kingdoms, a 448-page book that traces the story, from Genesis to Revelation, of the kingdom of God in collision with the kingdom of Satan.
In this ambitious project, Kendall takes us on an overview trip through the Old Testament, the inter-testament writings (Apocrypha), the New Testament, and looks at a few post- New Testament writers as well. Throughout the journey she draws attention to the unity of the Bible's message, i.e. that it was God's plan to defeat Satan by sending His Son (called the "promised Seed"), to die a substitutionary death for sinful humanity, and then be resurrected to render death and Satan's kingdom impotent.
The book is organized into two main sections. "Part 1: Waiting for the Promised Seed" - an 11-chapter section that covers the Old Testament, and "Part 2: Responding to the Promised Seed" - a five-chapter section that deals with Jesus, his life, death, resurrection, the birth of the church and early church writings. An appendix, timeline, endnotes, bibliography and index complete the volume.
Pages are clearly laid out with white space separating the parts written by Kendall from block quotes of others and italicized sections quoted from the Bible. Bits of the text in non-outlined text boxes, one or two per page spread, add more visual interest. The end of each chapter lists "Points to Ponder," where the author summarizes the main ideas covered.
Kendall is a self-admitted lay person and writes in a language that's easy to understand. However, she has obviously done lots of research, given the number of expert opinions she quotes. She uses personal and family vignettes as illustrations and these give the book a warm, friendly touch.
A Tale of Two Kingdoms will appeal to those interested in an overview of the Bible, especially as it relates to the plan of salvation. Kendall interprets the Bible literally. Her approach to it is uncritical and enthusiastic, and she frequently invites readers to join her in her faith.
People who are entirely unfamiliar with the Bible may feel challenged in places where Kendall gets right into things without explaining who the characters are and precisely where they fit into the larger story. But those who have even a nodding familiarity with the Bible shouldn't find this a problem. Of course the time line at the back of the book also helps keep all the people and events in order. The bibliography is a great list of additional resources for the keen student.
This comprehensive yet concise guidebook would make a valuable addition to any Bible student's library. For more information on the author and a free pdf download of the first chapter, go to Kendall's Web site.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Changing of the Guard
Lately the old mothers
have been slipping from their places
vacating strategic positions
in the front line
A new generation
of matriarchs is needed
to organize the family dinners
the baby showers and the anniversaries
and send the birthday cheques
There's a call for fresh recruits
a newly commissioned troop
of kneeling warriors
arms raised in petition and praise,
blessing the infants and the in-laws
interceding for the prodigals
guarding the walls of the family
- c. 2007 by Violet Nesdoly
The photo above is my beautiful mum at sixteen. She died at 92 years in June of 2006. The photo below was taken May 19, 2006, the last time we took her on a fun outing -- to the beach at White Rock.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
Now here's a sweet Safeway gas price if you ever saw one.
But if you think that's the whole story - sorry! The price is posted in full on the pump (*sigh*)
Rebecca Writes is doing a May series on the price of gas. Post the price of gas where you live - then whisk on over there, let her know and she'll link to you in a Friday Gas Up post.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
When the problem of huge water bills came up at our strata council meeting in December, it never occurred to me the issue might impact close to home. For months a certain water meter connected to our complex has been registering unusually high usage. The city was blamed, the water meter was blamed. Several weeks ago we watched from our back patio window as city engineers gathered around the manhole in the walk behind us, discussed, watched, scratched their heads and finally replaced the water meter.
Yesterday plumbing trucks arrived at the complex. Apparently the new meter was still registering high volumes, and the boys from the plumbing company had come to sleuth out the source of the problem. They finally isolated it as a leak in a length of underground pipe that supplies the water to our building's sprinkling system. Twenty four cubic feet of water per day has been escaping!
And so began the big dig, by hand because digging is a delicate operation around a maze of pipes and wires -- and water! This was the sight from my back patio this morning.
We not only have this slurry of water-drenched earth in our back yard but high piles in the side yard and the front yard. It's a mess!
Hopefully tomorrow the fix will be complete, they can fill in the well they've dug and I will be able to again find my side garden.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Christian morality and Canadian Human Rights Commissions come to blows again. This time in Ontario, where the OHRC has come down hard on Christian Horizons, a mission to the developmentally challenged. A condition of employment at Christian Horizons is that staff sign the mission's code of conduct which includes a ban on unbiblical sexual behavior such as adultery, sex before marriage and homosexuality.
This was challenged when a former lesbian employee took the matter to the OHRC, alleging that Christian Horizons had discriminated against her (whether she resigned or was fired is not clear).
The result, as reported by Nigel Hannaford in the Calgary Herald:
The OHRC... order(ed) Christian Horizons to pay her money. And to change its culture. "Christian Horizons shall develop and adopt an anti-discrimination and an anti-harassment policy as well as a human rights training program for all employees and managers . . . [and] shall cease and desist from imposing the Lifestyle and Morality Statement as a condition of employment."
This ruling despite the fact that Canada needs Christian organizations to help deal with the poor, destitute and marginalized. Michael Coren (Toronto Sun):
Quite simply, without Christian groups and Christian people the social welfare network of Canada would collapse. This is not hyperbole. Walk along almost any main street and look at the names of the houses, associations and institutes that care for the poor, the abused, the marginalized, irrespective of their gender, race, religion or sexuality.
Christian welfare groups tend to be the most successful in dealing with the needy, much of their work is performed by volunteers and most of their money comes from donations.They are motivated by their faith -- the same faith that leads them to sign morality statements and not to lie, cheat, be promiscuous or, sorry, engage in homosexual sex. Goodness, this isn't brain surgery. If people want to be homosexual, that is their business. If people want to be Christian, it should be theirs.
Aside from wringing our hands, what can Christians do?
1. We can pray. "If my people, who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14
(Personally I've taken to praying against HRCs in an imprecatory Psalm way - using words from Psalm 40: "Let them (HRCs) be ashamed and brought to mutual confusion, Let them be driven backward and brought to dishonor. Let them be confounded because of their shame.")
2. We need to get used to the idea that the days of the state and church working together are pretty much over in Canada. For far too long we've been silenced by the fear that our speaking out will compromise our church's tax-exempt status. Personally, I think we should repudiate that status and refuse to take any public monies, even though this would have huge ramifications, especially on Christian schools. And it probably wouldn't stop the HRCs from coming after us. But at least they would no longer have the "public money" reason to bully us on matters of morality.
Monday, May 05, 2008
Tulips in the quaint little town of Lynden Washington, where we went last Thursday to celebrate my birthday.
Lynden is very Dutch - as you can see by the building details and the windmill that dominates Front Street.
We had lunch at the Dutch Mother's Restaurant (a Reuben sandwich for him, turkey/craisin/Oriental dressing salad for her with coconut cream and bumbleberry pies for dessert). This giant mural in the room where we ate made us feel like we were actually eating in a sidewalk cafe in the old country.
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Update Sunday night:
I found a new player - Finetune. Player is in the right sidebar, top right under "jukebox" (looks just like the picture on the right). Click on the arrow to start the music. If you want it to stop and the controls have disappeared, simply mouse-hover over the music box and they'll appear again.
Do you hear it? Silence. No more music. When I checked the Sonific website this morning, after noticing my player hasn't been working in the last few days, I discovered that it is no more, due to music licensing issues. I'm sad. Explanation is here.
Friday, May 02, 2008
John Piper begins his article "Don't Waste Your Cancer":
I write this on the eve of prostate surgery. I believe in God’s power to heal—by miracle and by medicine. I believe it is right and good to pray for both kinds of healing. Cancer is not wasted when it is healed by God. He gets the glory and that is why cancer exists. So not to pray for healing may waste your cancer. But healing is not God’s plan for everyone. And there are many other ways to waste your cancer. I am praying for myself and for you that we will not waste this pain.
He goes on to list and elaborate on 10 ways you can waste your cancer. Here are some of them:
1. You will waste your cancer if you do not believe it is designed for you by God.
2. You will waste your cancer if you believe it is a curse and not a gift.
3. You will waste your cancer if you seek comfort from your odds rather than from God.
4. You will waste your cancer if you refuse to think about death.
and so on.
Go and read this thought-provoking and encouraging article, then pass it on to your friends.
Hat Tip: LC (Practical Faith)