Archive for March, 2007

Mike Holmes wannabe

Mike Holmes wannabe


My wife is gone on a retreat.  Just before she went we dropped by Costco to pick up some snacks.  I also picked up Mike Holme’s book on home rennovation.  After reading the book and religiously watching his show on HGTV I felt inspired.  The basement in our home needs some serious cosmetic work.  Two rooms in particular.  Carol and decided that we were going to gut our storage room.  I’m planning through some insulation strategies and I kind of need to know how much the basement is insulated. 

I went in to the room we decided to gut and discovered that the walls were actually painted wood panels.  No insulation behind them.  Just tar paper and concrete.  I was curious about the family room (or man cave as it is called around here).  So I pulled one of the zillion strips of wood nailed along the wall.  These strips are particularly ugly and they won’t make it through any rennovation.  I find gyproc.  I keep digging and I find plaster.  Mmmmmmm……   But now I really can’t make heads or tails out of this thing.  I need a bigger viewing area.  More strips of wood come off, then more and more.  Next I’m unscrewing the drywall.  My dad and brother show up.  Funny how little projects can snow ball.  Next we hammer off the plaster and through the original wood and find tar paper and concrete.  So this room isn’t properly insulated, it just has several layers of crap on the wall. 

I might as well keep going.  I start pulling more and more strips.  David starts helping.  As soon as power tools are involved David is ready and willing.  Now I have a huge pile of stuff to haul out of the house.  I’m relatively sure Carol won’t mind the disappearance of the wood strips, even if it means looking at the original plaster…but I’m pretty sure she wouldn’t like to come home to a mess. So I could be in trouble. 

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It is not the church, it is the disciples

It is not the church, it is the disciples

The title of this post has been rolling around in my head. I don’t think it is tremendously profound and at any time in the last few years I would have readily agreed with it. The premise behind the phrase is taking on a new dimension in my life. 

Mark Trew and I formed our first “Life Transformation Group.”  It seemed like a good idea as we’ve incorporated them in to our church network strategy.  An LTG is a very simple approach to peer discipleship. Two or three people get together. Those in the LTG read 25-30 chapters of scripture a week. Then they get together once a week to talk, share, pray and confess sin. No special materials and no complicated program. When it grows to 4 split it apart and keep going. I’ve heard other missional church advocates talk about doing similar kinds of things. 

After two weeks in I’m finding I really like it and I wonder whether the success of some simple church networks can be attributed as much to the peer to peer discipleship than anything else.   One of the key components of the LTG is the confession of sin. It is something that just doesn’t happen in large groups or small groups. Could it be that a big part of transforming the church is cleaning out our lives? Do we tinker with programs and services because it distracts us from facing the hard reality of our own sin?

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Delusional Calgaria

Delusional Calgaria


Did you move to Calgary in hopes of better life?  Have you convinced yourself that working long hours, spending hours in traffic and spending a half a million dollars on a house is part of the big life?  You might be suffering from Delusional Calgaria!

Click here to see some good down to earth Nova Scotians have an intervention for their prodigal son.

For all those in Atlantic Canada that think Alberta is the promised land, think again.  Saskatoon is!  Move to Saskatchewan.  It’s like Alberta except a lot cheaper and less traffic!

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Calvert vrs Vellacott: The battle of dumb and dumber

Calvert vrs Vellacott: The battle of dumb and dumber

 

Ever since Paul Martin in his oh so infinite wisdom decided to introduce side deals for provinces on equalization our fine premier has been beating his drum about fairness for Saskatchewan. The province has been doing so well financially that for us to get more money from the federal government we would need all the cash we get from our natural resources cut out of the calculations. If Nova Scotia can get a bigger piece of the pie why can’t we?

I can understand the selfish reasons why we would do this but the whole notion irritates me. Saskatchewan has enough money. There are far better ways to boost government revenue through growth in the economy. All this bickering between the provinces and the federal government is a complete waste of time. Stop asking the federal government for stupid side deals and concentrate on managing this boom. This is dumb.

Here comes the dumber! Harper and his blue minions promised Saskatchewan that it would keep all of its natural resource cash. About 800 million dollars! There was no small print, no but ifs. When the budget was unveiled we found out  all that natural resource cash will be capped at just over 200 million dollars.   Premier Calvert is calling this a broken promise. He even brought out a fundraising brochure sent out in Harper’s name that promised Saskatchewan could keep “100 percent of your oil and gas revenues. No small print. No excuses. No caps.” I don’t know how anyone could convince themselves this isn’t a broken promise. Yet someone has.

Enter the white knight of truthiness: Maurice Vellacott! Who is claiming the Calvert is lying through his teeth. Instead of admitting the truth the un-caped moral crusader is flinging insults at the premier!  He calls Calvert a “socialist” (unlike those far right wing New Democrats) who can’t handle economic prosperity. 

It is bad enough that you are so ineffective that you can’t get your own party leader to own up to his own promises. It is bad enough that you can’t admit the plain truth that is obvious to anyone with a streak of honesty. Why go around insulting people who can be justifiably upset over a broken promise?

I am so glad I’m in Carol Skelton’s riding now. 

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Incentives and Rebates to improve your home!

Incentives and Rebates to improve your home!


Incentives and Rebates

Incentives and Rebates

Take advantage of grants, rebates, discounts and other incentives available to help you use less energy, switch to renewable energy and produce less waste at home and on the road.

If you are Canadian check it out here.

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Speaking of drunken sailors : Saskatchewan NDP

Speaking of drunken sailors : Saskatchewan NDP


Saskatchewan is swimming in cash. Oil revenues are up, grain prices are up, uranium prices are up, federal transfers are up and we run a ½ billion dollar deficit. Can there be no limit to NDP spending?

One would think that they might spend some money on supposedly NDP priorities like the environment. Nothing. Zilch. Nada.

What are they spending money on? People 65 and over will only have to pay $15.00 for a prescription even if they have one million in the bank. Instead of creating a business climate that creates careers they are bribing postsecondary students to stay in the province with a $10,000 income tax break!  If it is so great in Saskatchewan and people are moving back why do we have to bribe people to stay?

I wonder if Roy Romanow thought his "rainy day fund" would continue to be dipped into with record government revenues in a surging economy.

With less than one million people and eight billion dollars in spending that comes out to $8000 per person. This is insanity. I think there’s a role for government in society but this is ridiculous. Honestly, I’d vote for a potato to get rid of Lorne Calvert.

We need a change in government in the worst way!

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My apologies to Mulroney

My apologies to Mulroney


It turns out that Mulroney was positively prudent compared the drunken sailors we have at the helm now.

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Blue Label Big Spending Liberal Budget

Blue Label Big Spending Liberal Budget


There really isn’t a fiscally conservative party in Canada.  Harper has spent nearly every extra cent he has on tax cuts and new spending.  I’m starting to wonder if the two main parties we have to choose from are as different as a Ford Tempo and Mercury Topaz.  Pretty much the exact same car from different dealers.  Perhaps some of the trim or the styling is a bit different.  I can understand why someone would like one over the other based on a few issues.  

I don’t understand the fear, loathing and hatred Cons have the Libs and vice versa.  Any left-wing characterization of this budget as heartless is completely disengenous.  Any Conservative that thinks that somehow this blue label big spending budget is somehow different from any Liberal budget is fooling themselves.  I’d say there have been some Liberal budgets that are much fiscally prudent than this one.  Liberals actually cut income taxes!

People will say Harper is just playing nice because he is in a minority situation.  Is that any reason to come up with a budget that increased spending 25 billion dollars?!  Has Harper been drinking orange cool aid from across the aisle?

I thought Jack Layton made an utter fool of himself.  He said this budget did nothing for working families.  May I refer him to the huge tax break I’m going to get for each of the 3 kids in my house?

Do I like this budget?  It is great for me but not that great for the country.  The fiscally conservative part of me really liked the Liberal practice of underestimating revenue and putting the "unexpected" surplus against the debt.  I don’t see Harper giving us as much of a buffer.  I see this kind of big government spending coupled with tax breaks and I think Brian Mulroney.

As much as I benefit from the big tax break I would have rather seen something  applied equally across the board.  This type of tax exemption is clearly intended to buy votes from a very specific demographic.  Harper has a way of coming up with very politically strategic policy rather than what is truly best.  The GST cut is a fine example.

Harper broke a couple more promises.  One to Saskatchewan and another on a capital gains tax exemption.  I think Harper’s promise to Saskatchewan was stupid.  The federal government should give all provinces the same deal.  The funny thing is I’m still  going to hear die hard Cons talk about the broken GST promise.

At the end of the day Quebec gets a few zillion dollars to fix the so called "fiscal imbalance".  Then Charest promises to drop income taxes a few zillion dollars.

It is pretty clear Harper is trying to buy my vote.  I’ll take the cash but he isn’t getting my vote.

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Cultivating a life for God

Cultivating a life for God

Cultivating a life for God is written by Neil Cole of Organic Church fame. It wasn’t until I checked tonight that I saw this book on Amazon. Much to my surprise it was a textbook at Bethany this year. Fortunately for me I was able to pick up a copy at a nice price.  Current thinking in organic church circles stresses the necessity of strong disciples. Cole came up with a simple system to encourage discipleship. He calls them life transformation groups. At first glance it might seem like another cheesy program with overpriced materials. 

Like transformation groups are not really a program in the normal sense. Two people agree to meet once a week, read about 25-30 chapters of scripture, go through some questions together, confess sin and pray. The group can grow to three and then four. After a couple of weeks at four the group splits into two groups of two. There isn’t a designated leader and there are no resources to buy. Because it is based on scripture it doesn’t get dull. If someone in the group doesn’t read the allotted amount of scripture the group reads it again for next week. 

The system is simple, reproducible and it doesn’t cost very much. It gets people interacting with the scripture rather having someone interpret it for them.   Because it is based on mutual submission there is much less chance that someone will be abused by a spiritual authority. 

What I really like about this and other approaches like it is that it assumes that to fix the church you need better disciples of Christ. Models and approaches that focus primarily on church organization are missing this very crucial factor. 

The book is well worth picking up especially at its current price of $10 at Amazon. In the first half of the book Cole builds his case. This wasn’t particularly engaging for me as I didn’t need much convincing. I really enjoyed his story about how life transformation groups came in to practice.  He finishes things off by going through some common questions and objections. 

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Home with Lynae

Home with Lynae


It is just me and my 4 month old girl Lynae at home right now.  As soon as she woke up and realized that her mom is not home she became very upset.  Mom is the centre of the universe right now.  I changed her diaper.  That yielded no positive change.  I immediately went to my trump card…the car seat.  If I swing her in car seat she does settle down as long as I keep swinging.  Unfortunately my arm can only go so long.  Perhaps the battery powered swing will work.  It should as it is pretty much the same motion as the car seat with little dangling fishies.  No go.  I put her in and within moments there is much wailing and screaming.  Ok, pick her up and carry her around.  Things get a little quieter but the situation is not resolved.  Ok, back in the car seat and get her settled again.  Now what?  I grab the remote and turn on the TV.  Not a lot of choices on our TV upstairs.  I go with Tribal Trails!  It worked…for now.  Praise God for Tribal Trails!

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