Archive for April, 2008

Measuring the right things

I was trying to think up an analogy the other day for the church. I was wondering what sort of metaphor could capture how much we miss the point in our faith. If the essence of the gospel is trusting in Christ and his love while being transformed in to his likeness how did we get to the place we are now. If the church is a body held together in sincere love, empowered by the Spirit working through every member why are things the way they are?

If the church were a business we would measure our profit and if we weren’t making enough we would change. If we were a hospital we would measure how many of the sick and injured become healthier. If we were a vocational training institute we would measure how many people get jobs and keep them in their area of training.

Now imagine a school that measured how much people enjoyed the classes, how great the day care was, how inspiring the teacher was, the levels of enrolment and the amount of funding they had but only passively cared about the success of their graduates in the workplace. That my friends describes most of the church in North America today.

We need to change what we measure and how we measure our success.

· Do people have a proper understanding of the gospel?

· Do they love the people that can offer them nothing in return?

· Are people willing to sacrifice for others?

· Are people becoming more like Christ in their values and behaviour?

· Do they have life and freedom?

If we considered these things, we would realize the state we are in and we would change. As long as we measure things based on our own personal satisfaction or by the markers of organizational success we will miss the point.


A way that is beyond comparison

The simple church I’m a part of is in an excellent place.  I can only speak for myself but I don’t know if I’ve ever been a part of something that so consistently makes a positive difference in my life.  I don’t know if others could say the same but I do know that some people are in a better place than they were a couple of months ago and I know some people have found warmth and acceptance.  They feel at home.

What am I learning through this?  I think Jesus was right.  Yep, that is it.  I think Jesus is right.  "No one has greater love than this — that one lays down his life for his friends."  There are people in this church that show genuine care and concern for me that extends beyond meetings.  It is wonderful to know I have friends that will respond to me when I reveal my weakness and even my sin.

At its heart ministry it isn’t about models, mission, church size, location, finances or a whole bunch of other stuff we focus on.  At the core it is sacrificial love.  It is what Paul spoke of when he said "And now I will show you a way that is beyond comparison."

If your concept of ministry gives you abundant opportunities to serve people in the context of sincere loving relationships then you will see things change.  If your concept of ministry is filled with any number of good things but insulates and isolates people from each other through complicated structures, theology or busyness then it will not change anything.

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Natural Gas Prices

Here in Saskatchewan we are somewhat shielded from the wild fluctuations of the price of natural gas in the markets. If I did my conversions correct we pay about $7 per 1000 cubic feet of natural gas. Currently the market price is $10. CIBC chief economist believes that the price of oil and natural gas is only going to go higher in the future.  SaskEnergy purchases natural gas on the market and resells it at cost to Saskatchewan consumers.  If the price of natural gas doesn’t settle from its current highs this fall we are looking at least a 30% increase in on our SaskEnergy bill. 

If you have the time and money it is time to insulate your house or upgrade to a high efficiency furnace.  Geothermal is becoming a much more viable option.  Right now the cost of heating your home using geothermal in Saskatchewan is less expensive than high efficiency natural gas.  High-efficiency natural gas is much cheaper to install.  However if you add 30-40% on to your natural gas bill it starts to get more competitive.  All things considered it cheaper to retain heat than it is to generate it regardless of the source.

If you are a homeowner get the EnerGuide for homes audit and start working.

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Al Gore: New Thinking on the climate crisis

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This is the judgement, that the light has come into the world

John 3:19-21 NRSV

19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God."

I believe the church needs to come to better understand John’s metaphor of God being the light.  God’s light is a judgement.  Here there is no tension between understanding God’s light, life, love and holiness.  They all expose the darkness that exists in all of us.  There are two directions we can go.  We can courageously walk toward the light even though it shows us what we really are, what we are ashamed to be.  We can embrace the darkness as we hide from ourselves and run from the truth.

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Petition to Restore Funding to Station 20 West in Saskatoon

I signed it.  If you live in Saskatchewan consider sending our premier a message.  You can sign it here.

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Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey goodbye

Goodbye Oilers, your playoff hopes left you today, goodbye…goodbye…goodbye.