Random thoughts and such

A new way of foot washing

This Sunday Paul was preaching on Jesus washing the disciples’ feet. Bruce was overseeing the music and response times. He brought towels and set up chairs at the front of the service. I thought, “What is he going to make us do this time?”

Well, after an amazing worship based prayer time Paul spoke on John 13 where Jesus washed His followers’ feet. He really focused on how we are to FOLLOW Jesus in His self-sacrifice. (We keep telling people to be leaders when the Bible simply and clearly tells us exactly how to be good Jesus followers.) It was great to be reminded that its not the exact act of bathing someone that Jesus wanted us to copy Him in. But to serve one another. To not consider any task too low for us or any person too high or low for us to care for.

Afterwards, instead of just playing a song and praying. Bruce encouraged us (music soft, lights all on, everyone aware) to come forward if you would like prayer and someone would wash their feet with prayer and encouragement. The towel was a symbol as we sat at one anothers’ feet and prayed a blessing over them, speaking words of encouragement to them and giving them love.  When we were done, we were to pass the towel to the next person waiting to pray. There was so much prayer this night!  We were hard pressed to get everyone to be done (we did not want to rush this precious time) so we could move on to the birthday party that was ready for us all in the next room.  But what a wonderful time of communing with the Lord and each other!

I encourage you to be a follower. Be a true follower of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and enjoy the sweet fellowship of community.


We have always been worried about life after death

For Millennia human beings have been concerned about what happens after they die. We have been aware that we cannot just leave our bodies to rot and be eaten by a larger predator but need to be cared for with respect.

The Native Irish from almost 5000 years ago knew this as well. They built difficult and elaborate burial tombs for their dead and had concern for their afterlife experiences.  When someone says this concern for Heaven or Hell is purely because of Christian influence, they have little understanding of general widespread human history. (I am NOT claiming to be at all an expert in this area. I am simply looking at the facts presented by different cultures.)

I was both sad and excited to find this yesterday on our drive around the Irish countryside. Sad because it is a burial tomb. Upon further study on www.ancientireland.com when I got home, I read :

“Excavation in 1938 found the remains of both unburnt and cremated human remains of at least eight adults and four children in the main chamber, with evidence of further remains in a cist in the portico, gallery walls and immediately outside the gallery. A considerable amount of pottery was also excavated from the tomb and immediate surrounding area, the majority being of the Beaker type, with some Neolithic shards as well as flint scrapers.”

So I was sad because this was the resting place of at least a dozen human beings. I learned that the average life expectancy of the people of this era was only 30 years. So these people could have been our children and grandchildren. I was also saddened because I don’t know what understanding they would have had of God. But I must leave that concern to His care as He did those with Noah’s extended family. Europe’s largest Stone Circle is not very far from this Tomb. So something of a religious nature occurred here.  The Druids reigned over the Celtic peoples for many, many generations with a limited understanding of life and death. We don’t know what concern they really had for life, but these massive tombs show evident concern for the afterlife.

I was excited because it was obvious they cared for these people. These stones are HUGE! I do not know how they could have moved them but it was certainly not a singular person’s effort. We humans have always cared for one another! We have both rejoiced with and mourned deeply over each other. It excites me to know people lived here, died here, and we cherished here. As best they knew how.

It excites me to think that we have been welcomed to this ancient land to share the secret it’s people have sought for so long! “What happen’s after we die?” We have Almighty God who will determine our destination. But we must tell people about Him and hopefully introduce them to Him before they stand before Him.

There is so much more that could be said and probably a lot I have said naively, But suffice it to say, this find made me think.

This is a Wedge Tomb at Lough Gur, co. Limerick. Its locally known as “the Giant’s Grave”.


Snow is coming!

Snow is apparently coming to Ireland! A blizzard! Weather Status Orange!
The country is trying to prepare as many inches of snow are expected by Thursday night over much of the country.  This sounds kinda funny to a Canadian doesn’t it? But imagine, dear fellow Canucks, if Canada did not own a snow plow, proper sanding trucks or armies of plowmen who did this job everyday for 6 months of the year. Imagine that you do not own winter boots, or “real” winter gloves or a warm touque. You don’t own a brush or a scrapper. Your car doesn’t have a block heater, snow tires, cold weather washer fluid, cold weather oil in the engine. Imagine not owning a shovel to shovel yourself and your 2 wheel drive economy car out of your driveway. Imagine your street being lined with cars so tight that only one car can pass through and then pour a foot of snow on top. Oh! And every street has huge speed humps every 50 feet or so. Plowing would be a nightmare anyways!

Imagine 3 days before the storm is supposed to hit, every shelf in the grocery store being emptied of milk and bread.  the average Irish home that is not in the city is really quite difficult to get to when the weather is not great. Many homes are still heated with smokeless Coal bricks, Peat bricks or wood. Heating oil is not pumped in from the city but from a drum in your back yard. If you are not prepared, you will freeze. Temperature are so very different because of the humidity. Damp makes is feel so much colder and that cold gets right into your bones. Already one pet has died due to the cold.

We received a message from our electricity provider today reminding us to ‘top-up’ our pre-pay electric so we won’t run out before the storm has cleared. Plans are being made on a NATIONAL level for what to do when it snows!

All this seems like overkill, BUT actually its good. As a Canadian who has weathered many a storm in the far north, We just naturally were prepared. It was instinct. The Irish are instinctive about rain and wind…not snow. Not in March. Never in March. So is this overkill? Nope, I don’t think so. we always had snacks, water, a blanket and a candle with matches in our car for any trip in winter. That was common sense.

I look forward to what a blizzard looks like here. (I do love a good blizzard!) But I hope everyone takes it seriously. Its better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. I will let you know if it comes and what things are like at that time. Until then, please pray for Ireland in the face of this winter storm.

Changes Everywhere … Almost

Changes are always happening, some are bigger than others.  Sometimes we have great frustration with change, while other times we embrace what is new with great joy!

There is nothing permanent except change. -Heraclitus

It is quite true that change always happens and is all around us.  In fact it is in us and through us as well. So we live as agents of change, we go through each day changing and causing change.  For us lately it has been a large amount of web site and other related changes.  This can be frustrating at times but as it comes together and you get closer to the completed project it can be full of joy and fun.  It really is like that in most of life.

Times of frustration and times of joy.  I often find myself trying to avoid the frustrations while I seek the joys of life. Yet as I ponder this I think that I would not truly appreciate the joys if I never had the frustrations.  In fact I probably would never get to the times of joy without the frustrating times because it is in those frustrating times we learn so much and that learning moves us closer to the joy.  But enough about web sites and such trivial matters.

Then as I sipped my coffee I realized that these trivial matters were actually deeper realities for my spiritual life.  My Christian Faith is full of change.  I am not who I used to be and I am full of hope that I am not yet who I will be.  You see the Gospel of Jesus is totally “Transformational”.

Nothing changes you like Jesus.  He took me at my worst and still loved me.  He saw the huge mess of my sin and instead of walking away from me He cleaned it all up, removing its stains with His very blood.  Not only did He make me clean but He forgave me for my rebellion.  You see we as humanity are living as enemies of God. We strive to serve ourselves instead of God.  Yet even though we deserve eternal punishment for such treason, Jesus the very Son of God come in the flesh, willingly sacrificed himself so that I would never have to endure the judgement of God.  He took me and made me “New”, a new person, re-born.  Then He made me a part of His family, a child of God and the whole deal was sealed by God the Holy Spirit taking up residence inside of me.  Talk about change!!  WOW!

You see God (Father,Son,Spirit) changes me because His changes are what I need so that I can live for Him and with Him for eternity.  But God never changes.  Sure He does a lot of things and not always the same way, but He never changes.  He never messes up (like me) and tries again.  He never has to learn a better way to do something.  He never has to grow in His understanding.

He is the Eternal Creator, Sustainer of all things, All Powerful, All Knowing, All Seeing, having all knowledge and Wisdom, Nothing escapes Him, Nothing is outside His grasp, He is near to us and He is everywhere.  The fullness of all perfection exists only in God and as such cannot be improved upon and cannot be lost.  God is truly AMAZING!  But me well I continue to drink my coffee and ponder how I will have to change more tomorrow. 🙂