Sunday, April 29, 2007

A Holy Dissatisfaction

What is the purpose of going to theology conferences? I haven’t gone to very many in my day – though I did have the pleasure of being at Together for the Gospel last year in Louisville.

Why go, though? What’s the point? This time, I decided I wouldn’t go the Refocus Conference in Burnaby (only 11 hours down the road) unless I could take somebody with me. The point of going this time for me was leadership development. Five of us went, including two teens. One of those teens (the other one, not my son), said that what he came away with was a greater sense of the fear of God. That’s a good thing. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of leadership development, so to speak. The four fellows that I went with all really benefitted from this experience. The teaching was terrific.

What about me? Was this trip completely altruistic? Hardly. I really did want to go. There were many things that I learned, but it always takes me a little while to decide what cumulative effect of the conference … was? Is? Will be? For example, last year, it took me months to figure out that I was much more settled in my role as a simple pastor here in Edson: “Preach the Word and Love the People,” is the lasting lesson from last year’s T4G. I had been stressed by all the things I wasn’t getting done.

It was great going to Refocus with the other guys. That was one thing I missed about T4G last year (though it was great to meet new friends there). We had a long trip to reflect on Refocus and we have talked about it since we’ve been home. Mark Driscoll’s charge to make church a “man factory” (point 2 behind the #1 point of keeping Jesus and the Gospel #1) was a real eye-opener. Build men on a healthy foundation of the Gospel and then you will build a healthy church that is missions minded (I still don’t like the word “missional”). That was a very helpful message.

John Piper’s messages were amazing. I’ve heard a lot of Piper, but I think these three messages were the best ever. Wow. Go watch the videos. John Neufeld’s messages were a breath of fresh air (I went to his workshop, too). This from a Vancouver mega-church pastor? Very encouraging. Paul Negrut was my friend Brian’s favorite speaker (though he thought highly of the others). I can see why. His message on Psalm 2 brought perspective to suffering in light of the exclusive Gospel of Jesus Christ as one who has experienced persecution in communist Romania.

I’ll listen to these messages again. I’m sure they will make a difference in our church. With a whole bunch of memories running around in my brain, one thing is rising to the surface already. Yes, my title: A Holy Dissatisfaction.

I believe that Christians should always be content but never satisfied. On the one hand, we are to trust God’s providential care and sovereign purpose for our lives. “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:31-32, ESV). On the other hand, how can we be satisfied with our lives when God is the Gospel? Do we have enough of Him yet?

For instance, I’ve often wondered how the grace and work of Philippians 3:7-14 could be resolved. Sure, Paul says that this righteous is not his own, but it doesn’t seem like he has assurance of his own resurrection and he is consumed with his work, apparently. If we see Paul dissatisfied with his own delight in God Himself as the motivation for the effort, then the passage makes more sense.

If we take the New Testament phrases like “make every effort,” “press on,” “that I might know,” and “work out” as a passion for pleasure in God – a holy dissatisfaction with our current preference for created things rather than the creator – then the picture begins to come into focus. John Piper’s messages last week were masterful. I thought I understood the whole “Desiring God” thing (I read that book years ago), but now I think I’m finally getting it.

I think this concept deserves some fleshing out, so I’ll quit here and do another post with some examples of how this dissatisfaction has been surfacing in my life this week and how it differs from mere restlessness and worldly dissatisfaction.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Short Book Meme

Name three characters (from books)...

1). You wish were real so you could meet them.

Lord Peter Death Bredon Wimsey; Father Brown from the G.K. Chesterton series (I'd rather meet Chesterton, but he wasn't fictional); Gandalf

2). You would like to be.

I'm quite content with being me, but I'll play along: King Frank of Narnia (as long as Juanita can be my Queen Helen); um … this is hard – I have read so little fiction.

3). Who scare you.

Capricorn from Inkheart; Sauron from LOtR (I guess); Mrs. Bennett from Pride and Prejudice (if watching the BBC movie counts).

I'm tagging safe: The Quizzing Nerd; the Pirates / LOtR confused blogger and my wife.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Coming Attractions (?)

I have been honoured with a tag from Chez Kneel. It's short, so I'll try to do that tomorrow.

I have to do some reflections on the Refocus conference in Burnaby, though others have beat me to it. I even have a title "A Holy Dissatisfaction."

Right now I'm very tired and I'm going to bed.

'Night, all!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

On the Road Again

After Wednesday to Saturday in Quebec last week, I'm now heading West. Tomorrow morning (Wednesday) at about 6:00, we're going to start our long drive to Vancouver, B.C. Five of us from our church are attending the Refocus Conference at Willingdon Church in Burnaby, including two teenagers (one of them is my son, Josh).
I'm looking forward to the conference, but I'm feeling a little stressed at being away for most of the week again. I'm anticipating that my highlight will be the reactions of the guys I'm going with. I hope they really benefit from it.
So, can you name all four men in these pictures? They're all at the conference this week.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

This is Where I Am Right Now

Orford, Quebec.

I am a board member for the Fellowship French Mission, and this is where our board meetings are being held. I hit the road at about 3:20 this morning and it is now 10:10 Quebec time. Vancouver is just about to start their game with the Stars.

Too bad about the Penguins, though I hope the Sen's do well. Even worse news for the Sharks re. Cheechoo's knee. Hockey's a tough sport.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

40 Minutes Wasted?

No way! We met Bugblasters challenge!

Why John 16:16-19, I'm not sure. I'm sure we'll pay better attention now if he posts on it. It's never a waste of time to memorize Scripture. Josh is better at it than I am, and this challenge was directed at him. I did okay, though, for a rusty old guy. It took me all of the 30 minutes to memorize that passage, though.

The important thing is that the City of Champions will get the respect it so richly deserves.

So both the Esks and the Oil missed the playoffs, they still have a rich tradition of winning.

And there's always next year!

And we'll be waiting for that promised post, Mr. BB.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Older I Get, The Better I Used to Be

I ran a mile on the treadmill at the gym this morning - without stopping (pause for applause). I did it in 8:44. It did cross my mind that I did a mile in 5:20 in high school. That was no big deal then, because I had friends that were faster and I was aware that Olympic marathoners do over 26 miles at a 5:00 pace.

Our human milestones are so empty. While I was at the gym this morning, I was listening to a Bruce Ware message from Mars Hill Church. It was excellent. It certainly put my half-hearted physical attainments into perspective.

Here is part of his text:

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his handand marked off the heavens with a span,enclosed the dust of the earth in a measureand weighed the mountains in scalesand the hills in a balance? Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord,or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult,and who made him understand?Who taught him the path of justice,and taught him knowledge,and showed him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket,and are accounted as the dust on the scales;behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust. Lebanon would not suffice for fuel,nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering. All the nations are as nothing before him,they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness. Isaiah 40:12-17

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Goodbye Suburban

They took away our Suburban this morning. We liked that vehicle. Oh well, that's life.

We no longer own a Chevy, just two Toyotas and a Suzuki. Garry would be disgusted.

Lovely day for April 2nd, isn't it? It was -11c this morning. We love Edson, but it's not because of the weather.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Thine is the Glory

Thine is the glory, risen, conqu’ring Son;
Endless is the victory, Thou o’er death hast won;
Angels in bright raiment rolled the stone away,
Kept the folded grave clothes where Thy body lay.

Thine is the glory, risen conqu’ring Son,
Endless is the vict’ry, Thou o’er death hast won.

Lo! Jesus meets us, risen from the tomb;
Lovingly He greets us, scatters fear and gloom;
Let the church with gladness, hymns of triumph sing;
For her Lord now liveth, death hath lost its sting.


No more we doubt Thee, glorious Prince of life;
Life is naught without Thee; aid us in our strife;
Make us more than conqu’rors, through Thy deathless love:
Bring us safe through Jordan to Thy home above.


Edmond Louis Budry 1854-1932