Breathe

The last month has been busy, to say the least.

I had to write four papers for a course that I was taking while our city evacuated because of the “Beast.”

At the same time of writing these papers, I was privileged to walk with a dear friend through her stroke, intensive, then palliative care. She eventually succumbed to her illness. Sadly, I will be conducting her memorial service tomorrow.

All this happened while I have had a regular work schedule and also a somewhat ‘ramped up’ pastoral schedule again, because of the Fort McMurray Fire.

Now that the smoke of this course has cleared, I am excited to concentrate on this blog and the official launch of this site.

Very shortly I will be able to provide details of a new book that I have written, “Path Out – Eliminate the Swirl.” I will make it available here, and I am looking forward to the help that it will offer for those who are continually dealing with the issues, the swirls of ‘yesterday’.

It’s going to be a great Fall. I look forward to moving ahead with you.

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You Don’t Have To Live; You Get To!

35 Years and Love

Things I have learned from 35 years of marriage:

Forgiveness – I have learned how to give forgiveness, and probably even harder, how to receive forgiveness.

Faithfulness – I have learned how God has shown up every time to help, heal and renew. I have observed how to imitate Our Father In Heaven in learning to be faithful.

Grace – Grace is not just a burp in God’s justice, but an enabling of his purpose in our lives and our marriage.

Change – I have learned that I need to change and that I cannot change my wife.

Repentance – I have trafficked here way too often and have had to seek forgiveness with repentance – and if not, how to repent anyway.

Courage – We are living our lives, unscripted, unrehearsed. We live to face the music each day’s song with a smile and hope for our future.

Respect – I have had to learn to respect just because. Respect is paramount to our success and our ability to move forward.

I have learned to communicate – She doesn’t always think my thoughts the way I think she should. Nor do I think hers. Thus, we’ve needed to talk and listen to each other.

Humility – Realizing that I am not what this is about. We are walking together; we are side by side; we are equally engaged and responsible. We, us, our, are our pronouns of choice. If I hurt her, it hurts us. If she hurts me, we ‘smart’ together. If I give up my life, I get ours. I win by giving.

Giving – We have decided that it is not 50/50. If we are giving, it is all in 100%/100%. What is mine is ours. What is hers is ours. We have given and had given up, but what we have given up we have gained back in spades. I would have us, we, and ours all over again. She and the marriage that she shares with me are so worth it.

Love – How much time do you have? – We have loved each other deeply from the heart. We believe that “Love never fails…” (1 Corinthians 13:8, NIV)

Love is a four letter word and sometimes it is plain old work. Sometimes it is spelled, WORK.

These are some of my thoughts about today.

Here is my thought about my wife, “Linda I love you so much. You are the one that I adore, honour and serve with my entire life.” I love you, babe!

Phil

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You Don’t Have To Live; You Get To!

Swag and Stuff

We live in a culture consumed with pithy sayings that fit on coffee mugs and t-shirts.

I’ve got to say that I love a well-placed thought/epiphany maybe more than most. A saying that will provoke or inspire, or provoke and inspire is a welcome addition to most days. Occasionally I will meander through Pinterest just to see who is quoting whom and posting what.

What probably isn’t all that useful is a cupboard full of mugs and t-shirts that sit there, a compendium memorial to a moment of, well you know, a moment.

Here’s a thought, ironic, why not take the next worthy ‘pithany’ and engage it. Allow it to seed and germinate. Maybe water it with a muse here or there and enable it to inculcate its way to your sub-auto level. Remember I said worthy.

Let me help you get started. “…love one another deeply, from the heart.” (1 Peter 1:22)

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You Don’t Have To Live; You Get To!

 

Stay in Your Box (re-print from Blue Collar Theology)

I love you, ‘as long as you stay in your box.’

Jesus had just fed the five thousand men; also add in the women and children. That was a lot of food. He then started to thin the crowd with some tough teaching; he did it on purpose. Jesus? He doesn’t need a popular vote. Crowds? NBD.

Finally after the great stirring and movement, the slipping away of shadows, he looks at his disciples and says, “Are you going to leave to?” My translation said it this way, “Phil do you like me?” Oh not literally, but that was the question that confronted me. I responded with my best ‘christianeze,’ “I love you, Lord…” I was already onto the second stanza, “…and I lift my voice…” and the Lord interrupted, “That’s not what I asked. Phil do you like me?”

Caught and cornered, I was just like the 5000 ‘taste and see’ ‘stand and watch’ and ‘be amazed’ crowd. I immediately was uncomfortable with this unboxed Jesus/God. I couldn’t point at the Pharisees, I was struggling with the same Jesus who doesn’t care about my rules or protocol. He was cutting with the question. He still is.

As long as I could enjoy, watch and predict a miracle, as long as I could stay at a safe distance, ‘did I say predictable distance?’ As long as my religious, feel good rhythm went uninterrupted, then, I was all in.

In a moment there was no box, no sterile wrap no full stomach bringing on the yawns, there was just the super, simple, transparent, vulnerable Jesus. “Do you like me? Yes or no?

The only option is reciprocating transparency.

A God without a box, people that love without a condition or stipulating labels? Maybe we could start a movement.