Friday, June 26, 2009

Friday June 26, 2009

For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. Philippians 2:13.

Tomorrow Ann and I leave home for a trip to Calgary, Kelowna and the west coast to promote our book Happy Together. We are booked into several bookstores for signing events in Kelowna and the Vancouver area. It is a chance to visit with our family in Calgary. Heather’s Father–in–law has had a stroke, and her husband and youngest son are in town from New Zealand. We also plan to meet and catch up with a number of friends and alumni from Regent College that we have known while living at the coast but have missed since we left for Lethbridge. And while we are away, the painters will be in to freshen up our home.

The trip will help us gain wider coverage, particularly with an event at the Congregational Christian Churches in Canada Conference, where pastors from across Canada will be in attendance. While we naturally hope to recover our investment in the book, we are more concerned that the book will have a positive impact on marriage across the western world—especially in the Christian community. Quite a far-reaching goal, but we have the ability and experience for the task. Above all we feel it is God’s calling for these latter years of our lives, and believe that it is God who will work in us to complete his good purpose.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Tuesday June 23, 2009

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deut 6:6-7

During our book promotion we met up with Greg McCombs of Calgary. He is responsible for a new venture of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada called The Canadian Marriage and Family Network. Details of this ministry can be found at One of its ministries is the Faith @ Home Movement devoted to encouraging parents to teach their children the faith at home. Perhaps one of the causes for losses of children from the faith is a sense that church is the place for this to be taught, combined with neglect for teaching as part of life.

Today’s text emphasises the importance of teaching the faith as part of everyday life. It should be a natural part of the Christian’s experience, not a compartmentalised section that appears separated and even irrelevant to daily living. It is in the common tasks of life that there are opportunities for teaching the faith “when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” If this seems difficult or strange, then perhaps we have lost contact with the meaning of our faith in the routine of ordinary life.

During my bout with prostate cancer I was immensely thankful for a competent surgeon to perform the necessary surgery. It was too easy to credit his skill with my recovery, and feel that God was really irrelevant to the process. In fact God had his hand in my healing in three ways. First, he created a body that has the ability to heal itself, something the surgeon could not do after carving up my inside. Secondly, the necessary knowledge and skills of the doctor and surgeon are also part of God’s creation, to provide help and healing in sickness.

Finally, I have been reminded by my surgeon on several occasions how aggressive his surgery had to be. After originally suggesting that I would be in the hospital for two or three days, I was there for six. He found on opening me up was that the cancer was further advanced than previous tests had indicated, requiring more extensive surgery than anticipated. Despite this, five weeks after surgery I felt back to normal. While there are some side effects that I still have to deal with, I feel perfectly healthy—apart from the aging process!

I have no doubt that God had his hand in the whole unfortunate story, certainly in the “normal” process of diagnosis and surgery, but particularly in the quick healing that took place. As if confirming this, I saw the surgeon last week and he expressed surprise at how well the incision had healed!