Songs of Jesus in Troubled Times

This has been an interesting week for me. Tuesday evening, as we were going to pick up our grandson after his youth program at our church, we were involved in a car accident. We were going through an intersection on a green light when another car decided to turn left in front of us. Linda and I suffered two distinct kinds of injuries. I had realized that an impact was coming and braced myself. The result of this is a number of sore muscles in my shoulders back and torso. Linda was much ‘looser’ at impact and has some bruising from the seat belt. We are both sore but improving daily. The scene had some comic elements (you have to look for the fun in things). Linda’s glassed went flying and we had to enlist a gaggle of firemen with flashlights to find them. I did not have my phone; A policeman offered his but without my contact list I could not recall any numbers (shock maybe played a role). Though I could not remember our daughter’s number I finally came up with our son’s. The policeman’s phone had its number blocked and our son thought I was a tele-marketer and hung up on me. When I called right back he thought maybe he should pick up. At my request he called his sister to tell her to pick up Declan who was being taken care of by a concerned youth pastor.

The rest of the week has been hot baths and marathon phone sessions with brokers, agents, adjusters, tow truck companies, and car rental firms.

We are praising God for his protection and for the good friends we have made who gave us rides and offered us vehicles. The current events in Ukraine demonstrate that we have little to feel sorry about in the grand scheme of things.

This year I have been reading a daily devotion “The Songs of Jesus” by Timothy Keller. It is a daily reading from Psalms with a commentary and a prayer. This has reaffirmed the wonderful treasury that is the book of Psalms. It is replete with records of setbacks but even fuller of praise to the God who is our Sanctuary and wondrous provider. As I watch the news of Ukraine the only place of solace and help is in the Lord, as I meet him in these Songs of Jesus. This was after all his Prayerbook and Hymnal. I encourage all of us who are speculating as to what you can do in such a time, to read and pray the Psalms alongside the day’s headlines. These very psalms inspired the life of the Prince of Peace and can do so for us, as well.

Saturday will mark the second week of our small group study of “Life’s Healing Choices.” We had a wonderful time of intimate sharing last week. Each of has agreed to pray daily for the others in our group and each has determined to find a person to debrief with each week through the study. These commitments both deepen and widen our fellowship.

What You Wish For

I have been thinking about the old warning “Be careful about what you wish for. You might get it!” Like most folks I have been longing for a ‘return to normal.’ Two years ago, my ministry changed drastically. Much of the ‘in person’ aspect of what was almost entirely an ‘in person’ style of ministry was put on hold. Now I find myself on the verge of ramping up again. I am involved in a several new ‘in person’ projects.

  1. A Men’s Breakfast, at Edith Ave. Church, which will initially be a 5-week program centred on the series “Finding Your way Back to God”. This will then morph into a monthly fellowship and evangelistic event. We plan to begin March 12th.
  2. We are starting a small group study of “Life’s Healing Choices.” Saturday evenings at Threshold House. This is the book on which Celebrate Recovery is based. Though this is an 8-week study we hope to continue with Saturday evening times of fellowship.
  3. We are planning to start a new Friday Night drop In at the Edith Avenue site. We will use our old Up Town model with its Word From Our Sponsor as a regular feature.
  4. We are planning for a ‘reboot’ of Shalom Saturday. This is a monthly Saturday morning through to lunch together time of discussion and healing.
  5. I intend to speak ‘in person’ to supporters and prospective supporters. This has been a sorely missed element of our ministry and has hampered our finance and support raising.
  6. We hope to host a series of Open House events at Threshold House .

All this planning is exciting, and it has been long awaited. I realize though that in these past two years I have strangely become two years older, and I am not at all sure that I have the energy for this. I realise that I need more collaborators. I am significantly closer to seventy than sixty and can no longer bulldoze my way through such activities. I am also keenly aware that I must equip others to carry on when frailty finally catches up with me. This idea of succession has begun to consume my thoughts and prayers. I sense that as I move forward into something approaching normal, I need to keep this idea at the forefront and look with expectancy for God’s provision for this need.

These are exciting times at Threshold. We are praying for God to bring us new residents for our community and for bonds of Christian love to abound in our burgeoning community.

Time Well Spent

If you looked in this space last week you did not see a new blog. My time was consumed with other things. I write most Friday mornings in order to stay in touch with friends amid supporters all across the country (and beyond). I see this as an important task each week because I so highly value these connections.

Here is a thumb nail sketch of what I did instead of write. Early in the day our daughter dropped off her two boys (the Laddybuck and the Wee Boyo) while she went off to work. School and daycare were not available that day.

So, I played two games of hockey in the basement with the Laddybuck. This involves choosing a team by selecting a hockey card from his stash (No looking, Grampa!) and then playing to seven, using miniature hockey sticks, all the while trying not to break any of Grandma’s knicks or knacks. We also played a rousing game of NHL Monopoly (apparently I won). We watched a Disney movie about a boy named Alexander who had a ‘no good day’ while eating popcorn.

I also was chased around the house by the Wee Boyo. He would crawl quickly around each corner and delight in spying me there. I confess I grew weary of the game long before he did.

I cooked us all a lunch of pancakes though we did not have the chocolate chips Declan likes in his pancakes.

After lunch Ronan and I were both worn out, so we put ourselves down for a nap. He slept much longer than I did, and it was in this period we watched the movie.

There were a few games of Yahtzee and three trips out to shovel the drive.

I do not want to give the impression that I did this alone. While I played with one Linda played fed or changed the other.

It was not my usual Friday of writing and I already miss it!

At Threshold House we have survived our first bout with actual covid as both the residents were down with it. They are both okay now and restrictions in New Brunswick have eased, so we will get back to our routine. The major project is to be in touch with guys who can use our ministry. There are a few applications out and we are awaiting those submissions.

We have a new project, a special Epiphany emphasis “Operation Light.” Threshold House was constructed as school and so the lighting is almost entirely florescent. The lighting is harsh and noisy. It is also not very energy efficient. Our Night Pastor Morris is an electrician, and he can change the light fixtures, but we expect initial costs to be approximately $3000.