Category Archives: Random Reflections

An Unexpected Sign…

These are strange days, we are in the midst of an upside-down world, a world being changed by CoVid-19…

About twenty years ago I found a field rock on our acreage, in the foothills of southern Alberta, and decided to paint the life scripture that God had given me a year or so before. It was to be the theme scripture for the Cursillo weekend I was leading in November of 2001. I placed the rock by our front door, painted with the words taken from 2 Corinthians 5:20 “we are ambassadors for Christ.” It was a great reminder as we went in and out.

The rock at our acreage in Millarville, AB

It sat there for years. When we moved into Okotoks, the rock came and was added to our flower garden.

The rock in our Okotoks flower garden

A few years later, and as we prepared for God’s next step for our life, heading to YWAM, the rock moved with us to our apartment where it stayed on our balcony.

Last November, because of some construction work the rock moved indoors and sat on our carpet for months.

Yesterday, we got the use of our deck back, after 5 months of construction, and so I moved the rock back on to the deck. Glenda called out to me, in an astonished voice,”Come! Come and see the indent that rock has left in the carpet!!”

The Unexpected Sign left by the rock

Is it a sign? It adds new meaning to Jesus being the rock. We may never know what our footprint on earth will look like, but after twenty years of being “an ambassador for Christ,” this round rock leaves the shape of a heart impressed in the carpet. It surely, represents the love of God that Christ’s ambassadors should leave on the world. I pray that our live’s footprint will be the same.

Be blessed and be a blessing!!!


…becoming a non-smoker

Fourteen years ago, on 13th September 2001, I smoked my last cigarette. It is an interesting story that I have shared with individuals and some small groups over the years. In light of the anniversary I thought I would share it here too.

My mother caught me smoking my first cigarette when I was 7 years old. I had stolen it from her pack Guards-Cigarettesof Guards. My Mum, loving me and caring about my future , decided she would spoil any pleasure for good. She sat me down and made smoke a pack of 20 right then and there. Unfortunately, the plan back-fired as I became Weightsaddicted. From that time on I began to take another here and there, and by the time I was 10 I was stealing money to buy cigarettes to support a growing daily habit. I recall slipping out of school too often to make the trip to the railway station in Woodbridge where the clerk would break open a pack Players Weights and sell them individually to young smokers for two or three pennies. Looking back now, I am surprised at the risks I was prepared to take to satisfy this appetite.

When I left the army, at the end of 1984, we bought a house in Haverhill, Suffolk. I stopped smoking in the house for the benefit of my family, especially the children who were 9, 7 and 2, but the habit continued as I became an outdoor smoker.

James Ryle-200x300A few years after we moved to Canada we became involved with the Anglican church and in November 1994 I committed my life to following Jesus but continued smoking. Some folks are healed of addictions instantly, I wasn’t one of them, at least as far as smoking was concerned. Over the Family Day weekend in February 2000 we went to a conference called Christianity 5.0 with James Ryle at our church in Okotoks. During the conference he taught a simple but powerful prayer that I have never forgotten and still use on occasion. It went like this “Lord Jesus, do in me everything you need to do so that through me you can do everything you want to do, Amen.” Be careful, if you pray that prayer and mean it you will find it to be transformational.

James taught Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday. Monday was the Family Day holiday and as I headed outside to the deck, with my morning coffee in one hand, ready to light my first cigarette of the day I prayed that prayer again, “Lord Jesus, do in me everything you need to do so that through me you can do everything you want to do, Amen.” Now it may seem weird to you but I heard a voice that said, “I can’t do everything I want to do through you until you quit smoking.” Just like that, I was convicted. I believe this to be the work of Holy Spirit. I didn’t light the first cigarette that day or the next, I just quit smoking. Over the next few weeks I got closer to God than I had ever been. He was all-consuming, in fact, He became over-consuming. I found myself having trouble concentrating on the task at hand, at work, wherever and whenever, I kept thinking of God. After about 6 weeks, I had a strong urge to get my life back to normal and I stopped, bought cigarettes and smoked again. At some level I was disappointed with myself but at another I had some control back in my life which was good.

In November 2000 I was asked to lead a Men’s Cursillo weekend in Calgary the following year, I was quick to say yes as I had been waiting for the opportunity to serve in this role for some time. But shortly after, I began to get nudges in my spirit, “How can you lead men on a weekend when you are walking in disobedience?” This shocked me quite a bit, the Bible does not say “Thou shalt not smoke!” I would justify myself. But now the voice was right, I was walking in disobedience and I had been since April, when I had started smoking again. I knew I had to resolve this before leading the weekend and told God I would. Not wanting to miss the teaching opportunity (again justifying myself) I decided to put off the inevitable until the first team meeting which was scheduled for 15th September 2001. The plan was to share with the team, crush my last pack of smokes and get the guys to hold me accountable. Perfect!

9-11On 11th September 2011 the world changed. Hijacked airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center towers in New York. Two days later on the evening of 13th September as I sat waiting for our Thursday Night Men to show up at the coffee shop I whiled away the time looking at the photographs all over the front page of a newspaper and heard that voice questioning me again: “When is an airplane coming through your window?” Holy Spirit convicted, or what!

That was the last day I smoked,13th September 2001, 2 days after 9/11. Lesson learned, never delay walking in obedience as you do not know when you will be called to give an account of all that you have done, good and bad. Delayed obedience is disobedience.

Be blessed and be a blessing, A

Position always changes perspective in storms

Tonight, my friend, Ed Finlay who lives in Airdrie posted a photo of his neighbours house on Facebook. It had been damaged by hail from a large storm cell moving across the north of Calgary.About the same time friends in Bragg Creek, west of Calgary, had 3″ hailstones landing on their property.

Airdrie Hail

As I looked north from our condo building in Okotoks, where the sky was mostly blue and the sun was shining I could see a very pretty cloud rising up into the sky with the golden light of the sun reflecting off its western face, it was really quite a pretty sight. IMG_4618

As I was checking Facebook YWAM Kona posted a warning of Hurricane Iselle that is bearing down on the Big Island this evening. It is closely followed by another big storm. The YWAM base at Kona, where we will be in September is battening the hatches, putting away all umbrellas and outdoor stuff, unplugging electronics and getting ready for the rain that may bring flash flooding and who knows what. Hurricane Iselle Warning

I am following both closely, Airdrie and Kona, as I have friends and interests in both places. I was struck tonight though, by how my position in both these events, sunny Okotoks, presents a very different perspective. While some are being hammered by hailstorm, I see the same storm as part of a beautiful sunset.

It occurs to me that storms are going on around us and as we go through life we see some as beautiful sunsets, because of our perspective. Kind of an “I’m okay attitude”. We may be working alongside someone who is going through a nasty divorce or live near a parent struggling with a rebellious teen, or share a bus ride with the wife of an alcoholic, or get served by a supermarket checkout person who just lost a mother.

As a Christian, an ambassador for Jesus Christ, how am I to respond to these folks in the storm? Those who aren’t able to treat me as I treat them, those who aren’t able to see the beauty in the sunset that I see.

Firstly I need to respond with love, 1 John 4 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” and besides Jesus said that they will know we are his followers by our love.

Secondly, we need to respond with grace Ephesians 4 “32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” We have no idea of the storm the another person is going through.

Thirdly, we need to respond with patience Galatians 5 “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,” and the other fruits of the spirit.

There are other ways we can respond as Christians to those who are seeing with a different perspective but I think these three are a big start to being a true ambassador of Christ and Good News sharer.