In these days of retreat, we’ve been sharing stories. We’re all men here and we’re building a community of trust so the stories have been characterized by honest reflections, a deep personal journey and a sense that God is in the room speaking through each other. I have rarely had this kind of experience, sadly, and so I am enjoying every moment.
These men are from various parts of the country and from a number of different backgrounds and denominational frameworks. Some I know, some are becoming new friends.
As I’ve been listening to them, listening to The Word and to God, I am feeling a sense that God has done great work in our lives (Wendy and I) and that we are enjoying the fruits of many years of faithful and diligent service. We are past the years of early marriage, discovering parenthood, endeavouring to make a contribution to ministry and are enjoying time to reflect and look towards the current season.
Today Mark Buchanan joined us and talked about the contrast of being large or small – choosing to step over mountains or being lost in the lawn. It was interesting and I was amazed at how he took the Scripture and our imaginations to make us really think about our place in the world and our ambitions. He’s on later tonight – I will be taking notes.
Of course, the scenery here is spectacular. So I’ve included some shots below for you to see. If you pray, would you pray for this group of ten leaders?
Lots of people buy new Bibles – well not as many as I would like – but lots do. I had one particular Bible that I really treasured. It was the Bible that I used as a corps officer in Ottawa and Calgary. I studied using it, read for inspiration and just worked to understand and communicate it. I marked it up, stuck tabs in it and over time even recorded events of our lives at certain chapters and verses.
But it’s been falling apart for some time and so I’ve been debating what to do with it as I wanted to preserve all those notes! When we were in California I went looking for another Bible I could begin to transfer notes.
I really treasure my Bible and love revisiting the notes and comments that I’ve added along the way. Occasionally as a corps officer, someone would comment to me after a Sunday service, “you’ve preached on that before, I have some notes in my Bible”. So I know I’m not the only one who likes doing this!
Are you a note taker – a note maker?
For many years, Wendy made, as part of our Christmas tradition, the buying and sending of Christmas cards to friends and family. We didn’t do a great mailing – I think at the most we sent our 40 or 50 cards. I did, however, enjoy putting together a letter of such – a newsletter it might better be described as, to give friends and families an update on our family and the past year. I would include a few photos – usually of holiday or special event. In time the cost of doing so, and the few responses brought me to a point of deciding to forgo that tradition. In some ways, this blog and its predecessor (www.rvcalgary.blogspot.com) took over some of that.
Of course, this also includes pictures and videos that could never be referenced in a note.
Time marches on and as 2018 comes to a close soon, and Christmas will soon be upon us, I am looking at cards and notes that are being received, mostly at the office but some here and some by email. It was so nice to hear from the Lutterells this week and to remember their kindness to us. A note from Ray Harris also landed in my inbox when he bumped into a session mate of ours who, though having left officership, has lived in Winnipeg for many years. Having chatted with her he thought of some of us and sent off notes. How very kind to hear his encouraging words.
Of course, it’s time for our annual Christmas dinner at THQ and this past week we gathered for food and fun. Below is a quick look at the music and the room.
We also did some serenading down the street at our Thrift Store which is very close to THQ. We took staff, employees, and officers for two days and went caroling. Below is a short clip of that event!