Monday, April 30, 2007

Quiet weekends are never quiet

Quiet weekends are never quiet. Or have you noticed? We didn't start with any plans, but ended up busy. We took the vacuum in for repair, got passport photos of the children, went to the library and went out for lunch. That was Saturday morning. I put together a shelving unit, and defrosted the freezer in the afternoon. Sunday I was in the church nursery with Hannah for quite a bit, and Sunday night was the AWANA awards ceremony. Bethany wasn't getting an award and didn't want to go. In the end, I think we've figured out why her interest in AWANA has decreased over the last month.

I got the latest First Things on Friday. Again, much wading through Roman Catholic introspection for the joy of finding a few nuggets. As I leaf through each issue I always say this is the last one I'll read, but then there's a thought or concept expressed so well and yet so simply that I sigh and smile and decide to continue for another month.

I finished listening to David Dunlap's messages from the Sudbury Easter Conference. Very theological and yet quite practical. He has a lot of good questions for our Calvinistic and Covenant friends. If you get a chance, download them from

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I think it's broken

I decided to have a bath last night. A soak in the tub is relaxing, right? Not when you bang your little toe on the edge of the bathtub while getting in. It hurt last night and it still hurts this morning, so it's probably broken. When I told Karen she said, "you broke another toe?"

This one is right next to the toe I broke when I first started dating Karen. In fact, I broke that one while running for the phone because I knew she was calling. I ran past the kitchen table and "WACK!" on the leg of the table. Solid maple. They don't build tables like that anymore. Zero give. That broken toe was also responsible for helping to make our first hand-holding romantic walk so memorable. Yes, it would be memorable anyway with the moonlight along the Rideau Canal, all dressed up in our finery, having just come from a nice restaurant. We walked towards downtown, and on the way back I asked if I could hold her hand. And she said "Yes"! However, the fact that I was wearing dress shoes and my broken toe was aching tempered my enthusiasm, and now 13 years later I still remember the joy and the pain.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Mock me. All of you.

Three people have now told me the bird was a grackle. John left a comment on my blog. My wife phoned me up at work to tell me that both she and the children knew. And my Dad sent me an email. OK, so I don't know much about birds. 8-)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Conversation wit Hannah

Today Hannah went over the kitchen table, grabbed a cup full of milk that was left over from lunch, and took a drink. Here's the conversation that resulted:

Hannah (with horror in her voice): There's a bug in my milk!

Dad (calmly): Let me see.

Dad looks.

Dad: Hannah, that's not a bug. It's a crumb.

Dad looks closer.

Dad: You're right. It is a bug!

It was a fruit fly, doing the backstroke. And now it's dead.


I saw a bird on my fence that I've never seen before. It had a sapphire blue head, a black body and yellow eyes. I was about 6 feet away from it, inside the house. Any ideas about what type of bird it was?

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Award for Most Twisted Use of English Language

The Liberals are planning to introduce a motion into the House of Commons calling for a deadline for withdrawing Canadian troops from Afghanistan. Here's the statement from Liberal Member of Parliament Denis Coderre, "We want to send a clear message that by February, 2009, we will pull out our Canadian Forces.... It is a very important issue for Canada . . . the time has come to take a stand"

The time has come to take a stand... about running away. Great. Absolutely outstanding. Of course if the Liberals were so interested in getting out, why didn't they set a deadline when they sent our soldiers to Afghanistan in the first place!

C.S. Lewis Discussion Group?

Would anyone in the Ottawa area be interested in attending an information C.S. Lewis discussion group? I'm re-reading Mere Christianity, and plan to read or re-read all of his books. I know a couple of people who have expressed a similar interest in reading some of his books, and it might be interesting to have informal get-togethers once every couple of months to discuss his books a few chapters at a time. Let me know if you are interested.

Question about the Covenant of Grace

I have a question about the Calvinistic concept of the Covenant of Grace. My understanding of this theological concept is that it refers to a great covenant which God made with the elect right after the Fall in the Garden. Dispensationalists are often criticized for using the expression "Dispensation of Grace" because God has shown grace throughout all his dealings with mankind. While dispensationalists acknowledge God demonstrates grace, we believe there is a difference between the grace God demonstrated in the past and the grace God demonstrated when Christ came.

So my question is this: John 1:17 says "For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." According to Calvinistic thought, in what way is the grace shown through Moses different than the grace shown by Christ?

Now maybe I haven't expressed the question well, but it seems to me that this passage is teaching that the grace that came through Christ is different than the grace which God demonstrated in times past.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Maybe the busyness will end...

Maybe the busyness will end, but I doubt it. Today I went to Kingston to speak at Union Street Gospel Chapel. Up at 5:30am and out the door by 6:30am, and back home in Ottawa by 10:10pm. In the middle was 5 hours of driving, 2 sermons and a nice afternoon getting to know some Christian folks who were nice enough to have us over. I say "us" because Bethany came with me. This is the first time one of my children have accompanied me on a preaching trip. I was speaking on the theology of the Bible, and frankly I know some of it was pretty tough. But I tried to make it interesting and understandable.

Next Saturday we're at the Ottawa Homeschool Conference. I have to get my thoughts together because I'll be sitting on the Dad's Panel. Basically I have a couple of minutes to introduce myself and my philosophy of homeschooling, and then answer some questions.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

More from John Robson

John Robson is one of my favourite political commentators. He's smart and witty, well read and generally conservative in his thinking. A recent article on his website talks about Canada's contributions to WW1 and WW2:
it was not multiculturalism, peacekeeping or tolerance that Canada brought to the struggle for freedom and decency in the world but courage, determination and an honourable willingness to kill or be killed.

A good observation. But I guess the real question is whether this country still maintains "
an honourable willingness to kill or be killed". Yes, diplomacy is important. Yes, we need to dialog and respect other viewpoints. But every once in a while a Hitler comes along, dialog is pointless, and it's a matter of totalitarian oppression or democratic freedom. So do we have the national will to stand up for anything anymore, or does a loss of national will signal our decline as a nation? Nations are seldom conquered without first losing their national will.

So is this an odd message for a Christian like myself to post? Not really. There are a variety of opinions within Christianity about war, but the "Just War" tradition is a long and honourable one. The Just War tradition says that there are some evils which Christian men must stand against. Not every war is just, and a Christian should not get caught up in war fever. But sometimes we need to fight.

You can see John Robson's whole article at:

While you're at it, read his article on electing judges. If the legal system is going to give us activist judges (who make laws rather than interpreting them), then the only defense citizens of a democracy have against this system is to elect judges.

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Visit to the Grocery Store

I went to the grocery store today because Karen wanted some Worcestershire Sauce. I picked up a bottle and it said, "New Taste". I sure hope it tastes like Worcestershire Sauce!

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Have a look at the following National Post article to see the damage the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms has done to our society:

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Lastest Regional Political Party

Well, well, well. Stephane Dion has declared that the Liberals will not be running a candidate against Elizabeth May in the next election. Elizabeth May is running in the same riding as Peter MacKay, our Foreign Minister and a close ally of Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Let's think about this. What do you call a political party that doesn't run a full slate of candidates? The Reform Party got called this for years. The Bloc still does get called this. Can you say it with me? "R e g i o n a l P a r t y ."

Of course Dion will spin this as an expression of his deep commitment to the environment. But does anyone really believe this? If Peter MacKay was not a senior member of the Harper government this would not be happening. This is just a cheap, opportunistic attempt to embarrass the Harper government, and everyone knows it. You can call Dion the Leader of the Liberal Party, but that still doesn't make him a leader.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Dinner with the Minister of Defense

I had dinner with the Minister of National Defense tonight. Of course, there were also about a hundred other people there. It was a Conservative Party fund raiser for the local food bank. Afterwards, the Minister gave a few comments. I don't suppose he said anything that would raise eyebrows with the media, but I still don't feel comfortable reporting his comments on a blog. Let's just say he doesn't have the utmost respect for the competence of the Leader of the Official Opposition.

More on Amazing Grace

One thing I forgot to mention. I was worried that the movie would overuse the song, playing it constantly in the background no matter what happened. I need not have worried. The use of the song was quite well done.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Amazing Grace

I went to see the "Amazing Grace" movie today. In a word, amazing. Powerful, well presented, emotionally satisfying and never dull. Frankly, not too much of what you'll see in the movie theaters these days is worth the admission price, but Amazing Grace really stands out. The true story of William Wilberforce is a reminder that one man can make a difference for good. His struggle was long, with many setbacks and discouragements, but in the end he won and won gloriously.

I attended the 2:05 matinee on Easter Monday. As a day off school, there were lots of people at the theatre. Unfortunately at over 40 years of age I seemed to be the youngest person there. Lots of parents taking their children to see the latest banal trivialities from Hollywood, but not too much interest in a real hero.

The AMC Theatre was disappointing. Popcorn everywhere. Sticky floors. And trailers that would definitely not appeal to the crowd watching Amazing Grace. If you subscribe to Peter Lynch's ideas on investing (invest based on what you see with your own eyes) then visit an AMC Theatre before you decide to invest in their stock. You're mileage may vary.


Easter Conference Finished for 2007

The Easter Conference is done for another year. The ministry was excellent, the fellowship warm and the food fattening. What more could you want from a conference, except of course for the Lord to return in the middle 8-)

On a personal note, I received some encouragement from one of the conference speakers to continue my series on basic theology. There are lots of topics that interest me, and I've now done 8 message on basic theology, so I've been asking myself if I should continue. But I think that even if there are other topics and passages I would like to preach on, it's important to continue to set a doctrinal foundation.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


Machiavelli's book "The Prince" is an interesting read. Not that I would suggest following it as your guide to life, but he does make some interesting points. Here's a great quote from p.40 of the Penguin Classics edition:
So the Romans saw when troubles were coming and always took counter-measures. They never, to avoid a war, allowed them to go unchecked, because they knew that there is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others.
Interesting don't you think?

Bethany the Barbarian

First it was Joel, and then it was Bethany. On Friday night Bethany asked me if she could eat like a barbarian. Chicken a la King. With fingers. Oh my. At least she asked permission first, like a well brought up barbarian child.

Easter Conference

Last night the annual Ottawa Valley Easter Conference started. It was a capacity crowd at Bridlewood Bible Chapel as representatives from assemblies all over the Ottawa Valley came together to hear ministry by Chuck Gianotti and David Humphreys. Chuck is speaking on "the Church Alive", discussing the early church. David is speaking on Biblical doctrines, starting with the Fall. Afterwards there was a good time of food and fellowship. It was nice to see so many familiar faces, including lots of university students and new grads, as well as young couples just starting their own families. The Conference continues today and finishes tomorrow night.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007


I bought an MP3 player, hence the title of this posting "MP3 for Me". It's a SanDisk C250 with 2GB of memory. It plays MP3 and WMA format, and has a built in FM radio, voice recorder and colour screen. Perhaps the thing I find neatest about this is that the rechargeable battery will last for 15 hours of playing! I've loaded it up with Lewis Johnson's 39 part series on the Divine Purpose, as well as all my purchased music. I'll admit that it's an impractical toy, but I think once in my life it's OK to do something impractical.

Farmer Pickles

Farmer Pickles is an idiot. He actually trusts Spud with important tasks. Sooner or later, Spud is going to burn the whole farm down. A generation of children who watch Bob the Builder videos will be crushed, but at least they will know what Farmer Pickles doesn't know; that Spud is not to be trusted.

It Really Works

I've been putting down some powdered Cayenne Pepper to keep mice out of the garage, and it seems to have worked well this winter. Some skunks are tearing up my backyard, so I thought I'd put some where they are digging. Unfortunately it's quite windy and some blew into my eyes and mouth. As I said, it really works. I'm never going into that backyard again!

Sunday, April 01, 2007

One more thought

Just one more thought on dispensationalism. Firefox has a built in spelling checker when you are filling in form fields on web pages. It highlights "dispensationalism" as a spelling error, and as an alternative suggests "sensationalism". We're going to have to do something about that.


So I finished 2 messages on dispensationalism at my church. My personal opinion is that the first message was pretty good, but the second one was a bit more esoteric. Maybe I should have stuck with a single message, but really to have a good understanding of this doctrine I needed the second message to explain the history, some of the objections, and to spend a couple of minutes discussing (in I hope a respectful way) Covenant Theology and issues like Ultradispensationalism. But as I said the first message went quite well.

Where's the Beef

It's been a beef kind of weekend. For lunch on Saturday I had a hot roast beef sandwich on an onion bun with mozzarella cheese. Yum. Then for supper we had some friends over for a BBQ. The first steak I ate was great, and the second one I ate was even better. But I'd have to say the third steak was the best. An inch thick, done on the barbecue with Montreal Steak spice. Of course there was also a baked potato, rolls, a spinach and strawberry salad, a broccoli-slaw salad and cake. I didn't sleep too well last night. Not sure why. Anyway, today after church we were invited to a friend's house for lunch and they served the most amazing Alberta AAA Prime Rib. Of course there were mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, carrots, broccoli and bacon salad, bread, pie, ice cream and cupcakes. But the prime rib was really great. And tonight after the evening meeting at church, Karen made me another roast beef sandwich on an onion bun. Where's the beef? I ate it. And no I can't eat another bite.