Friday, May 30, 2008

Banner Stuff

Our trip back from the Banner Conference went well, except for a rather long wait due to an accident in front of us. That meant getting home between 2:30 and 3:00AM. I didn't get as much sleep as I would have liked as my son was very excited his daddy was home and wanted to play once he got up. I hope to get the rest of my entries for the conference up before the weekends if up, but at the moment I am too tired to be able to think them through.

Reflecting on the conference it was quite good. I was challenged where I needed to be challenged, encouraged where I needed to be encouraged and instructed where I needed to be instructed.

The one complaint I have is that it seemed all too short. Starting last year they changed the schedule so instead of finishing with a Thursday evening session, the conference ends at about 3:30 or 4:00PM in the afternoon. I believe some of the thinking there was that there were some people who left Thursday afternoon, sometimes even a rather large number, rather than staying for the later afternoon session or the evening session. Perhaps this change was meant to encourage them to stay later. Sadly, if that was the intention, it has not worked. Many people left before the closing message, not to mention a sizable number left before the panel on preaching. As for me, I would just as soon go back to the previous format which allows for more time fellowshipping with one another Thursday afternoon following lunch, not to mention allowing for staying Thursday night at Messiah and having breakfast there followed by a leisurely drive home on Friday.

Overall, a good conference of which I am looking forward to getting the CDs.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Banner 2008 -- Day One

I know as I post this Day two of the banner has already come to an end, which means tomorrow we will be heading home by about 4PM. However, I did want to post on the events of the first day.

As is the practice of the group of men I travel with, we headed down to Pennsylvania on Monday and spent the night at a Motel 6. While there we met up with a group of ministers who traveled up from down South who pastor or serve as elders in the ARP. Together we went out for dinner where there were some excellent discussions in spite of our being tired.

The next day, day one of the Banner conference, we headed into Carlisle for breakfast at a place called Fays, and then went to Cumberland Valley Books. Having made our book purchases we headed to Messiah College. I was pretty sure I knew the way, and I actually did, but I missed a turn so we enjoyed a scenic drive in the area before arriving to register.

Registration went well, although I ordered a shirt size that doesn't fit me. I don't know if that was intentional on my part, or if I accidentally clicked the wrong box. Either way, it is an encouragement to loose weight.

The first session started at 3:30PM with the opening conference sermon by Iain Murray. He focused on the passage from John 21:15-22, in particular the call of Jesus to follow me. In this sermon he pointed out that the call to us is to follow Jesus as well. To seek to keep close to him in all our life. Usually I would take quite detailed notes, but when I hooked up my keyboard to my PDA, I found I had forgotten to install the keyboard drives after my last hard reset, so I simply listened.

One point that was made which stuck in my mind was the reason Jesus told Peter by what death he would glorify God. I had never considered why Jesus would tell Peter this, but Iain Murray pointed out that it was given to Peter to encourage him. He had denied Jesus three times, even having been warned before hand that he would do so. Just before this, three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved him which brings those denials to mind. This information on how Peter would glorify God in his death was meant to encourage him, that when the time came, he would not deny Jesus again, but instead would glorify God in his death. What a wonderful reminder of the love and care of our Saviour and Lord to encourage Peter that way.

Supper was good, and it was a time to reconnect with people I have not talked to (at least in person) since last year. I talked for a very short while with Tim Challies, and then went and sat with Peter Butler who I had not seen since last year. He is a fellow RCA minister, and it was good to reconnect.

The second message came after supper, and so I had time to go to my room, download the keyboard driver and install it. My notes are not the greatest, but hopefully they will give you a sense of the message delivered by Craig Troxel entitled "Fan The Flame" based on 2 Timothy 1:6. For some reason (probably that I forgot my binder that I usually set the keyboard on when I don't have a desk handy so it remains stable) I had a difficult time typing. I edited things up, but there are probably still a bunch of errors. The day ended with a run out to Friendlies for Ice-cream. With that, here are my notes from Craig Troxel's sermon:

Banner 2 Craig Troxel

Fan The Flame

2 Tim 1:3-7

1. The Gift

-first we need to remember this is given by the grace of God

-not something you buy or earn or purchase

-in fact we don't deserve it at all

-manifestation of the Spirit

-given for the good of god's people

-to strengthen edify build up

-not a collectors item

-or something we hide away

-all gifts are given to bring about greater purity in the church and the glory of god

-not to brag about

-but for betterment of other people

-Paul points to gift received when Timothy commissioned by the laying on of hands (1 Timothy 1:4) implies gifts are a stewardship

-they have divine origin

-yet still include human responsibility

-as they are entrusted to human hands

-Colossians 1:25 also points to this truth that we are stewards of the gifts given to us

-what a steward does is oversee what does not belong to him

-he doesn't use it for his own good

-but use it for the purpose of God

2 Timothy 4:5 gives a call to fulfill your ministry

-this call can be made because he is a steward of the gift of ministry

-remember the parable of the talents

2. Fanning the gift

-so fan into flame the gift of God

-it is something that needs to be kindled afresh

-that means it can be quenched as well

-sin lack of pray and other things can quench this gift

-even our negligence to fan it can quench it

-the call then is to not neglect it

-but instead to fan it

-lest it go out

-there is very great danger of those who have great gifts

-they can lead to carelessness

-tendency to coast rather than fan the flame of their gifts

-but great gifts bring great obligation

-so seek to excel

-people around us do this all the time

-doctors lawyers and the like

-all seek to increase their abilities

-to strive for excellence

-gifts can fail from self sufficiency

-changes we long to see can only come through a sovereign gift of grace

-yet we should always be striving to be always reforming

-rather than being satisfied with the status quo

3. Gift is of the Spirit.

-our work with all its frustrations forces us to confront our weaknesses and inability

-in doing so we are directed to cast ourselves on God again and again

-because if we seek to do fan the flame of our gift by own strength -we will fail

-we seek to do this instead by going to the source of the gift

-to God

-because we are called to kindle what we cannot inflame

-only god can do this

-so need to seek god

-this is a work of cooperation but not synergy

-so don't confuse means of doing this with the one who causes it

-the Holy Spirit

-so in calling us to fan the flame we are called to fall back on the one who gave the gift and who empowers gift

-this gift must be stirred up, cultivated, stirred up

-but while we use means to do so the one effectively working is the Holy Spirit

-the key to whole passage is this for God gave us a spirit

-not a spirit of fear

-so don't fall back into the fleshly fear and worry

-and not shrink back from declaring truth for fear of men

-or fear of failure

-or fear of guilty conscience

-that says you are unworthy

-it is true you are unworthy

-but the truth that you are unworthy is meant to make you turn to Christ not give way

-the Spirit is here typified by power

-Jesus charge to disciples to wait for Spirit in Jerusalem who will cloth them with power (Acts 1)

-this is only one of several passages in Bible that speak of the Spirit being a Spirit of power

-so the Spirit overcomes fear by his power

-enables boldness for Christ

-so we will not compromise

-this is a gift of love

-gives confidence in God

-his love for us

-comes by abiding presence of the Holy Spirit

-so we know God has not abandoned us

-this is what we need to cultivate in our church as well

-that God does not cast off those who make mistakes

-but receives all who repent

-and it is a gift of self-control

-where did Moses go wrong at Meribah

-told to speak to rock

-but he hit rock

-and did not uphold God as holy before Israel

-he acted in unbelief

-in 1 Corinthians 2:1ff Paul saw the same danger

-that people would put confidence in him if he preached the wrong way

-that they would be distracted away from God

-since he realized this danger is effected both the message he proclaimed and the way he proclaimed it

-this danger comes from forgetting we are stewards of the gift

-and it is not for our good or glory

-need self-control from spirit

-to not give into this temptation

-to be full of faith instead of full of ourselves

-showing power of spirit

-not our own sufficiency

-this is an ongoing battle

-because we are so given to self-sufficiency, arrogance, and thinking that something is ours that never belonged to us in the first place

-Spirit is a Spirit of self-control that works against this

-as we find in Proverbs 27:21, “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and a man is tested by his praise.”

-the amazing thing is God uses our meager abilities to do something great

-he can make bad sermons bring about good blessings

-and something we think is really good and have it crumbles before our eyes

-but even this is fanned into flame

-by making us go to the Holy Spirit

-who gives what is needed to fan gift into flame

-the one who gave the gift is the one who inflames the gift

-so go in prayer that gift would be fanned for the people of God

-ministry is a work of faith

-and thus is a ministry of prayer

-go to scripture

-when see how you are the problem holding church back

-Matthew 12:20 the smoldering wick the embers are there

-Christ sees them and will not put them out

-even now they can be fanned

-because the good work Christ began will be continued Philippians 1:6

-when you ascend pulpit as smoldering wick

- Jesus can stir it into life

-for it is his work

-carried out by his Spirit

-we don't always see it

-and that is why it is a ministry is a ministry of faith

-but Satan cannot snuff this gift out

-Christ's grace is sufficient

-and his power made perfect in weakness

-so praise to him

At the Banner

I am currently at the Banner of Truth Minister's conference. I was planning on blogging the various talks, but found I had run out of energy, not to mention forgetting to re-install the keyboard driver for my PDA for the first session. I have notes from the rest of them, and will post them later tonight, but for now a bunch of us pastors are heading out for ice-cream. The conference is wonderful, and has challenged and encouraged me exactly in the areas I need.

That's all for now. I will post more later. Now for some ice-cream.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Why Can't They Do It Right The First Time?

I had a crack in the windshield of the Safari which I finally got around to having replaced. Since there is only one place in the town we live in, I thought I would help the local economy and keep my business and money in town. That was a mistake.

The place installed a new window, but when the first rain came, it leaked. He came around today to fix it while we were at the Toronto Zoo. I never should have let him at the car a second time. His idea of a fix was to slather the compound they use to seal the window along the top of the window, thus effectively sealing the window to the headliner. I have no idea if that will actually seal the window leak, but it may very well redirect the water to above the headliner. I have not seen it in the light, but it feels like a real hack job, and the attempt at a picture made it look that way as well.

I'm not sure if I want him touching the van again, as this "fix" made things look worse. I can only imagine what a third attempt might result in.

I'm not sure what my options are now, but I will take the van out for a test drive and listen for wind noise, and then I will give it a good drenching with the hose to see if there are any leaks.

I just wonder how a guy can keep in business with that sort of lack of quality. If that is typical, I would guess that word would get around town. I know even if he corrects this--I'm not sure how he could as no matter what the compound is on the headliner and I doubt it will come off--I will not be doing business with him when I replace the window on our mazda protege. He had his chance, and has lost my business and the business of anyone I talk to as well.

Any one know if the windshield can be removed and replaced without breaking it? If it can I may call around in London where there are lots of places, and see about someone else fixing his mistakes although in the long run is may require removing the front headliner and repairing it.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Some More Work On The Van

I haven't cleaned the van yet, but I did get some other work on it done. I put the summer tires on, and although they need to be replaced and I will probably do that this year, they are better than what was on there. I also replaced the centre caps with a different style. The new one look like this.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Moved The Rose Garden

So far my week has been fairly busy, just what I need for a week of vacation.

Monday, I did some work on the van. I did an oil, lube and filter, worked at changing a broken lug bolt, with little success, and started to prepare some lug nuts to switch with the ones I currently have by removing the rust and giving them a coat of paint. I got about half of them done. Then Annette and I headed to London to see The Chronicles of Narnia - Prince Caspian. We both enjoyed it, although I found I had forgotten a lot of what is in the book. I decided to read the book, which I finished today, and can say that while making an entertaining movie, the adaptation missed the main point of the book completely.

Today, Tuesday, I woke up feeling miserable. My plans were to move the rose garden and get some of the patio re-done. However, all I wanted to do was stay in bed, sleep and read. On the positive side it let me read the entirety of Prince Caspian, on the down side I didn't get done what I would like. I did get the rose garden moved, more or less, but still have to move two more roses and add some more soil to the new garden. I also received the bar code reader that Library Thing sells to help people enter their books today, so while resting I entered the vast majority of the books I have not yet added to my Library Thing. Now I am sore, I have not eaten well today, and I have more to do tomorrow.

Our plans were to go to the Toronto Zoo tomorrow, but the weather forecast is calling for cold and rain. We will make the call tomorrow, but we may have to put it off until Thursday. I also have to clean the van in preparation for our travel to the Banner of Truth Minister's Conference next week. This is not to mention I have to pick up my passport, get some US cash, and various other preparations to do as well.

This weekend we will be volunteering at the Ontario Regional Agility Association of Canada trials, so I don't expect to get much more done on Friday or Saturday.
Once again I have more to do than time to do it

Saturday, May 17, 2008

I Know This Is Wrong

I know I was a reasonable high-school student, but I certainly did not pay attention this much.

You paid attention during 100% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
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Friday, May 16, 2008

It is OFF

I finally got the one fender off my Sunrunner. What was holding me up were two screws that were somewhat inaccessible and quite rusted. After soaking them for a long time (weeks in fact) with penetrating oil, I finally got it off. Of course now I see all the rust that was hidden underneath, but with it off, I can now access those points and hopefully get it fixed while I am fixing the fender. This is all a learning experience and in many ways an experiment to see what I can do. Up to this point all my attempts to do body work has been quite a failure. Hopefully this will be less of a problem with the actual fender off. It certainly will be easier to get at working on it one a workbench rather than on the vehicle.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Two More Weeks To The Banner

It is only two more weeks until our group leaves for the Banner of Truth Minister's Conference. I can already feel the anticipation growing. I have been very drained from a very busy couple of months. Even when it wasn't busy, I found that I have been spiritually flat. God has been gracious in that sermons did get written every week, but each week the task became more and more difficult. Just knowing I will have some time off to recharge is encouraging. Knowing that, DV, I will be doing that under the preaching of God's word with other men who serve as pastors, elders, and those who are studying to do so, is something I look forward to even more.

Can You Say Manufactured Shortage

I was reading this article which concludes with these words,

The notion that this planet is running out of oil is one of the great misnomers of our age. There is more oil available today than there was a hundred, fifty or ten years ago. And there is every indication that this trend will continue into the future. Instead of lamenting that we are running out of it, it would be far more accurate to say that we are constantly bumping into new oil. This is why two years ago the Economist headlined an article on the topic The Bottomless Beer Mug.
The general public, however, is largely ignorant of these facts. The divergence between the conventional wisdom and reality could hardly be any wider. Profoundly misinformed and alarmed, people place false hopes in misguided alternatives. Rather than implementing harmful, inefficient and expensive substitutes, we should insist that our government lift the obstacles which prevent us from availing ourselves of this superabundant resource.

It made me realize once again how the radical environmentalist want to keep people ignorant of the facts, not to mention the oil companies that manufacture shortages by not only not building new refineries but closing refineries so they can keep the prices up with a manufactured shortage.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

I Cannot Imagine Doing This

(HT: DR Brooker)