Friday, December 28, 2007

My Friend the Low-Key Prophet

I got to be honest... I have great friends. The people that surround me are straight-up amazing. Quality exudes from within them all.

One of these friends of mine is gifted in many areas. He never has a harsh word for anyone and is always positive. He has a knack for encouraging others to become better at what they do, and loves to connect people (is he starting to realize I'm talking about him?). He desires to make things look good (he definitely knows it's him now) and can be found here.

But the thing I have realized most about James Kingsley these last years is that he has an uncanny ability to look down the road and see where the Church and society in general is going. Though he would never think this about himself, he is very much a prophet for us at Lambrick/the Place.

Many of the things that are cropping up in today's world Jimmy has been talking about for years. A number of the changes and moves my wife and I have made in our lives have been the result of conversations started by this great guy.

If you are interested in some of his thoughts, then I suggest you check out his blog (which is forever linked in my sidebar to the left). In particular, you should check out his recent post where he discusses his predictions for the new year. Though some are on the not-as-serious side, many are short write-ups of thoughts movements Jimmy K has seen making the move in Western society. I most appreciate his thoughts recorded in points 2-4 and am excited about the idea of fruit trees (useful) becoming the new ornamental trees used by municipalities/cities everywhere.

In a season where toasts are common, I want to lift my glass to my good friend, and unsung prophet of Victoria... the one, the only, Mr. James Kingsley. Thanks for bringing us the word.


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

This is Where I'm Called...

3:16 AM

The phone is ringing.

I jump awake, looking at the clock, and it hits me.

Dread. Fear. Anxiety.

"God, help me."

There's only a few reasons why the phone rings at 3:16 AM.

The voice I hear confirms my fears. Pain and sorrow come pouring through the earpiece. As real as the tears being shed on the other side of the line. As real as the tears which begin to stream down my face.

One of my youth is in the hospital. They have tried to take their life. We don't know how serious it is. Their family needs help.

This is the reality of my job. The pain our world's teenagers face everyday is making them question whether life is worth living. And it's not just the odd one or two that are asking these questions. It's the vast majority. Trust me, I have the 'privilege' of bearing this burden.


"Why does it have to be like this? Why does it hurt so much?" I pound the carpeted floor as I pray early this morning. "God, why do you let this happen? Don't you care about us? Why do you let us hurt so much? I thought you loved us?! Are you even there?!! Please help!!!"

I thank God I am able to cry out to Him. Our hurting world, and even many Christians, don't know how to cry out to God. They often have no one to cry out to. They take their cries to a bottle of pills. They're not intended to be that type of pain reliever.

This is a reality for so many of today's teenagers. No one will understand. No one can feel what I feel. It hurts so much. Why bother?

I get to help hurting teens. This is both a privilege and a burden. So painful, but so necessary. I thank God He has asked me to do this. I thank God He helps me do this.

This is my life. This is where I'm called.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Farmer Roy

On October 24, 2007, a true saint passed away.

He was one who invested in others like few I've known. Because of this, he blessed Victoria in numberous ways. The farming community especially will never be the same without him. I had the privilege of knowing him through the work of Camp Imadene.

His name is Roy Hawes, and you can find his story written here. This article appeared in newspapers across Canada.

Please take the time to read and enjoy the blessing of knowing a little bit about this great man. May his story encourage and inspire you, as it has for me.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Why I Post

I began writing here because I feel there are a lot of things continually rolling around in my head that I want to get out. In the past it has resulted in me saying way too much in communal settings, or ranting in other people's forums. Basically, I've spewed in appropriate places (like the sink, instead of the toilet).

So, by writing here, I can throw down my thoughts, feel as though I'm still communicating them, and hopefully control my verbal and/or written outbursts in other venues. As an added bonus, I can come back to my thoughts later (I'm big on journaling, but the onset of email and internet in my life in the past 4 years has limited this practice unfortunately) and see where I've been.

In that light, I want to point out that I in know way believe my thoughts here are the exhaustive truth on whatever topic I may be writing. I am putting thoughts on paper (am I really?) for the sake of churning them over. If you want to enter into that, then I would be honoured. To churn together would be a delight. But I am sure you will see some topics and thoughts turned over and over as we journey together toward greater understanding of life and truth.

For the posts that proceed and follow, I ask for grace, as I will certainly need it.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Batteries (the Heart) Included

Life has been tough lately. A lot of it has been political type stuff that would not be appropriate to get into here. However, one of the things I have more fully realized through all of it is the importance and value of sharing your heart with others.

Many people believe that you should leave your emotions at the door when it comes to business/public encounters, but I am learning this can do more harm than good. I was challenged recently (by Tim Bailey, teaching pastor at Wortley Baptist Church, London, Ont) that putting a good face on and hiding some of our unglier side in order to be nice and gracious with others actually is a remarkably selfish thing to do(Get his book here). As humans (and especially as Christians), one of our greatest challenges and blessings is to accept people as they are, being gracious with their faults, and loving them regardless. By hiding some of our ugliness and faults, we actually limit other's ability to practice grace with us and therefore grow into better beings themselves. We are limiting their potential growth. Of course this isn't our aim, but it is an end result.

By leaving our emotions out of the equation, and putting a happy smily face on in all our public interactions, we do harm not only to ourselves but also to those around us. For ourselves, we practice a fakeness than can become habit and extremely devastating. We are learning hypocrisy. For others, we disable their ability to be gracious with us. But more than that, we end up not fully connecting with those around us and our interactions become fake in themselves.

Board meetings, social gatherings, business encounters, church services... these are places where we often practice fakeness. Now I don't think it appropriate to always lay out our whole story when we meet a new person. But we do need to realize the value in allowing our emotions and heart to be a part of who we are. God created us this way. We are emotional beings. We hurt sometimes. The Western corporate beast is criticized for being heartless. Is this what we want for ourselves too?

Jim Brown, an author and Board consultant on the East Coast, suggests that the majority of Boards are dysfunctional primarily because those involved do not know one another. How can we spend hours together on a regular basis and not know one another? It's because we so often keep our hearts out of the equation and keep purely to business as usual.

I'm not suggesting all meetings and interactions become primarily emotional sob-fests. However, let's take the challenge to allow our hearts to be present in us wherever we go and whatever we do.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Social & Individual Healing through Communal Connection

If you know me well, then you know I am passionate about social injustice. Something that strikes me hard is the plight of those living within the street community.

I have long believed that the heart of the problem lies in broken hearts. Community programs, social assistance, low-income housing, needle-exchange, education, etc are all very important but not the answer in themselves. The true pain is in the limitation and brokenness of our relationships, and therefore the secret lies with human touch. Healing on an relational level through the growth of real and true communion between hurting individuals.

I look to the example of Jesus. How did He reach out to those forced to the outskirts of His society. He went to them, He invited them, He ate with them, He touched them. As the Christians of my generation have accepted relational evangelism, so I believe we need to accept relational service and social outreach.

During a recent visit to Vancouver, I was able to meet and interact with many individuals who do life out on the streets. I made a point of relating to each one as a new person, not lumping them into a group as a whole. Sometimes I can be guilty of this. Each of us is an individual created in God's image, and therefore in need of communion with others just as God Himself finds Communion within the Trinity and with us. I talked with all, offered smiles as I do to all people, supported some with their need for coin, and tried to offer God's love in the short interactions I had.

It was delightful to experience the joy within most of these individuals. Spending the time talking with them was not simply an act of service, but actually a time for me to be blessed.

What if each of us who seem to care about poverty and the issues that face those living on the streets actually set out to meet, grow a relationship with, and support even just one person living in extreme poverty in our cities? Would there be enough of the downtrodden to go around? I don't think so. Each person currently living on the streets would soon have at least a few individuals who care where they are each night and what they are struggling with. If this is genuine attention, then a communion between these people will grow and I truly believe some of the struggles of their lives will soon be alleviated. And also some of the struggles of our lives will be too.

I believe our deepest need is to connect with others in a way that is positively indescribable. This connection must be with God, but through others. This connection is the essence of reconciliation. Some of us have this connection. Some don't.

To reach out and connect with other individuals allows us to receive healing for many of the social and individual ills we face. This will not 'fix' the issue of poverty ("the poor you will always have"), but I believe it is the key to bringing healing to those we meet who are livin lives of pain on our streets.

I welcome your comments.

It's True, I Like To Rant

One of the reasons I have finally started this thing up is that I like to rant. I have a hard time not being passionate about things. If I actually give (have) the energy to care about something, I always care hard. It's like falling in love. If you're going to fall, you might as well fall hard. Ask my friends, I've always been a 'fall hard' type of guy when it comes to everything: sports, politics, love, faith, friendships, hobbies, etc.

So, after spending the last years saving my rants for other comments on other people's blogs, I figure it's time to leave my friends alone and start up my own. Now there's a place for people to fight back. I welcome the interaction.

I hope to fill these pages (?) with notes about things I truly care about, though the mundane and irreverent will no doubt slip in. I ask that you choose your time well in reading and viewing what may come. Much of it will probably rot your brain so please don't read it all. And everyone knows I'm longwinded so stop reading a post at anytime. Like right now. Cause I may just carry on forever...........

Well, thanks for making your way here and I hope you enjoy the visit.

God bless,

Andy Hits the Blog Zone

Well, after years of waiting, and managing many others sites, I think it may finally be time to enter the world of a personal blog. Now that the blog fad is over and everyone's on Facebook (which I'm sure will soon also be fading into the land of has-been), I feel it appropriate for me to jump in and voice my thoughts to online ear.

It may take a bit to develop, so sit tight (not that any of you really care), and don't fret. My desire is basically to use this as a place to drop lines about the things I care about, the things that cross my mind, and the people I wish to draw attention to. If you have something you wish me to profile or write about, then let me know. Not that anyone will actually be reading these musings...

Till I return, peace friends.