Friday, March 20, 2009

Further Updates

Haven't written in a couple weeks. Not keeping up with my hope of writing more often. However, I have been killer busy with work the last while and just haven't had the time for extras, so I feel sufficiently excused. If you disagree, then you can keep it to yourself. :)

Wanted to let you know that... I got accepted to UVic for my Masters in Leadership Studies! I'm pretty excited about this. For some reason, I am really surprised because I had a feeling it wasn't gonna go this way. I have generally been accepted for everything I've ever applied to so I figured this was the one that would swing the other way. But I guess not, as I got informed earlier this week that I would be starting up my studies in May and entering another new path in my graduate studies hike. I hope this one ends soon with a degree on the other side.

In other good news, the Lambrick leadership has agreed that my studies at UVic are in fact ministry relevant and will be so valuable to what I do here at LPC that they'll be helping to pay for my degree. If it takes me 3 years to complete, they'll pitch in about half of the $9000. I'm so thankful for all the leaders who discerned that this step forward for me was valuable for the church as well.

As for other updates, I just got back last night from the 5th annual LPC Youth Work Camp up at Imadene. It was a great time and our youth worked very hard, even though it was snowing. I'm proud of these guys every year and this was no exception. Great work youth! Leilani and JL also came up to visit with us and it was great to have them along for the first time to Work Camp. Trips are always better with my family along for the ride.

My parents are almost done their trip in China, and they seem to have had a great time. They're there with the Reynolds Senior band and the kids are having a great time too. My dad climbed 1400+ stairs on the Great Wall with some of the students and was sore for a couple days afterward. They say the smog in some areas is literally unbelievable.

And that's about all for now. Hope that gets you 'updated' on all things Andy.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

An Update

I wanted to say thanks to many friends for giving me their suggestions and thoughts into what I should aim for regarding my future education. All of your comments we're insightful and valuable in my deliberations.

The update is that I have in fact applied for a MEd in Leadership Studies at UVic (which I'll transfer to an MA after I find a supervisor for my thesis). However, getting accepted is a whole other matter. We'll see what the Faculty of Graduate Studies has to say about my odd academic history, and hope that my vocational experience and glimmers of excellence (12 A+'s, but also 9 N's or F's) tweak their hearts.

In other news, I have been asked how my meditation on Ephesians 4 is going. Well, I'd say. Not great though. I kind of got caught up around verse 27 and have struggled to nail down those last few verses. But it's still permeating my mind, and I've found it very valuable. I've also jumped on some other passages and stuck them up their in the head as well. I thank God for the reminder to be dwelling on Him and writing His Word on my heart.

Monday, February 23, 2009

What To Do?

I graduated from my undergrad in 2003. I immediately applied at Acts Seminary at Trinity Western University and began a Masters of Arts in Christian Studies there. After one course (Intro to NT Greek - B+), and learning that Masters courses I was beginning in Victoria were transferable to Regent College and not to Acts, I switched schools. I enrolled as a student at Regent, with the intention of attaining my Masters of Christian Studies in Applied Theology, but didn't actually apply to that program as I knew it would take longer than the 5 year maximum they allowed.

I took four Applied Theology courses in Vic over 2 years, but did not get credit for them as I didn't have the money to put into it. Plus, I'm always eager to get free education :) I have taken 2 courses (5 credits) at Regent, where each credit costs about $500. I need 60 credits to graduate, so not only do I have a long way to go, but $$MONEY$$!!!!

So, that's where I've been, and lately I've been trying to figure out where to go now. I have looked at various options over the years, and have generally not decided much. A year ago, before JL and I found out Leilani was coming to visit, I decided that doing the Arrow Leadership Program (which gets me credits with Regent, but not many) would be the best initial move forward. But I've recently been encouraged to take an MA in Leadership with Royal Roads or UVic instead. So now there's lots of options.

I'm writing all this, not to bore you (you can stop reading anytime you feel, and move along with your day), but rather to inform you about my life and ask your opinion of 'what to do?' (note title). Below is a list of pros and cons for each option I'm currently looking at. Feel free to pass along your thoughts, or any further options you may suggest for my consideration.

Regent College MCS:
+ Great reputation within church (good cred if I remain pastor for life)
+ LPC will give me ~$1500 for courses
+ I'm already in this program
+ Lots of freedom in my degree, which allows me to take courses I enjoy
- Will take me at least 5 years, probably more to complete
- Related to above, no real end in site has been bad in past for Andy (including with education)
- Not as well recognized outside of church (what if I am not pastoring?)
- Still not sure how to meet residency requirements (doing on-site courses)

Arrow Leadership Program:
+ Great support among other Christians in cohort
+ Counts for credits toward Regent degree (not many, but a few)
+ I get a scholarship and LPC will probably give me money as well (still $4500 out of my own pocket)
+ Only 2 years
+ Good reputation within some church circles
+ Supposedly really good (and devastating) for personal awareness and spiritual life
- Takes 2 years, and then I still have 3+ years left to get actual Masters degree
- Quite a lot of money considering what credits I get
- Hesitation in past has been my disagreement with leadership philosophy of Arrow CEO (also a prof)

MA in Leadership Studies at UVic:
+ Comparably really cheap compared to other degree options (about $9-10K total)
+ Walk away in 2-3 years with a Masters degree
+ Good reputation everywhere (not JUST Christian agencies)
+ Great learning, more academic than Arrow
+ A foreseeable end in sight... very good for Andy
+ Thesis option allows for future in academia (not currently a big priority for me)
- Possibly no financial help from LPC
- Possibly not recognized as equivalent to Masters at seminary for LPC or other church
- Have to apply and get accepted!
- Not Christ-focused (a con suggested by a mentor, though I think this has value too)

MA in Leadership at Royal Roads:
Same as above except
+ Lower admission requirements mean I should be a lock to get in
- Twice the price of UVic
- No thesis option

And that's that. Thanks for helping me with going through this process.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Little Update

I've been meditating on Ephesians 4 lately. Here's a bit from memory:

As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live lives worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called. One Lord, one faith, and one baptism, one God the Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says: "When he ascended on high, he led captives in his train, and gave gifts to men." What does "he ascended" mean if he had not also descended to the lower, earthly regions?

That's about it for now. Check up on me if you want :) Hope it allows you to meditate a little on it too.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

How Far Will It Go?

Here's a story for you. A 60 year-old woman has just given birth to twins in Calgary. My thoughts below, may be offensive to some, so I apologize now if that's the case. Maybe stop reading now if you prefer. But I still want to share.

Now I have no problems with older people having children. If you get pregnant then that's life, and God be with you. And I have no problem with older people choosing to raise kids either. I am aware of a semi-retired couple that has just adopted their grandchild because their daughter is incapable of caring for the child who is fighting an infant addiction to many hard drugs. I think it's not only commendable what they are doing, but I also pray fervently that God will be with them and bless them in this incredibly hard task.

What I have been thinking about recently is the assisted pregnancy our country has normalized. Now this takes many forms, from simply helping the parents gametes not fight each other off, to in vitro fertilization with ones own embryos, to the same IVF but with donor embryos, etc. So many variables. I am not necessarily against them all. I have a friend who is currently carrying the child of a couple who was unable to get pregnant themselves. She has done an honourable thing, and I am proud of her, but I still question (not 'decided') the ethics of it all.

Paul said everything is permissible, but not all things are beneficial. Just cause we can, doesn't mean we should. The medical world has jumped leaps and bounds in the last 30 years in what can be done for assisted pregnancy, which is great for science. But is it right?

The two main concerns I have are (and notice I'm staying away from the theological - just don't know regarding that):

1) What about adoption? Are there not enough children in our world that if having a child is hard for us, can't we try loving and caring for another's natural child? Two friends that have adopted have shared interesting thoughts with me recently. The first is a woman who adopted after having multiple miscarriages. She says she knows her children (3) were born in her heart, and she regularly forgets they were not born of her body as well. Interesting. The second is a friend who made the choice to adopt rather than have natural children (which he and his wife use careful protection to inhibit). He says he is shocked and saddened that people always presume and offer apology for the fact that they can't have 'natural' children and HAVE to adopt. Some people even suggest IVF as a better option. His experience shows that adoption is sometimes even frowned upon, including in the church community. What?!

As people who have decided to walk down the road of adoption and see where God takes us, JL and I are excited to learn about what God is going to do through us and teach us in this somewhat isolated community. I'm excited as to how it will further influence my thoughts on IVF and other assisted pregnancy options.

2) Healthcare costs. Having children is expensive. In every way. It is very expensive for our healthcare system. But our country desires for our nation to produce more children, so it's worth it. It's always worth it.

However, the cost exponentially increases with children who have health irregularities at birth or who are premature. And with assisted pregnancies, the chances of these goes up exponentially as well. IVF regularly (around 50%) results in multiple pregnancies (twins+), which almost always result in pre-term births (the rate of preterm births in multiple births babies is 17 times higher than single babies). In Canada, a normal weight, single birth child costs our system about $1000 by the time it goes home (after a couple days). With additional health concerns for pre-term babies, the cost goes up quickly. It is suggested a pre-term baby born before 6 months costs well over $100,000 to our system before it leaves the hospital. The average cost for per-term babies was a lot less however, but still 12 times the normal cost at over $12,000.

Now sometimes per-term births cannot be avoided, and I obviously believe we need to care for any child born in Canada. But, should we look at controlling IVF and other assisted pregnancy options that regularly (over 80%) lead to pre-term and/or multiple births? Or what about the woman in the above article, who was deemed too old to be eligible for IVF in Canada, so went and paid for it in India and then returned to Canada for the free care? Does the taxpayer have the obligation to care for these people? Well, ethically, yes. But should we look into it a bit more. I think so.

Well, those are some of my thoughts. I think this will gradually become more and more of a concern for Canada (especially with universal health care) and you'll see it as a hot topic on a political stage near you. Best to do some research and get your opinion ready cause someone may be asking for it soon.

Sorry again if I offend anyone. Please be gracious.

Here are some resources you may found valuable in thinking through this all:
Recent Can. Press article
Article on recent Canadian Institute for Health Study
Victoria's Fertility Centre

Monday, February 2, 2009

On the Move Again

This past year's been a tough one on my body. Not only am I just getting older, and that's hard enough, but I've had some injuries that have put me up longer than hoped for.

The first was an ATVing accident that was 100% my fault, as I pushed the boundaries of what that Quad could do and felt what it was like to fly. Concussion, whiplash, some cuts and bruises were the minor problems. The back pain lingered longer and eventually required some physio treatments and a trip to a Chinese medicine-man who worked this magic on me by beating the junk out of my back, neck, and shoulder. The worst part was that I tore the two menisci in my left knee. MRI's, sports doctors, and physiotherapists worked on that to get it back in shape, but it was 3 months before I could walk without discomfort and 4 months till I got the go ahead for normal exercise.

That was around late October. Unfortunately, after going to the gym for a few weeks, the next hit came. In November, I was walking down the stairs with Leilani, and the stairs fought back. Now, I always have trouble with stairs, and especially the ones in my house. I fell down them every other day for the first 6 months we lived here. Now that we're almost 3 years in, I do a lot better. But I knew my time would come when my daughter and I took a tumble together. Fortunately, I was able to sacrifice my body to keep Leilani safe. She was fine, but my left foot and ankle were not. Two months later, I'm finally feeling confident to get back to exercise.

So, I'm on the move again. I've been exercising the last few weeks, but it's all involved lifting weights and doing action on the floor that doesn't involve my foot. But now I'm taking the plunge and gonna start hitting the pavement again. I hope to complete my first run this week (complete with ankle brace of course). Short, but hopefully sweet. And come April 26th, I hope to be able to make 10km cause I'm signing up for the Times Colonist run. Really excited actually. Haven't done that since 2001 or something, so I'm eager to try it again. I have NO idea what kind of time my old and injured body will be able to muster, but I'm hoping for at least under 50 minutes. I regularly ran 40-42 minute 10km as an 11 year old so 50 minutes shouldn't be too much of a stretch. I know I can handle the pace, but can my foot handle the distance. Ah well, we'll see!

Check back to hear the report.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Ephesians 4

Over the last year (at least), I have increasingly realized my tendency toward gossip.

For many years now, I have liked to talk. I talk way too much. I've wanted to listen more, but for some reason, I struggle to do so. It's a lack of focus at times, a restlessness at others, and just plain old selfishness most of the time I'm sure. Lord, help me with this...

But the gossip, well that HAS to go. I get talking, start storytelling, and usually in an aim to spread some humour, the stuff just starts rolling off my tongue. I often realize it part way through, and only a couple times have I been able to stop it midstream. I need to submit to this.

The worst part of gossip is that it's almost always done to puff up yourself. I'm not usually trying to do this, but subconsciously my mind/tongue goes there. Clearly I feel the need to do this for some reason, and that shows me I am not finding my confidence in Christ. Two words, one phrase: Not Good!

So, what to do? Well, I've always enjoyed Ephesians (which my fingers keep automatically spelling Ephesiance for some reason!) chapter 4. Unity in the Body. Living as Jesus would have us. Good stuff. The first chunk is important to remember when you realize you're talking bad about others. But the last paragraph hits much harder. Look it up. It's elemental.

So I think a good place to start on this journey toward a cleaner tongue (well, I've started already, but each day is a new start and today I put a stake in the ground and mark out my trail once again) is to memorize this. Ephesians (did it again!) 4. The whole thing. Dang, why'd I type that. I've never been able to memorize a whole chapter except a couple Psalms like 150 which are short and repetitive. What have I done?!

Okay, well, in God's grace and for His glory and toward my cleaner tongue, I will push forward on this journey. Ephesians 4, one verse at a time (a day?), you are mine. By March 1st I should have you mastered. If only my gossip would leave me that quick.

Please pray for me...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Comparison

I happened across something today.

A rare opportunity to compare two things.

Two things that are so alike, but yet so different.

Two things that almost never end up side by side.

And it made me smile.

Here are the pics I took to 'record' the comparison.

These 'machines' are both 3 years old, making them potentially archaic based on their industry, but one still functions fantastically. The other has new versions, slightly smaller, but nothing like the other.

I hope you enjoy the comparison yourself.

The battle between the smallest desktops of their time: the Mac Mini vs. the Dell Mini.

See you for yourself, I hope you smile too...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Women in Leadership

A few days ago, a friend and co-labourer asked me my thoughts on women in eldership. He figured I was well-read and researched on the subject. I am not.

However, I have spent time chatting with friends and other pastors, and poured over Scripture as relating to this subject. Below, you will find my very rushed, unedited (read the 'About Me' to the left), and potentially calloused response to him. I'd love feedback and thoughts in order to move myself and the Church forward in this thinking.


In my mind, the whole of the Biblical text shows how holding to the truth of one specific word is not the intention of the Word. God doesn't necessarily change, but His will and desire for a people changes, especially as that people group goes through change. When Abraham came to Canaan, God wanted him to dwell alongside the people in tents. When the Israelites came back, He wanted them to rid the region of the Canaanites so as to not be ruined by their paganism. When Saul stretched the boundaries of the Kingdom, He wanted something of the same. When the Israelites failed in these things, He wanted them to live in captivity of another nation and still hold true to Him. When they returned, He wanted them to live in peace with their neighbours. When the Romans ruled, He wanted to begin a war of heart redemption, not of violence. etc....

The point being, God's will for us depends on the time, place, culture, people involved, and witness. He's always very concerned about what our lives and actions will say to our neighbours. When the rule of law was violence, He was willing to work within that framework.

I believe there were some New Testament communities for which Jesus' message and plan of no Gentile, no female, no slave, etc. was too hard to handle. Paul recommended these churches remain with what they could handle so as to remain in love and therefore give the best witness to the community. Some NT communities could handle it, so Paul celebrated with them and acknowledged the women who were in leadership of the community. It was also a cold hard fact that women did not have the time in the synagogue that men did, they didn't have the experience (or opportunity) to pour over the Scriptures, nor educate themselves in other ways. I can understand that they needed time before they could 'teach/lead' in order to get their wisdom/knowledge up to speed so to speak.

Today, not only are we 2000 years down the road of hearing Jesus' message, but lots of things have changed. Men were able to keep women out of leadership and education for a long time, but over the last 100 years, women in the West have received the same upbringing. The culture around us in North America now expects and practices equality (on almost all grounds). For us to not practice it, what kind of witness are we showing?

What would God's will be for us? To continue to subjugate women, and by doing so within this context/culture, disrespect and disenfranchise them? I can't imagine that He wants that. In our culture, we deem inequality a form of oppression, tyranny. But why do we stand up for "men being the head of the household and leadership of the church" in an oppressive way? Because it's men who have the power now, and it has to be their decision to see Scripture in a different light and give up that power. That can be hard to do for those who have thought the same way for 50+ years.

So ya, in my mind, men are the head of the family, as Christ is the head of the Church. We need to be an example worthy of following, and be willing to not only take the blame for our family but lay down our lives for them. It doesn't mean we have to or get to make all the decisions unilaterally.

In the church, I believe we should not only practice equality, but also humility. In humbleness, how about we submit to God, ask Him if women should/could be involved in leadership, step forward in faith, and see how He leads us. If He shows us that our moves are wrong (and not just by the strong, conservative men - and their families - leaving the church), and we need to believe that He can make that clear if He desires, then we step back. Move forward with that honest and authentic humbleness to God and each other, everyone knowing you're stepping out in faith. My experience of having women teach (allowed in our church) has been a tremendous blessing and value to our spiritual life. Would God work in this way if He was so against it? Can we move to allow women serve as Elders of the community too (which my church does not allow)?

I have experienced leadership groups with and without women. I personally have seen the tremendous value in having the varied opinions in the room. I believe that men and women's hearts and minds together better represent the heart and mind of God. But I don't have the time to get into that side of the argument...

Friday, January 16, 2009


I love to create. I do so with many things. But changing those creations can sometimes slip my mind. Do I hate change? I don't think so. I usually feel good about the change once I'm done, so I can't hate it. I think it just slips my mind that I need to change things.

And that is the intro to tell you that I have finally changed my 'About Me' to the left of this page. Just a little. To make it accurate.


Sexual Innuendos

You ever wonder why some people have a knack for finding the 'sexual' in everything you say?

I do.

Is it me? Do I just lay them out there too often, knowingly or not, and thus people expect me to say something that has a hidden innuendo behind it? It seems that many youth, youth leaders, and my friends seem to always find things in my words that can be misconstrued. Ya, it can be funny sometimes, but I wonder if I need to check up on something so that I filter the words coming out of my mouth to negate these colourful searchers.

Regardless, I still find nothing inherently wrong with New Direction Ministries and their new campaign for Bridging the Gap (more to follow on these).

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Giving Cody Hodgson His Just Desserts

Just a small note to tell you all how I feel about the recent World Junior Tournament.

First off, Canada won. I'm not only proud, but very happy, and emotionally stable (I wouldn't be if they had lost). I can celebrate all of this.

However, there's one thing I can't celebrate. Canada's John Tavares was named the MVP of the tournament. Now, Tavares is a great player, and had some nice goals. However, after watching every game, I can honestly (and perhaps objectively?) say that Tavares was not the best, nor the most important (or valuable) player on the ice for Canada. In my mind, there were two players at least that topped him. Those that came close were Esposito, Cormier, Benn, and Subban. But those that clearly surpassed him in my mind were Jordan Eberle and Cody Hodgson.

Now Jordan Eberle scored some big goals, one HUGE goal (with 5.4 seconds left in the semis to tie the game against the Russians), and proved playmaking and spirited play the entire tournament. There was never a time when I was disappointed with his play.

The same cannot be said for Tavares. He missed numerous chances on the doorstep (which have been called unmissable by him), some of his goals took little skill, and one in particular he would have missed the net by 3 feet from only two feet away but it bounced off the goaltender and into the net. He did have one of the nicest goals I've EVER seen in the first game, and his shootout goal was also full of skill and confidence (Eberle had scored a nicer one just a minute prior), but overall I was slightly disappointed.

Someone that only disappointed me once, with a bad giveaway after 10 minutes of lacklustre play, was Cody Hodgdson. Other than that 10 minutes, he played a COMPLETE tournament. He controls the puck extremely well, wins faceoffs regularly, is Canada's top penalty killing forward, and provides a classy leadership that does all his teammates well. But more, he also led the tournament in points. Tavares scored more goals, but only a couple. Cody had more points total, and he was the one often setting up the finish of Tavares.

So, to conclude, I'd like to give Cody Hodgson my vote for the Most Valuable Player of the 2009 World Junior Tournament. No offence to Thomas Hickey, but he clearly was the better vote for team Captain as well, and I will be surprised if he doesn't become a point a game player and Captain in the NHL. Although the Canucks are not my favourite team, I'm very excited to see him come play in our neck of woods next year.

So raise your glasses and toast the true captain of Team Canada and just MVP of this year's tournie.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

13 In A Row

Need I say more? Our favourite local team has won 13 straight games. That's right. 13 straight. I mean, 13 stinking straight games! Just ridiculous.

The Victoria Salmon Kings lead the West Division, the National Conference, and the whole ECHL with 50 points, 24 wins, after just 35 games. To say I am pleased, is an understatement. Time the rest of you woke up and joined the run cause it's been a blast and should be a great time come June.

And in case you wondered, my Boston Bruins are leading the NHL as well and just concluded a 10 games winning streak. Hockey is fun for me right now.

Friday, January 2, 2009

My New Years Resolutions

So it's (again) been awhile since I've visited this blog and pleasured you all (Matty and my wife) with some witty prose. Well, as I let you know some of my New Years Resolutions (which I'm not really in fact making...), you'll see that may start to change.

I've never been one for making too many promises. One reason being that I'm not as good as I want to be at following through. So, I won't be making official resolutions this year, but I do have some thoughts on where I want the next 12 months to go and how things could positively change in my life. Read on...

I hope to use my time more wisely. I have done fairly well since Leilani has entered the world, but there's still plenty of room for improvement. One of those areas of improvement is in spending less time watching TV. Admittedly, I spend 95% of my time in front of the tube watching sports, which are hard to give up. But they are not the most important thing to me and can often seem that way based on how I spend my time. I hope to change that.


I hope to keep my word. That's about it.

I like writing. Whether I'm good at it or not is besides the point. I enjoy getting stuff out of my head and onto the page. I need to do that more. Through means like this blog, my prayer journal, sermon prep, sports discourse, or whatever, I just want to write more.

Okay, the classic. But it's true. I'm in the worst shape of my life. Pretty simple to say that I want, and more importantly, NEED, to get back on the gravy train. There have been lots of excuses this year, as an ATV accident led to almost 4 months of inactivity with a torn meniscus and bummed up back. Last month I feel down the stairs with Leilani and saved her by giving up my ankle. That's still causing me to hobble badly and moan and wince every step. But still, I've been working out the last week, and it's feeling good. Hawaii is in 3 months and I don't want to be mistaken for the great white whale.

I desire to show more love. To my wife, my daughter, my family, my friends, and to everyone. Regardless of how I do with this, I always can show more.


I love my job. It's more a life than a job really. And I love my life. But sometimes, I get bogged down by the meaningless. Or by the negative. I want to enjoy my job/life, and excel at it for God's sake. I hop this year I can do that.

And for now, that's all I got. I'll let you know how things go :)