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Sunday, October 31, 2004

 

Now I'm 9

Yes today is the 9th anniversary of this adversary in me named ME, yuppy flu, royal free disease, Chronic Fatigue. Whatever it is you're not welcome in me, so please goodbye.

How weird all to happen on this thing called halloween, anyone else think halloween is bad news other than me?

Sunday, October 24, 2004

 

On Cruise Control

After my amazing night in Toronto I get to my next leg of the trip. It’s now time for the whirlwind Great Lakes tour. Niagara - Grand Rapids – Chicago – Grand Rapids and back to Toronto. So what of it? Well all I can say is that most of it, my mind was on cruise control like my car. After my deep level connection to Calgary and the previous night my time alone on this trip, was certainly dissolving me, but not much more.

I loved Chicago, but what did I love it for? I walked the streets and people tried to take advantage of me. There’s none of the naivety of the Canadian underclass here. Every beggar here was out to gain and weren’t satisfied with what little I could give. Crazies try and get me into their little schemes and gangs really scare me as I walk just South of the Loop, ok I’ll turn back. At one point I get asked the time by 4 guys and then go D’oh as I realise they’re looking at my watch. They then stare me out before I casually turn round and walk away, keen to be confident as I do this. They don’t hassle me again, but thanks that you were onto it God as I’m such a dummy.

Some of this trip feels like I’m in an interactive movie as I’m with no one I know to give me context to life. I interact with people, but it’s all so limited. I purchase a bit of food, buy a ticket to the train, I feel almost autistic in the limit of what this interactive movie can do. Won’t someone be real with me? At least throw us a line that’s not in the script, surely there’s heart somewhere not just a ‘you’re welcome’ or ‘have a nice day’?

I’m so glad that I have the wedding of James and Kari to go to put me back into context with the living. This was a great Wedding and, I love all you guys there.

The last part of the trip is back in Toronto where I decide to go to The Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship. Here I line up as most do to take the trip down a Firewall. Going down in the Spirit is nothing new to me(*), and actually the part I took away from this place was the good solid teaching which confirmed a load of stuff God had been chatting to me about limits of bodies and to ponder what it will be like to fly. Matrix people.




*God, I still love it when you touch by your spirit, please don’t be dissed


Monday, October 18, 2004

 

Cecilia, You're Breaking My Heart

I’ve now come across to Toronto. I had a great time in Calgary and didn’t prepare myself at all for the next part of this adventure. I certainly am feeling a little more alone now going into the big cities of Toronto and Chicago alone, but that’s part of the fun. Toronto is a complete different flavour from Calgary. You’re met with the Northeast’s modern edge, with the unwholesome neighbourhoods.

I thought I’d booked a hostel in the Kensington area in Chinatown which is cooky, but with social problems on it’s doorstep.

My first step in Toronto was to get some food and watch some baseball, so I headed down to the Skydome by the awesome (not in the American slang sense of the word) CN Tower. The Skydome was dead but for the half open Hard Rock Café, where I thought it would be a hoot to watch this historic game for the Boston Red Sox. The bar staff stayed open for me, the place was dead and less than the spectacle I’d imagined. I realised at this point God had other plans for me in Toronto and it wasn’t to supply me with my romantic idea of watching a crucial baseball game in one of the homes of baseball.

I walked the streets of Toronto after this to get back to my hostel half way across town. I felt a real heaviness and was completely challenged as I passed each homeless person meekly chattering for change. I had no change; I didn’t even want to buy one of these guys a coffee. In this spend, spend, spend culture, I’d hardened myself and I hated it. But it’s easy to do, isn’t it?

So as I passed this one lady crouched down with a crutch by her side, something happened. I can only say that the Holy Spirit did something as I had become hard. I walked on by and then I heard her plaintive cry, I made an about turn. What could I do? I’m now short of any Canadian cash and have no clue what to offer. So I start to talk. I listened. I listened for about an hour to her story. This woman called Cecilia the drunk, was just opening up her soul. Maybe I was too probing, but something in me told me I wasn’t. I felt awkward and strange, but she too is a stranger in her own city. Cecilia is a First Nations lady, with kids and a husband east of the city. Her drinking problem has taken her from that environment. She’s been living on the Streets of Toronto for 3 years now, and day in day out manages to get enough alcohol to keep her going. She despises it. It only takes her 20 minutes to raise $40 for funds each day as she sits begging. I found her not whilst begging, but beside a cardboard box in Chinatown. Next to her was her ‘brother on the streets’. I didn’t meet him; he was out cold from the drink. As I scratched the surface some more, I learn about a car crash Cecilia had a year ago that has wrecked her leg. The damage is extensive. I’m so overcome with this lady, as tears roll down her face, I sense the only thing I have to offer is prayer.

Cecilia accepts this as if it’s the most important thing anyone has ever done for her. I even get to lay my hand on her hand as she offers it to me. She used to go to mass as a teenager. After I pray a prayer of toil as I struggle for words, Cecilia prays a prayer of confession and acceptance to Jesus. I needed not to prompt these things. She asks Jesus to stop her addiction. She comes to Him as a woman who is used to calling out His name, yet it seemed as if this prayer was different. She tells me after that she prays often, but doesn’t believe in it, but tonight she offers, felt different. I tell her the Holy Spirit has come upon her and that she need to pray that again and again.


I was reading Douglas Coupland’s latest novel, ‘Eleanor Rigby’ earlier in which the lead character in the book talks of being trapped by a body. This is what Jesus did in being incarnate. It is also too, the frustration Cecilia had, and she was open about it. I told her of the hope in Heaven of our resurrection body. I too look forward to this day. No longer limited by a body tired, energy sapped. What this body will look like is up for grabs. Physically, I’m sure it will still look strange. Jesus after all, still had marks in his flesh, but the Spirit will be free, free to fly from this limited lump of particles. Hope is an amazing thing. God’s glory came on me tonight, Thank you, Lord.

Please pray for Cecilia, she needs our prayers. Pray that she finds love, peace and provision.

Friday, October 15, 2004

 

As I walk thru the Garden

I'm sitting here waiting for the dump load of snow due tonight. The weather is finally on the turn.

Not feeling so great today after last couple of days enjoyment I guess it’s good to take a breather. Yesterday I got to venture up to Canmore, near Banff again, as Paul Weganest had arranged to meet up with a Welsh guy called Phil for lunch. Phil is over here having set up a B&B/prayer room in the mountains. He’s very interested in reconciliation between the First Nations and the settlers here. It was great to meet him and see someone who is fathering a lot of the Epic team here. We certainly had some exciting stuff to talk through but for more of that I guess things will happen in time.

After this journey, came home to then be organised by Sherri Victor to go out to watch the film ‘Garden State’. This is an amazing film all about the numbness we sometimes feel whilst journeying with life. It spoke to me lots about feeling alive and having just had that great day the day before of complete crystal clear thinking it was good to thank God for those sort of days and the fact that in Him there is so much more. Over the last few years I really have struggled with this as my health has often made it hard to really have that joi de vivre. Also with Doctors that put me on stupid medication that just makes you live on a constant, it make you realise how feeling is living. It was a great night as I got to see, although briefly, some guys I met over the last few months.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

 

Oh Deer!

I got up v early today to head to Banff and have a day just to clear the head and to live something of a Zihuatanejo experience, a completely exhilarating day. Not just that it was a restful day but it also felt like it was a day of meeting Jesus.

So I got a ride from a hilarious guy called Brent. He’s part of the Calgary Urban Monastery team and I stayed with him and his preggers wife Carlee last week when I arrived. They are a great couple with a grand sense of faith and humour. Road trippin’ across here before sunrise felt mental, especially in this big truck that Brent has for his work with Bobcat. We listened to Our Lady Peace on the way there and the shimmer of the mountains as the sun began to think about rising was something else. On arrival in Banff, Brent stops only so much as to find an elk besides us peacefully eating the grass outside one of the many hotels here. It’s mating season and Brent tells us not to stay too long as they get very aggressive, even on some occasions charging cars and damaging the bodywork.

Having been dropped off a la Wrigley’s Spearmint gum advert from 15 years ago, the stranger walks into town. Funny thing is that everyone’s a stranger in this town. However that’s the joy of the place that people have centred on this site to marvel at God’s creation and enjoy the Hot Springs nearby.

I turn to a local diner for an authentic North American breakfast before heading up on my hike up Tunnel Mountain. One of the smaller mountains, I’m hit by the realisation that often my mountain in life is smaller than that of other people but that, it’s still a mountain. Before setting off, the local tourist office tell me some tips to watch out for bears, cougars, wolves and elk, all of whom can be quite aggressive. So I’m told to make noise as I hike, so I start off singing some worship that quickly turns into crazy old songs that I remember from when I was a kid. One such song was Valderee, valdera … a knapsack on my back …and as I go a wandering… Oh the joy. It was by now getting quite warm and the views are spectacular. I spend a couple of hours at the top of this peak looking across the Bow Valley down into Banff and just enjoying the place of crystal clear thinking. One can see why Moses heard so audibly from God on the top of Mount Sinai.

On my way down I was conscious of wanting to meet with the world, the ascetic is all very well but only in the context of the intimacy with God time transferring across to our contemporaries. I start to walk up to the Upper Hot Springs here in Banff for some soaking time. With our new building in Reading to house a well, I was conscious of the healing of going to the hot springs. It certainly helped those bones of mine, so much of the time hurting from my body’s fatigue. Whilst there I decided to pray that God would provide someone at the springs that I would need to help and that would need to help me. Nowt happened up there, however a woman who I was sitting beside in the hot tub, followed me down off the mountain through the woods. Then, a family of deer, who didn’t really like the look of me, accosted me. I can understand why, but suddenly I was stopped in my tracks and the lady behind me caught me up. She too was a little startled at this and we both sat tight as this deer 2 feet from me, gave me the evils. After a couple of minutes they walked on by. We were then able to get going and I then was able to start chatting with this lady named Sharon.

Sharon’s a care worker from Connecticut. We talked at length for a while all about what each of us did, and I told her I worked for a worldwide prayer movement at which she was really interested. She had a background in the church; she went to various Baptist camps as a teenager but seemed very much an occasional worshipper. We talked a bit about God, she then says to me ‘Can I pay for your bus fare back in to Banff?’ She said that it was the least she could do, as she hadn’t put any money in the local church coffers recently. When I tell her that God had told me that her being there with the deer was a time where we were both able to help each other and it was something of an answer of prayer, she was not at all surprised and said ‘well if you’ll talk to God, I guess you got to expect Him to talk back’. Over the next 15 minutes it really seems that God had me there to reinvigorate this woman’s faith. She has been serving for years and seemed pretty dry and she seemed genuinely thankful for our conversation, and yet it was her who shouted my bus fare. Thanks Lord.

It was now time to scoot back on the Greyhound to Calgary. Wow, I love the Greyhound. I have to admit my opinion of this was very prejudicial. Sorry to be such a snob. This was great, comfy and yet cheap as chips. I got to sit next to a 60 yr old lady who was charming and was travelling from her home in British Columbia to Winnipeg. That’s a mental journey lasting 2 days pretty much. On arriving in Calgary I finished off my Sabbath experience of a day by watching some baseball having a beer downtown. I must remember to make my Sabbath like that more often, and for that I’ve got my life completely wrong. This whole thing of spending time with God, his creation and then just running with it without just being laid up in bed is surely better. I must not let myself get laid up in bed and spend my Sabbath burnt out from the rest of the week. Sabbath was meant to be rest not distress and catch-up. So all in all this is part of me maturing. Understandings as I carry on more in ministry this need to rest. For me that’s more than most, but God’s cool with it, it just needs to be me being cool with it.

 

As the Dodgers fade, someone needs to step in

Hi, Finally thought I'd catch up with this world and Blog. Watch out for more info about my trip in Canada. No Doubt!

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