Wednesday, March 7, 2012


A few weeks ago, I read in a Birding Blog about a parliament (collective term for owls) of snowy owls that were roosting near the Dyke at Boundary Bay, B.C. These birds are infrequent visitors to these parts so I had to see for myself this rare occurence and the first free afternoon I had, I drove out to the site.

I counted 30 snowy owls that were wintering there from the High Arctic.
Most of them were so close to the dyke trail that you could see them clearly without the aid of binoculars or a spotting scope.
This week I decided to revisit the owls and brought along my little granddaughter so she see snowy owls up close. (The word “owl” is one of the first words she mastered before she was 18 months old.)
Instead of the 30 something owls I expected to see, there were only 4 left. I overheard someone say that the owls have started on their Northern return journey to the Arctic.
Somehow most migratory creatures have a clear sense of the ever changing seasons.
I can feel it in the air – spring is almost here! For yours truly, daylight savings time marks the transition from the dark, damp winter to a brighter and longer spring season.
“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1(NKJV)

I wonder if most believers realize that there are also changing seasons in a person’s life; and if they do, I wonder if we make the most of each season?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Panoramic View

And the Lord said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him: “Lift your eyes now and look from the place where you are—northward, southward, eastward, and westward; for all the land which you see I give to you and your descendants forever.” Genesis 13:14-15
I’ve discovered that God’s promises are bigger than us and broader in its coverage than our imagination.
There is a natural tendency for most of us to be myopic in our vision; and we often only focus on those things that attract our “fleshly” attention. The resulting pursuit of these earthbound and material things, distract us enough that we miss out on the bigger picture of God’s greater blessings.
When God called Abraham to leave behind his “riches” and step into God’s promises; he could only see what he was giving up.
There are times in our life when we need to “lift our eyes and look from the place where you are.”

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Old Traditions with New Things

This week, I brought my granddaughter to a Chinese Shopping Mall to give her a first taste of Chinese New Year celebrations.
When we got to the turn-off for the car park, there was a long line-up of cars and I would have gone to another place except I was stuck in the center of it all. After what seemed like an eternity, we managed to get in and find a perfect lot.

The place was packed and buzzing with families dressed in their Sunday best. I later found out that most of the schools in the area had a “Pro-D” Day. It seemed like every Chinese person in my city was packed into that Mall to usher in the New Year. The sights, sounds and smell of the entire place evoked memories of times gone by. There were red lanterns, red packets, red outfits, and red Lion dancers in their customary costumes. The incessant loud drumming of the Lion dance troupes made it almost impossible for us to talk or even think. Everything about the celebration revolved around prosperity and health but much of it involved age-old superstition and some aspects clearly had pagan roots. For many traditional Chinese, there is the belief that each New Year presents a fresh new opportunity to prosper and wipe away the misfortunes and bad luck of the past seasons. That is probably the rationale behind the new clothes and new things in the home.
Chinese New Year, in one sense, is an oxymoron - old traditions that involve new things! As Christians, it’s a reminder that one day these old things will all pass away and God will make everything new. When that day comes, it will be a day of celebration without tears, without pain, and everything will be perfectly and perpetually new!

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” Revelation 21:5

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Birds of a Feather

Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Matthew 6:26

As the saying goes, “birds of a feather flock together!” Have you ever wondered what that really means? In this article, I’m not referring to the computer terminology BoF (birds of a feather) used to describe an informal discussion group. I’m focusing on why birds stick together while in flight, foraging for food and even when they resting. In a past article, I’ve eluded to snow geese in flight and how they utilize laws of aeronautics to their advantage when they fly in their distinct “V”- formation. Water fowls birds stay close together to share body heat even when they are floating in cold water and I guess there’s safety in numbers. “Flocking together” must be essential for their survival! Sometimes, creatures in the animal kingdom are wiser than humans. Isn’t it strange that the more developed our culture gets, the more socially isolated we seem to become!
Some sociologists have suggested that new technologies such as the internet and social media lead to social isolation. These technologies make users more inclined to stay at home and miss out on socializing with neighbours and visiting public places such as parks. Many are drawn to convenient “face-book” relationships, instead of “face-to-face” time.
Perhaps it’s time to return to the age-old methods of “hanging-out” together and rediscovering the strength of “one-another” relationships.
And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:25

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Where is La Nina?

Isn’t it strange how the weather can affect so many things in life?
We’ve been preparing for a colder than usual winter because the weather experts have predicted a La Nina type winter. So far, it has been wetter and warmer than usual.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not complaining! After my last trip to Edmonton, and the white-out conditions, I’m more appreciative of the rainy conditions here.
A lot of our responses in life are based on conditioning. The mind can condition one’s response to be overly negative and often the results are a complaining spirit. God’s Word exhorts us to “give thanks in all circumstances” and not allow our environment to dictate our heart condition.
I’m not one to make New Year’s Resolutions but I’ve decided that I will do more, give more and enjoy more in 2012, no matter the state of the world around me!
Honour the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine. Proverbs 3:9-10

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Closing the Year on a High Note

After 2 months of preparations and practises, we pulled it off. Everything fell into place when we packed-out both venues in our Christmas Musical; “Twas the light before Christmas.”

This was a first in many areas; the first time we’ve ever put together a 100-voice choir comprising kids as young as 5, with adults. Well done to our choir trainers, in both campuses, who patiently worked to teach all the parts and coordinated the rehearsals!
This was also a first for certain “new” members who bravely “volunteered” to be the actor/narrators in the show. They practiced their lines week after week before finessing it on the two presentations. Thanks to every musician, dancer, choreographer, technical crew and volunteer who all share in the great satisfaction and reward of seeing many give their lives to the Lord.
May God grant you great joy and satisfaction in knowing your work for Him is never in vain.

Friday, November 25, 2011

On the Road of Life

I just returned from a short trip to a cold place that shall not be named.
This road trip began like countless ones we embarked on before. The sun was shining and the roads were clear and dry.

Although I was driving through one of the most scenic places on earth, I was actually looking forward to the end of this 1200 km journey. We had packed well for the trip; we had everything we needed for any emergency. We packed in 24 bottles of water, snacks and food to keep me going for 24 hours, an emergency kit, and a shovel in case we needed to dig ourselves out.
Upon arrival at our destination, we went up to the front desk and were greeted by the hotel manager who instinctively knew our names. I had a bad feel about the situation. It’s never a good thing when the manager comes out to personally greet you. True to my gut feeling, we were told they had oversold and rebooked us at a different hotel. My old nature, wearied by the 12 hour drive, wanted to react but we gave him grace to make amends, which he did. They paid for our hotel room that night and cut other fees and taxes so we ended up saving a bit of money.

“Being happy doesn't mean that everything is perfect. It means that you've decided to look beyond the imperfections.” Anonymous

I’ve learned that if things don’t turn out the way you’ve planned it, God always turn things around to suit His superior plan.

As we slept that night, a storm blew in and dumped a foot of snow in the minus 23 degree weather.
The next morning we had to get up earlier than we planned on and managed to get to my daughter’s convocation with five minutes to spare.
The rest of the time there was uneventful but I was ever conscious of His presence and favour.

Our return trip started with great promise of a smooth ride home, at least for the first three hours. Half an hour into the next leg of the journey, I hit the perfect storm; below zero conditions, blowing winds and snow made for total white-out conditions. Within half an hour, my rear windscreen was covered with 6 inches of snow rendering my wiper immobile. As I ploughed through a foot of snow on the highway, I attempted to stay on the road by following the wheels tracks of the car that was 20 feet ahead (I hope) and almost invisible to me. Every time an oncoming semi-truck would pass us, we would be blind for up to 3- 5 seconds. The worst scenario was when we would pass on a narrow bridge, with inches on either side.

It took us three hours to cover a short stretch of the highway, but I was so thankful and relieved when we finally made it out of the storm and into the next town.
The next 3 hours was smooth driving through compact snow conditions, but we had to face another storm in the last segment of our journey home.
It was so bad that that highway was closed a few hours after we arrived home! It was still close two days after! Phew!

By the time I got out of the last mountain pass, I had to make one last pit stop at the gas station. I had to get out of my car to stretch and celebrate, get out of my sweat-soaked jacket, and thank God for seeing us through this hazardous segment in our journey of life.

A day after the journey home, I read in the papers about two guys who lost their lives in this same storm system because they crossed the center median and crashed head on into a semi-truck. That could have been us!

“The Road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” Don Williams Jr.
Thanks to my faithful congregation that were praying for us during this trip!