Author Archive

Surprise!

April 5, 2015

The dreaded phone call came from Canada in the middle of a missionary term in Papua New Guinea. Our housemaid answered and relayed the message to me when I arrived home for lunch. I'll never forget her exact words: "Rick, sorry … your …( read more )

Leo

March 30, 2015

Leo was a 20-year-old student from France who came to my hometown of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, in order to complete his second year of a business program. He stayed with my family for much of his six-month Canadian visit, fitting …( read more )

Nelson Mandela

December 15, 2013

Nelson Mandela was truly one the most influential Christian leaders of our time. "The world has lost one of its great moral leaders and statesmen. He demonstrated that the only path forward for the nation was to reject the appeal of …( read more )

The Inheritance

August 16, 2013

My maternal grandfather was a prominent lawyer in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Consequently, my mother grew up with a butler, chauffeur, and maid. My father, on the other hand, lived a humble life to which my mother, after her marriage, …( read more )

Beneath The Cross Of Jesus

July 7, 2013

"Tell me what your escape routes were," Rev. David Robertson asked his United Church congregation in High River, Alberta, Canada, to begin an impromptu worship service last Sunday. Just over a week earlier, on June 21, 13,000 residents …( read more )

Hang Gliding

September 25, 2011

Hang gliding behind a power boat is an exciting, relatively new sport whereby a powerboat tows a twenty-foot kite with two people harnessed into it and pulls them to dizzying heights. A few years ago, I tried this sport over … (read more)

The Journey Home

September 9, 2011

I love living in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, but I think that my heart will always be in Muskoka, Ontario, where my grandfather's cottage, nicknamed "Birch Haven" has stood since 1933. For as long as I can remember, as soon … (read more)

A Life Of Service

February 1, 2011

It's been a year since the earthquake in Haiti, taking with it all the sub-standard concrete buildings that litter Port-au-Prince, and taking with it over 316,000 Haitian lives. A month after the earthquake, a small number from our church arrived … (read more)

The Master's Touch

January 5, 2011

Over the course of my life, I have always coveted the limited time in which I have pursued oil painting. As a busy pastor, I rarely seem to find the time. For a birthday, my son, Jeff, encouraged me to … (read more)

The Great Blondin

November 21, 2010

In 1859, The Great Blondin became the first of many tightrope walkers to make the death-defying walk 175 feet above the Niagara Gorge from Canada into the United States. Blondin crossed the tightrope pushing a wheelbarrow, or on a bicycle, … (read more)

Average

March 6, 2010

Recently, I asked the members of my congregation, "How many of you hold a valid driver's licence and are currently still driving?" About one hundred hands went up — almost all the congregation. No surprises there. Then I asked, "How … (read more)

Open My Eyes

November 22, 2009

Going to the peak of a snow-covered mountain, slapping two skis onto one's feet, and screaming downhill isn't everyone's idea of fun. For the blind, it might sound impossible. John, a fun-loving, middle-aged man — blind from birth — has … (read more)

Wildfires In Kelowna

August 20, 2009

You may have watched pictures of the wildfires that once again swept the Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, area in late July, reminding us of the devastating fires of August 2003, when 239 homes burned to the ground. This time, again, … (read more)

Foundation For Our Soul

March 29, 2009

My first congregation as a student minister in rural Ontario had connected with it a very modest manse — think more of a cosy, three-bedroom cottage than a house — no garage, no basement, and little storage. I asked a … (read more)

The Touch

March 22, 2009

On Sunday morning, a shabbily-dressed homeless person was found sitting on a piece of cardboard at the front of our church entrance, as people filed into the sanctuary. His head was down, and he almost seemed not to notice those … (read more)

Christ The King Sunday

November 25, 2007

In John 18:35, Pilate asked Jesus about his crime, but Jesus takes the conversation in a different direction. I grew up in Ottawa, the capital of Canada, during Prime Minister John Diefenbaker's time. In his later years, Diefenbaker often attended … (read more)

The Arms Of God

April 15, 2006

"I'm a surgeon in the Gold Coast, Australia," said the voice at the other end of the phone. "Your son is just being wheeled into surgery for a major abdominal operation following a surfing accident. I think it best that … (read more)

Holy Week

April 10, 2006

On the night before he was to die, in despair of what he knew was to come, Jesus pleaded with his disciples. In Canada, Ontario winters often seem never-ending. I grew up in Ottawa, trudging through snow as early as … (read more)

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