Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mystery in Our Own Backyard

As my friend spoke of his discovery it was fascinating to listen to him. In a recent job that his company was doing they had paved a parking lot. While doing that his memory had been jogged.

A while back he had been working at removing a tree in the area of 44° 32' 0" North, 77° 47' 0" West.

While lifting the great tree and its roots from the ground, the soil around the tree was not like the rest of the soil in the area. Instead of the normal sand and clay that is in the region – it was huge mass of broken/crushed stone, sparkling and shining in the sunlight. This was a mass of “tailings” dumped at the exact spot – perhaps more than 100 years before. The tree was one of the biggest in the area and it had grown for a long time on that spot covering the tailings.

My friend was working right in the area where Gold had been discovered back as far as around 1820 – as well as iron, copper, lead, silver, gold and lithographic stone. Today from that same region Talc and Dolomite are still mined.

The original name is the Cordova Mine.

The history is spotty to say the least. Searching the Internet finds limited information of the 180 year history. Most you will hear is the rich story telling of the local people that can tell tale after tale.

My friend’s discovery led to another local telling him about the scam of the Cordova Mines in the last 25 years or so. It seems that a sharp and not so above board developer arrived in the area with mining engineers and the whole shooting match.

You will need to know that the Cordova Gold Mine had worked for years and had finally closed in the late 1800s or early 1900s.

This Developer arrived in the late 1900s, perhaps the 1980s to 1990s, to build the scam.

It seems that the locals remember the bus loads to people from the city coming to see for themselves what was being found and being done in the old mine area. It seems that Gold had been rediscovered and in the tailings and with the new methods the Developer and his engineers had concocted – it was a brand new strike it rich scheme – right under the local’s noses.

It was a like the large tree that my friend had removed… there buried for years was the evidence that no one remembered – or even cared about. Gold was in the ground – everywhere around them.

Do you believe that is DUMB?

The end of this story was that at least two men were jailed in their part of the scam. Yet a local account shared that many people were hired by this developer and his group to carry out the work they were doing. They were well paid from the Gold that was extracted from the tailings and the mine itself. THERE IS GOLD IN THE ROCKS – STILL!

My own imagination was immediately flamed with a new fire. What if there were new methods and new abilities that were better than those of the 1820s – what if there really is Gold that could come from that ground around 44° 32' 0" North, 77° 47' 0" West?

I mean the Cordova Mine was only in one spot… what about a spot say… a few miles to the west …or maybe to the east….? I just bet there is more Gold than anyone has every realized in the rocks of that area.

Searching the little I did for this short account I came across an account published in 1984 of the geological findings of that area… EVERYTHING POINTS to rocks that have Gold in them! No kidding!

Do you believe that is DUMB? You're right!

What am I getting at…?

Well – it is all about mystery in our own backyard. It is about stuff that we know nothing about. It is about the possibilities meeting our desires and the difficulties that we encounter when our own desires overtake common sense.

It is about scams… and people being hurt. It is about human tragedies that cripple families and hurt kids forever.

How in the dickens do you draw that conclusion Lincoln?

Remember the tree that my friend up rooted? It was the beginning of the real truth of the area that revealed to him far more than he knew before he pulled that huge tree out.

I met another friend that has lost everything. No it wasn’t because of Gold Mining problem/scam. It was because of lust and adultery.

He met a younger lady than the one that he was living with/married to. It seems that the “older model” that he was married to was not meeting his needs. He simply jumped ship and bedded the new lady.

Your first thoughts were likely the same as mine. The new model was young and vivacious – right?

Nope. She was old and haggard – well used actually. She had thin gray hair… a saggy body and not a lot of life. But she had demands and required high maintenance. My silly friend had jumped out of one comfortable bed to another not so comfortable bed – and seemed to think this was SMART!

This couple along with the new lady were OLDER… knocking on their mid sixties doors.

Do you agree that is DUMB?

Well I make another simple statement here…it is DUMB to do it when their kids of are younger as well! Kids hurt when parents lose their sense of common sense.

Back to the Cordova Mine scam…
The reason that the scammers went to jail was they had ripped life savings from the families that had worked so hard to gain them. People left that gig with NOTHING.

The stupid friend of mine that jumped from one bed to another – lost it all as well. He lost respect from his adult children. He lost contact with all of his grandkids. He is living like a reject with a rejected “tailings” of a woman.

It is so sad.

But it doesn’t stop with that silly old grandpa. Nope. Three families I know have just called it quits. They are young – mid 30s and early 40s. The kids are just entering puberty. The two dads have found something softer, happier and more fun. One mom found a new wonder man. None of them know yet just how much baggage the other new mate has brought along.

It is so very sad.

From dead mines to dead marriages and dead kids – the distance is not that great. But the scams are the same. Mystery in our own backyard…hmmmm? BALONEY!

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Interlude One

We were in a hurry to get back to our city. We had completed a wonderful day in Port Hope and were now driving back to Peterborough by the back roads. The rural road was open and clean. The trees whisked by on each side and at times formed a tunnel to drive through. What a beautiful country. Few people would see this – except the locals.

It was an “interlude” for us as we paused away from everything.

Then something happened. I saw something that tweaked a long ago memory. I slowed the car quickly. There on my right side was home… a rolling field of ripe wheat waving slowly in the breeze.

As I walked to edge of the road there was a peace that is hard to describe in words. With the light wind blowing and the wheat waving gently – it was my interlude. All day it had been there…in fact for weeks…months… nothing on this road had changed. Perfect peace on a tiny road.

Then I turned and another interlude took place. There at the side of the small road was a beautiful black butterfly trimmed with spots of colour. He hung on to the top of the small thistle as it waved in the wind. Perfect peace again. Absolute stillness in the middle of no where.

I truly believe that God helps me to pause… get away from it all… then stop andappreciate what I see.

Oddly enough it reminds me of the burning bush experience that Moses had so long ago. Bushes in his day were not unusual. He saw bushes everyday. Bushes that burned were not unusual either – but bushes that burned and did not burn up were something he looked at. God had his attention and he stopped to first look and then to listen.

I am on a tight schedule for something all the time. I have been for years. My “tight” is so tight sometimes that it feels like I could snap. In the not-so-long-ago period of time we were rushing away for a short break to another city – to just get away.

Alida was sleeping beside me as I drove. Then the cell phone rang. Someone had just passed away and the funeral would be in three days time. The question was would I be back in time… the family really needed me to be there – and I knew it. So for the next two hours on a cell phone, as I drove, I talked with the funeral director, my secretary, and the family members that I could. No one but my secretary knew that I was away for a few days. I kept up the “good pastor” image and arrived back in time for the funeral.

The planned interlude was not quite the same. There was no time to stop and look at wheat fields. There was just a rush to quickly have fun… then get back into the act again.

Interludes are in every play in a theatre. The director needs that interlude to change the props and set up everything for the next act following the interlude. It is a pause. It is a rest. It is needed to make the play make more sense.

In music, from as much as I know about it, there are a pauses, rests, and even interludes. Take these all out of music and you will get nothing but NOISE… a whole bunch of sound pushed together is horrible.

Life is like that too. No pause, no rest, and no interlude it will be unbearable, miserable and impossible – and every other not so good “able/ible” there is.

I have paused from the grind. I should say God pushed my pause button. And it is good – real good. Refreshing has started. I have no idea what I may be like when the clouds of hurry finally move out of my sky. I might even be alive and will feel again. WOW!

Where is your burning bush experience? Maybe I should ask first – where is the bush? Are you still running fast and furious to the next fast and furious activity that just has to be done – NOW?

Back to the country road…

Oddly enough the small road that we were stopped on north and west of Port Hope ran north. Just ahead of us about five kms there was the mighty #401 Highway that brings the millions to and from Toronto.

After the interlude we drove on and then stopped on the #401 overpass with the streams of the cars flying below us. It was an unending spew of metal and rubber howling below us. Everyone had their windows rolled up tightly and likely listening to traffic reports as the Sunday afternoon cottage/weekenders hurried back to the city.

What a contrast just a few kilometers away… a quiet wheat field and slow moving butterfly.

I am heading back to the side of road somewhere – soon. How about you?

Do you need a break? Do you need permission? Tell them that your friend Murray suggested that there is a butterfly waiting for you… and a wheat field waving for you to stop.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

This photo is the final Interlude - two worlds meeting...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Two Herds and a Question Mark

The beautiful animals must be guided by the herd instinct. They were mainly brown in colour and they lumbered across the field with one in the lead. As they walked they stopped from time to time to eat more grass. I think there is nothing more idyllic on a hot summer’s day than a herd of cattle. They were at peace with their surroundings, eating, then pausing in the warm afternoon for a sleep after they are full and with their caves in tow. I took their photo as seen here.

Yesterday as we traveled to and from Port Hope for the church service with our friends we saw many such herds enjoying the afternoon sun.

But there was one herd that made me stop and stare. They were so unusual.

They numbered 9 in all. They were beautiful creatures all about the same age. I estimate that they were just past the “calf age” and were now in their early adult age – just prior to mating. For this herd I did not have my camera and would have maybe in trouble if I had openly taken their photo.

The herds were very different. The first one was in the field and the other was in the Subway Shop of Port Hope. No they were not cattle in the Subway Shop of Port Hope but rather a herd of early university students dressed in their Sunday duds for a hot day together.

As we were about to enter the Subway Shop I opened and held the door for my mom and my wife. Before mom and my wife could enter, “The herd” had to come out. They came through the door giggling and talking rapidly to each other…oblivious to those around them.

It was their dress code that drew my attention. They all sported shorts with a variety of different tops. Most had on low cut tops and were well groomed. Hair was right, eye liner was near perfect and nails done well. They could have stepped out of a fashion magazine. They were well done to say the least – except for one factor.

Most were wearing high heel shoes that made them wobble. Their high heels were way too high but certainly gave the young legs a look of – “Wow”. The wearers of the shoes had not practiced a lot on these “mini stilts” it was plain to see. Negotiating the last little step out of the shop almost toppled the last one as her heel went over to the right.

The scene reminded me of the scenes on TV caught by a closely viewing audience over and over again as both Miss Universe Pageant’s participants, Miss USA 2007 and Miss USA 2008 both took a tumble off their mini stilts.

(On the side – I am convinced that Stock Car Races and Beauty Pageants have much in common. People watch to see the crashes. Pretty cars and Pretty legs help too…mind you)

Am I against High Heels? Nope. You can wear what you want to. But as you do I will be thanking God that I am a man and have never been subjected to that kind of silliness and torture.

When we lived in Hong Kong and traveled in China we had the opportunity to walk through different museums. In the one museum there were samples of shoes worn by women generations back when the girls and ladies of the upper class society had their feet bound. It was gross to view the very descriptive photos of the tortured feet of these poor ladies.

If you don’t understand the idea of foot binding you need to do some research. When the girl was very young and in the growing stage spurting through childhood her feet were tightly bound with cloth and ropes to keep them from getting large and long. As she progressed through her teen years her feet were kept tightly bound by her servants until she reached adulthood and from then on she was carried in a chair by the servants. She was guaranteed to be a cripple for all her life with the stupidity of the foot binding practice – all because of societal pressure to be “beautiful and different” from the commoner.

Back to Port Hope…
After the small herd left the Subway Shop another smaller herd came in. These were fresh young things as well – about the same age as the last group. These also wore shorts and had on comfy tops. But what a difference as you looked at their feet… they sported just old and tired running shoes. The dead give away was the black plaint that the one girl had spattered all over her brown legs and arms. This was a working girl – beautiful but not belonging to the last herd… and she didn’t wobble either.

Now some will think that I am against girls that try to look pretty. Nope again.

I just question why both men and women do such silly things to try to be who they are not.

Oh I do it too. I wear ties and suits to try to make people think I am someone else on Sunday, instead of the guy I am from Monday to Saturday. I try to look Holier on Sunday than I am the other days of the week.

I lay that traditional teaching on my parents who taught me that dressing like that was something you did for God on Sunday when you attended his House. All of their families did it – so they did it too.

But the Bible says something about us all being naked in front of God – doesn’t it? In fact when Eve and Adam sinned – the first thing they did was cover up with the best leaves they could find.

Maybe that is the secret – we try to put on all this stuff and act in certain ways because we are covering up – or being something we were not intended to be… or something others want us to be.

Something about dumb cows that I admire is they don’t try to put on any special airs to make themselves into something they are not. They are just cows… and cows are beautiful.

My reflection today is that God sees me for who I am not what I try to become. I am still plain old Murray underneath. It doesn’t matter much what kind of house I live in or what kind of car I drive. What really matters is what is in my inside.

But – man of man… am I ever glad that I am a man and that men don’t have to wear high heel shoes!

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Sunday, July 27, 2008


“Murray I need another book.” Mom was standing at the garage door with her cane and making her request. I grinned and went to the box that we have filled with books – recently shared with us from a friend. Mom retrieved two more novels and handed me the last two she just finished.

Mom loves to read. At 87 she is still devouring books at a rate of two per week – maybe even three. She knows her authors and likes one better than another. Mysteries are not her favorites but romance is likely number one.

The shared box of books is filled with beautiful stories from various authors and places in the world. Though I haven’t yet had a chance to read one of the books – I have snooped. They are well written.

Add to her reading she loves to be active. Walking is her favorite things to do. Her pedometer in place when she takes off will record fairly actively her steps to the mall and back. With her walker she has maintained her freedom and has actively sought out new areas of our community. It is cool to see your mom so out there… and with it.

The night’s news is a catch up time for her. She knows what happens in most area of our country and it bugs her when they won’t tell her enough news about western Canada (we live in the east). A quick call to friends in Saskatchewan will retrieve the latest rain fall, storm report or hot sunshine records. She is with it most of the time… more than me.

What has kept my mom so alive and so with it is her attitude to discover something new. A willingness to see some different country and move out to meet new people has always been her style. Today she is excited about going to church with us to Port Hope – some place new.

Now in comparison to other ladies her age who are well into their latter years of memory loss and major physical loss – mom isn’t there.

But there is some loss with memory. My guess is that it is due to boredom and being locked into the regular routine where days blend together and make no sense. I can understand that one better in that my last weeks.

If you think that this is an analysis of my mom – it isn’t. It is admiration and a challenge to take a look at myself and my own ways.

In the past couple days I have had men that are near my age stop by my garage to see how I was doing and get me to help them. These are men that I have helped over these past few years. A number of them have worked at the G.E. Factory in town and then either retired early or worked until the full term of 65 years old.

I point to four of these G.E. guys with this reference to health and vitality. Each one needs help from me with one of our mutual hobbies – TV. Each of the four has fairly severe memory loss that is advancing with their age. Memory loss is an issue. That is why they come for help.

As I have quizzed them as to what they do with their spare time the answer is similar. They don’t read much – never have. They exercise little. One joked that his remote is his exercise – he picks it up pushes buttons. The most exercise he gets is when the Remote is lost and he has to get up to find it – walking around the couch or his easy chair. One time he had to turn the easy chair over to find the remote – that wasn’t easy.

Of the four, one is active with his tennis and regularly works out. He is the oldest and is in the best shape. The memory issues are slight compared to his friends – most is because he cannot operate a computer – starting that at 77 is too late. He knows it and asks for help.

I believe there may well be a fountain of youth – or a place that will keep you younger than your friends. Where is it? Well you have to get up and get out to find it… the walk to find it will keep you younger. The dream and the active thoughts and the book that you read about it may well help you achieve it.

New discoveries and a desire to find more about them will be the secret.

Again I go back to the Bible with my post today. The Bible for me has all the answers and hints that I need to cope in my world.

Walking with Moses again this week (he is one of my heroes if you haven’t guessed already) I watched his pattern.

Long walks and even a run from a comfortable palace – without the easy chair that he had known for a long time – was his beginning point. That walk took him way out to a country that was one where you had to walk a lot.

He chose a job or had one chosen for him that required him to walk a lot. He became a shepherd.

Shepherding is only done one way in his day – you walked with the sheep from one green area to another. The sheep ate all the grass in one are and then needed to go to another area. Sheep also thrive better in hilly – up and down areas meaning the shepherd was required to do a good amount of exercise of hill climbing. And sheep get lost – so you do extra walking to find them if you are a good shepherd. Finally you ate a little less and perhaps more wisely as you herded sheep – you had to carry your lunch so it needed to be light. And you can’t eat the sheep – they were the profit.

Shepherding as an occupation was healthy – more healthy than living a sedate life in a palace.

I am convinced that God knew he needed Moses to stay alive along time when leading the People out of Israel. He also needed him to walk a long ways for a long time – so he needed to be in good shape. What better preparation than to walk for 40 years before walking for another 40 for the final destination.

When I read of his final days it is amazing. His eye sight had not dimmed nor his foot step faltered. At the end before he dies – HE CLIMBS A MOUNTAIN TO SEE THE PROMISE LAND!

Take a look at all your friends around you and also the ones that is in the mirror this morning. Could they climb a mountain now? How about when they are 120 years old? That is how old Moses was when he did that one last hill.

I know that it is not written and I cannot say for sure… but as he walked that day there was a large grin on his face… “This is just like the early years of shepherding… another hill to climb..” was going through his mind…

I have discovered that staying active and wanting to discover more new places – will make a difference for me.

So…. When my grandkids get a new game for their computers…or for their gaming machines – grandpa tries what they are doing (when they are not there…) and guess what it is JUST PLAIN FUN!

I am not saying that I will live forever. I don’t want that. I will die like the rest – but why not a live a life full of discoveries – and make what I do get for years just a whole lot more fun and alive.

“Mom I need another book. Is this one any good?”

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Poverty and Crime

As I walked through the breezeway with my Bicycle I met a man. We had connected when I was the pastor at Northview. He is about 50 years old and now unemployed. He had just come from the Welfare Office and wanted to talk.

He was discouraged and was frantic to find work. “There is nothing in Peterborough as far as jobs are concerned! I have no idea where I will get money. I just came out of there…” as he pointed to the Welfare (Ontario Works) Office.

“I don’t want to go back to crime…” were his trailing words as he left me.

I was struck with his words. What will he do? Where will he go? I have no resources to help him now… I am no longer the pastor of a ‘wealthy church’ with money to give from a Benevolent Fund.

I am also unemployed and looking for work for the interim period – until the new ministry starts to pay. The fact of the matter the line between me and the dude I talked to in the breezeway is not that thick. Soon I will have little or nothing.

At least I have an address that eventually a “Employment Insurance check” may arrive to… he has nothing and is bunking at his new girl friend’s place on the floor.

There is a linkage between Poverty and Crime. I have been close to that linkage as I met the guy in the breezeway… closer than I like to think. In my old and very big church office of the past 10 years I was miles from that breezeway and the folk walking in and out of the welfare office/services. I simply thought I knew about it all… but I didn’t know what it was like to have NO INCOME.

Now lest you think for a moment that we are suffering – we are not. There is a wee bit of money that came with a good income tax return. There is always going to be enough – I think. Something always seems to work out if God is involved. But there are days I doubt and fear and frustrate myself and wish it was the way it used to be when I was sitting in the old, big office with less knowledge about E.I.

I have a hope. I am different than the guy in the breezeway. In September I could be starting a new business… or I could be employed and supported better when more finances come to the new ministry… I will be better off than others in the breezeway.

But it has been good for me to see what the others outside “the palace” live like. It has changed my life.

Again my thoughts are on Moses. He had lived 40 years inside the Pharaoh’s palace. He knew he was like the others outside but didn’t really know how. He stepped outside and the moment he did his world changed. New realities brought him new doubts and fears and running to the next place of refuge.

Man can I identify with this guy Moses. All except for the murder part of the story… THAT I HAVE NOT DONE…!

Reflecting in a breezeway today with my friend… who may be committing crime tonight… are your doors locked?

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Job vs The Journey - Waiting and Growth 2

For weeks now I have waited for the July 24th and the 2:00 PM appointment. It was set up by an employment counselor to help me look at the next stage of getting back to work.

It is part of what I have to do as we wait for Leading Influence Ministries to grow and pay a salary – which may be a while yet. L.I.M. is my goal in months to come but… I wait and pray for now.

As I peddled my bicycle down to the office that the appointment was to take place at – I was so excited. This was now some direction after one month of waiting.

As I walked into the quiet office there was one lady at the desk. She looked up puzzled and asked, “Can I help you?”

I explained that I was there for the 2:00 PM appointment. She then explained that there was no one in this week and the appointments were last week and that the next one was not until two weeks from now. Everyone was on vacation.

There was a long Pause as I stood there befuddled… NOW What?

I left the office trying to sort out why everyone was on vacation and no one called to tell me. Why didn’t anyone call me? Was my name really one a list like the other counselor had said it was? Would I lose the opportunity that came with this appointment? Too many questions to process… so I Paused… got on my bicycle and rode on…

There are times that I get a lump in my throat… and feel like I would like to cry… but what use is there in letting that lump get so big that I let that happen?

I have sent resumes out… I have contacted people the way that they said to do it… but nothing has happened. I am working with L.I.M. quietly each day hoping for the best and that finances will come… but in reality I am an unemployed Minister at 64 years old with no income – I AM UNEMPLOYED.

This waiting sucks.

As I rode my bicycle away from the “not-to-happen appointment” something came to my mind. It was Moses again. Moses was waiting for 40 years while herding sheep. I thought of his first weeks and months of being a shepherd and what it must have been like… an unemployed Prince… now a murderer… on the run from what ever family he might still have had in Egypt… now sitting with sheep.

I have the distinct advantage in that I have read all of his life story. Moses hadn’t yet read the story – because he simply hadn’t yet lived it out fully.

Day after day Moses looked after smelly sheep. Doing the small things that connected the dots of his life together. It was a boring and routine – but it kept him alive and sane.

As I rode on yesterday I realized that the story of Moses was again mine. God was quietly bringing huge sections to his story alive for me as I rode on. There in front of my mind I was with Moses all the way… daily routine – regular faithfulness is what I am learning – just like he did.

“But why am I doing this at 64 years old Lord?” Then God spoke quietly and reminded me that Moses was 40 as he started the sheep episode of his life… and was doing it when he was 64 as well…right up until he was 80.

I was quiet and rode on. It was a refocusing hour. And I got the picture loud and clear.

It is not about the JOB – it is all about the JOURNEY. That thought was yesterday’s SHOUT in my heart.

So today… more routine… I will be faithful in the Small things… God will be faithful in the Big ones.

That is my final answer!

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Why Does God Wait?

It doesn’t make sense sometimes. The problem is in front of me. I know it is there, my wife knows it is there, my friends know it is there – and so does God. But the problem remains the same. It is still in front of us.

If God sees the problem and knows we are in trouble…why does he wait before he brings the answer?

I believe in prayer. I believe and have seen God take care of all kinds of problems when we pray. But sometimes he does nothing….

I have been pondering the story of Moses for weeks now. I see a great man with great abilities. These abilities were in him from the beginning. On top of that we was raised in a privileged place and given opportunities that few others would ever have.

Then I see the people of the land around him. They were his people and they were suffering greatly with the new leadership of the land. The Pharaoh was new and he remembered nothing of the old days when Joseph, one of Israel’s sons, had been the great help to their country. For that reason the Children of Israel had been given wonderful opportunities to expand and prosper. The new Pharaoh took offense to these people of Israel that were multiplying so quickly.

The Pharaoh decided to make the Israelites suffer with extra work. Worse yet he tried to kill all their male babies. It was a terrible time. The Israelites had moved fairly quickly from a time of prosperity to one of tribulation. They faced big problems.

Now if they were God’s Chosen People – the ones that He has said he will bless and his blessing is upon – why did they suffer this kind of persecution for so long?

I say “so long” because as you add up the years it is a life time of waiting.

Moses was born at a time the Pharaoh had given the order to kill all the male babies. Pressure was on every working person to produce more with less. The labour force was under great strain and people were dieing with the merciless treatment. In fact that was the main reason the Pharaoh did what he did was to stop them.

It would then be 40 years before Moses, one day walking outside the palace, encountered the brutality and did something about it – killing an Egyptian guard. The Pharaoh heard of what Moses had done and was very angry. Moses ran away.

You will remember that Moses stayed in his new home for another 40 years until he had the burning bush experience. He was now 80 years old.

That is at least 80 years of horrific conditions for the Israelites. Many were persecuted and many died. How many babies died in that period of time?

Why did God wait so long to do something about it? Why does God wait?

It could be that Moses was not ready. It could be that the people were not yet ready to get out from under the problem. Only God knows.

But as I fast forward to my own life the situation which we face hasn’t changed. There are days I wonder what is going on. The things that I pray about seem to stay the same. Why the long wait?

I have discovered an answer…
Only God knows. He has a design on the program and the building of the best into my life. I am sure of that as I look back. His timing was perfect as we moved through whatever it was. It is just that we didn’t know what he was doing or when he would do it.

If upon that simple past knowledge and evidence of his goodness this has happened… the future will be no different. God is there through it all.

I do see the answer in the middle of the problem. God is “Timeless” and my life is “time full” or “time tortured”. Everything I do is nothing but Time oriented.

I am brought back in my confusing thoughts to Jeremiah 29:11-14 where the Prophet states clearly….
11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,"

In my waiting – I see that he has plans for me. I can’t wait!

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Jeremiah 29:11-14

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Waiting and Growth

Nothing is harder for me than waiting. I hate slow. I want fast and faster. Slow is so… not me. I have six grandkids that love the same. All of them run fast and do sports of all kinds.

But I am learning that in the “slow mode” – stuff happens that would never happen without slow.

I am going to post a series of photos on this Blog Posting that illustrate what I am learning.

In April my wife purchased two plants. One was a bulb and the other a tiny fragile plant in a small container.

After reading the instructions she decided that they both should be in large pots because she read that they may get big. I didn’t really believe the pot she selected would be the right one – they were way too big for the plants she put in them.

The Bulb was large and the info referred to it being like an Elephant’s ear. That was an interesting hint.

It took forever for the soil to warm up. There was no sun for a long time…too much rain and too many cloudy days. Nothing happened. The same was true of the tiny fragile plant… it seemed to be waiting for something.

Then there was a small shoot, then another and another… then came the small first leaf.
As it grew to a certain amount it stopped and we waited.

The unique thing about this Elephant ear plant is the water lays in beads on its surface. Each bead looks like a Jewel of some sort.
Here is a series of photos that tell the story….
In the photo above you can see the small leaf at the bottom and center... this is the original first leaf...
More Jewels after every rain....

As I look at the two of them side by side at first….
And then today – they are growing up… very quickly. Just like my kids and grandkids.
But the secret is in the waiting. Something was happening even though I couldn’t see it. Even though I was hurrying by it every day – it was moving at its own beautiful pace.

I wonder in my days of waiting now for a new job, for more evidence of financing and support – is something happening? The answer is a quiet “Yes!” – in God’s time… in his perfect time.

~ Murray Lincoln

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Before Your Crisis Comes

In the small devotional these words popped out at me…

“Knowing what you believe about God--before your crisis comes--is critical. You need to have the truth of who God is settled in your mind, so you know whom you're holding onto when life unravels. Few people show us that like Job does.”

The writer is sharing some of the story of ancient Job that lost everything he had – in the big test of his person.

Some of us will feel right about now that Life is one big test after another. If only we could get to the last chapter of Job’s life where he is blessed more that anyone else. If only.

Most remember Job because of the trials that he went through…not because the final blessings that he had.

On the side… have you noticed that after you move through the trial that you were facing – it is hard to remember what you were facing at that trial time? The old problems seem to fade away when blessings come – or when the answer comes.

The writer of the devotional has hit it on the head however. You and I need to know something of what and who God is before we face any problem up a head – then we can ask Him to intervene or for the great big helping hand that we need.

For me this is kind of like having a “Huge Insurance Policy”, then experiencing a loss or a disaster of some sort. I face the horror of the problems in front of me and it nearly kills me with worry… yet the “Huge Insurance Policy” that I have paid for all along has within in it every provision to take care of any and all disasters that I may experience.

So often we do not know what the “Policy” has written in it. We knew something about the contents when we purchased the package – but perhaps forgot what the fine print said about disasters.

With God there is no fine print. He has placed it in full and regular sized font. He even prints in extra large size at times so we don’t miss it. When I don’t get what he has placed in print… then he chooses some one to shout it out to me.

Yesterday I met with a friend. We sat for a long time sharing where we were in our individual lives over large coffees.

When I shared with him some of my doubts and fears – he challenged me on that fact that I had told him something along time ago that had helped him greatly. I had told him that God would look after the problem. I had told him how God had spoken clearly to me about his willingness to do that for us. He shared that this had helped him at that time to make a huge decision that had changed his life.

Then he asked me, “Do you still believe what you told me about God?”

Ouch. I knew the promises but had forgotten them at that moment. I needed to mope around a little I guess – trying to get my friend to commiserate with me over my problems. It didn’t work. He reminded me of what I already know and should be more positive about. God is in control.

Sometimes God SHOUTS to get my attention.

The months and years of regular prayer, regular times alone with God are paying off. I have moved through some stuff that has been hard to take. And I have been reminded that before the crisis comes it is good to know what God can and will do for you.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Monday, July 21, 2008

Today is my "Ed Day"

This will be a very hard week for the Beattie Family. Their Dad “Ed” is not doing well. It appears from the evidence that we have now – that he may well not be here by this time next week. They are hoping that he is alive through to his birthday this next weekend.

Ed Beattie is a fellow pastor that has being fighting cancer over these past years. I last saw him at a conference in Toronto. He seemed to be doing well. But since that time the advance of the disease has caused more complications.

Our District Superintendent, Rev. Craig Burton, has called for prayer for Ed and others on Mondays. Today is that prayer day again.

I came to know Ed as he pastored the church in Omemee, just north and west of Peterborough. We enjoyed the days together and the fellowship we had. He is my friend and brother.

This morning early as I reflected on all that his daughter told us yesterday, my heart goes out to them at this very difficult time. There are so many uncompleted details for her mom and the family. They have been run ragged with the ups and downs of everything that has happened over these past weeks.

What would I do if I was Ed…? That thought has filled my morning.

If I was Ed right now… I would be ready to die. And he is ready. If I was Ed now… I would try to encourage my family to not be sad because we will see each other soon – in relative terms to the time line of eternity… he has preached that and so have I – and we believe it.

If I was Ed right now… I would make these last days with my wife very important… I would give my kids a hug each time I see them… and let them hug me…

If I was Ed…

The reality that all of us are like “Ed” at this time. We are given a set amount of time. We don’t know exactly how long that will be. Every one of us is dieing to some degree now – our lives are slipping by and what we do with these last minutes is so very important. But maybe not all of us realize it.

Today has new meaning because of my friend Ed. Today I will live a little fuller and worry a little less. I am going to hug Alida better this morning after she gets up. I am going to try to say how much I appreciate every one of the people around me – that much more and more often.

It is my “Ed Day” and an adjustment of my attitudes and reflections about everything. Ed has ministered to me in ways that he will never know.

My Prayer…
God lift the Beattie family and my friend “Ed” today with one more wonderful touch of your presence. May they all be filled with a sense of Peace and Mercy as you move deeply. Father as Donna stands with Ed and their kids – may she truly know your blessings of being right there – very close. Dear God… I don’t really know what to ask you to do. Hold them close to you presence. In your wonderful name I ask it.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

For you those of you that may wonder what heaven will be like... I have made video of the Worship Service at the Olympic PAG Church in the Kibera in Nairobi, Kenya. It is uploaded to "Yaaway" a new Christian Video Web Site that is reaching out to the world that is waiting.

Try this address in your browser... or click here....

You can also join Yaaway as a voting member....

ALSO... up loaded to YouTube at...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Blessing the Space Between Us

This morning early the gentle rain was falling. It began long before the light came. And it is still falling now. I think I can hear the plants and the grass singing for joy as this blessing is coming their way. With the extreme heat of the last few days the grass was brown.

There is nothing like the freshness during and after the rain. Everything is alive. Everything is clean again. A blessing has been given to the earth from God himself.

This morning after a four week period of time away from church we head back to share our love with a congregation. It actually seems like 6 months.

Today I am speaking about the “Blessing the Space Between Us” and how we can pour blessing into that space.

You will often hear Christians say to others, “God Bless YOU!” A spoken and poured out cluster of words that are laid in front of the other person… poured into a space between them. Unfortunately they don’t all mean it. Today I will endeavor to get a new group of people to actually mean what they say… further more a second lofty goal will be to see them act upon what they say… do something to bless some one else.

Uttered blessings that come from a person that means it are very powerful. They carry unbelievable strength to a person in trouble – some one cares enough to speak to them.

Carried out blessings – delivered in person from practical hands are the kind that will change lives.

My story of Blessings...
Three young children often sat in the back of a pick up truck outside of a Hotel Bar in Espanola, Ontario. While they waited in the truck their parents were drinking in the Hotel. It was a long evening of playing in and out of the truck box, chasing one another around and around.

A minister watched from across the street one Saturday evening. He has been out for a walk while he was praying and asking God what he could do for his community to “bless it”. Maybe he was preaching on the same thing that I am this morning.

The minister returned again the next week to the street in front of the Hotel Bar. The same half ton truck was there again with the kids running every where.

One night the minister came with his wife and they waited for the closing time of the hotel. The children had stopped running and were curled up in the truck box fast asleep. Dad and Mom struggled out of the hotel, swaying from side to side, as the alcohol brought its full force to play in their lives. Their truck started and pulled away from the hotel slowly.

My friend and his wife pulled their old car on to the road and followed the weaving half ton truck to find where the family lived. When the truck found its way home down a winding, sandy trail miles from the town of Espanola – the minister’s small car was there behind it.

The next week the minister’s car pulled into the same yard during the day. The pastor and his wife introduced themselves to the mom and her three kids. They offered to pick up the kids for Sunday School the next Sunday morning. The Mom thought that it was a good idea. Sunday was not a good day as her husband was often not feeling well. If the kids went to Sunday School there would be less fighting.

So it began. The small car that the minister drove left town early for its jaunt out to the countryside to fetch three young children for Sunday School. Then later in the day after the kids had attended Sunday School and had lunch with the minister and his wife, they arrived home.

This went on for many years as the minister and his wife had the wonderful task of blessing three children each week.

The story didn’t end there. Fast forward a lot of years.

The three kids were a Girl, a Boy and another Girl. The first Girl become a Missionary with her husband in Thailand. The little Boy became a very good pastor of a number of churches. The youngest Girl is a pastor’s wife. All three kids entered the full time Christian ministry.

The minister and his wife were old when I met them. I was brand new as a pastor. This old couple, Rev. & Mrs. Crossman, were completing their ministry as we began ours. We met that evening of their retirement party in a small church not far from where we lived.

At the table we were sitting was another pastor and his wife. They were wonderful people that simply loved everyone. As we arrived at our new church they were the first to welcome us and help us to get settled. They were new also in their church.

When the MC that evening invited others to share words about Rev. & Mrs. Crossman, the pastor’s wife sitting with us at our table stood and began to cry.

She told us the story of the half ton truck sitting outside of the Hotel Bar in Espanola. She was the youngest girl playing in the truck box. She had not known what had happened to the Crossmans over all these years. Now she was with them again to offer her blessings in return.

That powerful night took place almost exactly 34 years ago now.

For me it illustrates the power of someone “Blessing the Space Between Us”. I have never forgotten the look on Crossman’s faces as they discovered their “little Eva” again. I could never forget the tears that fell from Eva’s face that night as she told this beautiful blessing story.

Now I ask you… as I will ask the congregation today… who will you bless today? What space between you and some one else will you fill with your love and blessing?

I pray that this Blog Posting will “Bless the Space Between Us”… TODAY and from now on…!

~ Murray Lincoln ~
(PS – for some of you I have told this story before… but perhaps you just needed to hear it one more time… God bless you today!)

Saturday, July 19, 2008

An old friend is leaving today

An old friend is leaving today. I feel like there could be more time together…but it is over!

We have been through so much together. We have shingled roofs, we have done bathroom renovations, we have completed the renovation of two kitchens, one living room, two bedrooms and numerous other tasks.

We have spent time in the company of others and laughed heartily at other folks, their styles and their ideas, their bragging and their insecurities. We have encouraged and we have struggled together.

At one point a few years ago on top of a house in Regina some sharp nails ripped the skin of my friend – tearing a huge gapping hole in one section if his hide. And after that job together we did many, many more – even though he was not any longer vibrant and youthful as he was at first.

We have grown old together. In fact the 10+ years that we have worked together we have been best friends and partners.

I would like to show you photos of my friend today – but my wife said that certain people may not appreciate the photos. Something about being obscene or whatever… Can’t figure that one out – because my friend and I are still very comfortable together.

Who is my friend? He is a wonderful, saggy, old pair of track pants that have stuck closer than any other friend I have ever had.

Imagine – 10+ years together. How can a guy give up something so special?

Yesterday at a local store my wife found me two new friends. The new track pants were only $5.00 each. They were almost exactly the same as the old ones… but without the holes in the back side.

I guess it is time to let something so close to me go. It will be hard.

I have thought of framing them and mounting the framed track pants in my garage – where we have spent so much time together… but… I guess it is time.

Funny how we(I) hold on so tight to these old things that are apart of us. But holding on is not good.
In reading the story of Moses – I see a whole new side of his journey. He had a great past and upbringing. He was highly trained and was groomed for leadership. Yet at 40 years old he had to give it all up with the murder he committed – then he ran to the other side of the country.

Around 80 years old he was still a shepherd. Then one day he saw a burning bush… something new… something very different… he came close and the rest of the story is one day after another of God leading him lead people.

He continued to work until he was 120. 40 more years after the shepherd days – he has continued to lead people.

Imagine if Moses had said, “I don’t want to give up any of the past. I want to stay with my friends – no changes here… thank you very much!” The story and its out comes might have been very different.

We have to give up the old – before we can ever walk into the new.

So today – my old track pants will not be worn again. They are history – for the wearing part at least. I may hang them up for old times sake… Hmmm?

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Friday, July 18, 2008

“My Great, Great, Great Uncle shot yours.”

Some wonder at my humor. Some have warned me what may happen if I continue with my kind of humor. But what if it is true and I simply tell it in a weird/funny way? Is that okay?

I came across the fact that my thinking may well be inherited.

This quote is a good one… "With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh I should die."

Can you imagine who said that? He did pay dearly for his willingness to stand for what he believed. Any idea yet?

His name was Abraham Lincoln…one of my relatives away back.

No I won’t blame him for my weirdness. But I am thankful for his openness through the difficulties he faced – right up to the end.

About 17 years ago I met a young minister that was just plain crazy. My first introduction was when one of our mutual friends pulled us together for the initial meeting. Joey was his name. The minute that we met he began a series of jokes.

Joey was different. He wore running shoes with his suits on Sunday. He explained that his doctor told him that they were better fro his feet. The Sunday running shoes were clean and new compared to the other ones he wore during the week.

On the platform and behind the pulpit Joey was good at whatever he did. I loved his happiness… his bubble inside… his fun filled presence. It was good to be with Joey.

One day Joey and I were heading off to a meeting together. He looked at me carefully and made statement that stopped me short. He said, “You know… you might like to reconsider going along with me to this meeting. It will be along trip and we will be spending a long time together.”

“No problem for me.” I replied. “Why wouldn’t I want to be with you?”

“Well…” he replied, “You do know what my last name is – don’t you?”

“Yes…” was my reply, “Why does that make any difference?”

Joey grinned form ear to ear and said, “My Great, Great, Great Uncle shot yours.” Then he waited for my response.

His last name is “Booth” – and it is true he is related to John Wilkes Booth. I grinned at him and we both laughed long and loud. Here we were more than 150 years later after the incident that changed two of our relative’s lives – as not only friends but both of us as Ministers working together.

Joey taught me that it was okay to laugh and even be silly. That weird humor is okay. This younger brother of mine is a good friend.

I am thinking of wearing running shoes this Sunday coming up… but the church we will be ministering in is new to me and me to them. Maybe I am just a little hung up yet – after all these years. But if Joey was going there – he would have running shoes on.

Joey lives on the west coast of Canada and is often between there and his work in the Central America. (We connect through Facebook)

This morning I watched two crazy squirrels outside our front window. They chased each other round and round. Insane is a good word for them so early in the day.

I grinned to myself as I thought one must be Joey and the other is Murray…

Go ahead and laugh a little. It is okay to be happy, wear running shoes to church and even tell a joke of two. Do it for me and Joey.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Mom's Honesty

The Music bounced off the surrounding buildings. It ricocheted off the trees… and then to the back of your lawn chair… before bouncing off the person’s head in back of you then to the front of you. It was everywhere. In fact it was too loud and too weird for me. Something happened to me on the way to the Park Concert – I became really old. At least that is what I felt like last night as I nursed a coffee at Tim Horton’s in the Post Park Concert.

Whoa – back up a little and let me share where we were as “old” people.

In Peterborough on Wednesday evenings and Saturday evenings our city holds its “Peterborough Summer Festival of Lights”. It is an outdoor concert in the Del Crary Park on George Street….right beside Little Lake.

Last evening the concert featured “Jim Witter” and his band in “The Music of Our Lives” with the opening act as “The Kitchen” – another band from some place in Ontario.

I sat together with 5 other “old” people that I know well. We were “Old” friends, enjoying a night of music and fresh air – on the lakeside and surrounded by thousands of other people in their own lawn chairs.

In our small group we had Terry and Marion, Marion’s mom, my mom, Alida and me in one row of lawn chairs. In front of us and behind us were other small groups clustered in small units all over the park… maybe 2500 people. For the most part the majority of the audience was like us… older and perhaps retired or almost. We had come together because of good advertisements that promised music of the 60s – 70s & 80s.

The opening act was way off somewhere different than I was. This was my first and last experience with “The Kitchen”. Putting it simply I didn’t catch or understand one word “the lead singer” sang. But then he couldn’t sing – at least I thought that to myself and then I leaned over and said it to Alida. He was warbling off somewhere in weird land. I think I recognized one song but the words were lost in noise. Alida shouted her comment back to me… “if they didn’t try to sing or use words it might be okay”.

I looked at my friend Terry five lawn chairs away. He was laughing at my reaction. He had a hold of his throat until his face turned red and then stuck his finger down his throat. We laughed insanely at each other’s facial grimacing… but couldn’t hear what the other was saying.
We stayed through “The Kitchen” I think because the guy kept saying, just two more songs until Jim Witter comes out here.

But when Jim came out it was almost the same. It was loud and the words were barely legible through the beat that continue to bounce off buildings and lawn chairs and heads all around me.

I think we made it to until about 9:30 PM before I had to lean over to Alida and ask her if she needed a coffee at a quiet Tim Horton’s coffee shop.

There from near the rear of the audience walked a small parade of “old” people, me, my wife and my mom at 87 with her walker.(Terry and Marion and her mom stayed on – getting value for their dollar I think)

As we came closer to our vehicle the noise was a little less. My mom made a statement that was brilliant and so true, “One thing good about this is – it didn’t cost anything to get in.” I started to laugh and at this point I could here my own laughter. Then mom said one more powerful statement… “I sure didn’t need these hearing aids tonight!” I laughed even more.

The park was full of more old people that still sat there waiting for a song that they might know. “Old” had happened for 80% of the audience. I am convinced that most were there to conduct a self examination of their own memory loss… and personally failed as they couldn’t even understand the words let alone remember the songs.

Whoa – this was a real life, modern story of the ancient one about “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. Remember that one? Where a tailor sold the Emperor a bill of goods on the wonderful cloth the tailor had. The Emperor being a powerful, proud and vain man had the tailor make him new and beautiful clothes out of the invisible threads. The result was that the Emperor was actually naked and paraded through the city with his new outfit on. The tailor walked away smiling with all his new cash and going down in history as the greatest “used car salesman” ever!

Remember the little boy in the story that questioned his parents I assume, “Why does the Emperor have no clothes on?” It was then that the crowd and maybe even the Emperor saw the stupidity of it all and the way that everyone had been taken.

I wanted to stand up last night and shout, “The Emperor has no clothes on!” but no one would have heard me. Too funny! I looked down at my friend Terry and he had his eyes closed. How could he sleep through this!? Maybe he was thinking that if he closed his eyes he wouldn’t see the Emperor.

Alida followed mom’s comment by saying, “I can’t believe that all those “old” people are still sitting there. They are older than us!”

I don’t know that I can draw a deep spiritual meaning out of this musical experience yet. I am sure that one will come… I am waiting, waiting, and waiting.

Ah yes – there is one! Or even two!! Read the dumb add before you go to something like this. When it tells you that an opening act is called “The Kitchen” and nothing more… even the graphic designer and advertisers were giving you a hint… they don’t know either!

When you can’t understand you can leave. You are not being culturally illiterate – you are being honest – this is not for you and the Emperor on stage may well be naked.

Apologies are offered here to Miss Florence Reuber – who is long gone to heaven now. In 1974 in Walkerton, Ontario, and our small church with its loud music… Florence would stand when we stood to sing gustily and with many loud instruments… with her fingers in her ears. It was just too loud for Florence – but she was old – everyone knew that!

Florence can you show me how to insert my fingers in my ears. You were like mom – just being honest.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

When the Storm Broke

It was early and the light was just beginning to come up over the east filtering through the trees on the other side of our street. I was watching from our veranda/porch of the house. At first the drops were small and few in number… then it came in full force. Rain, more rain and buckets of rain. Mixed with it were the flashes of lightening and the loud crashes of thunder following. This was a full blown summer storm.

It is still now and the first sound that came after the storm rolled through was that of birds singing. Maybe not singing – but more of chirping sound. Perhaps calling to each other to see if it is okay to come out outside yet.

There high in one of our tree is a very small nest. I don’t even know what kind of bird it might be. A robin couldn’t get comfortable in it for sure. The builder made it to his small family’s size. And the builder made it well. After the violent wind and the heavy rain – it is doing fine.

The visual that came as I read the story was that of a heavy storm passing over the face of a cliff. The torn and scraggly bushes around the top of the cliff were evidence of the constant pounding that this face of rocks has taken over the many years. Sun shines from time to time, but more often storms are the norm as they rush in from the open water.

There tucked into the face of the cliff was a nest and in the nest was a bird sitting through the storm. Her wings we fluffed and slightly out from her body. She was protecting her brood below. The nest was positioned in a place that was just out of the wind’s blast and the worst driving force of rain.

The mental image I have is one of Peace in a Storm. I do not doubt that if the bird is thinking at all… she wonders when it is all going to be over. Whatever is happening in her is being planted in the hearts of the ones below her. From their very beginning the ‘kids’ are getting a good image of what life is all about. Storms and wind and rain and safety – mixed with mom’s feathers above and a cozy nest below.

A long time ago I met with a man that was kind of feeling bad about his life. He had not been able to provide the best for his kids and his wife. Others had more than they did. Bad things had happened and the future was gray. But they had each other. They had weathered storms before and would do it again.

No amount of wishing for a lottery winning, hoping for a windfall, or regretting the past failures or lack of opportunity would change their situation.

Many years later I have watched the children of that man. They are strong and healthy and wise and able and great kids. He is gone now – but what he taught them about being great people through it all is amazing.

When the storm breaks it is okay. In fact it is so good that little birds sing. It is also so good to have a storm… for the quiet afterwards is amazing… and a promise of a beautiful day to come.

A wonderful thought just flooded my being… this is going to be an amazing day. I think I will spend some of it inside the garage with the door open… watching more rain fall… and singing(humming along) to old songs on my 8 track tape player.

Thank you God for it all. Oh.. Oh… Look the sun is shinning through the last of the clouds… WOW!

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Interrupting the Reception

Nothing is more frustrating than the moment the signal fails. Right in the middle of Hurry… you are stopped dead and going now where. Right in the middle of Important you are stalled. Right in the middle of Crucial you go crazy!

That is the story of the Wireless Connection. Let me explain.

My neighbor graciously shares his Internet with me. Through the magic of a Router that is placed close to his window the signal travels through his window, across the street and through my window to my Laptop Computer… it is interpreted by the computer and then I am on. Well sometimes that is…

From time to time the connection is dropped – but that is normal. At times the signal is not strong. When there are no leaves on the trees the signal is much stronger. Leaves come or heavy rain falls and it will all affect the results of the reception.

Then there are other times that some connection along the Internet Pipeline will break down… too many people… and then different times of the day when way too many people are trying to get on to the Internet… like right after school… I have come to expect some of the normal interruptions… little pauses in Life.

The other day I was cooking… rolling right along with a good connection – then BANG it was all over. Nothing at all. No resets – no restarts – nothing would help. What in the world was wrong?

I looked up and saw the problem. Normally with this wireless connection stuff you cannot see the problem – but this time it was easy. And the problem lasted for more than twenty minutes!

A large moving van from a local furniture company pulled up in front of our house. Another neighbor was having a whole room full of furniture delivered. With her new purchase came the help that the store had advertised – “We will take away your old furniture when we deliver the new things you buy”.

That meant that the Furniture Moving Van parked directly in the path of my wireless signal – stopping everything!

Blockages – what a pain. They slow me down. They stop me dead. They frustrate my progress to no end. Grrr… “I don’t need this now!” is a pretty common feeling in my world.

But there are pauses in life that are necessary in order to refocus on the next major event. These pauses may be more important than the event we are now attending to… far more important!

As I have been reading the account of Moses I have found a perfect example. If you have studied his life you will remember that he is the leader that brought his people, the Children of Israel, out of the harsh treatment of Egypt. He is known as a leader that took on monumental tasks and completed the job that he was asked to do.

Do you remember where it all started? How did he move from relative insignificance to be the amazing leader that he would become?

The answer is – the pauses in his life made the difference.

Moses had taken up a new task in a new land and with a new family. He had been doing this task for many years now – 40 to be exact. He had escaped from the murder wrap and ran to a new place. For 40 years now he has basically done little but walk around with smelly sheep following him… from pasture to pasture. Every day was pretty much the same – boring.

One day as he came closer to Mt. Horeb something interrupted his regular routine. A bush was on fire but not burning up. He came closer and it was in that pause that God spoke to him from the Burning Bush.

Pauses for Moses were important. In my life I find that it is the most important things that could happen to me – or have happened to me – happen with “the pause”. “The Pause” takes me away from the common and the norm of everyday routine. It shakes my world if I am ready to have it shaken. For me it is a time when God often gives a brand new idea, changes a confusing direction, or does something so new and different that it is shocking.

Pauses are good. Pauses can be a trip somewhere alone. Pauses can be on a vacation away from it all. Pauses are really good.

When the moving van pulled up in front of my Wireless connection I took a break and went outside. There was another neighbor and we talked. It was one of the best talks I have had for a long time. We shared details that neither of us had before. Trust is there now and we opened to each other.

Getting away from the Norm – from the Routine – can make a huge difference. It did for Moses and it has for me.

Losing my job and walking out of the Norm and Routine of pastoral work is nothing short of HARD! In fact it approaches the IMPOSSIBLE when you enter a new world of the UNKNOWN. That is where I began the journey on June 23, 2008. Nothing has been the same since that Magic Monday Morning. WOW!

Each day has been quieter and more still than others before. I can feel again. The Dumb Numb is gone. Dumb Numb? Yah – it happens when everyone lays their expectations on you with a demand to make them feel better… now try that for 10 years – and you become Dumb Numb and simply function each day because you have to… maybe not because you want to.

I referred to this important saying/verse from the Psalms a few days ago – here it comes again – “Be still and know that I am God…”

It takes a Burning Bush to stop some people… and a job loss to stop others. Interrupting the Reception is good – not bad. For it is then that you will hear again.

Reflecting and Feeling again…

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Monday, July 14, 2008

When a Man Cries for Joy

40 years ago today I awoke in bed alone. It was the first time in 11 months I was alone. Alida was gone. And she wasn’t coming home for a few days. And more over she wasn’t alone. No she had not skipped town after 11 months of marriage. Something beautiful had happened.

It was the day after Dana, our first born, had arrived. Mommy and baby were doing well. Daddy was smiling from ear to ear. I couldn’t stop. I was a father now and fathers are the happiest people alive – specially the new ones like me.

Yesterday we celebrated 40 wonderful years together with our daughter and her family. It was wonderful watching the way that the kids interact with all of us.

After dinner together we walked to Baskin and Robbins for Ice Cream. It is a treat spot for a day of celebrating. There along the sidewalk was the Lincoln Parade, Grandpa, Clifford, Emma, Grandma, Dana and Great Grandma Lincoln with her walker. What a bunch.

It was at that moment that it happened again. A deep happiness settled in all around me. It was the same one that I felt 40 years ago…but a wee bit different… in that instead of one special baby – there were two… a 13 year old on my right side and a 9 year old on my left.

As I held Emma’s soft hand she squeezed mine and she talked on. Then I put my hand on Clifford’s strong shoulders – the man is standing strong now… but still a boy willing to walk with his Grandpa. There is no girl yet to take him up ahead… or hold him back. This is the perfect moment that may never be again.

Emma asked questions about getting old… she wanted to know if when you get old, “Does your body slow down?” Great Grandma walks at one speed with her walker(but she walks) and it isn’t quite the speed that Emma and Clifford go. We were purposely on a slow stroll… so every one could stay together.

I think it was about then that I had tears in my eyes again. They felt the same as when their Mom was born 40 years ago at almost that same hour. I know I had a lump in my throat. When a man cries for joy it is his time to cherish.
I cried this morning early as I looked at a photo that our daughter took of me and the kids. Amazingly she caught the exact moment that the lump in my throat was sticking – I couldn’t answer Emma’s question.

Was it all serious? NO!

In the Ice Cream Shop we were sitting at the tables together. There was laughing and teasing – word sparing… just a fun time.

It was then that another special moment took place. I must write it here so that some day when I can’t get anymore out of my being… and maybe I am gone… no one will forget what was said.

Teasingly I said to Emma… “When you are 20 something and in University, I will enroll in your class with you. Won’t that be cool to have your Grandpa studying the same stuff you are? I could help you.”

She responded quickly, “I don’t think so Grandpa, you will be dead!”

Whoa! That is a challenge. That is only 11 years from now… and I will only be 75 – if I am not dead… ahem. I couldn’t leave that challenge alone…

My response was more direct, “Uh uh… in 11 years from now Grandma will be gone(dead), I will be in your University Class with you and guess what?”

“What?” she grinned back at me ready for the next challenge.

I responded, “I will fall in love with one of your best friends, a class mate, then I will marry her. Your friend will become your Step Grandmother… and maybe…”

Before I got the rest out about having some children… she knew how to turn the subject her way…

“Grandpa have you been snipped down there?” Then with glee she added her hand action of snipping her fingers like a pair of scissors and pointed to below the table top.

“Nope!” was my reply and grinned at her… to which she yelled real loud for everyone in the Ice Cream Shop to hear… “I WON’T let that happen!”

Please remember that Emma is 9 years old.

Her wise 40 year old mommy said, “Don’t worry Emma, I will not allow that to happen either.

Peals of laughter were everywhere in that little shop. It was good. So with that note we left.

I tried to have her understand that her new possible, step, fellow grandchildren would be fun… but by then she had her hands over her ears yelling… “I can’t hear you…!”

Dana’s comment was a good sum up to that event…“I would have never asked my Grandfather if he had been snipped down there…!”

When a man cries – it may be that he has just heard the funniest thing that could ever be said to him by his granddaughter… Oh Boy.

(Please – please – please – would someone please tell this story at her wedding so that her young fellow and his family will truly understand what they are in for…? If I am there… I will do it myself… then I am going to dance with some pretty young thing…)

The lump is there again and yes I am crying this morning… crying for joy.

~ Murray Lincoln ~
(Abraham was 100 when he had his first born, Isaac.)


Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Silly Fly

The evening was coming on slowly. It is July and the day has been hot. The side deck that I am sitting on has white metal table. My chair is pulled up to the table… and I am doing nothing.

There in front of me is a small creature about 1/3 the size of the ordinary house fly. Its wings are rounded and almost the size of its body. It is standing absolutely still…then suddenly it walks rapidly forward – then stops for a long time. I moved my hand forward and as I did my knuckle hit the metal table top making it vibrate – at which time the ting fly jumped straight up – like a grass hopper – then landed about 20 lengths of its body away.

I tapped the table top again and it did the same thing. Tap – hop, tap – hop. Then tap – hop and spin around on its head rapidly fanning its small wings. It apparently had problems with its landing apparatus or its stabilizers in the air – because on that last take off and landing it landed on its back – buzzing its wings wildly.

I sat entertaining myself for more than 10 minutes this way. The Silly Fly had some real problems – after three hops it would land on its back and buzz like crazy to right itself – then walk (not fly) about 20 lengths of its body. It did this until it came to close to the table edge and fell on to the deck and down a crack on the deck’s planking.

What a Silly creature. Either me or the fly that is… both are silly creature to say the least.

I have slowed down so much that watching a fly is entertaining. Or to say it another way I have returned to the day as a boy when I watched the amazing buzzing flies on my grandparent’s farm at Truax, Saskatchewan. It was a time that there were no schedules and no problems other than what you might decide to do next in a Farm World that was simply a Universe of its own.

The Silly Creature has a purpose… designed my God… to entertain someone like me… to simply do his strange dance (likely a mating dance of some sort with no partner to dance with)… or whatever. But he has a purpose.

The photos I retrieved from the internet demonstrate the finite creation – all of these(see here and below) look like my friend of the evening. And as my friend stood really still for long periods of time – I could see the fine hairs on his body and the finely sculptured wings.
As I sat thinking last evening I stretched in my chair and looked up. There above me were the last vestiges of sunlight colouring the wisp of clouds in the blue sky above. And far above the clouds was a small aircraft moving quickly to the east – likely a commercial jet. It appeared to be less that half the size of the little fly that had been on the table top – just a dot.

There was likely more than 100 people going very fast somewhere on that aircraft. All of them in a hurry and all of them with great self importance tucked in their little brief cases so far above me. If they looked down at my exact spot they would never have seen me and my Silly Fly Friend. They were in a hurry to get somewhere… and I am not.

That is how I must look to God. Either way he looks up – or down – I am doing something – either absolutely important in my mind… or so Silly that it makes even God laugh. Both must make God laugh - my importance and my Fly Like Silly Dance – which may be the same in his eyes.

Just before you condemn me for do nothing – I was sitting down after 15 hours of doing stuff all day.

One of my favorite sayings with great meaning is, “Be still and know that I am God…” That was my life on the side deck… just getting a little perspective.

The whole context of these favorite words of mine are found in
Psalm 46:9-11 (New International Version)
9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire.
10 "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
11 The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Did you see the verse 9 – He makes the war to cease… breaks bows… burns shields… That says to me – all of that running… worrying… and complicated living is stopped… then you can know God.

The Silly Fly was a new bench mark for me. I have arrived to a new high – which in reality is a new slow. I can see, I can hear and I can know again. WOW!

How about you? Just before you pick up something to smack that little bug – would you take a moment to smile at what God is saying to you at that moment… then as you nuke/duke him… remember your own size, self importance and silliness.

Have a good one today.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Many Different Kinds of Flies