Tuesday, March 31, 2009

GM and the Church

This is a “Musing” – not a fact. This is “Mulling” – not the whole story. So Muse and Mull with me for a bit – Okay?

The whole “Ontario World” has been watching what has been happening with our automakers. In our case the GM Factory is only a one hour’s drive from here. Also in our case we have former and present GM autoworkers living in our community. So our world is watching for sure.

We have heard of bail outs, and buy outs. We have heard of concessions being made by Unions. We have heard of Government intervention. Many reports flood the news almost daily. Everyone is struggling with the recession and depression – grasping for some answer as to why their own savings and investments have dropped so radically.

Now add to the growing list of daily reports and news items comes the latest report of the President of the USA firing the Chief Executive of General Motors, Rick Wagoner. This is a major item to look at and pay attention to – even for the church.

President Barack Obama has taken a new step that has never been attempted by any other president that we know of. He has reached into a separate entity and done major surgery by firing the head of the corporation. He at a lesser paid individual has fired some one that is paid much more. He as an outsider has reached in with limited knowledge and stated that he knows best. He has done what all coffee shop cronies do so well – talked about it with a muse and a mull… but then he stood up, walked out of the coffee shop and kerpow – fired the top dog.

Barack Obama was just hired. He hardly knows his staff let alone the job. Yet he has taken a huge step and kerpow – it was over.

In the Star article this morning David Olive makes a statement…
"GM still doesn't get it.

So Obama picked up the phone and fired GM's chief executive.

Busted to short-term-consultant status, Rick Wagoner, rivalled only by his counterpart at Toyota Motor Corp. as the global industry's most powerful figure, will soon join the 400,000 Americans who have lost auto-related jobs in the past year.

As of yesterday, most of GM's board members got the message and were quitting before they could be removed.

It was an extraordinary government intervention in the management of a private company.”

Now it has all happened or been made possible by the fact that GM asked for financial help. They were in trouble and desperately needed help.

To understand what has happened in the GM corporation one needs to listen to Mr. Olive’s assessment again…
“Wagoner is hardly the worst helmsman in GM history.

He has a mixed record that includes higher-quality and more efficiently built vehicles, marred by a stubborn resistance to radically shrink a GM built to serve half the North American market but long accounting for less than a quarter of sales.”

Musing and Mulling…
GM autoworkers (and all autoworkers)are some of the highest paid per hour workers that I know of. For the amount of work and the kind of work that they do – it is an amazing job. There isn’t a farmer anywhere that gets paid like this… if he did he would be a millionaire in one year.

David Olive pointed out that GM has grown to be one of the largest corporations in North America able to service over 50% of the market…but only has less than a quarter of the sales. And the sales of GM products shrunk by 40% last year… meaning that they have less than 16% of the total sales in the country.

We need to see that people are not buying new vehicles. On mass the whole country has been affected by the down turn – the depression – and are not able to spend any more – or anything. They simply don’t have it any more.

My Questions…
How is Rick Wagoner responsible for that? Sure he has been highly paid and a powerful person…but how is he responsible for people not buying cars?

So they fired him… so who is next when it doesn’t turn around? Is the salesman in the local GM dealership going to lose his job when he doesn’t get enough business – doesn’t make people buy?

GM is a gigantic corporation that has weaknesses everywhere – no one man is responsible… every one of the employees is.

Sure – things would have gone well if there had just been GM cars – no Fords, no Toyotas, no Nissans, no Chryslers, no competition. But none of us would like that kind of power from one company. So competition is there.

Looking at the Future…
Now most that read this will know that I am a pastor of a church – or at least was a pastor. I know about church things – not automobile production plants. I know people.

I see some great parallels between the church and GM. I see that the present climate of public attitude and perception has a great deal to do with what happens to both GM and the Church’s future.

In 2009 it is very different from the days gone by. Churches are run differently now. Different influences are now guiding what we do and what we say and how we do it. Outside influence on the church is greater than ever before… and so is the pressure.

The church is built to serve 100% of the community – yet has less than 5% of the population being reached by it. And in the recent years it has lost more than 40% of that reaching out. Its affect is gone and members are leaving naturally to take up residence in heaven.

Some churches still have debt hanging around their necks with a shrinking contributing base. In the community that surrounds it more “dealerships” have opened and are serving people as well. The shrinking customer base is dropping or being spread in many different directions.

In the USA – the top man from another organization has stepped in to fire the leader of GM – laying responsibility on him in the public’s eyes.

“Could that happen in the church?” is my huge question. The answer is “Definitely”. No, USA’s President will not do it – but a local banker will. The account manager that is responsible for his accounts at the bank will simply step in and notify the church that they must do this and that – “It is a new bank policy.” It has happened in Peterborough – very close to home for me!

It is a Musing and Mulling but… how long will it be before the local bank tells the church that they had better get rid of their “Rick Wagoner” so that the church will grow? How long will it be before local leadership in churches takes on the guiding policies of the world out there?

I have been given just enough information lately that tells me that it has already started happening. Oh yes it is real.

GM and The Church are not the same. GM is not guided by God… but rather public opinion about their product.

The Church is not guided by public opinion about their product… or is it? Come to think of it… with less than 5% of the market share… oh boy.

A pastor reading this now should probably be looking at want ads in the local employment services… oh boy.

Finally… if I was a potential customer in need of a vehicle – would I buy a GM product this week knowing what I know about GM products now? Oh boy…

If I was outside the church today – not a church person – would I even consider entering the building knowing that people inside are like they are… and knowing that they only want my money… would I even come inside? Oh boy…

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Sources to consider…
Wagoner damaged by refusal to radically shrink GM

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Recovery Blues

The crash is over… almost any way...right now at least. No not the stock market but personally for me. I hit the wall… and now recovery is possible. Or maybe it is that I hit the wall in my recovery. At least that is what it looks like now.

For two days I have struggled with making myself get up and get going. A rotten cold can do that to you… but there is likely more… as I think it through.

Then as I have been thinking on this one… I have realized it is like a Recovery that some of my friends are under going at this time with substance abuse and life abuse.

Deep emotions are flooding my being… adding to that the stress of life changes that are so deep that I can’t yet talk about… and then mix in the need to keep working at building a business… with one final pinch of a Body Stopping cold infection… and “Kerpow” I fall a part.

“Murray, Old Boy, that can’t happen to you!? You are a Christian and a Minister at the same time… you are always on top of it all! Aren’t you?” That is my “me speak” to the mirror in the morning – that no body hears.

In some of my reading over the last few days I stumbled on to a Web Site that is explaining a book that was written by two authors by the names of Carter Elliott and Robert Homer, M.D. The Web Site points out that Donal Buchanan has cartoons in the book… one of which you see above.

The chapters of the book listed on the site – are speaking to me deeply. Every description has outlined my life…yet I do not drink alcohol or do drugs. Yet it describes me. Hokey Mokey – this is too close to home.

Along time ago an older minister had told a group of us younger ministers at that time… “The Ministry and your Work can be like a very dangerous drug – or like alcohol itself… be careful it can kill you.” In many words following that statement he explained how we needed to take care of ourselves. I forgot most of what he said until recently. Maybe I forgot because I didn’t want to hear or believe it.

Today I think that I am beginning to understand better. I have been and perhaps am still addicted to ministry… the role of being a pastor and all that it entails. That likely isn’t the way that I should put it… but these words in their honesty seem to make it most clear to me now.

Now other men that are not ministers will still identify with what I have said. They are or have been addicted to their task whether that was in a factory, and office or any place of business… even including farming.

Tear the person (you or me) from the place of responsibility and see what happens. If the addiction is not there… nothing at all will happen. It will be like moving from one day on a vacation to the next. But that never happens.

Ask any honest person when they retire if they didn’t suffer a great shift… and earth shaking response… and turmoil inside… If they say they haven’t they are simply lying.

I am an addict. I am in recovery. I can do without the things that have taken this toll on my life. I am earning my recovery one day at a time.

The words listed on the Web Site describing the Chapters of “The Recovery Blues” are as follows…

1. "I might as well be drunk": Making it through the very early days of recovery can be the toughest. This chapter focuses on how to deal with negative thoughts in order to prevent relapse early on.
2. The Recovery Blues: Often in early recovery depression and mood swings first hit. While they may have been there before, this may be the first time that they are recognized, rather than self-medicated. Early recognition is an essential key to appreciating the need for help and identifying triggers that must be dealt with.
3. The Bright Side: Feeling good is also common in early recovery. Feeling good can also lead to relapse as the pains of addiction tend to be forgotten during this time. Feeling too good may also be a sign of an emerging manic episode that can lead to disaster. This chapter shows how the bright side is an opportunity to firm up one's recovery program and prepare for some potential rough times ahead.
4. The matter of lists: After years of addiction, healthy lifestyles and habits developed by "normal" people have often been neglected. This chapter focuses on correcting maladaptive patterns often seen in addiction.
5. Twilight: The goal is to stay on the "Bright Side." Some set backs are rather predictable however. This chapter deals with skills to develop which minimize such set backs.
6. Entering the Somber Side: Despite doing all the right things, depression is often a part of normal life, for example in grieving the loss of a loved one. This chapter focuses on the recognition of feelings that once were an excuse to self medicate.
7. Somber side tool box: Acceptance. Dealing with grief, fatigue, fear, frustration, and anger.
8. More tools, tricks, and traps: Avoiding catastrophic thinking and projection, but thinking ahead in an appropriate manner.
9. And so to bed: Insomnia is common in early recovery, and often a cause of relapse. This chapter presents behavior methods for obtaining a good night's sleep, that are proven just as effective as "sleeping pills".
10. Guilt: Shame and guilt are common emotions in early recovery, but must be differentiated from the type of guilt associated with a major depressive disorder. This chapter focuses on dealing with these feelings without denial or rationalization. How to forgive others along with forgiveness of oneself is explored.
11. House cleaning: Character development like house cleaning takes work, but the results are gratifying. This chapter helps move things along.
12. With the program but in the dumps: As recovery progresses, the group process in 12-step programs or otherwise present unique challenges looked at in this chapter.
13. I think I'm losing my mind: Once clean and sober, people in recovery become more aware of everyday mistakes. While memory problems can be associated with the effects of drugs and alcohol, the recovering person may discover some memory and cognitive deficits simply associated with normal aging, and not noticed during their active addiction. This chapter helps the person in recovery identify what's normal, and how to deal with it in a normal way.
14. The caring factor: Caring and doing for others is shown to be an integral part of recovery. The need to be needed is also looked at.
15. Act as if: While the first step to financial and social success is being clean and sober, this chapter is about practical concerns, often neglected by those in active addiction.
16. Time. My friend: While the alcoholic or addict may fantasize about happiness, serenity, and success, in reality it takes time, even once clean and sober. This chapter deals with realistic expectations.
17. Is there a doctor in the house?: Now clean and sober, this chapter elaborates on professional help. Understanding the differences between personality characteristics and mood disorders which require medical attention is elaborated on. The use of medications like Antabuse and methadone in recovery is discussed. This chapter also discusses how addictive medications which are prescribed for legitimate reasons can be taken most safely.
18. That God gimmick and Spiritual spam: Spirituality as it relates to addiction and recovery is explored. The 12-steps as a spiritual program is discussed.
19. Failure: With success comes new opportunities for failure. Failure as part of life and how it is dealt with by the most successful people is looked at.
20. The slip: Slips are generally complex and often represent some weakness in a recovery program. This chapter deals with how to get oneself back on track and protecting oneself from further damage.
21. Making it, in spite of everything: Recovery can be seen as a journey. The book concludes with the most rewarding and spiritual aspects of recovery, this includes the sharing one's "experience, strength, and hope".

Finally from me...
Oh boy – do I have some work to do. I will be sharing this with some minister friends of mine today.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Sources to consider…
The Recovery Blues
Recovery Blues: Prescriptions for the Clean, Sober, and Depressed

Friday, March 27, 2009

When “No” is “Yes”

The text that comes along with short video simply states the following…
“A poor guy fishing at the river. He is barefoot, has very basic clothes and a wicker basket for fish. Suddenly his bob float starts to vibrate and the man pulls up a golden fish.
Just after the man unhooks the fish, it starts to speak. The goldfish says proudly that he is not a common fish, but a goldfish. He makes the man an offer – if the man spares him, the fish will fulfill any wish the man has. The man is very surprised but instead of saying yes, he replies “No”. He puts the fish into the basket and takes him home. He lives in a very basic hovel. In the yard there is a goat eating the grass and three young children playing. When the man arrives, they are very excited as their father has caught a fish. A woman is standing in the doorway. She looks at the basket and is very happy. She takes the basket and brings it inside. The fact that the fish is constantly babbling doesn’t seem to bother her. Meanwhile the fish keeps talking, promising that he can fulfill a wish, whatever it is, if they let him back to the river. Finally the fish realises that maybe the family does not understand him, but at this point it is too late…”

I have watched this over and over again thinking about my own short comings in communication. My post of yesterday brought back a flood of memories of my days in Hong Kong. In that posting I referred to the fact that I had achieved a rudimentary level of one of the Chinese Dialects – Cantonese. I had enough of the language to get into trouble but not enough to get out of trouble.

One of my Chinese friends that was honest with me in a humorous way was listening one day to my interaction with some of the Canadian Students that had come to help us in Hong Kong. I had been trying my limited Cantonese out with some of the folk in the market area. The Canadian student was so impressed with the way that I could “talk to the market person” – and wished sincerely that they could have done the same thing in speaking at that moment.

My Chinese Friend looked at me with a grin and “Yes, enough Cantonese to impress your western friends…”

That was the truth at that stage… I could talk at them and make my words sound good… but if they talked to me… and changed the topic… I was dead. I could understand what I wanted to understand… not what they wanted me to understand or for me to catch their drift… and what their need was.

The fish in the video is apparently able to grant many requests and wishes if they only let him go back into the water. Instead they eat him – placing his bones carefully back on to a platter in the shape of his fish body. He has met their need. And it happened without having to learn his English language. On the reverse side of that if they had known what he was promising they would have had every wish they had granted.

The point of contact was the fish’s questions… which if the poor fisherman would have understood… would not have been answered by No No… No… no no… Then when the fish asks the horrified question/exclamation… “You’re not going to eat me!!!...” the lady replies with a cleaver… “NO”.

Back in Hong Kong I was the fish out of water and babbling. The greatest lesson for me in the time spent there – My world was so different than theirs… and they really had been doing quite well without “my supervision and over lording”.

I had mentioned in my posting that some missionaries had acted like “Great White Gods” when dealing with churches that were in existence and growing. Nothing could happen without the Missionary’s approval.

This fact had existed since the first contact with China and the Gospel message. White Man had brought the message to the Yellow Man… and because he knew best they should listen. One example… It was so extreme that Missionaries had brought in a rule that only Ordained Men could serve communion… so Chinese Pastors had to wait a long time to get ordained – sometimes it happened in their last years – just before they died.

Are you shocked by this colonial way of doing things? In the 1980s that rule still existed.

The greatest thing we thought we could do for the Chinese Students was to teach them English and do it our way. That is where the short video and the small babbling gold fish brought it home for me.

Am I knocking old missionaries? No – not at all. They worked within what they knew and what they were taught to do… to be Great White Gods.

What if we listened to each other better? What if we had done things differently?

The short video is part of the contest winners that came out of a International meeting where global languages and communication with each other had been discussed.

One thought…. I need to try harder to understand what the other person is actually saying to me – in case I miss some very big promises that might help me.

Back in Hong Kong 27 years ago I witnessed the most extreme conflict ever.

I was walking in an area of Kowloon that sometimes had tourist looking around. White people like me were not in abundance… only once in a while one would happen by.

I was standing with more than 50 people waiting to cross the street. One the other side of the street was another group about the same size wanting to come across to the side we were on.

In the middle of the other group stood a male tourist with a large belly, a loud Hawaiian shirt on, and a camera hanging around his neck. He looked lost. As I approached him standing on the corner he was looking the other way… and in an exasperated LOUD voice he shouted… “Doesn’t anyone here SPEAK ENGLISH???!”

Not one Chinese person even turned a head his way. They would have nothing to do with this guy… ignorant and loud.

Now what would happen inside of families… or in an office… or in a church… if we listened to the other person(s) speaking?

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Sources to consider…
No Fishing Video


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Humbled and Happy

There are times when you need to hear a small word of encouragement. There are times that when you least expect it something or someone comes to give you a special gift that will encourage forever.

Where do I start with this account?

The photo you see here is Rev. Dr. Edmund Cheung, D. Min. (Fuller).
Dr. Cheung is the President of Ecclesia Bible College in Hong Kong, a very influential man in the lives of thousands upon thousands of young adults in Hong Kong and for that matter – all over China.

The photo above arrived at my home via a special courier all the way from Hong Kong – hand delivered along with a copy of the 60th Anniversary Book from the Ecclesia Bible College.

Rev. Steve Kennedy, a fellow pastor in Peterborough and the editor of the Pentecostal Testimony of the PAOC dropped by my home to hand deliver the special gift – that was specially delivered to my home – from Dr. Edmund Cheung.

The message that came with it was very important – perhaps even more than the gift itself. Dr. Cheung stressed the fact that I was his mentor and had an impact on his life.

As I looked closely at the photo the memories began flooding back to a time of wonder and insecurity in my own life. So many thousands of memories flooded me as I looked at the Book and the Photo of Dr. Cheung. The flooding of memories almost overwhelmed me and have brought tears to my eyes and a lump in my throat. WHAT A BLESSING THIS IS TO FEEL AGAIN WITH WONDER WHAT GOD HAS DONE!

Come with me to 1980 to 1985…
It was just after New Years in 1981 that we arrived in Hong Kong to begin our new ministry as a Missionary. We began this journey in late 1980 as we left our home in Oakville, Ontario and my ministry at the National Office of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada – where I had been a leader in the national youth programming.

Leaving the exciting and wonderful ministry in Canada had been hard. So much had happened in that area of our lives. We had met thousands of people across Canada and touched base with others in many parts of the world.

Arriving in Hong Kong in early 1981 was a huge reality check – we were suddenly in the middle of 6 Million people crowded on to one small piece of real-estate of 400 square miles – that is 20 Miles by 20 Miles. We were in the middle of 6 Million people that could have cared less about who we were and what we were in Hong Kong to do.

We were all alone in the middle of millions. Even the local group of Canadians we were to work with had no idea that we were coming up until one week before we were to arrive.

It was crash for me personally in those first months to realize that all that I had accomplished back in Canada in that precious ministry meant next to nothing here. We were alone and began to feel the immense proportions of that aloneness… in waves.

For the next four years we struggled to find the many areas that we might fit into. It seemed that when one door would open and we walked through it – another one would swing wide open as well – and I found myself running from door to door – ministry opportunity to ministry opportunity. There was so much to do – so many, many opportunities to do it in. What possible lasting affect could you have in a place of unlimited opportunity?

In March 1984 I was told (not asked) that I was to plant a new church in the center of Kowloon. Some one had arranged in their wisdom to rent a facility on the fifth floor of an office building for a church. I was not involved in the decision making – but rather just told what I should do. This door of opportunity swung open and I was pushed through.

I was given the task of making something happen. But with that task I was given few tools and the ones that I had were shaky at best. One tool was my rudimentary Cantonese Language that was enough to get me into trouble and not enough to get me out of trouble. The other tools were my English Language Speaking ability and the many Arts and Crafts that I was able to weave into what we did.

After a considerable time of thinking about it and praying about all… I was given a name for the new church/study center. It was to be called “Yi San Jung Sum” – or “Move a Mountain Centre”. Quickly – the story of “Yi San” (Move and Mountain) is too long to tell you here – other than to say that in the ancient Chinese story one old man decided to move a mountain one shovel full at a time. His name was “Yu Gung”. People thought he was insane – “You will never do that task Yu Gung – you will die before it is ever done!” His reply was simple – “If I cannot do this in my life time my son’s will do it theirs. If they do not do this in their life… their son’s will. It will be done!”

“Moving a mountain” was Yu Gung’s vision no matter how difficult of impossible people said it might be. Even with his limited tools of old China – a shovel and a wheel barrow – he would move that mountain. And it was moved.

As I prayed about this and realized that I had so few tools to do this job and it seemed impossible – I was exactly like Yu Gung. The task at hand for all of the students that we were meeting was the same… they needed help with their studies and the possibilities of a future. It was at that time that God whispered into my heart and life that Yi San Jung Sum was a perfect name for what we were going to do…but it was a very non traditional name for a church!

At this 1000 word mark I have only just introduced the idea of this post.

Nine months went by of NOTHINGNESS. Each Sunday after a long week I met with my wife and two daugthers to conduct a morning church service at Yi San Jung Sam. Only the four of us attended. It was the smallest church that I ever worked with… and the most discouraging. I worked so hard to reach out to the young adults with a message of encouragement – and NOTHING HAPPENED.

At the Nine Month mark something did happen. Over 30 young people and young adults came to a knowledge of who Jesus was. Through confusion in their lives – some with family connections to the Triad – they needed help physically and spiritually. In three weeks time 30 became Christians and wanted more.

I was dumbfounded and needed help. I had a huge problem.

I contacted a very great leader, Pastor Siu, and explained my problem. He graciously introduced me to a brand new part of his church’s youth group ministry. They consisted of 30 on fire Young Adults with their own leadership team and a young Bible College Graduate by the name of Edmund.

In January 1985 I brought the 30 new Christian Young Adults together with the new 30 young adults from Pastor Siu’s church in a Weekend of Introduction. Then I did the most important thing ever – I took my hands off the ministry and gave in entirely to Pastor Edmund and his team. Instead of doing the “Great White God” thing(because I know better that you do attitude) that other missionaries had done for so many years – I stepped aside and promoted Edmund and his team.

By March 1985 the church was fully in existence. The task that was impossible was done as far as I was concerned… they were doing a wonderful job of it.

We attended and supported this amazing young church from March 1985 to June 1985… encouraging them in every way possible… then we headed home to Canada. In 1988 my wife and I slipped into the Yi San Jung Sum church one Sunday Morning. The joy that we were welcomed with was simply amazing.

As you have already guessed I am sure, Pastor Edmund is now Rev. Dr. Edmund Cheung – a very influential and important leader in one of the most exciting places on earth.

And he honored me by saying so kindly that … I was his mentor.

Thank you Brother Edmund Cheung – I am so blessed by your kind words – and they came when I most needed them.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Sources to consider…
Ecclesia Bible College

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

When Genius is Not Heard or Seen

This is the snippet of information that helped me start my discovery of an amazing story Joshua Bell. It came by an email.

After reading the email and the facts related in it – I just had to find out more and if it was the truth. It is true – the links to the original story is found under my “Sources”.

As I have been reflecting on this I was taken back to a local Farmer’s Market that is held every Saturday Morning. Mixed with the local farmers selling their produce are some artists and some musicians. The artist try to sell their products to a crowd that cares less whether they are good or not. The musicians play their heart out for nothing – in fact on a rainy day they are situated just outside the Washrooms – in the entrance way to the building used by the farmers.

I have listened to them often – and watched as people walk by never paying any attention to what is happening… or what they are doing.

The Joshua Bell Story…(short version)
A man was situated at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold, December morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the case and without stopping continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children.

All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theatre in Boston and the seats average $100.00 each.

This is a real story.

Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a common place environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty?

Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing some of the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?
This is where it gets personal…
Last week I took my New Teddy Bear Creations to the Market to talk with another artist about what I have created and show my wears. As I pulled my Carved Teddy Bears from the bag to show them to my friend – people glanced at us and walked on. Only one lady out of 20 people passing stopped and showed some interest… She told me she has in her possession 2 Raikes Bears. (Raikes is the only other carver that I know that does what I do- or has done – or I should say I do something similar to what he does..)

After I put all this effort into what I have done – and no one gives a ding dong… well maybe the Subway Station is not the best venue… nor is the Farmers Market.

If Joshua Bell doesn’t mind – neither do I…

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Sources to consider…



Related to Robert Raikes Bears

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Instant Money Maker for Seniors Needing Extra Cash

I have the answer! I have the answer! I have – I have!!!

My vehicle is older than dirt – now rusting out and failing in some areas. I need a new one – but that likely is not going to happen too soon. How does one find extra money on a fixed income – to buy a car?

Well the answer floated in like a magical message form heaven.

With something called “leaseyourbody.com” I can make enough each month to make double car payments – or one car payment and enough to insure it as well as put fuel in it. It is so easy.

At leaseyourbody.com you simply lease space on the back of your head allowing the company to inscribe a temporary Tattoo for the whole world to see. It comes off after about two or three weeks – making room for another go round and another Tattoo.

The fact that it is temporary is good… somewhat permanent for a few weeks – then it goes away.

The only requirement is that you need to have skin that is showing – and a shaven head/bald head is perfect for it to be seen… then no hat or cap and everyone will be able to see it.

One quote from one young lady stated that she had made $750 in two weeks. That is a car payment, insurance and fuel for at least one month.

Our church has some financial problems now – like many others. The majority of the attendees are Seniors in our church. The kind of Seniors that love Swiss Chalet and other popular eating places on Sunday. Then they attend the local Tim Hortons coffee shop almost every day – if not at least three time a week.

If every Senior in our church were to dedicate themselves to the building up of our church financially – they could easily make it happen by getting the Tattoo on the back of their head! If 10 Seniors would do that… we would see $7500 per month for the church!!! If 20 would do that there would be $15000 per month!!!!

Now they are the ideal candidates for this – in that they love to sit in so many places – especially Church. And church is designed to have every one look at the back of some else’s head. How much better it would look if it read… “Have you tried the Messy Chicken Sandwich at Swiss Chalet yet….? MMMmmm Good! Follow me to the Swiss”

Or better yet they could get – “Coffee Time does it better!” as they are daily in Tim Hortons. But maybe it should read – “Follow me to Timmy’s and you can roll up my rim.”

The potential is absolutely amazing.

Does that seem too… well… artificial? Not real?

Well many of my senior friends take off artificial pieces each night and either store it beside the bed in a glass or lay whatever on the floor beside the bed.

One couple we know got married and on the wedding night – she proceeded to take out her teeth before she crawled under the covers. He was startled and actually shocked – in great protest he said, “What’s this all about? I thought you had all your own teeth? When I said I do – I expected to get all of what I bought… not something with parts missing!”

So – my point is… many seniors are capable of doing stuff like putting something on and taking it off – so Tattoos are no big deal.

One older fellow that I know will likely pay for his own Tattoo that will say… “I am not with her… I am only her chauffer.” Or “She came with the inheritance – but she is for sale.”

This is very serious.

Now if the Senior dies and the coffin thing is their next stay… the last Tattoo could be a forehead… worth maybe the price of the Funeral… and in the case of a local Funeral Company in Peterborough – “Comstock Funeral and Cremation Services”… the Tattoo on Mr. Jone’s forehead could say it all… “If you think I look good… its because of the great people that work at Comstock! Affordable Funerals, Comfortable Coffins, Low Costs.”

Crazy Idea? No way – popular folks may get a couple of hundred people ogling them over as they lay there with that stiff smile... and the signs says, “If they could do this for me – you will be no problem at all! Call Comstock! Affordable Funerals, Comfortable Coffins, Low Costs.”

Sure I am serious…! Aren’t you?

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Lease Your Body
Rented out her forehead for $5000
$10,000 for her forehead

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dating Violence

I am shocked as I view the video clip produced by the group and posted to the internet (see below). It is a couple acting out what the detective reads from his notes. Very well done… very well!

The stats read – 1 in 3 teens are abused in dating relationships! That is 30% or horrible things that happen to one or even both parties in present dating relationships.

If there is anything that frightens me more I am not sure what it might be. When I think of my grandkids about to enter their relationships of tomorrow – and possible abuse and anger situations it more than causes me distress.

The screwed up world is waiting for my wonderful kids. And I am not about to let that happen – but what can I do about it?

In church we hope to be free of this kind of thing happening. Right? Everyone in church should be wonderful. Right.

Nope – it aint true. They do it too. In fact the church is just as much a part of the horror as the community is. In fact they are community – some have come looking for help.

In church we hopefully find relief and Biblical Examples of how to live. But when we find it – do we do anything with it?

Over these 35 years of ministry I have witnessed the kind of abuse shown in the video… not really seeing it happen but seeing it after it has happened. Then I watch as a very weak partner allows a dominating partner back into the situation again.

Notice I haven’t stated that I watched a female allow the male back into the situation… because sometimes it is the other way around.

In this last year I have witnessed brutality among young married couples at a far higher rate than I would like to see. Threats uttered, actions taken and shaken spouses left… have all happened in the last 12 months.

Add to that… violence among the females of different couples as they lash out at each other. Terrible things said and done to each other – centered in their supposedly growing friendships. One cat fight involved one young mom tearing the heart out of the other one verbally… then turning to attack the spouse of her target – by trying to destroy his reputation.

Be happy that you did not marry that kind of person. But someone did and the “hen pecked” look that he has, or the too busy at work reactions to most invitations… is a tell tale bit of information.

This couple suffers from “inside marriage abuse” where few people will ever know what is going on because of shame.

These are young couples. But it is not relegated to young ones – old couples have been suffering this nightmare as well – only a lot longer.

In a recent connection with “couple friends” of ours – the abuse is just below the surface. Her knife like words that tear the heart out of any person are acidic. He is constantly ducking and looking for some “coffee buddy” that will go out with him somewhere to find relief.

There can be dating violence far past the first dates… some continuing for well over 45 years of marriage.

I speak out against violence – of any kind!

The problem is that these younger couples with the internal potential to explode – are producing children that are now dating or soon will. The violence and angry words that are heard and sensed at home becomes an extended example for them to live by and act out as they enter dating.

Most violence is learned from what I have witnessed. Then an added societal conditioning acts like a catalyst to cause the explosion.

The young couple is working hard and trying to out buy the other young couples around them. The pressure to get it all immediately is just too much to handle… then add the present economic down turn – depression – and you have a potential for violence at all ages and in all couples.

When they have done dumb things to each other – inside a dating relationship… inside of a marriage… inside or grandparent’s relationships… they stop associating with the places that they have frequented faithfully.

Church is the worst and best place to see that happen. Take a look around. Do some mental calculations and ask some questions. If you were to get the whole truth – you might just be shocked how prevalent it really is.

Paul the Apostle gave some strong words that encouraged us to love one another. He is the one that wrote the Love Chapter – 1 Corinthians 13. I have read it often at weddings for the couple… to then be in shock as the police are called and charges are laid because of violence.

We know what it says but have no clue as to how we should act it out.

I write today to shock some into a new way of thinking… violence is wrong. I write today that some that need help might get help… although it is really doubtful that they will even read what I write… “What does he know about anything?!?”

For God’s sake… for the sake of your relationship… for the sake of your kids… for the sake of their relationships… STOP THE VIOLENCE and GET HELP – NOW! (How can I shout out that message today!!!!!?)

Please read these 11 Facts – then look at your grandkids – beautiful and innocent… then think what you need to do about it…. maybe it needs to start at home… with you…

11 Facts about Dating Abuse
1. Only 33% of teens who were in an abusive relationship ever told anyone about it.
2. Teen victims of dating violence are more likely to abuse drugs, have eating disorders, and attempt suicide.
3. A recent survey of schools found there were an estimated 4,000 incidents of rape or other types of sexual assault in public schools across the country. And this was in just one academic year!
4. In a study of gay, lesbian and bisexual adolescents, youths involved in same-sex dating are just as likely to experience dating violence as youths involved in opposite sex dating.
5. One third of high school students have been or will be involved in an abusive relationship.
6. Dating violence is the leading cause of injury to young women.
7. Nearly one quarter of girls who have been in a relationship reported going further sexually than they wanted as a result of pressure.
8. About 40% of teenage girls ages 14 to 17 say they know someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend.
9. Approximately 68% of young women rape victims knew their rapist either as a boyfriend, friend or casual acquaintance.
10. Six out of ten rapes of young women occur in their own home or a friend or relative's home, not in a dark alley.
11. Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk for intimate partner violence.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

11 Facts
The Violence Video

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A Grandparent’s Delight

Whew! School Break is over – at least for us as Grandparents. We survived five days straight of the action and interaction with six kids. I think it could best be described as a string of day trips to theme parks in Florida – only we never left the country or province. With help of our daughter Dana and son-in-law Bruce we accomplished an amazing time together.

How can I share all the stories with you? I think maybe some verbal snap shots described in some detail might help you.

To do this I am recruiting the help of one of my close friends, Grandma Brenda Van Lier. Brenda also spent some time with her granddaughter who was available for her grand parents to love a little extra.

Brenda wrote…
We spent a magical day yesterday with our granddaughter Alexis--a busy 4&1/2 years old. She came out to spend the day at Grandma & Grandpa's house in the country.

In preparing for this visit, I filled a craft drawer with fun things to do--the crayons & paper, a puzzle, a foam purse to be sewed together, the alphabet magnetic letters remaining from our children's day. After our walk "in the forest"--a must do at Grandpa's house, we settled in to our fun. She enjoyed her first sewing experience with the big plastic needle & happily announced to her Mommy later, that when she was a Mommy she could go shopping now!

The activity that excited her most was a cardboard with capsules attached--another $1.00 purchase. The instructions told us that if we placed these gel-capsules in warm/hot water, lo & behold foam animals would appear. I never knew there could be so much excitement & fun from a $1.00 purchase!!

While Grandma supervised the pot of hot water, Alexis dropped in the capsules one by one. And soon--there before our eyes, a little foam sheep or horse or chicken appeared. Her glee was contagious. After all the animals had appeared we squeezed the water out of them & soon were playing "farm". She very excitedly put them into a plastic container for the trip home & burst into her house to show her Mommy & Daddy this miracle--such excitement that they were caught up in it too.

I couldn't help but think that our Heavenly Father watches over each of us--as we unfurl/develop into the being we were meant to be---with the same excitement & glee that little Alexis experienced. Such Joy--It's Contagious! I Know He wants such Good Things for each of us.
My wish for each of you is that you would experience this Joy as you "Become" what you are meant to be.

Thanks Brenda… what a special snap shot of time with Alexis. A treasure to remember.

Around our table last evening we had 9 of us sitting closely beside each other. In the kitchen we had another 4 sitting around that table.

It is closer now than before in that bodies are bigger and elbows tend to move rapidly bumping each other as food is shoveled in.

In times past we could get all 12 and even 13 around the table – tightly. Not any more.

At the larger dinning room table I had Thomas, to my left, munching his food at his pace. Most at the table were finished their plate of food – some even finished seconds. Thomas was moving at his pace – slow and savoring.

Thomas’ dad told him to eat up his meat on his plate which was situated at the 10 to 12 o’clock mark. To the left of his meat was the rice dish that he loved. That portion of food had started at the six o’clock position and continued around his plate to the 10 o’clock spot. Before the rice dish was his favorite Caesar Salad – that originally started between 12 and 1 o’clock.

Does the clock position on the plate help you to “see” the snap shot unfolding in front of you? My blind friend Jason uses this method all the time when he eats his meals.

Thomas is 11 years old and to my knowledge he has no blind friends.

His answer to his dad’s chiding to hurry up and eat his meat he replied, I will, “I am eating the Rice now as I go clockwise around the plate!” While others were hap hazard moving back and forth from one portion of the plate full mixing up their food intake – Thomas in his organized way plodded through the job at hand – one morsel of food at a time… 1, 2, 3,… 7, 8, 9,… Just past 12 he would be done. Completely logical and absolutely satisfying.

My guess is Thomas will be an engineer someday… or a computer technician. At the present time Computer Games are easy as he works his way methodically through the mazes created for him by designers in far away places.

At one point on his food intake from his plate – maybe about 9 o’clock he leaned over to me and asked quietly, “Do you think that Great Grandma Lincoln will die this year?” I looked at his clear blue eyes and the earnest look on his face seeing the seriousness of his question. I replied, “We won’t talk about that here okay?” He nodded slowly and said. “Cool…” and shoveled another fork load in.

This post is just under 1000 words already and I haven’t “shown” you the snap shots of the beautiful Emma at 10, sparkling eyes and beautiful face that will some day melt many men’s desires… mixed with tenderness supreme… yet she can go into a melt down mode in one single stroke of displeasure… and “nuke the nearest male thing to a piece of burnt toast”…

And her brother Clifford that has competitive streak that is bar none at 14 years of age… very sharp… knows the game well and will tolerate my ineptness when I try my hardest but always get “killed” in the game… and then tells his cousins that “grandpa sucks at this game…” (at this point he intends to buy a fifth wheel trailer with a powerful truck to pull it… then sleep each night in a Wall Mart parking lot… because girls will not like to live like that… and girls are not even on his radar yet…)

And Thomas’ older brother Jonathan, who is now 12, that is so responsible and careful with the others – gathering accurate information for parents that don’t always see… His tenderness is amazing… His fairness is balanced… and does he love good joke!...

And then Michael the one just younger than Thomas – the one that will breeze through school and on the way charm the dickens out of everyone and anyone that comes into his life… this guy is an imp at home and an angel at school… watch out world!...

And finally there is Christopher at 7 ½ years old… full of life and loving every joke and riddle and all of his big brothers… He adores his “Clifford” and tries to walk close to him where ever they go. Chris snickers when he hears a “bad word” – never forgetting anything. With his freckles spread across his face… and a big grin… this guy has the world already… in full control!

Brenda said it well…
“I couldn't help but think that our Heavenly Father watches over each of us--as we unfurl/develop into the being we were meant to be---with the same excitement & glee that little Alexis experienced.
(Add to that Clifford, Emma, Jonathan, Thomas, Michael, and Christopher…)
Such Joy--It's Contagious! I Know He wants such Good Things for each of us.
My wish for each of you is that you would experience this Joy as you "Become" what you are meant to be.”

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Friday, March 20, 2009

“Omnipresence” as a human

I have discovered another world. It is absolutely amazing. It likely will not work in Saskatchewan, Canada… but it works well in other parts of the world. But it may reach Saskatchewan some day.

Am I speaking in Riddles for you? Nope.

It is Google Street Maps UK

I have taken a while to get my head around how to use this new tool.

The small round compass kind of button on the top left side of the screen makes it possible to see 360 degrees in all directions – then also the 180 degrees all around up and around – kind of like a bubble.

Try this link to see what I mean to go to “Cockspur St, London, England, United Kingdom” This link should take you right to the street – a little higher than eye level – on a certain day and YOU ARE THERE! WOW!

“The Wrap – Google's new street service” is the new product that you are looking at in the UK.

The Guardian states…
“Google's new mapping application, which will allow 360 degree views of streets in 25 cities picked up and transmitted by satellite cameras, has arrived with great fanfare in the UK – and to a wide spectrum of interpretation from the Great British Press.”

They go on to share that…
“Google Streetmap has previously been launched in France, Italy, Spain, Australia, New Zealand and Japan. In Australia, a man was captured passed out drunk on his mother's lawn. It transpired he had been at a funeral.”

Across Britain they have “mapped” 22,369 miles of streets and roads. On the map of the cities – not every street has been done. Just the ones that are in colour…wherever the crew did the photography at that moment.

Now there is a concern over privacy as you may suspect. But as you zoom in on the people in the photos – you will see that their faces are smudged out – features all removed.

As a potential tourist I think this is amazing. I can be there before I get there. I can savour the views before I ever climb aboard an airplane to travel the long distance overseas.

Now if I was a potential terrorist… the folks on the street shown in my illustration may not be so thrilled about it. It certainly would make the “attack” easier – if some one wanted to plant a bomb. Ooops I did it again – the Blog will be followed from this minute on.

How is it accomplished? Well apparently they have vehicles that are equipped with special cameras that look up and down and all around from a vehicle beginning driven along a street. It is kind of a panoramic camera.

Similar to Google Earth this new tool will revolutionize my arm chair experience. I will never need to go anywhere in order to be some where else. I can be there and here at the same time, nibble my snacks and never have to share a toilet with anyone on a large aircraft again.

I am free to never go anywhere again and yet be everywhere. That is kind of like achieving “Omnipresence” as human… well almost…

Earlier I stated that I didn’t think it would get to Saskatchewan too soon. There are two cities… and way more than 22,369 miles of roads across the province – filled with gophers and red tail hawks.

The potential for this new tool is amazing to say the least.

For more than an hour I have been traveling the streets of London and some other cities.

Now one more thing that Google Maps UK has is a Traffic predictor. Kind of a weather report for traffic. You can see when the roads will be busy during the daytime. Simply by sliding a small bar from left o right the traffic patterns in the city are predicted.

If you have viewed the photo from the Google Streetmaps above… you will see what traffic is all about at that moment in London.

Now contrasting that to say Regina, Saskatchewan that has a rush hour of about 20 minutes in length… may not need a Traffic predictor either. Toronto, Ontario however is very different than Regina.

I have to stop this post and run to get ready for some more grandkid fun later today. But I also want to check out Manchester later too. My friend lived on that very small street on the east side… Gotta fly away…

~ Murray Lincoln ~


Thursday, March 19, 2009


What has 12 legs, 12 arms, moves very quickly and eats huge amounts of food at each meal – in one instance consuming four pounds of ground beef, four gallons of soup and four pounds of bread – which is actually two large loaves of home made bread?

No clue yet…?

Well I describe it as a “Grandkidasaurus”. It is more than one being – actually six – together they make up one huge eating machine. They have been eating at our home each lunch time and dinner time.

How could that happen to old people like us? Well – it is simple really. 42 years ago Alida and I said “I do” and “I will” – or is that “We do” and “We will”? From that commitment came two amazing Daughters. From their “I do-s” and “I wills” – came six of the most active, alert, inspiring, fun loving, brilliant and all round amazing grandkids one couple could ever have!

The six of them make up a huge “Grandkidasaurus” that is growing at the speed of light – because they love to eat.

They are Clifford, Emma, Jonathan, Thomas, Michael, and Christopher all unique parts of the “Grandkidasaurus”.

Most of our friends could not grasp what is needed to coordinate the feeding of ravishing teenagers and pre-teen personages unless they do it every day. The “Grandkidasaurus” requires two Mom’s and a logistical planning that makes most airports in Canada look weak and inept. Alida and Dana are amazing. Together they produce huge meals on time and hot and… simply the best ever!

Thomas loves to eat.

Thomas’ mom asked why he didn’t sleep in a little and his reply was simple and to the point. “If you sleep in all the good food is gone – just like it is for Uncle Bruce.”

Thomas is not worried about Uncle Bruce – but about getting his share of what he loves.

This week is school break in Ontario. This week is better than Christmas when we get to see all the grandkids together for one day. This week is amazing – five full days of action. Action in gaming with the Wii and other computer games, action in playing table games, action in going to a great show together, action in a local swimming pool, action in playing in the woods with home made guns and being able to count “the kills” for a whole afternoon as you race from tree to tree. Just plain action… action… action!

That is why the “Grandkidasaurus” eat so much I am sure.

Why does a Grandma like Alida do it and keep doing it? Well after a wonderful meal the tall and almost full grown grandsons wrap their arms around her, kiss her neck…whispering in her ear “I love you grandma, thank you… that was good!”

Funny times…
Sitting around the table waiting for the food to be served is Grandpa’s time to talk with the boys and girl. And we talk about almost anything. I tell stories about almost everything (with dire warnings to not tell certain of my boyhood stories that my daughters feel that their sons cannot fully appreciate yet…).

There are riddles and questions and stories and you name it – it comes out around the table.

One of the grandsons looked at me and asked, “When do you think you will die Grandpa? Will it really be in 20-- ?”

That question launched a whole series of questions and responses from me and them.

Are you Shocked with that question to a grandparent? Not me.

In my garage I have a wooden memorial plaque – made in the shape of a tombstone. I created it for a men’s meeting that I spoke at and have used it a number of times in speaking engagements. Everything about me is on the tombstone – except one thing… the date of my death… which should include the Month, Day and Year. I have just about completed it with a blank space for the above and with 20- - inscribed on the wood.

Two of our grandkids have a funeral director as their father. The other four have attended their Great Grandma’s funeral not long ago when she died at 101 years old. So death talk is not taboo around our table.

After about 10 minutes of their talking about my potential death date – and their speculations on the possible year being about 20 to 30 years from now… or maybe even 40 years – (making me older than Great Grandma Barns by 4 years…) they moved on to the next topic – the movie that they saw and what they liked about it the most.

Transitions that fast are only possible in the mind of the “Grandkidasaurus”.

Yet I was slowed a little on that one. My mom is sitting and listening to all of it – quietly. She is 88 years old and the “Grandkidasaurus” is rather noisy and moves very fast for her. No speculations for her by the great grandson that asked the first question… he has given her about 20 more years generously and there is no need to talk about it.

I was slowed further as I pondered the depth of the question regarding the approaching death of myself… and the rough estimates of my demise with solid conclusions drawn that it will be from 20 to 40 years from now.

I decided at that moment that I don’t want to die.

If I die I will miss the life time of active “Grandkidasaurus” chasing and watching. So I decided that I will not die. Instead I will live on in these amazing kids!

Some of them look like I did when I was their age. Almost all of them act like me – insane and almost irreverent – but respectful. Every single one of them love to draw and create.

Thomas, the tender hearted one, walked over to Great Grandma Lincoln and hugged her asking, “How are you grandma?” Thomas is eleven.

Yep – at that moment I decided that I do not want to and definitely will not die – for at least 40 years.

That way Clifford will be 53 with three kids of his own.
Emma will be 49 and with at least three kids – possibly a set of twins.
Jonathan with be 52 with only two kids (so he can buy his Hummer that seats four comfortably), Thomas will be 51 and likely have four kids.
Michael will be 50 and will have opened his own Law Practice or maybe his own Medical Clinic – with two young children because he was too busy in school all these years (the last report card had 7 “A”s on it… but one was an “A Minus”…
Christopher who will then be 47 – owning his own airline and flying all over with his new wife and two sons.

On my 105th birthday there should be about 16 great grandkids, 36 great, great grandkids that will be a whole new assembly of the “Grandkidasaurus”.

I have to stop this now… I have a huge lump in my throat and some tears in my eyes. How could one man be so blessed?

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Violated – the Horrors of a Home Invasion

When the kids came home they couldn’t find their new Wii Game. It was no where to be found and blame was laid on the last guy to use the game. “Where did you put it!?”

“I put it right where it should be!” But it wasn’t there.

Another time a question was given to the oldest son… “Jonathan – did you take the money laying beside dad’s computer?” Nope – he had not taken it but all fingers seemed to point to him.

The story unfolds in my daughter’s home in Whitby, Ontario – just an hour’s drive from our place.

Tension has risen in their home over the last months. My son-in-law’s wedding ring was gone. When my daughter went to take a photo of something that was happening with the new digital camera… it was gone… or misplaced. Then my son-in-law noticed that a collector’s edition of a favorite movie was not where it should be. He knew his sons were unlikely to even taken it from its storage place. A $1000 dollar drill from the garage, gas from the company vehicle, and a number of other things were simply gone.

They had called us to see if they had left certain videos or objects at our home when they were here last. But no luck.

Slowly it dawned on my daughter and son-in-law – someone had been into their house when they were away. In fact the likelihood that it had happened more than once was a reality. The person breaking in had been in often taken things slowly – one by one. A busy family would never know.

Our kids live on a tight little court where ever one knows everyone else. There are about a dozen houses all tightly packed on this court. Most of the people living there are younger – with children. The kids all play together on the round road that services all the houses.

Our kids also live in a duplex – they have the left side as you approach the house. It is easy to see that it is a “boy’s house” with Hockey Nets, and boy stuff in the driveway.

On the other side of the duplex is a family that has young boys as well. The boys next door to my grandkids play with the youngest one – Christopher.

The story is longer than I can write here…

Through a unique series of happenings it was discovered that the “husband” of the couple next door has been entering our kid’s home and taking whatever he wanted… taking? – no… stealing is a better word.

There are many other issues that this fellow is facing. But the main one that is before him now is the fact that he has regularly conducted “home invasions” using a key that he was able to make/get from our daughter’s key set – and enter a side door.

Other people on the court also have lost things. The fellow is a regular cat burglar.

There is no way to explain the feeling of violation that comes after you have been robbed. There is no way to tell anyone the way that you feel about the individual that has done this to you. Death, incarceration, destruction of some kind may be high on the list of wishes for the dude that has done this. A “Restraining Order” could be sought but how does the young dad come home – and be with his sons? Most “Restraining Orders” encourage 300 Meters(1000 Feet) of space between the offender and the victim. How would that be acted on with the front yard being shared?

Flash Backs…
When our youngest daughter was in High School in Scarborough and I was serving as an Assistant Pastor at Scarboro Gospel Temple – our home was robbed. The thief broke into the side of the house using the Milk delivery chute. He kicked our little dog who was cowering in the basement when I came in later. Our jewelry was gone and the front screen window was torn open as the burglar exited the house quickly.

The feelings that I described above are real. As a pastor I wished the man that had done this to our family a slow and painful stop.

That evening I was to conduct a special session at a city prison. I had been conducting art classes for the men that were at the jail.

When I walked in – the day’s events showed on my face. One of the leaders of the class looked at me and asked, “Okay Rev… what’s wrong with you?”

“Nothing” was my reply. “Don’t give me that %$#@%! Something is wrong with you!” was his next comment. “What happened?”

I hesitated but then it spilled out. “Some one broke into our house, kicked my dog around and stole things from us. I am mad and upset.”

There was dead silence for a few minutes then the leader of the group spoke on behalf of the group… “What do you want done, knees, elbows, body….? You name it – it is yours.”

I was silent and could give no response… and luckily I didn’t…even though it was very tempting. Not every minister is offered a free “hit team”

My comment was more beneficial I am sure, “God is really going to take care of this guy… he touched the stuff that God provided for my family – and He will take care of it.

The class was quiet from the next hour as hard as I tried to talk with them.

I ask for prayer today for my daughter Anda and husband Bill and four great boys. Christopher’s friend’s daddy has done some very bad things.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Monday, March 16, 2009

Church Debt

When my friend suggested that I look up the words “Church Foreclosure” in a Google Search I was amused. But after reading the accounts given – it isn’t amusing any more. Across the USA churches have lost their buildings to worship. The Financial Institution is often the one that buys the building after foreclosure is started.

In Canada I am not aware that any of our churches to date have had this happen. However there are some that are close to making some frightening moves toward radical changes.

The fact is that giving has dropped and is dropping 15% or more. People are more worried about their own lessening amounts than that of the church. The reality is we must be concerned about the amount of food that we put on our own tables and the taking care of our own kids – before we look after the community.

Reaching out was a good thing to do 35 years ago… but today staying alive is more important.

I spoke with one man the other day at Home Depot. He has lost over $150,000 in investments that were producing his simple income. It is now gone and so is the monthly income. There was no pension other than the investments and now he is back working at 72 years old and so is his wife at 70.

This couple is unlikely to join our congregation and become “big givers” paying off our church debt… which incidentally was created by people attending in 1978- 1980… and today have either left the church or passed into their heavenly reward – a mansion on a street paved with gold.

Did some one make a mistake and build too large (Northview Peterborough)? Maybe? But no one would have known that 2009 realities would be quite so stark as they are. Not likely.

As my friend pointed out – churches are shut down at times when things are really rough.

One article that I read pointed to the Great Depression and many churches were closed. People moved away for work and also lost their jobs – on mass. And guess what – there was nothing left to pay the bills with.

I am doing a glum report today I know. But it is possible for our churches to suffer just like everyone else – and our history proves it.

Now with a number of churches not full – should we join together? But then who would lead? Who would take the money and which church would we pay for first?

I bet you came to the same conclusion as I did… it wouldn’t work.

Now if Calvary Church in Peterborough would help Northview Church in Peterborough – maybe. Naw it won’t work… Calvary is reported to have $4.5 Million Debt. Northview would have to help Calvary… by moving over to Calvary and then paying Calvary’s bill down…after selling Northview off at a reduced rate….which might pay off Calvary’s whole debt. Then Calvary that is not yet filled will accommodate Northview’s congregation.

Naw that won’t work either.

Maybe Calvary could sell and move into the Northview’s building and help pay off its approximately $750,000 debt.

Naw that won’t work either. Who would buy either building when we already have a stack of unsold buildings in the city that won’t sell either. The old Bible College is a prime example – they are in need of unloading this monster to get clear of debt as well.

Do you catch the dilemma that we are in church wise?

As pastor of Northview I would only think scary thoughts about debt. Now as a church member I look at it differently. I am no longer responsible for the debt. I can pray for it but not think of it every waking moment. And does that ever feel good.

I pray for Tim Taylor the new pastor at Northview – because he must be just about feeling it now. And then there is Pastor Frank with the $4.5 Million of dreams each night.

I suddenly feel free… really free.

I am not sure of an answer. We did have a millionaire of two attending church at Northview – but they are gone now. I thought maybe…but they said no….

I am sure that God is interested. He is likely behind the recent down turns. People tend to pray more when they are in trouble. That is good.

I need more time to read and think about what other churches have and are doing.

This will be a better day… I am sure of it…. I am….

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Church problems and Bankruptcy

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mouse Brains and Mine

Thanks Joe. Great article.

When I first heard the initial reports coming about the findings of researchers at Toronto Sick Children’s Hospital – I grinned. There just had to be a story in this one. Joe Hall at The Star did a great job on this reflection of the report that has just been released.

Joe states…
“Something horrible happens. A child is lost. A bomb goes off. A car goes out of control.

And deep in the brain, in the lateral amygdala region, a scattered set of neurons come to life and begin to vibrate with fear.

Through an ingenious set of experiments, a group of researchers at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children have not only located these terror-laden brain cells in mice, but erased them – along with the frightening memories they stored.”

Back in February 2009 the “Mail Online” in the UK reported that a drug was now available to erase the bad memories. It demonstrated the use of the experimental use of the drug (beta-adrenergic receptor blockers). And it notes that the Dutch have been experimenting with this for a while.

Joe Hall points out that the Canadians have found the area of the brain that the bad memories are stored in. I think I got that right…

Now I am a lay person that works basically with lay persons. We don’t have a lot of Brain Researchers in our family. The info that I have about this topic is spotty to say the least. But here I go with a coffee shop reflection/water cooler comment for this week….

Suppose that they can develop this further… and erase my bad memories. First – they will have a hard time separating mine – they all seem to be dumped in together. In my layman term – they are linked or dumped in one big lot – twisted and tied together.

In the Bad Memory Anti Room of my brain… my BMAR… there are a whole bunch of them all messed together. If you could physically see it – it would look like my garage I am sure – messy.

If you take out the BM from my BMAR – all of the BM will likely go at the same time.
Let me try that one out.

One Old Lady with white hair in my life – that is OLWWH – was a royal nightmare to work with. When she even came into the same room I cringed with the memories of what happened over the years before. If I try to sort out all the OLWWH memories – all the memories of OLWWH in them will be zapped too. That is not fair – only one or maybe two OLDWWH have been a real pain.

Now my question is with these “beta blockers” – can they nuke my memories with one OLWWH? – and not all of them? The lady’s husband certainly might like a good dose of the Memory Beta Blocker… I really don’t know how he lives with it all the time.

That is when my covering thought made me smile. I thank the Lord that I never married something like that OLWWH…!

There is my first scientific experiment – “Warm, Fuzzy and Funny Thoughts” cover the bad memories. That is… the WFAFT cover the BM in the BMAR.

Second experiment…
We were at a public beach. We were laying on our towels and enjoying the warm sunshine. I opened my eyes and there not far from us were two people preparing their own spot on that beach. Goodness gracious – what a sight… it was awful… it was horrible… it was gross… it was not something I want my grandkids seeing… I would never been able stop them from snickering… or out right yelling… “Grandpa look at that!”

The two people were women with an extreme endowment of extra skin… that was filled with large amounts of generous fatty tissue. The large amounts of skin hung over their very small bathing suits. No kidding they were wearing two piece suits that should really be called – ½ Two piece… or less.

It was one big bad memory. I grin even today when I “see” that memory again. That bad memory has kept me from putting on a ½ One Piece bathing suit… in fact maybe it is why I don’t really enjoy swimming today. I have my own abundance of extra skin filled with fatty tissue now… and as I might spread out my own towel on the beach some day… there may be some one watching… Bad Memory!

Now if I used a “beta blocker for my memory” – I might not remember that putting on that kind of bathing suit just aint right… Come to think of it the two beached whales that day may have been an experiment from a scientific laboratory somewhere. Sheesh!

I know some folk with obnoxious brother-in-laws… and if the bad memories were blocked – they might not remember to not invite the slob the next time.

I know some folk with real bad memories of their teenagers. If these were blocked they would have never the fun when that teenager grows up and has kids of his own… that are absolute nightmares. These folk would miss the biggest bit of humor God has… “make em pay”!

Try this experiment on your own world. If the BM in your life was removed from your BMAR – what would be different?

I think the scientists and researchers are messing with something that they don’t shouldn’t mess with.

I already have a great method that is God given… “avoidance” and “humor” – the A and H factor. When and if that OLWWH ever comes in or near me – I can hum and move on… I don’t ever have to go home with her…. Da da dee… hee hee!

As to whether this is a good thing or bad… I have friends that are already losing it. One fellow I know tells me the same stories over and over again. I think he does anyway… and just in case I haven’t heard that story I laugh heartily each time he tells it… over and over again.

Both of us are losing our minds and memories – good and bad. Why would I want to purposely rush it?

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Should Painful Memories Be Erased
Memory Issues – from the UK

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Abousfian Abdelrazik - Struggling to Get My Head Around This One

(Abousfian Abdelrazik pictured above)

I am trying to get my head around this. 113 people in Canada are now at risk of being jailed because they have stepped up to help a fellow Canadian to buy an airplane ticket for him.

Abousfian Abdelrazik is a Canadian and hails from Montreal. He returned to Sudan to visit his ailing mother and while he was there he was arrested because his name is on a terrorist list. He apparently has had ties with Osama Bun Laden and others like him.

A quote from “The Star” states…
“A lawyer for Abousfian Abdelrazik said Thursday that those contributing financially to his plane fare can be charged under Canadian law because his name is still on a UN terrorist blacklist.”

Mind you at this point you have to guess that we do not know all the information about this man. We have a lawyer making noise to get the Canadian Government involved.

Our own RCMP does not indicate that they have any notes about potential crimes that he has committed. There is a UN Blacklist that has a name on it that seems to be connected to him.

Now add to this affair an important fact. His Canadian Passport has expired while he has been in hiding in the Canadian Embassy in Sudan. But because his Canadian Passport has expired while he is out of the country – the Canadian Government will not pay for his return flight as they do in some cases prior helping Canadians in trouble overseas.

But one big question is – why a Canadian Embassy overseas has not helped him get his passport and his way out… specially if he is hiding in it or has taken refuge in the Embassy. I mean – what is the Embassy suppose to do?

So other Canadians have stepped up to pay the airplane ticket for this man… but by doing so – his lawyer has explained that THEY COULD all go to jail for what they have done. At the least their names will appear on a list that is going to be held by the UN… and should they travel anywhere away from home… WATCH OUT!

The first question that comes to my mind as a minister is… how am I implicated in this? I have spoken with and out right helped some VERY BAD PEOPLE… some could have been terrorists. There were some that I knew were in trouble. In the course of trying to help them spiritually and physically I crossed over into a territory that is dangerous. If I was followed or traced back to these people – I COULD BE CHARGED! I COULD GO TO JAIL!

Is anyone else a little bit worried about our freedoms?

In the early 1950s when the USA went through the “McCarthy Era”. Joseph McCarthy headed investigations through out the US looking for Communists and their supporters. Eventually it would be known as “McCarthyism” – a witch hunt for bad people – people at least that some one thought was bad.

I must state here that I do not believe in Terrorism or the acts that Terrorist commit in the name of whoever. I strongly condemn what these extremists have done.

But I also condemn a society and a leadership that allows a power be given to a group that can list people – fair or unfairly – then cause great harm to all concerned.

Does it concern you that he was arrested while seeing his mother in Sudan? Who knew that he was going there? His government must have – they and the airlines have the information as he was entering the aircraft to take off. Computers do that you know. They do not forget.

But some one had to have picked up his name and entered it into a UN Blacklist. A computer cannot do that… that is a human thing. So someone had to have made a decision that they would put that name on the list.

Now you have to know… that even writing about this can get your Blog looked into. I didn’t use the generic identification of “a man” – but I used his full name as given by the newspaper. He is Abousfian Abdelrazik and he is a Canadian – a non Anglo-Saxon name – non Francophone name base… but he is CANADIAN.

This Blog appears on many computers everywhere. In a few days (or even hours) there will be a flurry of hits from all kinds of interesting investigative sources.

For example…
When I was preparing a Blog for a Christian friend of mine living and ministering in Mombassa, Kenya – a very strong Islamic area – the Blog was hit on regularly by Islamic countries/cities all the way up the east coast of Africa… until we realized that this little effort was potentially putting the Christian folk there at risk from extremists.

I found an interesting program on the internet that allows you to plug in some one’s unique computer address (each computer has one) and it tells me exactly where the computer is. So yes I have seen where these hits come from – even to this simple Blog. And it is real!

Checking just a moment ago – in the last 100 hits on this Blog the coverage has been from Japan moving west to Asia to Europe to Africa to the UK to South America to all parts of the USA… and right across Canada… People come form everywhere. It is amazing to say the least.

So using “Abousfian Abdelrazik” may get some reaction with the searches that will be done. And saying that I am interested in this man – but as yet have not met him… may be not so good. That is what 113 fellow Canadians did and they could be in trouble.

Quick quick – get off this posting – some one knows that you were here today. You now are in trouble too. $^## &^%$ why didn’t some one tell you?

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Abousfian Abdelrazik is in trouble

Friday, March 13, 2009

Savoring the Senior’s Moments

As we listened to the old familiar tunes heads were bobbing in agreement and pleasure. The room was filled with very old people in the Senior’s residence. The path way had to be maintained for the walkers to get through – from the parking lot of walkers already accumulated. That alone spoke to the average age of those attending.

It was a special afternoon concert that my mom and I were attending. The older folk performing were decked out in dark slacks and white shirts. The men had on bright green, oversized bow ties that shimmered as they moved around. All of the group members had on Green neck garlands. This was the Activity Haven’s Songsters performing at Royal Gardens in Peterborough.

The songs were old and many were Irish in origins. St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner and on this particular afternoon everyone was Irish – or had some Irish in them.

At one particular song a very tender moment happened in front of where I was sitting. A very old man was sitting beside a very old lady – she with her walker and he with his cane responded to the music. He slowly slipped his arm around her and hugged her. She turned to meet his gaze and grinned from ear to ear. Then their heads leaned toward each other and he kissed her on the side of her face. They smiled for a long time at each other as the song went on.

Their age I am guessing was likely 88 through to 94 years.

The strains of the melody had touched them deeply and they had responded. If it had been quite a few years back they would have been in each other’s arms gracefully moving to the music in a very beautiful slow dance. For now a lean toward each other was enough and a tight hug that lasted for the whole song.

I am only guessing but I imagine that 75 years ago they sat in a movie theatre on their first date and held hands for the first time. Maybe the first kiss tasted of popcorn.

In the break time when we had coffee together the conversation was fun. An older lady spoke to me of her deep loss with husband’s passing about six years ago. Now she just enjoyed someone to talk to on these afternoons together. Some one that would listen as her voice dropped telling of her loss she felt as her favorite Labrador Pup was put to sleep a few years back.

A very wrinkled older lady sitting in front of me was a delight to watch as the group sang. She had her eyes closed and was enraptured with the music. She sang along with every song – knowing every word with out any hesitation. At the end of the song her twisted arthritic hands went together quickly to express her appreciation. She was lost in her personal joy. Her daughter told me later that her mom always sings songs at ALL Family functions – she simply loves her music.

We all waited for a few moments as one of the singers stood slowly from his seat and walked carefully forward. Adorned in a jaunty bright green tam and holding his walking stick tightly he stood forward to begin singing with a gusto that was hard to believe. No words needed here… he knew his part and was savoring the moment. No one moved as this 95 year old soloist held everyone in awe. Amazing – simply amazing!

He had been preceded by a 92 year old lady that sung a brilliant solo as her part in the presentation.

This was a relived “rock concert” of the 1940s where deeply moved young adults had swayed back and forth to the music on a beach somewhere far away.

I was spell bound to say the least. One problem for me was the bright sunshine that flooded down through the windows far above – added to the soft and beautiful stains of music I fell asleep on the couch. The old fellow on the chair in front of me had done the same. Together we were like a cat sitting in the warm sunshine and purring to the peace we felt around us.

This was a Senior’s Moment that was simply amazing.

This getting old is not so bad after all. But if they would have had some “Rock and Roll” beating a familiar theme I could have got more into it… you know the High School Stuff that some of us 65 something-s used to enjoy so much at the Sock Hop.

Recently Alida and I watched a movie together entitled “The Boynton Beach Bereavement Club” this past week. In the movie older folk like us were walking through the steps of grief that followed the loss of their spouse. NO – it wasn’t sad – but rather a deeply funny mix with romance, tension and some fun. Together at a community group they found each other… thus a few romances and a few very funny interactions made us laugh together.

I couldn’t recommend this one to a church crowd – but it might do some of them good to see it.

The one description of the movie states…
A romantic comedy about the human capacity to rebound and fall in love at any age. Lois, Harry, Marilyn, Sandy and Jack live in an "Active Adult" community in Boynton Beach, Florida. Their lives intersect when they meet at a local Bereavement Club where they go to find emotional support after the loss of a loved one. For anyone who thinks that new love and romance ends long before retirement…

As we sat together my mom’s foot tapped to each song. Her “Kirkpatrick” roots were still there.

Together savoring…

~ Murray Lincoln ~

There's a tear in your eye,
And I'm wondering why,
For it never should be there at all.
With such pow'r in your smile,
Sure a stone you'd beguile,
So there's never a teardrop should fall.
When your sweet lilting laughter's
Like some fairy song,
And your eyes twinkle bright as can be;
You should laugh all the while
And all other times smile,
And now, smile a smile for me.

When Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, 'tis like the morn in Spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing.
When Irish hearts are happy,
All the world seems bright and gay.
And when Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, they steal your heart away.

For your smile is a part
Of the love in your heart,
And it makes even sunshine more bright.
Like the linnet's sweet song,
Crooning all the day long,
Comes your laughter and light.
For the springtime of life
Is the sweetest of all
There is ne'er a real care or regret;
And while springtime is ours
Throughout all of youth's hours,
Let us smile each chance we get.

When Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, 'tis like the morn in Spring.
In the lilt of Irish laughter
You can hear the angels sing.
When Irish hearts are happy,
All the world seems bright and gay.
And when Irish eyes are smiling,
Sure, they steal your heart away.

Boynton Beach Club
Boynton Beach Club -2
Irish Eyes