Monday, February 27, 2006


A challenging thought from a favorite preacher of mine, Joe Stowell:

"Ministry for my own significance and recognition is a real danger, especially working with professional athletes. It's a huge seduction. We have to make up our minds. Are we doing ministry to advance Christ or to advance me?" - Joseph Stowell

This is certainly a question I need to ask. I know my answer but the temptation is always there to advance my own agenda. "Father, keep my heart pure and my motives beyond reproach for the sake of Your Name and Your gospel. AMEN!"

Sunday, February 26, 2006


"Because He was once emptied, I am each day refilled; my spirit-arteries pulse with the vital red of love; poured out, it is His life that now pumps through my own heart's core. He bled, and died, and I have been transfused."
- Luci Shaw

At Our Best?

"We are NOT at our best when we are most exuberant, most impetuous, most abounding, most enthusiastic, most eager, but when we are pulling most gravely, steadily, courageously in our appointed duties, when we are almost swamped by difficulties, weariness, seeming impossibilities, but all the time our face bravely turned towards Eternity, our heart lovingly towards God and our will determined to fight and fight to death."

- Janet Erskine Stuart

Bye Bye Barney

My writer/pastor/friend, Greg Asimakoupoulos writes the following tribute to Don Knotts who passed away this weekend:


Taking time to cry for one who made us laugh.

Andy's tailor alters his only suit
transforming it from a wedding one
to one befitting a funeral.

Gomer's pile of discarded Kleenex
grows more mountain-like
by the moment.

It's all because Barney's fife
remains in its case
having sounded its last note.

The community band
of trumpets and tubas,
of clarinets and flutes
will never seem the same.

Yes, Mayberry's loveable deputy
has turned in his badge for good.
The carefree tar-heel town
is jailed by sorrow today.

Aunt Bea and Otis
and Goober and Floyd
are searching in vain for the key.

It's no wonder
Mayberry's resident whistler is silent.
Even Opie's at a loss for words.
But then, so are the rest of us.

Those big bulging eyes
and high piercing voice
won our innocent hearts
in a much simpler time.

But that was then
and now is now.

The death of Don knots our guts.
It lumps our throats.
The one who made us laugh so loud
now causes us to cry.

Peace to your memory, Barn.

Heaven's Biggest Surprise

A friend send this poem by e-mail today! Reminds me of what someone once said regarding the three surprises we'll find in heaven:

1. That many we didn't think would be there WILL be there.
2. That many we thought would be there WON'T be there.
3. The biggest surprise will be that we are there ourselves.

We know that the only way we have entrance to God's heaven is by trusting His Son, confessing and repenting of our sin and accepting His forgiveness. Then we will have the assurance that we WILL be there, based entirely on God's promises and the merits of His Son, not our own. Let's tell other of Jesus and His love so they can go with us.

Here's that poem:


I was shocked, confused, bewildered
as I entered Heaven's door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
by the lights of its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven
who made me sputter and gasp,
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
the alcoholics, the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade
who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my neighbor
who never said anything nice.

Herb, who I always thought
was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, "What's the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How'd all these sinners get up here?
God must've made a mistake.

And why's everyone so quiet,
so somber? Give me a clue."
"Hush, child, said He, They're all in shock.
No one thought that they'd see you!"

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A Secure Anchor

Recently my desk calendar had an exceptionally good quote from Chuck Swindoll on it. The scripture reference was Hebrews 6:18,19. It was just what I needed on a morning when the heavens seemed like brass. This morning I checked out those verses in Eugene Peterson's The Message. What penetrating words! What comfort for the soul! Whatever you're going through, whatever the "appearances" might be, God has given His redeemed people a hope that we can "take to the bank".

Here are those verses:

Hebrews 6:17-20
The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by
Eugene H. Peterson

"When God wanted to guarantee his promises, he gave his word, a rock-solid guarantee--God can't break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable.

We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It's an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us..."

Monday, February 20, 2006


Experiencing some stormy situations these days? Things aren't going the way you had hoped? Remember, you are never alone. The God of Heaven walks with you each step of the way and longs to comfort you in the midst of your trial. Throw your burden on Him. He's big enough to carry it.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Panting Deer

What scripture
does this incredible
picture remind you of?

Thirsty today?
You know
where to

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Doll and Hot Water Bottle

Who says God doesn't hear and answer prayer? Who says God doesn't provide? The following story came to mind today as I was traveling home from a hockey game. You may have heard it before but if so, be encouraged as you read it again.

Dr. Helen Roseveare, missionary to Zaire (formerly the Belgian Congo), told the following story:

A mother at our mission station died after giving birth to a premature baby. We tried to improvise an incubator to keep the infant alive, but the only hot water bottle we had was beyond repair. So during devotions that morning we asked the children to pray for the baby and for her little sister who was now an orphan.

One of the girls responded, "Dear God, please send a hot water bottle today. Tomorrow will be too late because by then the baby will be dead. And dear Lord, send a doll for the sister so she won't feel so lonely."

That afternoon a large parcel arrived from England. Eagerly the children watched as we opened it. Much to their surprise, under some clothing was a hot water bottle!

Immediately the girl who had prayed so earnestly started to delve deeper, exclaiming, "If God sent that, I'm sure He also sent a doll." And she was right! The Heavenly Father knew in advance of the child's sincere requests, and 5 months before, He had led a ladies group to include both of those specific articles.

Although many of our prayers are not answered so dramatically, God always sends what is best. Let's praise Him for His loving responses to our needs.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Walking in a Wonderland

This morning I went for a walk out in the back forty. Well, actually, it's about 3 1/2 acres. What great therapy it was! Just strolling through the winter wonderland with my digital camera in hand. I had wanted to go earlier before some of last night's snowfall had fallen from the trees.

I'm always reminded of God's creative power and His divine artistry when I walk in the woods. All these pictures were taken this morning in our yard!

Thank You Father for a new day and for every new discovery of Your goodness! AMEN!

Friday, February 10, 2006

Debra's Other Thoughts

Who is Debra, you ask. Debra is a blogging buddy who consistently writes provocative "posts" which make you think, encourage you and refresh you! Her site is entitled "As I See It Now". Check it out! I visit her site every day and I'm always amazed at the insights she shares. The pictures on her blog are incredible. Pay her a visit NOW! She might even pour you a cup of tea and ask you to stay awhile.

Here's picture from an earlier "post" this week!

Go ahead! Pay a visit to Debra!

An Attractive Drabness VI

Regular visitors to Pilgrim Scribblings will recall several (5) earlier posts when I displayed a photo that was both attractive and drab at the same time.

Here's another! When I arrived home tonight, I took this shot from our driveway looking westward. The sun was just setting on the western horizon and grey shadows were creeping across the front yard.

The sky was filled with strange and wonderful cloud formations.

Who says there's no God? Only a fool! That's what the Bible says! The Creator can take the seemingly drab things of life and add a divine touch which transforms them into objects of beauty.

Thank you, Father, for every glimpse of Your glory. You surprise us every day with new mercies, new blessings and new demonstrations of Your unconditional love. Thank you! AMEN!

Mom's Table to Missionaries

One of the best gifts my mother gave me was the ability to write letters. It's such a blessing to enjoy writing! God has called me to write these notes of encouragement but my mother does the best "job" of writing of anyone I know.

This is a photo of the end of mom's dining room table. She reads, writes, prays, pays her bills, does her homework for the ladies' Bible study at the church and eats her meals from this hallowed spot.

It's from this corner of the dining room and this end of the table that letters are written that find their way into the hands of missionaries and God's servants all over the world. Imagine! A note written from this table can mean the difference between a missionary giving up and returning home, due to discouragement, or staying the course and laboring on for Jesus. Mom is the last one to think that she does anything special but Christians around the world can attest to the fact that "little is much when God is in it".

Yes, mom is a true prayer warrior, an encourager and a godly woman. Her home is her castle and this corner of her home is where much is accomplished that will reap a harvest in a coming day.

I love you, mom! Thanks for your godly example!

STOP at Rink & Rubidge

Be sure to drop by for a visit at our new Epistle Sports Ministries office at the corner of Rink and Rubidge Streets in Peterborough.

We could call it the FISH TANK !

God has blessed us with this new location where I can read, write, prepare messages, counsel people, encourage athletes and most important, spend time with Him.

Goodbye Grandma's House

For the last few years my office / hideaway / retreat center / quiet place has been in the attic of the home my grandparents lived in when I was a child. See the two windows on the end of the house near the roof line? That's where my office has been.

Grandma and Grandpa moved out to their heavenly home quite a few years ago but their home has remained in our family for many years.

I'm saying "goodbye" as I begin a new phase of my life and ministry. I'm moving to another office in the center of Peterborough where I will be more accessible to hockey players and others who wish to visit.

I'm sharing a corner of an office complex with two Christian friends, Mark Hines and David Kennedy. Mark has a family counselling service and David has set up a grief counselling practice called Grief Matters. We are located at the corner of Rink and Rubidge Streets and look forward to your visit...once all the furniture is moved in and set up.

I'm looking forward to increasing my letter-writing ministry of encouragement, Epistle Sports Ministries. It will be good to have a presence in the center of town.

If you're looking for excellent counselling, either Mark or David would serve you well. Let me know. God bless!

Grit and Grace

The January 2006 issue of Faith & Friends magazine, published by the Salvation Army, has an excellent story on Mike Fisher entitled Grit and Grace. If you can find a copy, it's worth reading... it's one of the best articles on my nephew that I've read.

Of course I am biased but the blending of "grit" and "grace" is certainly what Mike is all about! Who says Christian athletes are "soft"? Don Cherry certainly doesn't think so! I know they're not!

I've arranged to get some extra copies from the publisher but if you know someone who attends the Salvation Army, why not see if they've got a copy of Faith & Friends that you could borrow. If you'd like me to send you a copy, please e-mail me with your mailing address and we'll get one out to soon as we receive them.


Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Solitude & Shadows

I'm so grateful that the Lord has blessed us with a home in the country. This evening I was playing road hockey with Matthew and Nathan and paused to take a picture as the shadows were lengthening and the sun was bidding farewell.

You can see the lighter band of pink on the eastern horizon, looking towards our home town of Peterborough. The lights of the city always brighten the sky as evening comes.

Being in our yard always refreshes and relaxes me.

Thank you Lord for every glimpse of your glory.

"The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament sheweth His handywork." Psalm 19:1 (KJV)

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Prayer With Art & Harold

I've often heard people talk of the two men who are mentioned in The Lord's Prayer, Art & Harold. You know..."which ART in heaven" and "HAROLD or hallowed be Thy name."

The following dialogue between God and one of His creation points out how we can make prayer a meaningless ritual...something we "have" to do each day to get brownie points from God.

Here's that conversation:


Our Father Who Art In Heaven.
Don't interrupt me. I'm praying.
But -- you called ME!
Called you? No, I didn't call you. I'm praying. Our Father who art in Heaven.
There -- you did it again!
Did what?
Called ME. You said, "Our Father who art in Heaven" Well, here I am. What's on your mind?
But I didn't mean anything by it. I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day. I always say the Lord's Prayer. It makes me feel good, kind of like fulfilling a duty.
Well, all right. Go on.
Okay, Hallowed be thy name.
Hold it right there. What do you mean by that?
By what?
By "Hallowed be thy name"?
It means, it means . . good grief, I don't know what it means. How in the world should I know? It's just a part of the prayer. By the way, what does it mean?
It means honored, holy, wonderful.

Hey, that makes sense. I never thought about what 'hallowed' meant before. Thanks.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Do you really mean that?
Sure, why not?
What are you doing about it?
Doing? Why, nothing, I guess. I just think it would be kind of neat if you got control of everything down here like you have up there. We're kinda in a mess down here you know.
Yes, I know; but, have I got control of you?
Well, I go to church.
That isn't what I asked you. What about your bad temper? You've really got a problem there, you know. And then there's the way you spend your money --all on yourself. And what about the kind of books you read?
Now hold on just a minute! Stop picking on me! I'm just as good as some of the rest of those people at church!
Excuse ME. I thought you were praying for my will to be done. If that is to happen, it will have to start with the ones who are praying for it. Like you -- for example.
Oh, all right. I guess I do have some hang-ups.
Now that you mention it, I could probably name some others.
So could I. I haven't thought about it very much until now, but I really would like to cut out some of those things. I would like to, you know, be really free.
Good. Now we're getting somewhere. We'll work together...You and ME. I'm proud of You.
Look, Lord, if you don't mind, I need to finish up here. This is taking a lot longer than it usually does. Give us this day, our daily bread.
You need to cut out the bread. You're overweight as it is.
Hey, wait a minute! What is this? Here I was doing my religious duty, and all of a sudden you break in and remind me of all my hang-ups.
Praying is a dangerous thing. You just might get what you ask for. Remember, you called ME -- and here I am. It's too late to stop now. Keep praying!
Well, go on.
I'm scared to.
Scared? Of what?
I know what you'll say.
Try ME.
Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.
What about Ann?
See? I knew it! I knew you would bring her up! Why, Lord, she's told lies about me, spread stories. She never paid back the money she owes me. I've sworn to get even with her!
But -- your prayer -- What about your prayer?
I didn't -- mean it.
Well, at least you're honest. But, it's quite a load carrying around all that bitterness and resentment isn't it?
Yes, but I'll feel better as soon as I get even with her. Boy, have I got some plans for her. She'll wish she had never been born.
No, you won't feel any better. You'll feel worse. Revenge isn't sweet. You know how unhappy you are. Well, I can change that.
You can? How?
Forgive Ann. Then, I'll forgive you and the hate and the sin will be Ann's problem, not yours. You will have settled the problem as far as you are concerned.
Oh, you know, you're right. You always are. And more than I want revenge, I want to be right with You . . (sigh). All right all right...I forgive her.
There now! Wonderful! How do you feel?
Hmmmm. Well, not bad. Not bad at all! In fact, I feel pretty great! You know, I don't think I'll go to bed uptight tonight. I haven't been getting much rest, you know.
Yeah, I know. But, you're not through with your prayer are you? Go on.
Oh, all right. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
Good! Good! I'll do that. Just don't put yourself in a place where you can be tempted.
What do you mean by that?
You know what I mean.
Yeah. I know.
Okay. Go ahead. Finish your prayer.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
Do you know what would bring me glory? What would really make me happy?
No, but I'd like to know. I want to please you now. I've really made a mess of things. I want to truly follow you. I can see now how great that would be. So, tell me...How do I make you happy?
YOU just did.

The Primacy of Missions

Who Will Go?
The Great Commission

"I have seen, at different times, the smoke of a thousand villages - villages whose people are without Christ, without God, and without hope in the world." - Robert Moffat

"The command has been to "go," but we have stayed - in body, gifts, prayer and influence. He has asked us to be witnesses unto the uttermost parts of the earth…but 99% of Christians have kept puttering around in the homeland." -
Robert Savage

"And people who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives…and when the bubble has burst they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted." -
Nate Saint

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." -
Jim Elliot

"If Jesus Christ be God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him." -
C.T. Studd

"Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn't." - John Piper

"No reserves. No retreats. No regrets.” -
William Borden

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Bidding Farewell (1977-2006)

Since the end of the Toronto Blue Jays' 2005 season several Jays have moved on. Two great friends, Corey Koskie (top) and Gabe Gross (bottom) were dealt in separate deals to the Milwaukee Brewers.

For several years I've been thinking of moving on and passing the Baseball Chapel torch to someone younger. During this off-season I've been praying for God's direction and trusting Him to lead me aright. When Corey and Gabe moved on it was as though the Lord was saying, "Now is the time. I've moved out your best friends on the team. What other indications do you need?" The godly counsel of many spiritual advisors has confirmed that it's time to "hang 'em up" as far as being the Toronto Blue Jays' chapel leader is concerned.

It's been quite a ride! Hundreds of friendships have been made that will last a lifetime! Many fond memories linger as I think of the great things God has done since day 1 of the Jays' major league history and my involvement with them.

Although I'm leaving over a disagreement I have with one of Baseball Chapel's policies*, I will continue to endorse this outreach to ballplayers that God raised up through Watson Spoelstra back in 1973. Many lives have been impacted and continue to be changed through the Baseball Chapel ministry.

Though I'm moving on, I will still be in touch with the ballplayers through Epistle Sports Ministries and will trust God to use the cards and letters of encouragement to bring spiritual transformation to these professional athletes.

Thanks for your prayers, dear friends, as we enter another chapter of ministry for His glory!

* - If anyone is interested, I'd be pleased to explain this to you!

Fish At The Opry

Several years ago I had the privilege and pleasure of playing the piano in Nashville, TN at the Grand Ole Opry.

What a thrill! Vince Gill, among others, was on the program that night!

Now before you get too excited (maybe you're not excited at all), it was on a Saturday afternoon that I played...not in the evening.

We had just finished a tour of the Opry and we were all on stage. When the tour guide told us that we were going to sing "You Are My Sunshine" I asked if I could accompany the group on the grand piano. She answered in the affirmative and I played away.

Maybe some evening I'll make the big time. 'Til then I'll just dream along.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

A True Saint

"And people who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives . . . and when the bubble has burst they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted."

Nate Saint (1923-1956) Missionary pilot to Ecuador, murdered by members of the Auca (or Waodani) tribe along with four other missionaries.

Tardy Toads & Tractor Tactics

FISHing in the Archive Pool - Catch # 1

At Brodie MacLeod's suggestion here is February's catch from my FISHing trip to the archive pool. This "post" was written several years ago but was first entered in Pilgrim Scribbings back in November 2004.

Recently while cutting the lawn on old faithful, John Deere, I narrowly missed decapitating a small toad as it slowly made its way across the yard. Each time I approached the little creature it would jump just far enough to avoid sure death from the fast-spinning blade. Finally, after I'd circled the front yard about four times, the toad took off in another direction thus assuring itself of a longer life.

Playing With Fire

Being the contemplative sort that I am, I thought of how similar to that toad we humans can be. When temptation lures us we move back a step, remaining as close to the fire as possible without getting burned. The possibility of danger has a strange attraction. The Bible tells us to "flee". Instead we back up a bit. The most-quoted "temptation" passage in scripture is 1 Corinthians 10:13 where the Apostle Paul assures us that "He (God) will also provide a way out . . .".

Usually the most effective "way out" is to run in the opposite direction. Fast! James concludes his "temptation" account (James 1:13-16) by saying, "Don't be deceived, my dear brothers." I echo the words of Paul and James and add, "Don't be a toad! Get out of the way! Run in the other direction! Fast!"

FISHing In the Archive Pool

My friend Brodie MacLeod has suggested that I have a monthly special here at Pilgrim Scribblings where I go FISHing in my archive pool and "troll" for some old C (Christ-exalting) Food that is still fresh and relevant. It would then be posted on the first day of the month (except this month).

When he suggested this I went for the bait...hook, line and sinker. Now that Brodie has "cast" the vision, my head is "spinning" with ideas.

Maybe early tomorrow morning I'll post my first FISH from the archive pool because "the early bird always gets the worm".

Maybe after a few months we'll conduct a "pole" to find out which post is the favorite. Until then, make sure you let your light shine and be out there...being a true "fisher of men".