Monday, May 31, 2010

Be Strong

My good friends John and Heather Hoag sent the following poem in the mail today. I thought it was worth sharing:

It matters not how deep entrenched the wrong.
How hard the battles goes, the day how long.
Faint not, fight on! Tomorrow comes the Song!

Thank you John and Heather
. I needed to hear this today!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Gross Injustice (as far as Gerald Laird is Concerned)

My best friend in baseball (active players) is Gabe Gross.

This year Gabe is plying his trade with the Oakland A's.

Last night Gabe made an incredible catch in the outfield, leaping up, catching the ball after it cleared the fence, held on and brought it back.

Great catch, Gabe!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Nobody's Perfect...Except Doc

In my 29 years of involvement with the Toronto Blue Jays as their chapel leader I never really got to know Roy Halladay.
He was always cordial, quiet, reserved, very professional and well-prepared for every game he pitched...the consumate pro.
In the off-season he was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies and is off to a great start.
It was SO good to read tonight that Roy (or Doc as he is often called) pitched a perfect game against the Florida Marlins.  27 batters faced, 27 batters retired.  No hits, no walks, 11 strikeouts.  What a performance!
CONGRATULATIONS, Doc!  We miss you in Toronto!

I am NOT Ann Voskamp's Literary Agent...but I Love Her Writing

In previous posts I have sung the praises of Ann Voskamp, farmer's wife, great mom, homeschooler, writer, transparent and honest pilgrim and, in my opinion, a very special person.  We've been in their home.  Their six children all told us what their responsibilities are on the farm.  I've been the recipient of Ann's encouragement.  She understood me and felt my pain when others could only shake their heads.  Thanks, Ann!  Please check out her Holy Experience blog.  There isn't a better site on the my humble (???) opinion.

Here's what someone else has written about Ann:

Ann Voskamp endeavors to write the way Jesus taught: in story … in stories that make you feel, help you see, and give you hope to find yourself. A communicator who draws beauty out of the simplest of details, she believes that only words that really matter — are the ones we live.
Through story Ann encourages in columns at DaySpring’s  (in)courage, The High Calling of Our Daily Work and The Girlhood Companion and her series of books support ministries such as World Vision and Compassion.
She’s currently working on a new project for Zondervan.
A farmer’s wife and home educator, Ann and her husband raise corn, beans, and a half dozen kids as an act of worship to the Gift-Giver whose glory cannot be contained. She scratches down their stories at

Friday, May 28, 2010


While surfing the net I found this graphic and it caught my attention.  "Feeling swamped by anger and stress?"  Too many of us could answer in the affirmative.  Of course we know where to go when those overwhelming feelings come sweeping over us.  As the old gospel song states, "We run to the Rock who is higher that we (are)."
This graphic was designed by Brad ThomasYou can check out his web site here.
Brad writes:  Hello, my name is Brad Thomas and I provide graphic design services to individuals and small businesses. Feel free to check out my portfolio and let me know if I can be of any assistance.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Don't Dispose of the Biographies

Over the past two years I have had to go through my 4,000 volume library and either give books away or sell them at garage sales for a fraction of their value.  This was necessitated by the downsizing of our home, our income and our bookshelves.  Getting rid of books is criminal in my estimation but I "had" to do it.  I'm down to about 1/4 if the books I once cherished.
Just last week I had to go through the remaining volumes and give more away.  I still have more books than I know what to do with.
I can assure you of one thing though.  I will need to be hard-pressed to give away any of my biographies.  These are the most prized possessions in my library.  As I sit here in my office writing this post I can see the life-stories of a myriad of heroes of the past...and present.  Some are autobiographical, others penned by authors who did their research and gifted us with the stories of great men and women.
I see books about George Muller, John Newton, J. Hudson Taylor, Frances Ridley Havergal, A. W. Tozer, Charles Haddon Spurgeon and D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones.  
On other shelves I find the lives of J. Sidlow Baxter, Billy Graham, George Whitefield, Isobel Kuhn, Corrie Ten-Boom and Fanny Crosby memorialized.  
William Wilberforce, William Cowper, Robert Murray M'Cheyne, Anthony Norris Groves and William Carey are written about and I would never part with these volumes.  
Ancient volumes on Charles Alexander, D. L. Moody and John Bunyan would be considered treasures in any Christian's library.
The journals of David Brainerd and Jim Elliot are packed with good "stuff" and I would never part with these books. Several volunes on Amy Carmichael grace my shelves.
As you can tell, I enjoy biographies.  It is as though these men and women are sitting on my shelves and I can visit with them in the early morning hours or after the sun has set beyond the western horizon.  Pull a volume off the shelf and learn how a sovereign God provided for and directed these heroes of the faith.
Who are your heroes?  Which biographies do you enjoy?  Tell us about your favorites!  I'd like to know which men and women have shaped your lives.  
I will look forward to your comments.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Hope That Doesn't Disappoint

The picture says it all.  Thank you Saija at Thro' a Glass Darkly for the graphics

From Infinite Debt to Unfathomable Wealth

The following post appears on one of my favorite blogs today.  The Blazing Center never disappoints me.  I subscribe to this blog and I'm always challenged and convicted.
Here's today's post:
Imagine an elderly retiree of modest means getting a letter from the Internal Revenue Service reporting that he has underpaid his taxes every year since the age of 18. Thanks to interest and penalties, the unpaid taxes add up to an exorbitant debt he can never repay. Unless some miracle takes place, he’s going to jail! 
The man arrives on his court date fully expecting to be found guilty and sentenced for what he owes. Suddenly there’s commotion around the judge’s bench. Something shocking is happening. The judge quiets the court to make an announcement. Someone who loves the man has paid his debt.
The judge declares him not guilty.
In his amazement, the man’s knees buckle.    
But there’s something else, the judge says. The man’s benefactor also transferred $10 trillion into his bank account. 
Dave Harvey, Rescuing Ambition
What a great illustration of our justification in Christ. Not only has God forgiven our sins, but he has credited us with the very righteousness of Christ. This means he sees us not only as if we had never sinned, but also as if we had always obeyed and lived Christ’s life of 33 years of flawless obedience.
This is our confidence to come before a holy God – when God looks at us he sees us in Christ, forgiven and clothed with the very righteousness of Christ.  God takes debtors and makes them princes.  He pays our infinite debt and crowns us with unfathomable wealth in Jesus.  Doesn’t this make you want to sing for joy?

photo by Erin Nealy

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Useless Trivia and Mindless Rants from the Pilgrim

On a warm, sunnny Sunday evening I'm posting a collection of possibly useless trivia that may or may not interest anyone at all.
Here goes....
  • I do NOT want the Philadelphia Flyers to win the Stanley Cup
  • I am the most impatient driver you would NEVER want to meet...or drive in front of
  • I HATE being late
  • I do NOT like the smell of curry.  The taste might be palatable but the smell lasts for weeks
  • I am NOT a Barack Obama fan
  • I am NOT a Hilary Clinton fan
  • I am NOT a Kobe Bryant fan
  • John Olerud had a "sweet swing" but he's an even sweeter guy
  • I definitely am the world's biggest klutz
  • I am convinced that the above statement becomes more true with each passing day
  • I cannot fix anything with my hands
  • I LOVE writing notes of encouragement
  • I LOVE reading Paul Wilkinson's blog, THINKING OUT LOUD, but some of his favourite preachers are certainly not mine.  You can't be right about everything, Paul
  • Tim Challies must spend about 60 hours a day working on his blog,
  • If something is going to go wrong it will happen to me.  Never fails
  • I can't sing Great Is Thy Faithfulness without tears coming to my eyes
  • I could watch a hockey game all day and not get bored
  • Joel Osteen does NOT "turn my crank"
That's all for now, folks.
  • Oops, one more.  For the most insightful and incredible blog on the internet, check out Ann Voskamp's Holy Experience.  I wish I could write half as well as Ann does.
More "useless" stuff later.

    Thursday, May 20, 2010

    Underwhelming Crowd

    Never being one to avoid self-deprecation, I have no qualms about posting a photo of one of my early evangelistic crusades.  

    The crowd that night underwhelmed me but I determined to press on regardless. 

    Please disregard the caption under the photo.  A good friend of mine wrote that so that I wouldn't be embarrassed.

    Years later I still have the capacity to draw huge crowds.  Oh well...Billy Graham I am NOT.

    Tuesday, May 18, 2010

    My Son Is Losing His Marbles

    Today's Laugh:
    A pastor preached long past his usual time and at the end of the sermon, a weary parishioner asked him what happened.

    "Well," he replied, "I usually put a cough drop in my mouth when I begin, and when it's finished, I know it's time to end my sermon. 

    This morning I accidentally put in one of my son's marbles by mistake."

    Sunday, May 16, 2010

    Spurgeon's Snowy Start

    I had read the following account of the conversion experience of the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, in the past but Alex Kloosterman related it this morning in his excellent message at our home church.  Spurgeon would have been proud of Alex's preaching.
    Here is the story: 
    Charles Haddon Spurgeon was born on June 19, 1834, just ten days after the great William Carey died in India. Because of economic conditions the young Spurgeon was sent to live with his grandparents at the age of 18 months. His grandfather, James Spurgeon, ministered to the church at Stambourne for 54 years. Those few years with his grandparents made a profound impact on the young man’s life.
    Spurgeon was always a bit of an enigma intellectually. He could appear to be unlearned when in reality he had a great intellect. An incident from his early school days is a good example of this. When he was around the age of ten, young Charles’ grades unexplainably began to drop. It seemed the more winter deepened, so did his scores. The teacher at first was baffled by this plummet in performance until he realized that the upper grader students' seats were near a drafty door where cold wind seeped in continually. When the teacher reversed the seating order so the higher grade seats were away from the cold draft, Spurgeon’s grades rose accordingly. 
    Like many young people of his day, Charles struggled over his relationship with God for a number of years. It was common in those days for children to be encouraged to seek after God with their whole heart. There was no such quickness to get people "to make a decision" as we see in many of our churches today. Just as John Bunyan struggled against God, Spurgeon remembered how he fought against the idea of giving into Christ’s Lordship:
    "I must confess that I never would have been saved if I could have helped it. As long as ever I could, I rebelled, and revolted, and struggled against God. When He would have me to pray, I would not pray … And when I heard, and the tear rolled down my cheek, I wiped it away and defied Him to melt my soul. But long before I began with Christ, He began with me." 
    After some time of alternately searching and running, the God who had already begun with a 16 year old boy led Charles to an encounter which he never forgot. For some time the Holy Spirit had been dealing with the young man’s soul. Spurgeon said that "God was plowing his soul, ten black horses in his team — the ten commandments — and cross plowing it with the message of the Gospel, for when he heard it, no comfort came to his soul."  With all of his Biblical upbringing and praying, Charles was still lost in the darkness of his own heart.
    The incident that follows has been repeated so often in so many sources that it needs no documenting. One Sunday morning the snow was falling so hard that Charles could not get to his own church so he wandered into a Primitive Methodist Chapel. Doctrinally this little fellowship was world’s apart from the Congregationalist heritage of the Spurgeons. Yet into this little congregation of less than 15 people Spurgeon wandered that cold winter morning. As he entered an unlearned and unnamed itinerant preacher proclaimed the text, "Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth." During that message, the preacher looked directly at the young stranger in their midst and said, "Young man, you look very miserable … You always will be miserable in life and in death if you don’t obey my text, but if you obey now, this moment you will be saved." Spurgeon later wrote, "Between half past ten, when I entered that chapel, and half past twelve, when I returned home, what a change had taken place in me!"  Charles Haddon Spurgeon had indeed become a child of the Kingdom.

    Note:  Spurgeon went on to pastor the flock at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London (pictured).

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    Prodigal...An Animation

    Further to my previous post, Pilgrims, Prodigals and Porch Lights...this link to an excellent song with animation on YouTube is in order.  It'll make you think...a lot! 
    Each Wednesday my friend Paul Wilkinson over at Thinking Out Loud posts a list of excellent links that are always worth looking at.
    My post today is the result of reading Paul's list of links.  Why not check Paul's blog out each day.  I do.  Go here and pay a visit.

    Sunday, May 09, 2010

    Pilgrims, Prodigals and Porch Lights

    Regular visitors to this blog will note that the Pilgrim hasn't been posting productively for some time.  What can you write when you are between a rock and a hard place?  When hope appears to have been sucked out of you?

    Be honest about your problems and some will react negatively.  Be unreal and hypocritical and you get some good feedback.  I don't want to be someone I'm  At times I've been.

    Let's just say that during the prolonged period of personal problems I have been perplexed, puzzled and, periodically, plodding without purpose. Yet, I still sense the loving, forgiving, gracious hand of a God who, with every reason, could extend wrath without needing to explain.

    Life is tough!  It's messy!  It's downright impossible at times and yet...I can sit at a piano, broken in spirit, and sing and play to the glory of the God who loves me.  He has not moved!  He has not forsaken His precious possession, the prodigal He relentlessly pursues.  And, I am so grateful for that!

    Thank you, God, that the lights of Home are still faintly shining.  You did say you would leave the Light on didn't You?

    Note:  ALL comments are welcomed!  Both positive and negative.  Let's hear from you!   

    Saturday, May 01, 2010

    Brotherly Love

    I found this amusing picture on my good friend Paul Mackay's blog...Still Rambling.  Paul is an avid Montreal Canadiens fan so I can understand why he posted this photo.

    Another friend of mine, Janet Donaldson, is upset with me because I'm cheering for Montreal in their series against Pittsburgh.  Hopefully Janet will get a "kick" or "punch" out of this photo because she is a die hard Toronto Maple Leafs fan.

    I don't even know if these dueling kids are brothers or not but I thought the title of this post was suitable.

    Don't you?