Sunday, April 24, 2011

Yess! Amen!

What more do we need to say?  YESS (with a double S) spells it out perfectly.

When our favourite team scores a goal or hits a home run we say, YESS!  When our income tax refund is more than we expected we shout, YESS!.  When we open a gift and it's something we love but never thought we'd receive we exclaim, YESS!

When a crucified "Man of Sorrows" bursts forth from the tomb, defeating death and the grave why shouldn't we let loose with a loud, YESS!  Christ is risen!  He is alive for evermore and we can have life eternal in and through Him.

YESS !!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

How could a day so dark and gruesome
Ever be described as “good”?
When the sinless, spotless Jesus
Gave His all, His life, His blood.

But, ah, the “good” accrued to sinners
We, ourselves, deserved to die;
But the blood of His atonement
Rent the veil and brought us nigh.

Now we stand, redeemed, forgiven,
Ransomed, justified and free;
Guaranteed a place in heaven
With the King eternally.

All the “good” that we could muster
Never could our sin debt pay;
But by trusting in His merit
We have LIFE this “Good Friday”.

~ David W. Fisher, March 21st, 2008

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Book Worms

Our local library held its annual (or is it twice a year?) Friends of the Library Book Sale yesterday and today.  I always try to get there before things get too picked over.  I also try to sneak in before Carol knows that I'm going.  Why?  Because another book is the last thing I need.  After all...over the past three years I've had to reduce my personal library from about 5,000 volumes to a measly 2,000.  So why would I want another book?  I just "do.  No explanation other than that.  I LOVE BOOKS!

Anyhow, I didn't have to "sneak" in.  Carol kindly dropped me off at the library without any fuss, handed me a $1.00 as said, "enjoy yourself"!

While jostling (is that a word?) for position at the "Christianity" table trying to catch a glimpse of the offerings I overheard so many weird conversations.  The others at that table certainly weren't looking for my type of book.  Clairvoyants, new age stuff, Eastern mysticism an all manner of non-Christian books at "my" table.  Were these bargain hunters from Mars?  Sounded like it.

I wandered around the crowded room thinking I'd come back to "my" table when it wasn't so busy.  What a motley collection of "book wormy" types picked through the thousands of volumes which loaded down the tables!  Do all bibliophiles wear strange clothes, talk funny and purchase crazy books? 

One guy was apologizing to one of the volunteer ladies for preaching at her.  She was just overjoyed to see him leave the building.  Several other browsers were talking to themselves without getting an answer.  Finally I was able to squeeze up to "my" table only to discover that there was only a smattering of good books available.  I knew my friend Reid hadn't snatched them up earlier because he was unable to attend.  After digging through several hundred books I had chosen five of them and paid my $5.00.  As I approached the exit I saw the "preaching man" holding the door for everybody coming and going.  He said something I didn't understand as I walked out the door.

Carol picked me up in front of the library and asked what treasures I had found.  I confessed that I had bought five books but that I already had three of them and one was for my friend Reid.  When she asked why I had bought three books that were already on my shelf I realized that I was just as crazy as the rest of them.

Can't wait for the next sale.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Fifty Nine

After the last post, Old Guys, I thought I better leave you with some scribblings that are more "spiritual", more edifying than entertaining.  

Here goes:

Yesterday I celebrated by 59th "spiritual" birthday.  What do I mean?  I'm one of those Christians who remembers the year, month, day, hour and circumstances surrounding my conversion.  The wording used to define what happened is a matter of semantics.  You could call it any number of things including:
  • The day I was "saved"
  • When I became a Christ-follower
  • The moment when I realized that I was a "sinner"
  • When I was "redeemed"
  • When God forave me
Others who grew up in other traditions would call "it" something else or not even place value on what I'm referring to. 

Many Christians can't pinpoint a time or place when these events transpired.  Contrary to what some people believe, this does NOT make one any less of a Christian and it shouldn't cast doubt on the reality of what happened.
Anyway, enough of that.  What happened April 6th, 1952 at 7:30 on a Sunday morning at the kitchen table at 28 Glenavy Avenue in Toronto was "real" and I'll be eternally grateful to God that it was His doing and not mine. 

So that was 59 years ago.  How did I celebrate?  By spending 59 minutes back in Toronto.

Carol and I are providing an autographed Jose Bautista jersey (he's the Toronto Blue Jay who hit 54 home runs last year) to three different charities for upcoming auctions.  I had to pick up the jerseys at the Rogers Centre.  With the price of gas hitting $1.25 or more for a litre it was much cheaper to take the Go Bus and the Go Train.  With my Senior's discount I only had to fork out $16.50 for the return trip.  It would have cost me more than that just to park the car in downtown Toronto.

I jumped off the train (after it stopped) and quickly walked to the ballpark.  Good exercise!  After picking up my bag of goodies I headed back to Union Station in time to catch the 4:25 train back to Oshawa.  Really!  It was about 59 minutes spent in the "big city" where my Christian pilgrimage began 59 years earlier.

So what are my reflections as I look back?  

I have many, many things to thank God for.  He has blessed me far above and beyond what I deserved.  That's grace!  He didn't give me what I should have received.  That's mercy!

Times haven't always been easy but God never said they would be.  At times I couldn't see the Light (Jesus) but He was there.  I've stumbled and fallen so many time but He graciously extended His loving hand and lifted me up.  

Fifty nine years or fifty nine minutes, He's never forsaken this struggling pilgrim.  

The truth of the Bible verse that my Grandma Fisher taught me has given me strength throughout the journey.

"The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and He knoweth them that trust in Him." - Nahum 1:7 (KJV) or as a more modern rendition puts it..."God is good, a hiding place in tough times.  He recognizes and welcomes anyone looking for help." (The Message)

Old Guys

Recently I paid a follow-up visit to my urologist.  Lots of fun!  I was more relaxed than I’d been before my initial visit several weeks earlier.  At least I knew I didn’t have prostate or bladder cancer.  

Not being so self-absorbed, I watched and listened to others in the busy waiting room, knowing that some might be nervously waiting for “bad news”.

There must have been at least two dozen old fogies shuffling around in that crowded space.  Do I give up my seat to someone else?  No!  I’m just as old as they are, a scary thought I might add.

I’d forgotten or hadn’t noticed that seniors wear jeans too.  Not stylish ones but faded representations that don’t hang properly and show far too much sock.  Maybe it’s because they’re hoisted up around their owner's armpits that they don’t look so great.

And the shoes!  No Nikes or Reeboks here.  The generic Runmasters or Jogging Sensations from the five and dime store.  The half-cocked baseball caps carried the logos of obscure farm supply stores, girl’s ping pong teams and foreign travel providers.

What am I doing here?  Am I in the twilight years of my less-than illustrious career?  A member of I. P. Knightley’s club?  Many disturbing questions begged an answer.

One by one they hobbled in to see their physician.  Two doctors shared office space in the medical complex.  Good thing or I’d have been there forever.  As the men exited their doctor’s inner sanctum they either reluctantly booked their next visit or were told by the nurse/receptionist when their dreaded surgery would take place.

Listening to the waiting patients talk about the “good old days” was both humorous and enlightening.  One spoke of the days when winter graced us with 60 below temperatures. Another talked about making 30 cents an hour.  “But that was yesterday and yesterday’s gone.”

It was finally my turn to pee in the bottle but that’s “old school” now apparently.  I was led into a room when I could leave my “specimen” in a seemingly computerized pot where a printout would inform the doc of all he needed to know.

After a 35 minute wait and a 3 minute consultation I left.  I’m still not sure whether I felt like a puppy in the company of a bunch of old dogs or perhaps that life had somehow passed me by and I was now one of the old guys.  Not a nice thought.  My next appointment is a year from now!  Can't wait!    

Monday, April 04, 2011

Looking Back

Recently I found this Couriers for Christ prayer card and my mind went back to those days in the mid to late 60's when a team of young people from the Peterborough area went around singing and preaching. Those were good old days. On Sunday evenings we'd sing in a park in Lakefield as part of Lakefield Gospel Chapel's Open-Air Services. 

One summer John King, Carl Whitehead, Brice Martin and I drove to Wawa, north of Sault Ste. Marie, and did door-to-door tract distribution. We took a tent trailer and stayed at a campground in the area. Each night we would put on a concert (???) in the park. John would play his saw, yes, that's right, his saw, Carl would squeeze some tunes out of his accordian and I had an old pump organ that kept my legs busy. We'd always draw a crowd. Maybe they wondered what the racket was. We had great times back then.

I'm grateful that God touched my heart back in those days and called me to serve Him. For many years I owned the local Christian bookstore and preached a lot on the weekends. Epistle Sports Ministries was formed in 1975 and continues to this day. John King went with Wycliffe Bible Translators and still serves with them. I played the organ at John & Laura's wedding. Carl also serves with Wycliffe in Papua, New Guinea with his wife Pat. I was Carl's best man at their wedding in Winnipeg. Brice went to seminary and went on to pastor a church. We all got our start with Couriers for Christ, a makeshift ministry that we started when we were young men.

Those are fond memories! Paul challenged Timothy and told him to let nobody despise his youth. God calls and uses young people to accomplish His purposes. I'm grateful for those early opportunities to serve Him.

Just goes to prove that the Lord of the Harvest can use anybody. Let Him use you to make a difference! 

Book Buddies

There's no friend like a good old book! 

Wherever I go I try to take a book along. I've got them in the car, a thousand of them in my office, another thousand or so in the basement.  They're stacked by my bed. There's always a book in my suitcase just in case I forget to pack one.

Books, like people, come in all sizes, colors and shapes. I love to take the dust jacket off a hardcover book and check out the binding, the color, the title engraved on the spine. The different type faces and paper colors intrigue me. 

The bibliographies, notes and indexes in the back always fascinate me. The dedications in the front of the book are very telling.

The cover can either make me want to dig into the book or it can turn me off reading it. Maybe I have a book fetish. If that's wrong, so be it. I'm guilty!

Want to make me happy? Give me a book! Want to upset me? Borrow a book and don't give it back.

When I take the train or plane I'm always weighed down with books. What great companions! They keep me company, they never argue, never talk back and they can change my life if I allow the Holy Spirit to speak through them.

Having a good book in hand affords the blessing of a one-on-one visit with the author, quietly discovering what makes him or her tick. How else can we engage with Augustine, Tozer, Lloyd-Jones or Lewis?

Yes, I'm an incurable bookaholic! It's almost bed time but I better read a chapter or three.

Good night!

Friday, April 01, 2011

Eating Air

My friend Greg Asimakoupoulos can take something as simple as popcorn and write about it in such a way that you have to go and pop some.  

Where does that guy get his ideas?  

His mom should have called him "Cracker" Jack!

Fiber with a Flair

A popcorn lover's tribute to his favorite nightly snack

Popcorn is my favorite snack.
It's fiber with a flair.
The calories are next to none.
It's just like eating air.

From way back when I was a boy
(you'll probably think it odd),
I thought of popcorn manna-like.
A daily gift from God.

That Jiffy Pop was quite the rage
until I finally learned
that lest you shake that tin pan fast,
the corn is bound to burn.

The hot-air kind was healthier.
That's how it was made known.
But it was dry as cardboard puffs...
like chewing Styrofoam.

I make it the old-fashioned way.
A kettle on the stove.
Then pour the oil, add the corn
and wait till they explode.

But yellow kernels aren't my thing.
I only like the white.
A little butter and some salt.
Let's pop some up tonight.

And here's my (David's) little postscript:

Yes my friend Greg can really write,
I wish I had his touch;
He takes something like popping corn
Turns "nothing" into "much".