Monday, February 26, 2007

Posts coming

I have a number of thoughtful posts in draft mode currently but I have not had the time between changing jobs and avoiding sickness and family matters to spend the time I would like in thought on these various topics. Hopeful soon.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Griffin pics

Watching Worship

From Louie Giglio's The Air I Breathe,

"Worship is a verb - at least that's what author Robert Webber says in his book by the same title. I think he's right. Practically speaking, worship is always a verb. Worship is something you do.

Worship isn't something you watch, contrary to the thinking of many of us who attend church. That may be hard to believe, given that in most churches the rows of seats (or pews) are arranged with sight lines in mind. The lights also point to the stage. And to help you with your viewing pleasure, you're handed a program at the door - a lineup card for what's happening up front in today's 'show,' if you will. After all, it's all put on for you, is it not?"

Larson update - a new job and a new camp

Well, another change has come to the Larson family again. It's been a whirlwind of change of late and the latest twister has set us to moving to Camp Squeah within a couple months. I have recently received and accepted the position of Program Director at Squeah. Since my tenure at Camp Kawkawa ended, it had often been a thought in the back of our minds that this might be another possibility down the road. And now we've traveled down the road far enough to see that it's happening! So we'll be moving to the camp in a little while. It is located about 10 - 15 minutes north up the #1 Hwy from Hope (halfway between Hope and Yale). The position, officially, is interim for 2 years because the Executive Director is in a 2 year interim position as well as the whole camp goes through transition after losing their long-time Director Rudy Kehler last Spring. Camp Squeah comes under the umbrella of the Mennonite Conference (not that I'm given to any particular name or denomination). This will have been the 6th camp in 12 years that I have worked for as a Director or other position. Homewood, Pioneer Pacific, Imadene, Kawkawa, Nazarene church camps and now Camp Squeah. I feel I'm getting a good taste of a number of different camps and ways in which to make the best of what it is we do in Christian Camping.

Anyway, just thought I'd pass on the good news.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

My wife

I have the most amazing woman on the planet. We've just celebrated Valentines Day today as best we could with our little over a month old baby boy. A little take-out dinner at home over a movie and some much needed time to ourselves.

I have found that I continue to see more beauty and joy in our relationship than ever before. God continues to surprise me as we dive and strive through this mysterious mystery of life together, that there are no discernable limits to love between two people whom He has brought together.
I love my wife - inexorably and deeply. She is the conduit of God's extremely transparent realness and love and acceptance to me. Thank you God for such a beautiful and breathtaking woman.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Recently I spent the weekend at Camp Homewood during their annual Valenteen Camp. There, nearly 100 teenagers came to relax, play, eat and listen a little to the truth of Jesus Christ and His idea of love.

It was here 15 years ago, that I would get in touch with a camp that would become the alma ata from wence my love of camp-work & ministry would flow. This time I had the privilege of sharing with the teens a little of what I've learned of God's love and desires that they too might know Him for who He truly is.

But love is such a difficult subject to discuss. It is used, in a word, to describe the entirety of God's character. '... God is love. ...' 1 John 4:16. And so I attempted to dive into this all-encompassing truth with them. That there is more to love than feelings and hormones. That it goes deeper than wants and desires. That God's character is for us to emulate and put on like a full set of clothing. The entirety of the life of Jesus was summed up in the phrase, He loved us. I feel I have only been given the tip of the mountain that is the tip of the iceberg and yet I am letting that bit of ice melt in my mouth as I consider the limitless grandeur that is God's unfailing love.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Top of the food chain?

Isn't it interesting to note that should all human life cease to exist on our planet, earth would continue on in ecosystems and life just fine without us. We're the only living creature you can remove from our planet without damaging the balance of life on our planet. Actually, our planet's environment, I would imagine, would likely improve without us around. Kind of humbling. As you may hear in my words, I'm an advocate of careful thought to how we take care of this planet we call home. And of our relationship to it.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Thorny Devil Topic

Ok, so I want to chat a little bit about the devil - Satan that is. I want to talk about him because I find I am quite irritated about how we often view him from a Christian standpoint, because it affects how we view God.

So ... I'm not going to mention where he came from or how he came to be the most 'evil' of all creatures. But what I do want to do is clear up my understanding of the character of God. And in knowing God's character I will have a clearer understanding of who I am in relationship to my Creator and Friend.

Firstly, to my understanding and from what I can gather from the Bible, the devil (and I include any and all demons with him) does not have any power or ability that God does not allow him to have. He's not some 'nearly as powerful as God, god-like being'. He is not all-powerful. He is not a god. He is also not all-knowing. And he is also not omni-present. Those qualities are God's qualities, not Satan's. Now, I'm not saying Satan is powerless, just that whatever power Satan has, God is sovereign over that power. He cannot do anything without God's knowledge of it. And let us clear up his supposed 'power' over our minds, where so many people like to invoke the name of Satan when they are thinking things they ought not. Satan cannot force me to think anything. Satan can, like any of you can, suggest to me a topic to dwell on or a subject that propells me to believe something untrue about who God is. He incites king David to take a census of the nation of Israel (1 Chronicles 21:1) and he is the Father of Lies (John 8:44).

I believe Satan, like us, is allowed to disobey God and fight against His will (having free will as we do), but that does not mean he is somehow beyond God's control. Quite the opposite. God USES Satan to fulfill His plan and to receive the credit for it all. To test the faithfulness of his servant Job, God uses Satan (Job 1:12). To fulfill the plan of our salvation through His Son Jesus Christ, God uses Satan (John 13:27). It also seems true that Satan needs to continue to ask permission to come after those whom God has saved (Luke 22:31). And even then he is given limits and boundaries to what he is allowed to do. These limits do seem to be less when involving people who refuse to believe in God/Jesus because scripture points to that world of rebellion against God as Satan's dominion. (Ephesians 2:1)

Satan is not everywhere at once. He is one creature doing his best to (what he thinks will) ruin God's plan. Some friends of mine once did a play to make this point: wherein we had Satan come to an airport counter asking about frequent flyer miles. He can't be eveywhere at once, so then, why are we continually blaming him for things he is not responsible for? Some people I know blame him nearly daily for upsetting life circumstances that have nothing to do with the devil. (More likely to do with their own worldview or foolishness or beliefs). But he cannot (even as powerful or fast as he is) tempt, incite, provoke, scare, bind, etc. over 6 billion people at once. That thought is simply ridiculous.

Satan does not have dominion over the earth as if God has given up this rock we live on. "The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;" Psalm 24:1. God is not giving up on us and so leaving the earth to become a desolate wasteland of destruction for Satan to do as he pleases. So, what does Satan rule? Well, it's not hell. Hell is what is created for Satan and his minions. Hell is not where Satan is. It's where he is going to end up. (Matthew 25:41) But what does Satan rule now? "... the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient." Ephesians 2:2. Nothing. He rules a kingdom of air. After some brief study, I have discovered the ancient Jews (and many other ancient middle eastern cultures) viewed the lower atmosphere as the place where evil spirits dwelt. Also, other people have postulated that this is a reference to Satan's ability to influence and effect the lives of anyone on earth since we are all living on that plane physically. Although this phrase is confusing, it seems to me that Satan's true dominion is darkness, sin, death, rebellion and any evil you care to name. He is its king. And all that dominion, though very real and active, has no power over God's ability to save through grace those God wishes to save. It is an empty kingdom because it is a kingdom already destroyed and destroying itself. It is empty of life and love and substance. It is a kingdom of air. Satan is also called the ruler of this world though I am still putting some thought to the word 'world' in the Bible and will post some thoughts on that later.

Satan does not know what we're thinking. He cannot know our thoughts because they belong to us in our own spirits "For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him?" (1 Corinthians 2:11) Of course, if we are rebelling against God in any way, then we're thinking a lot like Satan and it's not hard for him to know what that's like. Satan does not understand or know God's plan. He doesn't have any master strategy that we ought to be afraid of (appart from what we already know). "The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it." (John 1:5) And we ought not to be afraid of him, but rather, we ought to have a healthy respect and fear of God. (Matthew 10:28)

I suppose, what I'm trying to get at here, is that God is sovereign. God is the ultimate ruler of all. And nothing can thwart his plan or glory. Jesus' death and resurrection have fully paid the penalty for our rebellion and treason and once accepted, we are completely free from that dominion of darkness that even Satan is truly only the master slave of slaves. Also, Satan is condemned (John 16:11) and defeated (Colossions 2:13-15) already through Christ's blood and God's power. What little he has left to do can have no effect on the act of God reconciling his people to Himself. And in the end, it is our decision to choose life and Jesus over death. The way has been paid.

Now, I am not saying we ought to ignore Satan or that he exists to deceive us. As Paul says, "If you forgive anyone, I also forgive him. And what I forgive - I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes." Satan is scheming, but we have everything in Christ to defeat both him, the corruption of the world (not the earth), sin and death. And we do fight against him in our minds and hearts: "Put on the full armour of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes." (Ephesians 6:11) Satan intends to fool us if he can and keep God's truth from us, or to pervert it or replace it with lies. "... Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light." (2 Corinthians 11:14). "Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings." (1 Peter 5:8,9) "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you." (James 4:7,8) Essentially, God has given us everything in Christ to resist and be free and overcome what once bound us. And I believe even some of those frustrating life circumstances of sin, remorse, regret, pain and death God uses to further make us His children! So again, less emphasis on the devil and more on the love and grace and understanding of our wonderful God.

Well, that's a whole lot of talk about the thorny devil. But I want to, and I want everyone, to understand what God's character truly is. And partly, I can use Satan for that because everything about Satan, God is not. And in knowing my enemy, I understand who my God truly is better and my faith and trust in Him are propelled deeper into Christ, my Saviour and friend.

What think ye?