Pastoral Articles
Rock-Pit Revelations PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dan King   

 

I will never forget the first time that I had my life flash before my eyes.

 

Has it ever happened to you?

 

I was spending my summer working in northern British Columbia as a tree-planter and had just finished a long day of work. My crew and I were waiting for a pickup to take us back to the base-camp. We usually passed the time chatting, eating something left over from the lunch we had packed for the day, or just quietly relaxing.

 

On this particular day, however, two or three of us had decided to explore the area a bit and found a deep rock pit nearby. We descended into the larger hole in the ground by way of “surfing” down the rocks which slid out from under us and transported us to the bottom like a pre-industrial escalator. Wanting to share our find with the rest of the crew, we called out to them, inviting them to come and see the crater we had discover.

 

What came next was unexpected, although in hindsight I suppose it was predictable. A couple of the guys decided it would be fun to pick up some of the rocks scattered at the edge of the pit and throw them down at us. Others soon joined in.

 

I will admit, it was a bit of a laugh as the first few stones were hurled down. Perhaps it was the adrenaline rush that seemed to accompany the landing of each one. But as the rocks got closer and closer, things in the bottom of the pit got real serious, real fast, and the laughs quickly faded away.

 

I’m not sure I’ve ever felt more helpless. More powerless. More afraid.

 

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Lawn Care versus Soul Care PDF Print E-mail
Written by Dan King   

 

Yesterday evening I had this very enthusiastic teenage girl knock on my front door.

 

Full of energy and smiles, she told me that she was representing a local lawn care company that was offering free lawn assessments and she asked if I would like to have someone come by.

 

Now, the lawns at my home are OK, but it can never hurt to get a second opinion, so I said sure. The girl thanked me and told me that I had made a great decision.

 

Well, it wasn’t two hours later and that front door knock came again. This time it was the professional. He had just taken a look at our property and proceeded to give me his recommendations as well as his very reasonably priced solution to all our needs. The best part: I wouldn’t have to lift a finger for the next year because the company he represented would do all the work for me. Was there a cost? Yes, but the payoff was never having to get my hands dirty.

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about spiritual growth during the last few weeks.

 

My conclusion?

 

That it takes work and that there is a cost of time and personal energy and effort ... but it is worth it.

 

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The Simplest and Most Important Questions PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Hawkes   

 

The Really Important Questions We Tend to Avoid

 

I came across the following statement in a book I am currently reading: “Philosophers and psychologists have long been aware of man’s basic inability to perceive that which is closest to them. Sir Norman Angell tells us that ‘it is quite in keeping with man’s curios intellectual history that the simplest and most important questions are those he asks least often.’”

 

That started me thinking. What are the simplest and most important questions that we ask least often? We could have a little fun coming up with a list of potential questions that might qualify.

 

For instance: Two Australian sailors staggered out of a London pub into a dense fog and looked around for help. As they steadied themselves, they saw a man coming into the pub but evidently missed the military medals flashing on his dress uniform. One sailor blurted out, “Say, bloke, do you know where we are?” The officer, thoroughly offended, snarled in response, “Do you know who I am?” The sailors looked at each other, and one said to the other, “We’re really in a mess now. We don’t know where we are, and he don’t know who he is.”

 

Those are two good questions, but not what I was thinking about.

 

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The Sting of Death PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Hawkes   

The Sting of Death

 

I have a brother-in-law who is a likeable kind of guy. He’s spent most of his adult life serving others as a pastor both here in Canada as well as in Hong Kong and Africa. His last name is Birch. For a number of years he used to write a column for a leadership magazine called “Birch Bark” which was not unlike this papers “Pastors Point” column. In it he would touch on world events as well as things he was pondering in his own life. ‘Used to write’ is the operative word because at age 68 he has been told he has days and possibly weeks to live. Cancer has overwhelmed his body.

 

In my calling as a pastor I have observed many people as they approach death and begin the dying process. Some are courageous and appear settled in their thoughts, others rail at God and the unfairness of what they perceive to be death coming much too early. Others struggle emotionally, worrying about those they will leave behind. Sometimes they can’t get past the anger stage and unfortunately leave a trail of sadness and unrest for the loved ones they leave behind.

 

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Mentioning the Unmentionable PDF Print E-mail
Written by Paul Hawkes   

 

It is strange the things that pop into one’s mind. For me, not long ago, it was a childhood prayer. It’s not one that I prayed a lot as a kid but I have for some reason memorized it. I’m sure most of you are familiar with it too.


Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep,

If I should die before I wake,

I pray the Lord my soul to take.


Dying has for many today, like sex in the 19th century, become the great unmentionable. Death is not something we talk much about and certainly not with children. But this classic children’s prayer, from the 18th century New England Primer, the most successful educational textbook published in 18th century America, was part of every child’s reading instruction. I was thinking about this prayer because I was thinking about death, my death and the imminent death of people I love.

 

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