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Getting Healthier: An Early Christian Perspective on the Primal Diet

by admin

I’ve had an eye on Mark’s Daily Apple for a while – I can’t remember what got me interested in the first place, but I had found that his regular blog posts are quite intriguing in supporting and helping people move into what he calls the “Primal Lifestyle”.

In a nutshell, Mark Sission contends that our bodies are made to support and process the diet that cavemen essentially had – the paleolithic hunter-gatherer is what we were all designed to live life optimally as.  Therefore, our diet will allow our bodies “maximum gene expression” only if we eat the kinds of foods that they would have.  Additionally, patterns of life and exercise should also approximate what those people did, to live life in the way evolution has shaped us to most optimally live.

I have been on the diet for 5 days now, got around to buying the 21 Day Challenge only today though…  and honestly I can really notice the difference in the way my body is responding to food.  There is definitely a sorting out process going on as I try to understand the body signals I am getting.  I haven’t felt “stuffed” after any meal, and even after a big meal, I feel full but not bloated like I would after a buffet feast or turkey dinner before.  I don’t feel exhausted after eating, I feel energized.  I have also lost about 4 pounds so far, while consuming a lot of water and liquids.  I don’t expect this rapid loss will continue though – I think it is just a part of the adaptation that my body is going through, not dealing with large amounts of sugars and starches.

But I wanted to write this piece to wrestle with the odd dichotomy that is presented as a person who holds to a young earth creationist viewpoint, and reading about and implementing a strategy for life that is, as Mark Sisson intended, all about evolutionary principles, survival of the fittest and so on.

The thing is, it is not necessary to hold to the theory of evolution to totally respect the direction and value of what Mark is teaching.  It is just as easily understood in a creationist framework:

  1. God made Man
  2. God designed Man to consume food in a certain way that allows Man to survive and thrive in a paleolithic environment.
  3. God designed Man to live a pattern of life by the natural rhythms of the earth that God placed Man on – rising and laying down with the sun, hunting and gathering food naturally occurring in the environment that Man resides in.
  4. Mankind has developed culture and society in directions that are contrary to the way Man was designed (it’s called sin).  Hence we see declining health in most of mankind.

All these understandings equally explain Mark’s findings and justify Mark’s teaching without requiring a person to hold evolution as the origin story of choice.  There is even more that figures into it, but at its base, I don’t have a problem with the foundation of his scientific findings because they are all equally plausible assuming a creator.

It has been remarkably easy to adhere to too… skipping the baked potato with your steak and adding a salad isn’t the end of the world…


You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Till It’s Gone – In a Good Way

by admin

The discharge orders have come down and we’re just waiting for them to tell us we can go home.

Lyndan is dressed and ready to go.  He isn’t 100% but really, the only reason to stay was to have daily visits from physio and other therapies – we have a medication to help control his nausea and his sight and balance are advancing regularly.  He was just bored and worried wondering why he had to stay.

An idiosyncrasy of mine is taking an absorb amount of introspection to realize what emotions I am feeling.  I know I have them but usually it takes some effort to figure out what they are.  I am realizing, as I have been cleaning my room in the Ronald McDonald House, that I have been carrying a lot of worry and burden while being here.  I have felt like myself, but really, until now, I didn’t realize how heavy it was, now that it’s lifted.  I was telling myself that I was actually in some ways enjoying being absent from all responsibilities, but the truth was there was a lot of weight on my shoulders that I couldn’t feel until now.

Heading home, I am excited.  I am excited to be able to get back to my church, my neighbourhood, and giving myself away again.  I mentioned before how I actually felt selfish having everyone come around us in incredible ways, giving and supporting us in this time, especially because as a pastor I felt like it was my job to be helping, not be helped.  There’s a lesson in here somewhere, and I think it’s the same lesson I have been teaching everyone else about real community and relationships – a lesson that I perhaps had not yet taught to myself.

So, lesson learned – carrying the load of worry and care that I have been, I needed more help than I thought.

And now, to drive home…


From Alberta Children’s Hospital – A Room to Read

by admin

It is a fascinating chapter of life I have entered into.  I almost wrote “we” but this is a blog about me, so I will assume you know that I fully acknowledge my son’s brain surgery is not about me.  But how I am affected by it is.

I have heard of people in busy jobs, lives that become ill, and are forced, for health reasons, to take a break – to step out of their routines for a time controlled by the process of healing.  I think part of the reason God made us like He did was to force this upon us.  When we are overworked or overstressed, our body tends to break down easier, forcing us to slow the pace.  In this case, it was not my pace of life, or stress, or anything we had done.  It just was.  Thankfully, we have an amazing community of friends and family that have stepped into the situation and made it possible for Cheryl and I to simply “disconnect” (though the rate of Facebook communication has stepped up considerably as we try to keep everyone informed about how Lyndan is doing).  We are so very grateful for the rest of our boys being cared for at home, for my responsibilities as pastor being lifted by my associate Bart and other leaders in Grasslands Church.

image This disconnect has opened up so much time.  Time for things that get swept away by the urgent or the routine.  I have been able to finish a book – “Your Secret Name” by Kary Oberbrunner.  I am glad I did – it was a very good book and I will be mulling over what I took away from it for some time (expect a blog post at some point).  I have also had time to write towards my next message – it’s not often that I am afforded 3 weeks’ lead time for the next time I speak.  I have even had time to wrestle with some subjects that I would like to speak on but need further development before moving forward.

And also, it has given me time to blog.  Which I really do like but often feel too busy to do these days – as you can tell by the frequency of my posts here, on our church planting blog, Planting on Faith and even on the Grasslands Church Blog.

On the subject of busyness, my associate, Bart has been encouraging me to read “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, and while it was written more than a couple decades ago, it really is timeless in its ideas and pointing out not only the general idea of how to move towards doing what we want to do well, but also with specific, applicable things we can do to find that zone.  I am not the most organized person in the world but I am certainly convinced that I would like to do more with the time I am given – and the only way that is going to happen is if I implement more structure into my life.  “You lack DISCIPLINE!” I can hear Ahnuld’s voice ringing in my ears when I begin to get that rush of adrenaline from a looming deadline.  There is something about the way German speakers pronounce the word “lack” that adds extra weight to the word.

Lastly, I am finally getting to chop through a book that I have wanted to read since Tim Challies first wrote it – “The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment”.  The topic is almost unwritten on but so critical for Christians to understand in this day and age where too many supposed God-followers are content with their Bible reading limited to their pastor’s powerpoint slides and their thinking on the intersection of Christ and Culture as a couple of streets in Mexico City.  I find much of my job as pastor so far has been doing the interpretation of culture for people, but I am convinced that my calling as pastor is to teach people to interpret culture through Christ themselves.  Hence, I had better get reading.

Without further ado, back to my Kindle app!


Marriage Tip #1

by admin

It has been a passion of mine to learn as much as I can about marriage and how it works, and how I can strengthen mine for about 8 years now.  Hence, I read a lot of stuff on marriage, and attempt to put that understanding into practice.  I must admit, I am not as good at rolling out some of these ideas as I would like to be, but nonetheless a few have stuck with me.

One foundational truth was taught to me a long time ago.  This foundational truth has the potential to guard your marriage against a host of forces that would pull it apart.  It is a truth that is hardly ever mentioned in romance books, movies and stories – in fact it is almost antithetical to the typical Hollywood love story.   I don’t know how I learned it, I don’t recall any of my family expressly teaching it to me (although as I look around at the remarkable – in many ways bizarre success rate of marriages in my extended family, somebody must have been teaching something somewhere).  It has been the bedrock of my marriage, and informed me from the very start what I am going to have to do to get and stay married.

It is this statement: love is a choice.

Read the rest of this entry »


The New Normal?

by admin

After a whirlwind tour through Alberta Children’s Hospital with stops in Oncology, Diagnostics and Neuroscience, we will be heading home tomorrow morning. The doctors and staff were absolutely wonderful. I only cracked up once – when Lyndan was told that they were thinking of doing a biopsy he got so scared at the thought of being put to sleep and cut open, I started crying along with him, because I was so anxious about his emotional state and resistance to doing what needed to be done.

Turned out to be unnecessary as a second MRI determined what we needed to know: it was not a tumour but a blood vessel overgrowth called a cavernoma. Good news right?  Kind of. Not a cancer, but the location of the bleed is right. In. The. Middle. Of. His. Brain. Basically the reason he has been having symptoms is whencthe malformed blood vessels break,  pressure gets put on parts of his brain that are pretty critical to his life. And if it were not operable (which thankfully it is) then he woud be a ticking time bomb until he had a catastrophic bleed that kills him.

Still, the neurosurgeon explained that the surgery will be so complex that there huge numbers of things that could present as complications from temporary physical effects to permanent damage. Thankfully not to his higher brain functions,  but little things like, swallowing, breathing, sight, mobility.

So while we are thrilled that he won’t require things like chemotherapy or radiation, he is not out of the woods yet. We are left for 2 weeks with a boy who can’t see anything to his right and can barely stand up on his own. We have no idea if this will be his new normal or there is yet hope that he can return to the active,  strong boy who was almost taller than his 11 year old brother and loved riding his bike.

And he gets brain surgery for his birthday… It’s a gift to us but I don’t know if he will enjoy it that much.


Life on Hold

by admin

“… Please wait while your call is connected… ”

Life just got placed on hold. Was gearing up for my first message in 2 weeks and then an odd thing happens. Our second oldest, Lyndan starts having this funny thing happen to his eye. Then he starts getting really dizzy.

We take him into emergency and 4 hours +  an MRI later,  and we are told he has a brain tumour. 8 hours later it still seems like it’s all made up.

We still know little.  We don’t know if it is operable or not. We don’t know if it is cancerous or not. We only know we are driving to Calgary this morning to get him admitted to Alberta Children’s Hospital. We do know two things though.

1. A lot of people are praying for us right now.  Like a lot. And that is comforting. I pray that God uses this nasty thing to reawaken some people’s faith and draws people closer to Him even as they think about us.

2.  God is getting our attention. I hate that it takes awful circumstances to do that, but it is this kind of time that brings into sharp focus what we really believe. And I know with certainty that God is with us. “draw close to Him and He will draw close to you, ” James wrote. We need Him more than ever.

God has brought me to my knees twice in my life. The first time was when Lyndan was 3 and he went into shock from what we think was either an intususseption (?)  or a temporarily blocked intestine from a swallowed dime. It doesn’t matter what it was – when you come home from work to see an ambulance on your lawn and your 3 year old being wheeled out on a gurney,  you get on your knees. And God performed a miracle that day. By the time Lyndan reached the hospital,  they could find no sign of whatever it was that the paramedics were certain he was in serious condition with.

The second time was last night.

I am wondering if we shouldn’t have named Lyndan more Biblically. I think his name would have been “getting my attention”. Because God certainly has used him for that.

Now,  God, how about another miracle?


Lenten Challenge: Give a Flock!

by admin

I have made a decision! I am going to give up salty junk food for Lent, with the goal of putting aside the $4 a day I might have spent. I have never challenged myself for Lent before, and was spurred on by something from a local pastor and friend of mine, Gene Packwood.  He posted this video to his Facebook:

So the plan is to give something up to remind myself of dependence on God and make a small sacrifice to my comfort to remember the greatest sacrifice ever made, that I benefit from every day. I am specifically choosing to give up something that costs money so that I can then give what I would have spent on myself to those who need it more. I figure I spend around $2-4 on salty junk food a day (actually if I was honest it’s probably usually less on average but I’ll go with it) so I am setting aside $4 per day for the 40 days of Lent.

A Sheep for World Vision

Don't you just want to hug a sheep?

That gives me $160 – and to buy a sheep for a World Vision child is $150! So that’s my goal – to buy a sheep in honour of the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world on Easter Sunday.

I want to invite my friends along on this Lenten challenge – leave behind a daily treat for 40 days and buy a sheep with me to benefit World Vision children. Together we can give a flock of sheep! What do you say? Let’s give a flock together!


Looking for a Good Prayer App

by admin

There is a buzzphrase that has been shuffling around the internets since the advent of the iPhone – “There’s an app for that.”  And with half a million apps out there, it’s mostly true.

But not when it comes to prayer.  There are some online, but not as many options for apps.

I have been looking for a good prayer manager app since I got a smartphone – my old Motorola Milestone – now almost 3 years.  I’ve graduated to a Samsung Galaxy S2 (and loving it). Haven’t found one yet.

Oh sure, there are tons of Islamic prayer times apps.  There are even a few prayer apps that allow you to mark them down, and check them off as they are answered. But not the robust tools that I can envision off the top of my head.

Because confession time: I suck at remembering to pray.  I work at it all the time but I’d love to have some help.

If you’re an app dev, here’s my wish list:

  1. checkbox “todo” lists for prayers, a way to mark them “done” or “not done” (answered or unanswered)
  2. multiple lists for different purposes – church prayers, small group prayers, ministry prayers, prayers for community/government – not static categories, but customizable as I am sure everyone would group them differently
  3. the ability to schedule prayer times or days for each list and have them sent to you or have the app automatically open to the scheduled list
  4. the reminders to pray keep coming until the item is marked “answered”
  5. the ability to share prayer requests with other users or even email requests to people who don’t use the app, with an incorporated link to let the download the app
  6. (getting really crazy now) the ability to create a shared prayer list for ministry teams or small groups that is updatable by anyone in the list

Who’s up for the challenge?  Any app developers want to make some money off Christians?  I’d pay at least a couple bucks for this if it had all these features.  Make sure you make an iOS and Android version please.


Lessons in Leadership

by admin

In discussing with one of my core leaders today I realized I knew three things:

1. Humility is one of the most important assets of a oeader
2. Leaders must govern from the centre. Living black and white is not a luxury for a leader.
3. Leaders lead with vision – more important than teaching every week.

Lots to unpack there but I wanted to put those out there.


Isn’t It Ironic? (Getting Political for a second here)

by admin

I am amazed on this cold winter day, when it is snowing even in Vancouver, how everything seems backwards.

I have been reading people who are staunch global warming alarmists complaining bitterly about the snow and how hard it is to manage without a 4×4 truck in the snow. Yet, those same people are adamantly against “gas-guzzling trucks”. It hasn’t occurred to them that if globarl warming is really happening, then they should stop fighting it and encourage it so they don’t need a 4×4 to get around in the winter.

Not that I think we should be encouraging global warming (if it is in fact occurring the way some describe). My feeling is this: far too many people protest against things that may be inappropriate in their local area, but are desperately needed by people in other areas. Yet, for some reason, they feel that their rules should be imposed on everyone.

Take, for example, the thankfully killed gun registry. It was a ridiculous burden to impose on hundreds of thousands if not millions of Canadians who live in or close enough to the wilderness that having a gun is actually a useful and necessary thing, all because criminals in big cities use guns to commit crimes. Never mind that criminals who commit crimes have no compunction about not registering a gun… or for that matter stealing one from a law-abiding, registered citizen. It did nothing to protect citizens, but penalized people for not living in big cities.

But the other irony is connected to the PIPA/SOPA bills in the USA. There is so much buzz about them everywhere this morning, but I wonder if half the people shouting “stop SOPA” even really understand the issues and the bills that are being discussed.

Again, not that I disagree with the sentiment. From what I have seen, the protestors could well be right about the bills and their danger. But what strikes me as funny is the people I know who are shouting the loudest about the hideousness of politicians, knowing nothing about the real issues, attempting to pass law based on the manipulations of lobbyists and the bribery of “big, evil corporations” are the same people who support massive government intervention into every other aspect of our lives. These are the same people who want government to pay for everything from the cradle to the grave, to feed, clothe, house, employ everyone, to protect everyone from themselves and their choices through all kinds of deeply invasive, smothering laws, regulations and taxes.  Do you not think that it is folly to entrust all these other aspects of our lives to these same politicians?  How can they be benevolent, wonderful, caring people who just want to care for us one second and monstrous, evil, money-grabbing megalomaniacs, stealing the internets from the world the next?

I am sorry, but you have just lost all credibility in my eyes, as you suddenly change your stripes so you can continue to download torrented movies, music and software, stealing money and employment from people who otherwise would be better off and more able to support themselves instead of relying on government handouts. I wonder how much these things would cost if people weren’t stealing them left right and centre, because “intellectual property” apparently only applies when you have created something, not when a studio produces a film or music album with millions of dollars of equipment and tens of millions of dollars in paying salaries to those who work to produce it.

It amazes me about these inconsistencies in people’s politics and ethics. I try to keep things simple. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Take responsibility for yourself and your world, and the consequences of your choices. If people actually lived by this then we wouldn’t need SOPA bills. If people lived like this we wouldn’t need gun registries. If people lived like this they wouldn’t live an hour away from their place of work and have to drive through snow and ice and freeways, throwing all kinds of pollutants into the air and endangering each other with traffic and road rage.


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