Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

In Loving Memory of Nate

Sometimes life doesn't make any sense to me. And the question why is brought to the forefront of my mind. On the weekend I heard that a friend from Bible School, Nate Toews, was killed in an accident. Nate and I shared a instant connection when we first met at Bethany. We were both P.K's, we were both Nate's, and our birthday's were even close together. But on my part I just wanted to be associated with Nate, there was an infectious quality about Nate. He was one of those people who you meet and will never forget, who leaves a permanent mark on your life and soul, who was the presence of Jesus to many many people. I loved Nate, I loved to be around him, life was never boring in the dorm with him around. I always felt inspired and loved after a time with him... oh and my sides usually hurt to from laughing, and soaking in the joy that radiated from him. After Bethany we sort of lost touch, but a two summers ago when we were at Redberry Bible camp he and his brothers came through and did the chapels at camp. And it was so good to pick up again and hear about the things he was up to and such. Once again I was struck by his passion and love for God, and his incredible Joy! But a tragic accident has robbed us far to soon from someone who brought so much joy, robbed us of a husband, friend, and disciple of Jesus.

My prayers are with Rosanna as she grieves the loss of her husband, and with the rest of his family. And my heart grieves with them. There are no words to explain how my heart reaches out. I want to say something... but I can't... I don't know where to begin.

And we are all left with a why? I cannot except simple answers, pat answers. "God had a plan", "It was time for him to go", these answers do not answer the pain that is left, and only cause me to doubt the goodness of God. How can a good God leave a young widow to mourn? How could a good God rob us of such a holy inspiring man? How could... And yet... I do believe that God is good, and I believe that his love and comfort know no boundaries, so while I cannot believe that God caused this tragedy, or even wanted it to happen, I do believe that God is good, and will work destruction into beauty, will work tragedy into celebration, and will work death to life. I don't understand the why and don't believe I ever will, but I put my trust in the good and loving hands of Jesus and trust that he will turn our mourning into dancing.

ht: thanks Trev for the great picture from our freshman year missions trip

Monday, July 23, 2007


Hey I just wanted to say a big thanks to everyone who prayed for me while I was speaking at camp. I think things went really well, it was fun, we had a good time, did lots of screaming and jumping around, and I believe God spoke to the kids. So thanks. Here are a few pics from Thursday night (thanks Erin)... if you look closely you can see the sweat pouring off my face... yuck!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Mmmmm Goood!!!

You are looking at a 1983 Suzuki GS550.... oh so beautiful! Now I hear what you are all saying, "Nathan, you don't have your motor bike license." ... details, details. No, I haven't bought a bike, however right now I am in the process of begging Niki to "Please, please, PLEASE make the budget work to fit this little beauty into our garage!" Well here's some crossed fingers and hoping that one day I will fly free across the Manitoba countryside. In case you are wondering I caught the bike itch when I was in my second year at Bethany, and Rich Friesen took me on a ride from Circle and 8th Mall back to Bethany, ever since that oh so cold ride, I have longed for the freedom and joy of my own bike... and now it's there.... just within grasping distance. So once again I put out my plea to you my loyal readers, if you want to donate to the "Buy Nathan an uber sweet bike fund." Leave a comment and I'll send you my Mailing address. Thanks so much!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Off to WBC

I'm off to Winkler Bible Camp this week.... I'm working here in Altona during the days, but in the evenings I'll be driving out to speak at their chapels.

Mild mannered youth pastor by day,

and super camp speaker at night!
Well I'm looking forward to it, I'll hang out with some of my youth that are there, and I'm going to bring a few along from here when I'm speaking, so that will be cool. Anyway if you feel like praying for me during the week, that would be sweet. I always know when people are praying. Thanks a lot

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Think Gas is expensive???

Think a gallon of gas is expensive?

Diet Snapple 16 oz $1.29 - $10.32 per gallon
Lipton Iced Tea 16 oz $1.19 - $9.52 per gallon
Gatorade 20 oz $1.59 - $10.17 per gallon
Ocean Spray 16 oz $1.25 - $10.00 per gallon
Brake Fluid 12 oz 3.15 - $33.60 per gallon
Vick’s Nyquil 6 oz $8.35 - $178.13 per gallon
Pepto Bismol 4 oz $3.85 - $123.20 per gallon
Whiteout 7 oz $1.39 - $25.42 per gallon
Scope 1.5 oz $0.99 - $84.48 per gallon

And this is the real kicker…

Evian water 9 oz $1.49 - $21.19 per gallon! $21.19 for WATER and the buyers don’t even know the source. Evian spelled backwards is Naive.

Ever wonder why printers are so cheap? It’s because they have you hooked for the ink. Someone calculated the cost of printer ink at ( you won’t believe it, but it is true )
$5,200 a gallon.

So, the next time you’re at the pump,be glad your car doesn’t run on water, Scope, or Whiteout, Pepto Bismol, Nyquil or God forbid, Printer Ink!

Just a little humor to help ease the pain of your next trip to the pump.

ht: Dan

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I'm doing some sermon prep for Sunday, and I'm preaching on Luke 4:14-30 and I found this really interesting word study on the word Today as used in Luke. I really like it, but I'm not sure how much of it I can use, so I thought I'd post it here. For all the context and study check out here. Otherwise just enjoy this little article.

"Jesus' quote from Isaiah contains the same kind of good news and bad news for us. He is talking about social and economic justice for the poor and oppressed. The good news: You can start now. You can start today. The bad news: You'll never finish. A commitment to justice for all people -- in fact, for all of creation -- is a never-ending struggle.

Today is an important word for Luke. It occurs 12 times in Luke and only 9 times in the other three gospels combined. It occurs in such familiar passages as: "Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you." "Today you will be with me in paradise." And twice in the Zacchaeus story: "Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay in your house today." And, "Today, salvation has come to this house." And in our text: "Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing."

For Luke today is a moment of radical change.

The shepherds come and see the savior born in Bethlehem. They return rejoicing and praising God. They had been changed.

After Jesus' visit with Zacchaeus, he is changed. He says: "Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."

We can suppose that the eternal life of the thief on the cross was radically changed by Jesus' words. He is promised eternity in paradise.

In our Gospel Lesson, there is a change in the people who heard Jesus. At first they are proud of their hometown boy. They boast to one another about knowing his parents. But the more Jesus talked about God's grace -- even for non-Jews, another reaction came forth from the people. Luke tells us, "All the people in the synagogue were filled with rage." They try to kill Jesus by throwing him over a cliff.

Today is a time of change brought about through an encounter with Jesus. The change may involve attitude -- rejoicing and praising God; or, wanting to kill Jesus. The change may involve financial priorities -- giving rather than getting. The change may involve finding comfort and hope in the midst of despair and death.

However, we often avoid the changes of today. Some try to continue to live the past. "Remember the good, old days." They may remember all the good times way back when. They may remember and talk about all the things they used to do. What are they doing to make today just as glorious?

Or they may look back at the rotten past and blame all their troubles on their hated history. What are they doing today to change that past?

History is important. We constantly need to look back and learn from our mistakes and successes. But we can't live in the past. We live today. It has been suggested that the greatest threats to congregations today are past successes that no longer work well in the present. (We tend to drop past failures, but what worked for us back then, we may hold onto past their usefulness.

At the same time, I heard a speaker state that congregations that forget their past and traditions are like people with amnesia or Alzheimer -- they don't know who they are.

On the other hand, we can also avoid changes of today by dreaming of the ideal tomorrow. Someday the prisons will be empty. Someday the oppressed will be set free. Someday poverty will be ended. Someday all people will have heard the gospel. God will do all that someday -- so we don't have to do anything today to help the oppressed out of their plights.

Someday I'll loose weight. Someday I'll quit smoking. Someday I'll start exercising. Someday I'll take a college course. And we do nothing today to help make that future come true.

For Jesus' listeners, and for us, the word today is terrifying. On one hand, Jesus is not who they expected. "Isn't this Joseph's son?" they ask. If today is the day of God's great salvation, what's this Jesus doing here telling it to us? If today is the great day, where are all the miracles? If today is such an extraordinary day, why don't I see some extraordinary things happening? Jesus, the boy raised in that town by Mary and Joseph, simply spoke to the people. No flashing lights. No voices from heaven. Jesus saying a few words in the synagogue. "Immanuel" -- God with us -- is Jesus coming in a few words.

Yesterday can look glorious. Tomorrow can look so glamorous. But today is so ordinary. So many of us get into a routine, a rut. Today is just another day. Was Jesus just another home-town boy? Were his words just another teacher's words? The great, saving event of God comes in common, ordinary ways. Sometimes we may even miss them. Today is an extraordinary day -- God is with you today.

Today is a terrifying word because it calls you to action now. "I don't know what to do?" You might complain. "I don't want to make a decision now," you rationalize. The call of today shakes you out of your complacency. Just as "the Spirit of the Lord" was upon Jesus, so that same Spirit is upon each of you. You will make some wrong decisions, God promises to forgive those -- and who knows how the Spirit will use your mistakes! You will make some right decisions and you know that the Spirit will use those. You will become a better person, a better believer, and this world will be a better place for some people.

We are to be radical community on earth. We are called and empowered to work for the release of people who are bound -- the rehabilitation of prisoners, the freeing of people wrapped in their shells of self-doubt and self-pity.

We are called and empowered to work on behalf of the poor and oppressed. How can we help the poor in our county? How can we help the elderly? How can we help single parents? What about the oppressed around the world? Those in Central America? Those in Namibia? Those in the new nations that used to be part of the Soviet Union?

"Those are idealistic and impossible dreams," you can say. I would agree with you. But that is why that word today becomes so frightening. Jesus is saying that the impossible is happening today. The good news is: You can start now. You can be part of those miracles today. The bad news is: You'll never finish. If you answer the call to start -- it is a lifetime commitment. There will be great, wonderful moments along the way, but there will always be more that needs to be done.

Brian Stoffregen
Faith Lutheran Church, 1000 D St., Marysville, CA 95901
e-mail: b.stoffregen@comcast.net

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Throwing stuff off the bridge

Just got this pic from my friend Brad (aka Potty) Yup, this about sums up the good times we have! ... and yes, we did throw all those pieces of wood off the bridge!!

Friday, July 06, 2007


So here we are back in Saskatchewan.... I mean seriously, how much more are we going to be driving out here. Two oil changes in a month = too much driving. But I guess it's still nice to be hanging out at Bethany, seeing some old friends and cooling of in Jerry's office since it's very nice and air conditioned. So far convention is a convention. Lot's of meetings and lot's of people talking, some good stuff, some that is a little less interesting. Yesterday we had a class on Divorce and remarriage so that was pretty awesome, I liked the whole academic schooling type thing again. This morning I put Lennox outside at my mom and dads, and when I let him back in this morning his face was covered in golf ball sized bites. So we're thinking it is mosquitoes but if anyone knows different I'd love to hear from you. The bugs are unbelievably bad here.
Well that's all for now.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Canada Weekend

So after preaching on Sunday, Niki and I packed up and headed out to Pelican Lake to spend Sunday and Monday at our Friends Cabin, a beautiful two days of boating and relaxing in the sun. I continued my quest to conquer the wakeboard... but as you will see in the pictures, I still haven't made it happen. Niki on the other hand got up on her second try..... oh well, the quest continues, I haven't given up hope yet! It was a great weekend, but just so you can see how great here are some pictures.

This is as far as I ever got up.

Jer clearly had a bit more luck
than I did.

Getting ready for a nice evening cruise


what's Canada Day without fire works??