SEVEN PROMISE KEEPERS CANADA
MEN / GOD / LIFE
NEW BEGINNINGS FRESH STARTS HELP WANTED THE VALUE OF VOLUNTEERING
A CALL TO ACTION WHAT TO DO WHILE WE WAIT ON GOD JAN / FEB 2016 ISSUE 46 NEWSSTAND PRICE CDN $4.95
WHAT DOES 2016 HAVE IN STORE FOR YOU?
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COLUMNS 6 // PK Podium Defining Moments 8 // Lives Worth Leading The Power of Grit 30 // Sports Scene Doan’s Faith Still Strong After 21 Years in the NHL
FEATURES 14 DEEP CALLS TO DEEP Waiting on God to show us our next steps can seem daunting, but in truth the call is simple—obey, belong, be holy. That’s our call. The rest, as Mark Buchanan writes, is just details.
32 // The Single Life A Single New Year’s Resolution
DEPARTMENTS 18 WHEN I HAVE EVERY REASON NOT TO SERVE Busyness, fatigue, indecisiveness…there are always a million reasons not to do something, especially when it comes to knowing where to lend a hand and help someone out. This year, save the excuses, and be like Jesus—let’s make something happen.
22 YEAR OF THE FUDGEE-WUDGEE
10 // The Pulse Bits. Blips. Beats. Blurbs. 12 // Music Reviews A Full Life. A Beautiful Life. A Life of Movement. 34 // Power Play Toys. Tools. Technology.
We’ve all been there. We know keeping those pesky New Year’s resolutions can be tough. And hey, sometimes we give up. But cheer up—falling short on our goals doesn’t mean we can’t laugh about it.
26 REACHING OUT, REPAIRING RELATIONSHIPS Whether it’s with friends or members of our families, relationships can be fragile. So where do we go when things go south? What are the steps we can take to reach out to people from whom we’ve grown distant?
JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2016 SEVEN 3
ON THE COVER
SEVEN is a Christian magazine for Canadian men that exists to help men lead more fulfilling lives and leave enduring legacies.
NEW BEGINNINGS, FRESH STARTS The holidays have come and gone. Now, it’s time to start things on the right foot. As a new year begins, perhaps this can be the season where we look beyond ourselves and think deeply about the places we can be of service, the people we can reach out to, and the nature of our true calling.
The name reflects the seven promises that form the basis of the Promise Keepers organization, which works with churches to minister to men across Canada. 1 // A promise keeper is committed to honouring Jesus Christ through worship, prayer, and obedience to God’s Word in the power of the Spirit. 2 // A promise keeper is committed to pursuing Christ-centred friendships with a few other men, connecting regularly, understanding that he needs brothers to help him keep his promises. 3 // A promise keeper is committed to practicing biblical integrity: spiritually, morally, ethically and sexually. 4 // A promise keeper is committed to strengthening families and marriages through love, honour, protection, and biblical values. 5 // A promise keeper is committed to supporting the mission of his church by honouring and praying for his pastor, and by actively giving his time and resources. 6 // A promise keeper is committed to reaching beyond racial, social, economic, generational, and denominational barriers to demonstrate that power of biblical unity. 7 // A promise keeper is committed to influencing the world by his fervent love for God while loving his neighbour, seeking justice for the poor and oppressed, and making disciples of Jesus Christ.
Publisher PROMISE KEEPERS CANADA
EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD
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The PK Canada logo features a maple leaf, indicating our dedication to serve the men of Canada. An arrow breaks into the maple leaf symbolizing the impact we believe God wants to see Promise Keepers and men making in our nation. A special thank-you to all the pastors who continually encourage us to communicate God’s truth with grace and love.
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podcasts It’s now easier than ever to listen to the latest messages from Promise Keepers Canada! With just a few clicks, you can listen wherever you are. Get exclusive access to interviews and inspiring messages with:
Max Lucado John and Sam Eldredge Gary Thomas The Skit Guys Donald Miller and many others! promisekeepers.ca/podcasts
JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2016 SEVEN 5
STARTING RIGHT IN 2016 BY KIRK GILES
oday is the first day of the rest of your life.” Over the years, I have heard Rick Verkerk (National Manager, Events for Promise Keepers Canada) say those words time and time again to men who have responded to an invitation to put their faith in Jesus Christ. As we begin 2016, these words echo in my mind. As a ministry, we have been witness to God working miracles. We have seen men set free from fears and sins that are holding them back. We have witnessed men becoming sons of God. We have seen marriages healed, fathers reconciled to their children, and a domino impact in churches, workplaces, and communities as men move forward in becoming who God designed them to be. There have been so many moments where men put a stake in the ground— defining moments when they surrender all to Jesus. For every man, the next day marks the opportunity to start new. For every new beginning that a man has had, there is an intense spiritual battle that begins to take place. In John 10:10, Jesus tells us that there is a thief who is looking to steal, and kill, and destroy. Even in that day of new beginnings, we need to understand that the battle has only just begun. There is a real thief who is out to rob us of the joy, peace, hope, and freedom that has been given to us through Jesus Christ. The answer to this problem is simple—and still profound. Jesus said that He has come to give life and life to the fullest. When Jesus used these two descriptions of “life” and “life to the fullest,” He was outlining a hope of life after our time on earth is done. He is also telling us that this life is not just for after we die, but it is a life for now—a life filled with purpose and hope and peace and contentment. This life is only available in and through Jesus Christ. We live in a time with many voices pulling us in many different directions. I believe that we as men need to be mindful of the thieves out to steal the new beginnings in our life. We as men need a voice that is for us—a voice that keeps pointing us to the only One who can give life. I believe that Jesus gives men life. And through that life, marriages, children, churches, communities, and workplaces will be given new levels of hope and healing. This is why Promise Keepers Canada exists. There are millions of men in this country who need a new beginning. There are millions of men in this country who are being robbed, and we are committed to helping each one walk in the life Jesus has offered to give. It is my hope that this issue of SEVEN will be an encouragement for you to more fully walk in the life Jesus gives.
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KIRK GILES is the president of Promise Keepers Canada. However, his most important roles as a man are husband to Shannon and father to Carter, Joshua, Sydney and Samuel.
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More than 50 chapters across Canada. Find them at www.ccbf.org JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2016 SEVEN 7
LIVES WORTH LEADING
THE POWER OF GRIT
WHAT WE CAN LEARN FROM A SIX-YEAR-OLD GIRL BY COLIN MCCARTNEY
t was 1960 and racism was burning holes into the souls of white racists and suffering African Americans. For the bully, the sin of racism distorted the beauty of God’s intent for them as His created treasures. For the oppressed, the sin of racism was a weight crushing their spirit at every turn. Segregation was not the solution, but tragically it was espoused and unfortunately celebrated in too many white churches in the Southern United States. Something had to be done. As it would turn out, the person God would use to bring about his grace was a little six-year-old girl. No black child had ever stepped foot in the hallowed halls of William Franz Public School in New Orleans until young Ruby Bridges broke the segregation barrier. Dressed in her pretty white frock, hair in pig tails, Ruby walked through a mob of angry, screaming white parents, past a casket containing a black doll. This was the daily routine, each school day, for Little Ruby Bridges. The New Orleans and Louisiana Police refused to protect her. Armed federal marshals were called in to keep the peace. When Ruby arrived into her classroom, it was empty. In fact, the school was pretty well uninhabited. No white parent allowed their children to be near Ruby. She was all alone. No students, no friends, no one. While the drama of Ruby Bridges was unfolding in New Orleans, Dr. Robert Coles, a Harvard graduate and child psychiatrist took great interest in what was happening. Coles volunteered to provide support for Ruby and her parents during this difficult time. He met frequently with
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Ruby having her draw pictures to gauge what she was feeling. At first, Ruby drew herself as a little black dot among a sea of large, highly detailed, white faces and bodies. As the weeks went by, Ruby’s drawings began to change. Her little black dot grew larger, wore a dress, and was magnificently detailed, pretty and black. White faces and bodies grew smaller until they were barely recognizable. Eventually the picture Ruby drew of herself took over the entire page, the white tormentors in her life barely recognizable. Ruby Bridges was a leader! She embodies what the Scriptures say; “A little child shall lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6) Ruby possessed a key core competency of good leadership. She had grit! Grit is something leaders possess when facing huge, difficult circumstances. Grit never gives up. It never flees from a problem. Grit doesn’t allow fear to gain the upper hand. Even when we expend our last drops of blood, sweat and tears, grit keeps us going. Do you have grit? One day Ruby had just finished walking through the gauntlet of angry parents. The crowd was about to disperse when all of a sudden Ruby came out the doors, looked at the protestors and said something that made them go crazy. The federal marshals had their hands full restraining the angry mob surging towards Ruby who had gone back into
the safety of the school. Later that day, Dr. Coles asked Ruby what had happened. He wanted to know what she said to the crowd that made them so upset. Ruby’s response tells us a lot about the source of grit she possessed. “Every morning my Mama and I pray for all the angry folks. This morning we forgot to pray for them. I just remembered that when I walked into the school so I went back out the doors and prayed; Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Grit is something we can’t manufacture. Grit is based on our faith in God. It’s Christ that gives us grit. Jesus said: “I’ve told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I’ve conquered the world.” (John 16:33, The Message) The God who emboldens six-yearold girls with grit can empower you with all you need to lead well in life, at home, in your church and in our world. Need grit in your leadership? Learn a lesson from Ruby Bridges.
Grit is something we can’t manufacture. Grit is based on our faith in God. It’s Christ that gives us grit.
/ COLIN MCCARTNEY is an ordained minister, speaker, and a bestselling author. He is also the founder of UrbanPromise Toronto and now leads Connect Ministries in Toronto where he, his wife Judith, and their two children reside. To learn more about Colin, go to www.connectministries.org.
CHANGE THAT MATTERS
Start Something New
FROM THE EDITOR
BY ROB HORSLEY
EDITOR’S DESK / A guy I work with recently remarked to me that he hates going to the gym in January. When I asked him why, his response was simple: “It’s too crowded. All those New Year’s resolutions people.” I then asked him how long he usually expects them to stick around. “Oh, they’re gone by February,” he said. Well, that’s…discouraging? I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not very good at keeping New Year’s resolutions. Come to think of it, I’m not even that good at making New Year’s resolutions. Truth be told, and if I’m really being honest, I can’t help but shake my head and sort of chuckle when the latest fitness routine or crash diet fizzles out and we find ourselves back in the same old routine, crushing McDoubles like there’s no tomorrow. It’s not that I don’t sympathize with the people who are really looking to make a change in their lives and get in shape. I just know how easy it is to get sucked into doing something when the holiday guilt of eating too much turkey, stuffing and Toblerone chocolate catches up with us. (Speaking of which, that’s a topic our go-to funny guy Gerry Bowler writes about this issue in our feature look at the lighter side of New Year’s resolutions. Caution: satire.) Maybe I’m a bad person for laughing when people get sidetracked. Maybe I should be a little more sympathetic and helpful. But at the same time, I think it’s somewhat telling when we find that the guilt about stuffing ourselves silly around the holidays (for the umpteenth year in a row) isn’t actually enough motivation to make changes for the better. As one of my pastor buddies often says, guilt is very rarely a good motivator to real, positive change in our lives. And maybe that’s the turning point for us. Maybe it’s a recognition that resolving to do something different needn’t be limited to
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making ourselves feel better. Maybe a new year can be the start of serving someone else. Whether it’s helping out at the neighbourhood community club, stepping up to serve a local charity, or even through being a better volunteer at our home churches, maybe 2016 can be the start of a more service-centric set of resolutions (as Dwayne Cline reminds us in his reflections on Jesus as the ultimate servant to us). As the holidays fade and winter lingers on, we find ourselves in what can be a long, lonely season. For some, the holidays and subsequent months can be a painful reminder of friends or loved ones from whom we’ve grown distant. Perhaps it’s in the midst of this season that we can reach out and begin to mend the damaged or even broken relationships in our lives. Maybe the next step isn’t totally obvious to you. And that’s okay. As Mark Buchanan writes: “I meet a lot of frustrated and stalled-out Christians. One of their main complaints is that they don’t know ‘what God wants me to do.’ I answer, ‘But you do know: obey Him, belong to Him, and become holy through Him.’” And maybe that’s enough to go off of for now. As long as we seek to love God in all that we do, perhaps the particulars of what our next steps are for the year ahead aren’t all that important. Every year, we groan at the clichés of “new year, new you.” But maybe, just maybe, we can think a little deeper than cutting out the cheeseburgers this time around. Maybe 2016 can be a year of real, meaningful change, not just in our lives, but in the lives of those around us too. As always, thanks for reading, guys.
Maybe 2016 can be a year of real, meaningful change, not just in our lives, but in the lives of those around us too.
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RUN WILD. LIVE FREE. LOVE STRONG (DELUXE ANNIVERSARY EDITION) FOR KING AND COUNTRY (Word Entertainment) IF YOU haven’t picked up For King and Country’s sophomore album Run Wild. Live Free. Love Strong, now might be a good time. The Australian band led by brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone have recently released an anniversary edition with three new songs to create the definitive version. The three new songs build on the album’s message of living life to the fullest, the way God intended, fearlessly fighting for the good. Songs like “Ceasefire” speak of the fight we’re called to: “One by one we will fight for a better end, one by one we could rewrite the headlines.” New song “Priceless” places a specific mission on the hearts of young men. The same name of the band’s upcoming movie, starring Joel Smallbone, speaks of a woman’s worth beyond our society’s rubric. “It might be hard to hear, but let me tell you dear, if you could see what I can see, I know you would believe that isn’t who you are, there’s more to who you are.” Together, the additions reiterate the life followers of Christ are called to, just as their band’s name borrows from the old ideals of courage and sacrifice for a higher cause.
BY STEVEN SUKKAU
GOD IS ON THE MOVE
BIG DADDY WEAVE (Word Entertainment)
7EVENTH TIME DOWN (BEC Recordings)
TO LONG-time fans’ delight, Big Daddy Weave’s tenth studio album, Beautiful Offerings, is in keeping with the band’s stellar discography of hit songs. Standout track “My Story” will no doubt find a place among the band’s most well-loved hits like “Fields of Grace” and “What Life Would Be Like”. Mike Weaver’s rich voice is in turns powerful in triumphant declarations like “If I should speak then let it be of the grace that is greater than all my sin,” on “My Story,” and vulnerable as he searches on the title track: “Every season, and every step, every heartbeat and every breath… make it a beautiful offering.” The strength and tenderness of Big Daddy Weave’s music perhaps comes in the way the band seeks to exemplify God, the Lion and the Lamb, throughout the album’s 15 tracks. The exuberant praise and expectations of “Heaven is Here” and “Glory Unspeakable” pair nicely with tender “You’re Gonna Love Him” and “Welcome.” Weave’s desire to model Christ is evident, as he sings on Jesus I Believe, “I wanna say what You’re saying.” This mix of fierce passion and quiet intimacy that flows throughout Beautiful Offerings paints a picture of a God you want to bring your offerings to in worship.
LIKE 2013’s hit song “Just Say Jesus,” Christian rock band 7eventh Time Down’s third album, God Is On The Move, strips everything back to get at the core of faith. Their lyrics can seem overly simple and straightforward at first, yet the earnestness of their message, and their brand of melodic rock is immediately infectious. That earnestness elevates statements like, “I still believe in the cross, in the blood, in the love of a risen King.” It’s not necessarily deep theological musings, but the power of the straightforward creed is a revealing reminder of why Christ insists on faith like a child. “And for me it means that I’ll live just to give my everything.” Like the tongue-in-cheek spelling of the band’s name, you could write off 7eventh Time Down as too obvious, but as God Is On The Move reminds the listener, we so easily overcomplicate faith when the simplicity of Christianity is almost scandalous, as heard on “Promises.” “All I need is You… one thing I’ve found in all my weakness is that I find my strength in the name of Jesus… I’ve seen it again and again, I can stand on Your promises.”
/ STEVEN SUKKAU works for Golden West Radio and resides in Winkler, Manitoba.
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There’s more. You know that must be true, especially if you follow Jesus Christ. More than the ‘same old, same old.’ More than Sunday sermons. More than truck payments. Even more than sports! There’s more to this world and this life than the media will ever tell you, secondhand. Maybe you need to man up and find out for yourself—find out the truth of God’s mission, your place in it and, in doing so, find yourself. But where to begin?
Talk with us to find your fit in mission. We’re over 3,000 who demonstrate and proclaim the Gospel in more than 110 countries. We know there’s more.
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JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2016 SEVEN 13
DEEP CALLS TO DEEP / OBEY. / BELONG. / PURSUE HOLINESS. BY MARK BUCHANAN
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NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2015 SEVEN 15
S I N A I T S I HR C Y R E EV
WHAT KEEPS YOU AT IT IN THE HARD DARK TIMES IS THIS MYSTERIOUS THING CALLED CALLING: GOD ASKED YOU TO DO THIS. YOU HEARD A VOICE. 16 SEVEN JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2016
was a pastor for more than two decades. One irony of pastoral work is, though it demands a habit of deep reflection, the job itself affords little time for that. Most days are a scramble. You run from place to place. You wear a dozen or more hats, many ill-fitting. You juggle torches and swords, trying to avoid burn marks and deep cuts. The pay isn’t great and some of the expectations are impossible. And always, there’s someone in your church who thinks you’re a fraud and a dud, and who feels burdened to tell you so, and obliged to gather allies in their cause. What keeps you at it in the hard dark times is this mysterious thing called calling: God asked you to do this. You heard a voice. That, indeed, is the root of the word vocation—voca, which is Latin for voice. Seldom is the voice audible. Rarely do the heavens split and thunder, or even does the wind whisper. Mostly, the voice only sounds in the depths, in inmost places, way down in the gut, groaning more than speaking. Deep calls to deep. The Spirit testifies with your spirit. There’s fire in the bones. The love of God compels you, and though you may try to shake it, it won’t shut up or let up. Those years I was a pastor, there were many days when the only thread that tethered me to the task was the call. But that thread held like steel cable. It endured fire and storm. It defied criticism and defeat. It pushed back the darkness.
Yet if you asked me how I knew I was called, I would have struggled to explain it. It was just so. Now I teach pastors. I train men and women for “vocational ministry.” One of the primary questions my students ask me is, “How do I know I’m called? And how do I know exactly what I’m called to?” It’s forced me to think long and hard about it, in a way I never found time for when I was a pastor. What follows is a highly condensed version of my theology of calling. Every Christian is called. That’s the starting place. What applied to the first disciples applies to you: ”Jesus… called to Him those he wanted, and they came to Him. He appointed twelve that they might be with Him and that He might send them out…” (Mark 3:13-15). If you are a Christian, it’s because you knew, however you came to know it, that Jesus wanted you, and you came to Him. And His commands distill to two things: come, and go. Come to Me, be with Me, abide in Me, learn from Me. And go, go and sin no more, go and make disciples, go and wash these other’s feet. But it starts with being with Jesus. The Apostle Paul opens his letter to the Romans this way: “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—the gospel He promised
D E L L A C
beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding His Son, who as to His earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. Through Him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for His name’s sake. And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.
“To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be His holy people: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:1-7) That’s four references to calling in seven verses. The first reference is specifically about Paul’s call to apostleship. But the next three are all about you and me— Christ-followers across the globe and throughout history. Each of us and all of us are called to the obedience that comes from faith for His name’s sake, called to belong to Jesus Christ, and called to be His holy people. Obedience. Belonging. Holiness. That’s our calling. These three things ground every specific call, every particular assignment. This is vitally important to remember. Christ calls us into a relationship with Him and conformity to Him before He calls us to any particular work for Him. This is true whether you hear the call or not. Put it this way: If you are following Jesus, it’s because He wanted you, called you, and you came. And before He asks you to do anything, He simply wants you to be with Him. His first and most important assignment is for you to abide, to hold still long enough that He can bathe you in His love and shape in you His character. I meet a lot of frustrated and stalledout Christians. One of their main complaints is that they don’t know “what
God wants me to do.” I answer, “But you do know: obey Him, belong to Him, and become holy through Him.” Martin Luther said that the will of God is to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul, and body, and then do whatever you want. That’s the basic idea. Jesus said, “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and everything will be added unto you.” Get the first part right—seeking God, loving God, knowing God—and all the rest follows. Any specific calling or assignment is always rooted in this deeper and universal call to obey, belong and be holy. But now watch: if you’re living out the deeper and universal call, you’re much more likely to discern the specific work. There are a number of things to pay attention to in making that discernment—but that would take another article to explore. But it’s the deeper and universal call that is the source of our peace, joy, strength. It is what we lean into when everything else becomes hard or unclear. Obey. Belong. Be holy. A biography of Jonathan Edwards, a key figure in America’s First Great Awakening, describes his reaction on the day the church elders came to fire him. The firing happened after a series of decisions Edwards made that riled up his congregation. At a riotous church meeting, he was dismissed with a vote of 230 to 23. It was a bloodbath. Yet he received the news without any sign of anger or distress. Then he went on to preach for the congregation for 15 months, until they found a replacement. That’s a man who lived his deep calling: obey, belong, be holy. Everything else was just the overflow of that.
/ MARK BUCHANAN is an associate professor of pastoral theology at Ambrose Seminary in Calgary. He previously served as the senior pastor of New Life Community Baptist Church in Duncan, B.C.
ANY SPECIFIC CALLING OR ASSIGNMENT IS ALWAYS ROOTED IN THIS DEEPER AND UNIVERSAL CALL TO OBEY, BELONG AND BE HOLY.
E B ND A NG O L E
Y L O H
JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2016 SEVEN 17
WHEN I HAVE EVERY REASON NOT TO SERVE MAKE NO EXCUSES. TAKE UP A CAUSE. BY DWAYNE CLINE
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ost of us live in the realm of good intentions. There are many things that we think we will get to, even believe we should get to, but somehow never do. We intend to help a friend move, but don’t show up…intend to care for a family in need, but never do…intend to connect with that teen in our church who lost his father, but never seem to either have or make the time to do so. We hear the announcement at church requesting volunteers to help with a ministry and even feel the Spirit tug at our heart to prayerfully consider our involvement, but then never get around to even praying about it, let alone volunteering for that ministry. We have all kinds of excuses to explain why we don’t serve: I’m too busy. I don’t feel qualified. That’s what we pay the church staff to do. I’m overwhelmed with my own stuff. No one ever serves me.
CHRIST-MODELLED SERVICE Jesus modelled service. Christ coming to serve us cost Him His life. He served us to this extent: He willingly died so we could live. The God of this universe, who spoke everything into existence…who created the sun, moon and stars and holds everything together by His might and will, left the beauty and glory of eternity, cloaked this deity with humanity and lived among us. At the end of His life, He hung on a cross, the most torturous form of death known to humanity, as the Father’s wrath was poured out on Him so He could extend forgiveness to
us and grant us the privilege of being in relationship with Him. God served us with His life. He never needed to experience pain, exhaustion, hunger or death but He did so for us. If you want to know what God is like, take a look at Jesus. As the apostle John writes, “It was just before the Passover festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the full extent.” As Jesus is about to express the full extent of His love for us on the cross, He shares in a meal with His disciples. “The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power, and that He had come from God and was returning to God; so He got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around Him.” (John 13) Jesus is imminently going to face the brutal violence of the cross. He will be mocked, whipped, and beaten while He suffocates, dehydrates and suffers the wrath of the Father for us. In these last moments of His life, He doesn’t need to serve anyone—I know I wouldn’t.
I thank God Jesus is so different than us. Jesus gets up from the meal, takes off his outer clothing, places a towel around His waist and washes His disciples’ feet. He not only acts like a servant but He looks like one. Feet in sandals are filthy. As the disciples walked along the mid-eastern roads, in the sweltering sun, their feet were disgusting. The lowliest of servants washed feet. The water, towel and basin are there. Any of the disciples could have washed each other’s feet. No one does. They all dig in and eat. They all knew someone should wash everyone’s feet. They all knew there was no servant there to do so. They all saw the water, towel and basin. And all of them did nothing. Maybe it was because they all thought this menial task was beneath them. Maybe it was because they all thought this job was for ‘another’ disciple. But not Jesus. Jesus does the unimaginable. He washes their feet. “He came to Simon Peter, who said to Him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Peter’s great. He didn’t wash anyone’s feet. He wasn’t willing to serve and now he’s going to tell Jesus, the Messiah, what to do because Jesus has turned the established order of
We think people owe us when we serve them.
JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2016 SEVEN 19
to betray Him, and that was why He said not everyone was clean. (Jesus also washed Judas’ feet). When He had finished washing their feet, He put on His clothes and returned to His place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” He asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.” Did you catch that? This may be the most important part of this text. Jesus doesn’t tell them that they need to serve Him because He has served them. That’s what we do…
HOW IT OFTEN GOES
It’s time we stopped making excuses and lived out our gratitude for Christ’s saving work on the cross by serving each other. power and authority upside down and Peter can’t comprehend what is happening…he has no category for it. In his commentary on John, Leslie Newbigin says, “It is the reaction of normal human nature. That the disciple should wash his master’s feet is normal and proper. But if the master becomes a menial slave to the disciple, then all proper order is overturned. This is a total subversion of good order as we understand it and as the smooth operation of human affairs seems to require. The action of Jesus subverts this order and threatens to destabilize all society.
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Peter’s protest is the protest of normal human nature.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” (Jesus kindly but firmly lets Peter know that He is still the authoritative Christ who is in charge). “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” (Peter goes to the extreme, asking Jesus for a bath). Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For He knew who was going
We think people owe us when we serve them. We believe they are in our debt when we serve them. It looks something like this: “Where are they this morning? I helped them move with my truck… didn’t even take gas money and when I need them, they’re nowhere to be found.” “We always have others over for dinner. No one ever has us over.” “I’m always the first one at the church to (fill in the blank). This ministry would fall apart without me.” Jesus tells them to serve each other in gratitude for His serving them. The debt we owe Christ we pay to each other. That’s why we are commanded several times to love one another, serve one another, encourage one another, be at peace with one another and to carry one another’s burdens to name a few one another’s. Jesus is saying something like this: “All of you want to pay me back and all I’ve done is wash your feet. In a few hours I will die for you. Here’s how you pay me back…love and serve one another.’ Then Jesus says, “ I have set you an example that you should do as
I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
CALLED TO SERVE It’s time we stopped making excuses and lived out our gratitude for Christ’s saving work on the cross by serving each other. I encourage you this new year to prayerfully look for opportunities to serve each other… the single mom who can’t afford to fix her deteriorating deck, the boy who needs a father figure because he’s been orphaned by death or divorce, the pastor who works too many hours too often, the unemployed Christian brother who wants to work and can’t land a job, the teen who wants to learn how to drive but has no access to a vehicle. God will use your act of service to bless them and change and bless you. A little more than four years ago, I took the funeral of a 40-year-old friend. As I looked at his 13-year-old son in the front of the packed church I felt God’s tug on my heart to connect with him. He and I hang out on a regular basis. My father is almost 70 and in great health…I will never be a 13-year-old fatherless teenager, but by spending time with this great young man I have a better understanding of what his fatherless world is like (it changes me) and I pray my being with him is a blessing to him. I work 60 hour weeks, I travel and speak, my wife owns a business, we have four kids….I have every excuse not to do this but I know caring for him, is part of how I thank Christ for what He’s done for me.
GIFTED VOLUNTEERS FOR DIFFICULT SERVICE IN THE LOCAL EXPRESSION OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD. MOTIVATION TO SERVE SHOULD BE
OBEDIENCE TO GOD,
humility and love. Service will rarely be glorious. Temptation to quit place of service will sometimes be strong. Volunteers must be faithful in spite of long hours, little or no visible results and possibly
/ DWAYNE CLINE is a husband, father to four, and the pastor of Hughson Street Baptist Church in Hamilton, Ontario.
no recognition except from God in eternity. (From Donald Whitney’s book, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life)
JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2016 SEVEN 21
YEAR OF THE
THE LIGHTER SIDE OF NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS BY GERRY BOWLER
o there you sit, the three of you. You, a responsible adult male, your wobbly belly which is so impressively grand that it requires its own postal code, and the calendar. You notice that it is December and that 2015 is drawing to a close. Inevitably, your mind turns toward that annual ritual of shame and humiliation: the New Year’s resolution. Soon you will feel compelled to examine your life and you will discover yourself to be a miserable failure in so many ways. The body that you once dreamed would take you to Olympic glory has turned into the chubbier twin of the Pillsbury Dough Boy. The Great Canadian Novel that you hoped to finish last year still consists of the opening sentence you scrawled on the back of a cocktail napkin. The treadmill (or NordicTrack or Nautilus
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or Ab Rocket or ThighMaster or Sauna Suit, etc., ad nauseam) that you bought on credit with such optimism remains under a dust-covered tarp in the basement. The power tools that were purchased to create that oak rocking horse for your new grandchild…that overdue library book on becoming a successful at-home, online marketing millionaire…the tootight trousers that you swore you would fit into this year…the wasted Internet hours spent on fantasy football and Where Are They Now? articles about the cast of Saved By the Bell. You know how it goes, you pathetic schlub. So, undaunted by the gloom that has descended on the wreckage of your 2015, you vow that this year will be different! Come January, you will be an atomic steam-powered engine of change and activity. You will cast off the shackles
So, undaunted by the gloom that has descended on the wreckage of your 2015, you vow that this year will be different!
JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2016 SEVEN 23
The first secret to making successful New Year’s resolutions is the same piece of wisdom I employ for confronting most of life’s problems: lower your standards. of sloth and tackle those kitchen renovations. You will hit the gym and exercise away the years of beer, pretzels and Cheezie-Weezies to produce the godlike form that lies under that overcoat of flab. You will finish that set of TeachYourself-Spanish-in-Thirty-Days tapes and dazzle the waitress at the Mexican restaurant with your pronunciation of “Puedo tener la salsa extra con mi enchiladas por favor?” The ballroom dancing lessons that every year you promised your wife you would take—as soon as that twinge in your knee cleared up—will finally be undertaken and your interpretation of
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the tango will be so intensely passionate that women in the audience will sigh and go wobbly in the knees, especially the waitress from the Mexican restaurant. Or so you say to yourself on December 31. By January 7 you will be wiping the Fudgee-Wudgee crumbs from your lips with a cocktail napkin that has vaguely familiar hand-writing on it. That twinge in your knee hasn’t gone away so there is no use driving all that distance to the gym. Your wife is in the half-renovated kitchen looking up discount divorce lawyers on her cell phone. And as you lift your fourth carbonated beverage to
your mouth you suddenly recall all those New Year’s resolutions and like goalie Denis Lemieux in Slap Shot explaining the consequence of various hockey infractions, you are instantly sent to the moral penalty box—“two minutes, by yourself, you know and you feel shame.” You’ve done it again, bozo. You made all those vows and you didn’t keep a single one. You’re a failure as a human being. But it doesn’t have to be like that. If you follow my advice and make a few small mental adjustments you can be freed from guilt over your past failures, accomplish your new goals, and enjoy a year of swagger and pride. It’s that simple, and the only cost is whatever trifling sum you paid for your copy of this fine men’s magazine. The first secret to making successful New Year’s resolutions is the same piece of wisdom I employ for confronting most of life’s problems: lower your standards. Let’s face it, fella, you are not going to get in good enough shape by spring to run a marathon. By July and beach vacation time, your abs will not be rock hard; you will, to be honest, be the same jovial, gelatinous mass you are now and the only six-pack on display will be the one you have placed in the cooler. This year you will not learn Urdu, line-dancing, or the mandolin. The kitchen will stay unrenovated and your grandchild will be riding a Harley by the time you have finished his rocking horse. (But you will have watched 250 amusing cat videos on YouTube.) So set goals you know you can reach. Say to yourself right now: “This year I will gain five pounds!” Sure, it will be tough but I’m betting you can do it. A judicious switch from Diet Coke to rich, full-bodied regular Coke adds nothing to your grocery bill and will pile on the calories. Instead of walking up that single flight of stairs to the office, take the elevator—think of the interesting people you will meet and imagine their remarks after you get off after such a short ride. Skip the salad course to save precious belly room for a second dessert.
By the end of the year you will have accomplished your goal. You can wear your new wardrobe with pride because by gaining weight you have made your old clothes available for donation to the poor and enriched Canada’s purveyors of tentsized cardigans. The same advice applies to household tasks. Make 2016 the year you don’t clean out the eaves troughs! Why risk your new, larger body on a rickety ladder when you can pay someone else to do it for you? Unemployment in this country is not going to solve itself, you know—a robust economy depends on unselfish citizens such as you sharing the wealth with the labouring class. Look about your home and yard for more ways to keep our blue-collar brethren busy. And those ballroom dances? No problem. There are single men in every church who have no girlfriends of their own but who would be delighted take your wife for a spin around the floor. Slip one of them a 20-dollar bill and explain to them the problem with your knee. Another splendid way to surmount the problem of New Year’s resolutions is to make them on behalf of other people. Say to yourself: “This year my pastor will give punchy sermons only 20 minutes long.” Wear a large watch to church and visibly refer to it while he speaks, shaking your head sadly when he goes over time. Say to yourself: “This year my neighbour will not let his grass grow disgracefully long” or “This year my Member of Parliament will speak only the truth” or “This year all teenagers will be respectful to their elders.” Keep a chart on how quickly these people break your resolutions and draw it to their attention. Imagine the fun you will have watching them all fail, knowing that, for once it’s not your fault. Have a great 2016.
Say to yourself right now: “This year I will gain five pounds!”
/ GERRY BOWLER is a historian and writer living in Winnipeg. His next book, on the 2,000 years of arguing about Christmas, will be published in 2016 by Oxford University Press.
JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2016 SEVEN 25
REACHING OUT, REPAIRING
GIVING STRAINED RELATIONSHIPS A CHANCE BY BILL FARREL
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FAULTS INTERRUPT FAMILY Mark barely recognized the slurred words that pounded his senses with waves of disappointment. As he drove to the bar to pick up his wife, he prayed through clenched teeth. I can’t believe this is happening. She said she was hanging out with our daughters, and this is the example she is going to set? Lord, what am I supposed to do with this? “Do you even want to be married?” he asked, desperately hoping for a positive answer. “Of course I do. I just want you to chill out and not be so intense.” What was already a bad situation for Mark only got worse. The stress of his marital troubles was too much for their youngest son, who turned to drugs in an attempt to numb the pain. The day of his arrest was the darkest day of his life, especially as his son blamed him in front of everyone in the house. He wished he hadn’t said it but the words came too quickly, “No son of mine would act like this or blame others for their bad choices.”
FUNDS INTERRUPT FRIENDSHIP Juwan couldn’t look Anthony in the eyes even though he used to be a mentor. During a particularly difficult season, Juwan borrowed money from Anthony but never paid him back. Even now he doesn’t have the money to make it right and wonders if there is any way to reconnect and make things right. Mark and Juwan’s journeys have unique elements but they are often common to situations most of us experience at some point in our lives.
CULTIVATING NEW BEGINNINGS Human relationships are fragile and complex. The possibility of being alienated from people we sincerely care about is high. When this happens, what can we do that has a reasonable chance of reuniting us?
AIM PRAYER AT THE HEART Relationships are a matter of the heart. As such, distance is seldom based on logic and reason. We isolate because we are hurt, disappointed, scared or just plain selfish. The bad news is “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure.” (Jeremiah 17:9) As a result, people often turn difficulties into dramatic reasons to either avoid or antagonize.
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remember any of those dates in my life. I will simply let them know that I love them and want to encourage them. It is easy to reach out to others when you anticipate they will reach back. It is an entirely different thing to “Do nothing out of selfish ambition… Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…” (Philippians 2:3-4)
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Fortunately, the heart can change quickly so relationships can be healed in relatively short periods of time. Paul made reference to this in Philippians 1:7, “ It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart…” When you have someone “in your heart” you give them the benefit of the doubt, believe the best about them and approach them “with the affection of Christ Jesus.” (v. 8) When you get disconnected at the level of the heart, you evaluate each other based on behavior which seldom turns out well because we all fail to live up to the expectations of others. Trying to “work things out” when hearts are hard is like trying to break up granite with cotton swabs. When hearts soften, however, almost any attempt to reconcile will be effective.
APPLY PERSISTENCE TO YOUR CHOICES As you can imagine, Mark was confused on what he should do. He didn’t want to ignore his family because he loves them. At the same time, he didn’t want to be the
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obnoxious, ever-lecturing, pleading husband/father who looked desperate to have their attention and affection. As he prayed, John 13:35 came to mind, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” He asked himself, In my situation, what does it mean to love my wife and my son? He concluded the following steps were the most appropriate for him: • I will tell my wife I love her on a daily basis (even when I don’t feel it). • I will do the things for my wife I would “normally” do if our marriage was going well. • I will tell my kids I believe in them whenever I get the opportunity (even if they are engaged in behaviors I don’t agree with). • I will send birthday, anniversary and holiday cards to my youngest son and his wife even though they say they don’t want to see me right now. I will not expect them to respond or to
Mark is a natural leader. In the workplace, he is used to making things happen and telling others what needs to be done. The fact that his wife and kids took over control of their relationships with him made him more than a little uncomfortable. He couldn’t do anything to reach them that they didn’t agree to. “Can we make an appointment to talk about how to improve our marriage?” Mark would rather take a stand with his wife and call her to accountability. His previous attempts to do so, however, created even more distance between them.
APOLOGIZE WITH HUMILITY When we have made mistakes, explanations will not produce solutions. Apologies, however, have the potential to open doors of reconciliation but only if they are clothed with humility. A sincere and humble apology will include the following steps: • Honestly admit what you did. • Sincerely admit it was wrong. • Humbly admit it is up to the other person’s discretion to forgive you. Juwan was embarrassed to approach Anthony because of the inevitable disappointment he would face. He desperately wanted to avoid seeing
the look in Anthony’s eyes but the pain of avoiding him was getting to be too much. “Anthony, I know it has been a while since we’ve talked. I have been embarrassed to see you because of the money I haven’t paid back. I am not in a position at the moment to pay it but I want to say I am sorry. It has been irresponsible on my part and I don’t know if you will ever be able to forgive me. I don’t know if it will make a difference but, I am sorry.” Anthony graciously accepted Juwan’s apology and even offered to begin meeting again leaving him to wonder why he waited so long.
SUDDEN SUCCESS For three years, Mark watched his family in decline. Conflict with his wife was the norm rather than the exception. His kids were angry with him and with each other. Pleading,
pushing, and prodding had only widened the gap between them all so he committed to pray for his family. Jesus, thank you for my family. My heart is broken over the way we interact. Can you please heal our hearts—beginning with mine. If there is anything in me that is causing these problems, please turn my heart. Please turn the hearts of my wife and kids toward you. I believe if that happens, we have a shot at rebuilding. Without warning, Mark’s wife approached him and said, “I would like us to join the small group at church with Mike and his wife.” Mark was stunned, “Are you sure?” “Yes, I am. I know you didn’t think I was interested but I want us to grow closer to God and closer to each other and I think this will be a good first step.” Having seen the change in his wife, he asked his trusted friends to discreetly join him in fervent prayer for his son. He is hoping movement
can be made with his youngest son this year.
STEPPING OUT IN FAITH There are, of course, no guarantees that our efforts to reconcile with others will be honoured. The decision to do nothing, however, is a heavy burden to carry. If you find yourself in a situation where important relationships are strained or separated, take a step this year. God will lighten the burden on your heart and may even begin to restore what has been broken.
/ BILL FARREL is a frequent speaker at Promise Keepers Canada events. He is also the author of The 10 Best Decisions a Man Can Make, Men Are Like Waffles— Women Are Like Spaghetti and the Her Best Friend app for husbands.
JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2016 SEVEN 29
THE SINGLE LIFE
A SINGLE NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION
IT’S ALWAYS BETTER WHEN WE DO IT TOGETHER BY PAUL H. BOGE
hat’s your record for keeping a New Year’s resolution? We all know the feeling. With the start of the new year comes the joy of turning over a new leaf, of starting fresh, of wiping the slate clean. A chance to do it right. When we look back at the past year we see good things that have happened. We may also see areas that need improvement. And what better time to make a change than New Year’s? Or is it? New Year’s can mark the start of reading through the Bible in a year, looking after ourselves better, being a better follower of Christ, or committing ourselves to accomplishing a task. All of this is fine. Depending on who is doing the work. It’s a God-given gift to recognize something is out of line in our lives or that God is calling us to something new. We sense conviction. We know
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action is required. The challenge comes when we decide it is up to us to fix it or make it happen. The more we grin and bear it—and the more we tell ourselves (and God) that we can do better next time—the more disappointed we can become when the situation doesn’t resolve. Perhaps there is a different approach. Perhaps the best way to keep a New Year’s resolution is to start by recognizing that we can’t do it. Jesus said: “Abide in me and I in you…For apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5 partial). The Apostle Paul said: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13). This attitude of surrender and trust puts the focus back on Christ working in us and through us. It gives us hope in who will be making the change. It seems counterintuitive at first. We think it is up to us. Yet Paul reminds us: “Therefore, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, walk in Him.” (Colossians 2:6). The power of Christianity is not in our ability. It is in our inability and His ability. Have we come to this conclusion? Have we admitted we can’t do it?
There is much victory in surrendering. After we have surrendered, and after we have trusted in Christ to accomplish His vision in our lives, there is at least one other key to successful resolutions. We live in an individualistic culture. There is temptation to want to achieve things in private. But there is great hope in genuine community. Jesus said: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:20). This is not to suggest that Christ is not with us when we are alone with Him in prayer. But it is a powerful witness of the strength of being together with other believers. There is something transformative about genuine community—about having face-to-face time with a man who will be honest with you, and with whom you can be honest. Do you have someone that you are willing to listen to—and do you have someone who is willing to listen to you? If not, maybe one New Year’s resolution is to ask God for a committed group of believers who are willing to honestly pursue Christ together with you. The secret to resolutions is not our resolve, but our ability to see that we can’t do it. To see that all things are possible with Christ. To see that with Christ working through an honest, trusted community of believers we can experience true resolution.
/ PAUL H. BOGE is single and lives in Winnipeg. He is an author, filmmaker and works as an engineer. You can reach him at Paul@paulboge.com.
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email@example.com JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2016 SEVEN 31
DOAN’S FAITH STILL STRONG AFTER 21 YEARS IN THE NHL
VETERAN STANDS TALL AS COYOTES’ CAPTAIN BY SCOTT TAYLOR
Having played his entire 20-year-career for the same team, NHL veteran Shane Doan has certainly seen his share of ups and downs. Through it all, it's his faith in God that has allowed him to keep a level head while serving as captain of the Coyotes franchise.
hane Doan has gone through a lot during his 20 years with the Winnipeg Jets/Arizona Coyotes franchise of the National Hockey League. And while most of it has been wonderful, there have also been some moments to forget. He was once called “anti-French” by former Liberal MP and current mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre, after a post-game incident in 2005. He sued Coderre for defamation and it was settled in 2010. In 2014, he caught Rocky Mountain spotted fever. In 2010, he made it to the playoffs
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for the first time in nine years and then missed the final four games of a seven-game series the Coyotes lost. Then there was that stretch in the late-2000s when it appeared as if the Coyotes, the only team with which Doan has ever played, were flat broke, losing money and about to move. For Doan, the seeming daily criticism of the Coyotes, the franchise for which he was captain, forced him to dig deep into a lifetime of faith. For Doan, who was originally drafted seventh overall by Winnipeg Jets (version 1.0) in 1995, the constant
criticism of the only hockey club for which he has ever played was both embarrassing and hurtful. “It just wasn’t right,” Doan once told me. “It was very, very disappointing to see the people I’d worked with and worked for, people that had been very good to me and my family, being called worthless, that the franchise was being referred to as worthless. I took it all personally. I was the captain. I felt like this was my team and those were my friends and I knew that we were better.” Doan is the type of guy who has
Photos by Norm Hall
always worn his heart and his faith on his sleeve and now, in the midst of his 21st season in the National Hockey League—all with the same organization—Doan has seen it all. At least, if he hasn’t seen it all, he’s seen most of it. And whenever times get rough, he just refers to Scripture. “Throughout my career, I often found myself recalling Romans 8:28: ‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose,’” Doan said. “There
were times, like during the terrible incident in Montreal, when I’ll admit, it’s hard to see the good. But I’ve never strayed from the Scripture’s guidance and I’ve always found that things will work themselves out.” No question about that. In fact, before the start of this season, Doan admitted that his entire career had been a blessing. “Every day I’m in the NHL is awesome, and I never really thought much more,” he said. “I thought if I got to play one game, I was going to be happy…I mean, obviously there’s been some ups and downs and I’m fairly competitive, ultra-competitive at times and get in trouble that way. But at the same time, I’ve been so blessed. I love playing and if I didn’t get to play anymore, I’d be really sad. But I’ve been blessed way more than what I’ve ever imagined.” Shane Doan is an interesting study. Now 39, he grew up in Halkirk, Alberta, where his grandfather and father operated the Circle Square Ranch, a child and youth ministry that is part of the Crossroads Family of Ministries. People have inaccurately described the 6-foot-1, 228-pound
Doan as “a born-again,” but that’s not really true. Christ has been part of Doan’s life since birth and there was never a time in which he lost, or gave up, his personal relationship with the Lord. Not in any sense of the word. In fact, almost from the day he was born, Doan was immersed in Bible study and he’ll be the first to admit that there has not been a moment in his life when the lessons learned living with Circle Square haven’t been a source of guidance and inspiration. It has helped get him through 21 years in the toughest—and best—hockey league in the world. “Circle Square is a huge part of my life,” Doan said. “From the time I was six months old, I was a part of the ranch. I grew up attending the campfires every week, sitting around, listening to some of the most compelling Christian speakers and ministers in the world. It has been a major part of my life and it and my family are still there, 39 years later.”
/ SCOTT TAYLOR is a Winnipeg-based sportswriter and broadcaster.
JANUARY / FEBRUARY 2016 SEVEN 33
TOYS / TOOLS / TECHNOLOGY COOL TOOLS FOR KEEPING WARM THIS WINTER BY SANDY MCMURRAY
Sometimes it seems like we’re living the future. Modern devices and apps make it possible to record video with a phone and share with friends and family right away. There’s no need to process, develop, or convert those video files. You can stream them online in real time while the event is happening. Way back in the 20th century, we used slide projectors to share photos, and we recorded video on film and VHS. Most families have a dusty box somewhere, stuffed full of old media. Wouldn’t it be great to recover and share some of those memories? Legacybox is ready when you are. Their restoration service turns old media into new. All you have to do is gather up the stuff you want to preserve and ship it. Legacybox converts your memories into modern digital files you can share and enjoy with friends and family. You get back all your original media plus a set of DVDs and digital copies you can share. Various packages are available starting at $75.
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Parachute Coffee is a subscription service that brings fresh roasted coffee beans to your mailbox every month. Parachute works with award-winning Canadian coffee roasters to offer you the finest beans the world has to offer. Your coffee is roasted, hand-packed and shipped all on the first Monday of each month. Free express shipping is included in the monthly subscription price. Subscriptions are month-to-month, so you can cancel at any time. But why would you? Parachute Coffee costs $25 per month.
USB EMERGENCY ID
In an emergency situation, when you’re injured or unconscious, first responders need to know some basic information. Do you have any medical conditions? Are you allergic to any drugs? Who are your emergency contacts? EPIC-id is a simple bracelet with a built-in flash drive to store your health and contact information. The red cross symbol lets others know that EPIC-id is a medical bracelet, so emergency personnel can quickly access your personal information, medical history, and insurance information. It requires no batteries, passwords, or Internet connection. Digital emergency forms come pre-loaded on EPIC-id, making it simple to input your personal medical information and make updates as often as necessary. There’s no software to download and no subscription fees. EPIC-id sells for about $40.
Touch screens are great, but some applications are just easier when you can type on a real keyboard. If you have a tablet or a phone that works with Bluetooth, check out Microsoft’s Universal Foldable Keyboard. It’s thin, it’s light, and it folds up for easy travel and storage. Like the name suggests, the Universal Foldable Keyboard is compatible with a wide variety of devices. You can pair with two mobile devices at once—any iPad, iPhone, Android device, Windows tablet, or Windows Phone—and switch instantly between them with a single touch. When you’re done, simply close it to turn it off and you’re ready to go. The Universal Foldable Keyboard sells for about $100.
PUNKT SIMPLE PHONE
What is the opposite of a smartphone? Maybe not a dumb phone, but something simpler. Consider the Swiss-made MP 01 phone from Punkt. This is a beautiful mobile phone designed exclusively for core phone functions: calling and texting. With no status updates, notifications or multiple alerts, the Punkt phone focuses on the things that matter. The MP 01 has a simple text-based interface with no animations or colours to distract you. The physical keyboard has dedicated shortcuts for common tasks. Punkt offers excellent audio and long battery life as well as distraction-free hours of time when you will forget about your phone because you’re not calling or texting. The Punkt MP 01 sells for about $300.
SOUP AND SANDWICH TRAY
No one actually needs a soup and sandwich tray. I get that. You can eat soup from any bowl, and you can put your sandwich on any plate. But come on. Take a good look at that bowl of piping hot tomato soup, and the buttery grilled cheese sandwich next to it. There’s something childlike and wonderful about this silly serving tray. Somehow you know your soup and sandwich will taste better. Canadian winters are long, and we need all the warmth we can get. What kind of meal do you want to greet you when you come in from the cold? It’s your call. The Soup and Sandwich Tray Duo sells for about $40.
INDOOR SNOWBALL FIGHT
In the dead of winter it’s hard to imagine a time when you will wish for snow. But it will happen, and when it does, will you be ready? Snowball Anytime makes a set of warm and fuzzy fake snowballs designed for indoor snowball fights. Each three inch snowball is soft enough to ensure the safety of small children and most furniture, but firm enough to hit your opponent with a satisfying smack. When they get dirty, you can just toss them in the washing machine. If you want to go all out, Snowball Anytime also sells inflatable forts and hand-held shields to take your snowball fight to the next level. Think happy thoughts of the warm summer months ahead then stock up for a future indoor snowball fight. Snowball Anytime packs start at about $40.
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TOYOTA TONKA 4RUNNER
Toyota describes the Tonka 4Runner SUV as “the ultimate off-road adventure.” This life-sized toy is the product of a partnership between Toyota and Funrise Toy Corporation, manufacturer of Tonka toys for Hasbro. From the ten-inch lift kit on the bottom to the pop-up tent on the top, the Tonka 4Runner is a Big Kid’s driving dream. Bright yellow wheels by Ultra Motorsports are wrapped in chunky Baja MTZ off-road tires by Mickey Thompson. Bulletproof Suspension designed the lift kit, the welded bumpers, roof rack, side steps and ladders. Alas, the Toyota Tonka 4Runner is a concept vehicle, and is not for sale. But we can dream, can’t we?
/ SANDY MCMURRAY writes about games, toys, and gadgets at funspot.ca.
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The holidays have come and gone. Now, it’s time to start things on the right foot. As a new year begins, perhaps this can be the season wher...
Published on Jan 6, 2016
The holidays have come and gone. Now, it’s time to start things on the right foot. As a new year begins, perhaps this can be the season wher...