Listening at Ball’s Falls

img_5093A couple weeks ago, I took the better part of a day simply to pray. Rather than bringing my lists of questions and requests to God, I realized that I needed to take a posture of listening. So I drove out to Ball’s Falls Conservation Area for the morning. I figured withdrawing to a quiet place that I’ve not been to before would heighten my attention.

Over the years, I have recognized that I tend to listen well to the Spirit when I am out in the woods. It’s something I’ve learned by practice and by theology. The Belgic Confession Article 2 starts with: Continue reading

Is the Gospel Transforming Us?

img_4820Note: This post is adapted from an email I sent this summer to the elders (one of the leadership teams) in my church.

One of the things that I have been thinking and reading about this summer is leadership development. Typically, the idea of leadership development has focused on how do we train new leaders to function well and make good decisions in an organization. While understanding systems and structures is important, there is another aspect of leadership development that I believe is even more critical: character formation.  Continue reading

In August?!

img_4772Getting sick on vacation is bad enough. During university (20+ years ago), I was notorious for getting sick every Christmas break. Within 24 hours of finishing my last exam and making my way home, I’d come down with something. I’d end up sleeping ridiculous
amounts of time, trying to fight whatever chest cold or flu bug that had attached itself to me.

This year, however, in the midst of an incredibly relaxing summer, I somehow came down with pneumonia. In August. While on vacation. The most common question, besides “are you feeling any better?” has been “how in the world did you get pneumonia in August?!”

I’m not sure I’ll ever figure that one out. But through this experience, I’ve had three unexpected reactions that have held my attention.   Continue reading


I find myself working through the new normals of a major transition this spring.

In May 2003 as I finished my master of divinity degree at Calvin Seminary, Hennie and I started talking about the potential of me pursuing a doctorate. In 2005, I started a second and more research-focused master degree, timidly wading into the academic waters again to see if we were up to the more rigorous demands of a doctorate. Then in 2009, we said yes and I immersed myself in the Doctor of Theology program at Wycliffe College. I defended my thesis earlier this year and formally graduated last month, concluding a 13 year conversation and constant reality in our home. Continue reading

Yeah – What Michael Said.

TC-SETR-Web-Temp-image-v1_1-300x200At the end of February, I had the privilege of participating in the TrueCity Conference here in Hamilton, ON. This annual conference gathers Christians from across the city for worship, encouragement, and learning. I find this gathering to be one of the more enriching experiences during the year because we are able to experience and celebrate the unity of Christ’s body together as sisters and brothers in Jesus Christ.  Continue reading

Discovering Our History

IMG_0537Though the threads of racial reconciliation are intricately woven throughout the fabric of the Christian gospel, Christian churches in North America have frequently been marred by efforts to separate and tear apart the unity of God’s people along racial lines.  Among other aspects, I am often troubled by the lack of awareness that persists regarding both the biblical vision for reconciliation and the complicity of Caucasian Christians in the history of racism within the North American context. I am thankful, therefore, to see two related efforts unfolding within my denomination (CRCNA) that seek to contextualize our history in relationship to a broader North American story between European settlers and Indigenous persons. This path of reconciliation is one we need to walk together. Continue reading

“Show ‘Em the Ropes”

TC-SETR-Web-Temp-image-v1_1-300x200One of the more joyful aspects of pastoring here in Hamilton, ON is the opportunity to collaborate with many other pastors and ministries in serving the city together. Our church has been partnering with others in a movement called, TrueCity Hamilton, for more than a decade now. As a movement, TrueCity churches work together for the good of the city through mission and training opportunities. Continue reading

“A Rage to Suppress Chaos”

IMG_1278 - CopyYesterday marked a full month since I submitted my doctoral thesis project. In the past 30+ days, I have caught up on sleep, spent lots of time simply hanging out as a family, played lots of board games, watched all seven Star Wars movies, gone on a couple hikes, and started on my stack of post-dissertation leisurely reading. It’s been a delightful space to be in. Soon, I’ll need to give attention to preparing for my defense (later this spring), but for now, the space to breathe and play has been good. Continue reading