Tuesday, September 30, 2008

You are SO DEAD… SO VERY DEAD...

Not everyone gets the opportunity that I have now. I feel like I am 9 years old. I am scared stiff, I am excited to the max and filled with wonder. My heart has been beating faster – I am not sure I can do it and yet I know I can.

That all happened yesterday. I was riding my bicycle to school again with my backpack filled with note books. Just the way I did in 1953…talk about a flash back…whoa! Comical as it is to look on from the side line, I am a Grandpa with white hair and many wrinkles. The little boy of 9 in 1953 looked a little bit like this old geezer on his bike…

If you have followed my journey that started on this Blog 100 postings ago you may remember that I was laid off from the Church that I pastored for 10 years. It was in my last year of work before the retirement day in April 2009. I entered the new world of Employment Insurance or “E.I.” (In Canada we have a positive spin on what we call being unemployed and we give the person on E.I. 40% of what they made in their job…up to a certain amount.) There have been some huge adjustments to say the least.

As I entered the “days of nothingness” immediately following the last day on the job – I had no idea what might come next. But God, who really is my boss, was there all the time. I met new people that helped me (– not church people –). They listened and they talked to me. They offered great advice. One thing led to another and before I knew it I was applying for help from the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities – the MTCU in Ontario. Through a local community college they offer the O.S.E.B. program (Ontario Self Employed Benefits).

Yesterday was my first day to attend school again. For 4 weeks I will be sitting in a class of 5 with a new instructor studying how to start a business. Then for 36 weeks we will track together my progress as the new business takes roots in my world and the world of others. I am a Wood Carver and am expecting great things. These are some things I always have dreamed of doing – going back to school and carving wood.

After one day I had 4 pieces of homework which took all afternoon to get done. I can’t wait to show my homework this morning.

For the fun of it I felt like poking the guy next to me in class for that one further flash back… but he is bigger than me… which isn’t all that different from the way it was in 1953. Too funny… too very funny!

The practical part of this new routine is to ride my bike to school. It is cheaper by more than $10 per day – parking and gas costs. But today with it raining, “Mom” has to drive me to school… I mean my wife will have to drive me to school. Flash back again – double whoa!! But in 1953 we didn’t have a family car yet and I walked rain or shine, blizzard or no blizzard, up hill and down hill all the way…yadda…yadda!

Starting out…
When you start a business – what do you do? Well you write a Business Plan… and what you write is very important – it becomes your guide or measuring stick to see if you are making any money along the way.

Homework? Yep – Yesterday I wrote a Summary of what my New Company is all about (the one that doesn’t exist yet). This Summary is going to be given to an imaginary Financial Institution to get the start up capital that I need to do the work that I will be doing.

Guess what the hardest part has been? The answer is “What will I call my business?” Thirty five names later I arrived at an idea… which may or may not work. Today it may or may not get shot down by my new teacher… or be scorned by my fellow students…or worse yet reacted to potential customers with…”What did you say?”

It actually was comical when I landed on “Bucky Beaver Carvings”. Bucky Beaver was a strange little cartoon character that helped sell “Ipana” toothpaste to a silly little jingle…. Even on YouTube today it is silly.

Naw Buck Beaver won’t work… Another wood carver locally has started his business as “Woodchuck Charlie”. So “Bucky” could be his friend…. No…? you don’t think it is a good idea either hmmmm…?

Yikes… there goes that feeling again…. I am scared stiff, I am excited to the max and filled with wonder. My heart has been beating faster – I am not sure I can do it and yet I know I can.

“If this doesn’t work – you are SO DEAD… SO VERY DEAD… Hokey Mokey – what did I get myself into?”

God is still the boss. He must have a reason… God… GOD…. GOOOOOD where are you…. I need an idea fast!

~ Murray Lincoln ~
PS- Going Fishin' today was a possibility when the ideas are thin.... Whoa - what a flash back!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Observations of The Final Resting Place

Three funerals in four days is a lot. As a Minister, I am in the graveyard many times. I spend time with families as they deal with the final separation from their loved ones. It comes with the occupation.

This week however it has been a bit more than usual. It just happened that way.

There have been some changes over these many years of graveside attendance that I have collected in my years of ministry. I posted some of the unusual already – i.e. the W.A. White gravestone in Lindsay, Ontario – September 18, 2008.

The one change began about 50 years ago. It was subtle but radical in a serious way. There was a great shift in society as far as “faith and knowledge” was concerned. People changed the order of placing their relative in the ground. Up to that time all Christians in the western world buried their loved ones facing East. The head of the grave was always on the west end of the grave – the foot on the east end.

In the early days of cemetery planning everyone knew that when Christ returns he would come like the Lightening(see reference below) – coming from the East and flashes to the West. If you are facing east you will be the first to see Him come. This belief was so strong that it over powered any possible aesthetics that might make more sense. Everyone in their final resting place faced east… and when they sat up suddenly they would be facing east.

There are some exceptions however, Joseph Scriven’s grave faces West. See my post of July 7, 2008 – which is odd being that he wrote the words to “What a Friend We have in Jesus” and when he died everyone else was buried facing East – including all the people that he was buried with in the small graveyard they shared with him. There may have not been more “room in the bed’ for him to face East.

50 years ago we either lost our general faith in being the first to see Jesus from our graves – or the beauty of the graveyard placement took over. The better use of the graveyard property for beauty and grounds management may have been the reason. It was all about the business of Funeral Industries.

More than 50 years ago people stopped having Crosses placed on their tombstones. The Cross up to that time was a central part of the Faith. This was no more so than in a Catholic Graveyard.

In a Catholic Graveyard near our home it is fascinating to walk through. At the east side of the Graveyard the stones are the oldest and the biggest – all with large crosses on top. Prominence and position with everybody facing East. The ones at the actual East end of the Graveyard potentially would be first to see what was going on with Christ’s return. The graves at the West end are newer, no crosses and smaller but still facing East.

In certain areas of the country - rural graveyards have another interesting aspect. The odd time there is a grave with a marker outside the graveyard…on the other side of the fence. And there may well be many graves there without markers.

When I first saw this it seemed to me that someone had made a mistake placing the fence. After some questioning I discovered that there was no mistake. The person buried there had disgraced his church and family by committing suicide. That shocking revelation proved the power of the local minister over his congregants at that time. This attempt to show the live congregants the eventual result of suicide and make it a deterrent may have failed completely – because there was more than one grave outside the fence.

However this was not always the case as a friend explained to me when I questioned him about that graveyard. Other people had children and loved ones die this way but paid big money to “someone”… and the person was included inside the fence – but not near their family… rather up against the fence on the outer edge.

Now we have another transformation taking place in the actual mini service order at the graveside itself. One of two things is happening. You now either take a flower form the large bouquet on top of the Casket – as a souvenir… or… You place another flower on top of the Casket out of your deep respect. Following that you can stand and visit at the graveside – for quite and while. Less and less people are rushing away – unless of course the weather is cold or wet.

Over these years I have witnessed some changes yet some things stay the same. I have watched the angry family finally make up over the grave. I have watched
families part with even greater resolve to never speak again. And the best part… I have watched the most wonderful joy spill out to each other at that moment of deepest grief.

A While Ago….are you ready for this…
I am not sure why I did it…but I did. My wife and daughters were with me along with another friend. I just had to do it… This story will likely be told on my final day…

We were walking near a graveyard in Hong Kong. There was a fresh grave dug not far from the place we were walking by.

To help you understand the background to this story, in Hong Kong, the space for burial is at a premium. Graves are used again and again. After about 7 years the body of your loved one is exhumed from the grave, bones are cleaned and placed carefully in a large Bone bottle. Notification is given to the family that their loved one can be moved.

This fresh grave we saw that day was ready for the next person to arrive in about an hour.

Quickly without any to do….I hopped in and laid down…looking up. It was amazing for a few minutes to sense the stillness and pause in my busy life. So this is what it is all about? This “Rest in Peace” is real. I was at that moment completely still and completely at rest. What a feeling!

If you have just picked yourself up off the floor now… I apologize. I didn’t really mean to shock you with that last revelation. But someone had to go down there and come back and tell you… didn’t they? I mean who else would do that just for you? Would you have done that? NO! So I did it for you…! Hey – It is pretty cool! Evidence of my trip is shown below….

Hey – have a wonderful week.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Sources… on Jesus’ return….
Therefore if they say to you, "Look, He is in the desert!” do not go out; or "Look, He is in the inner rooms!” do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Matthew, 24: 26-27)

The View from My Last Resting place….

Reader Inspired suggestion... the following photo was sent to me as a further thought...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

YESTERDAY, TODAY and TOMORROW

Here are 213 powerful words that I discovered YESTERDAY in a quiet graveyard of south Scarborough. There under a beautiful Maple tree was a brass plaque that was placed by Percy and Nancy Harris…

These words are settling into my life TODAY. They are also starting to infiltrate areas of my life that will come up TOMORROW.

The plaque itself is mounted to a fair sized granite stone and sits quietly for the next person that it will stop and rearrange their life.

Consider these 213 words below…

There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept from fear and apprehension.

One of these is YESTERDAY with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. YESTERDAY is passed forever beyond our control.

All the money in the world cannot bring back YESTERDAY. We cannot undo a single act that we performed: we cannot erase a single word we said. YESTERDAY is gone.

The other day we should not worry about is TOMORROW with its possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise and poor performance. TOMORROW is beyond our immediate control.

TOMORROW’S sun will rise, either in splendor or beyond a mask of clouds-but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in TOMORROW, for it is yet unborn.

That leaves only one day – TODAY – Any man can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities – YESTERDAY and TOMORROW that we break down.

It is not the experience of TODAY that drives men mad – it is the remorse or bitterness for something that happened YESTERDAY and the dread of what TOMORROW may bring.

Let us, therefore, live but one day at a time.
~ Percy and Nancy Harris ~

Not far from this spot are some graves that are very important in our family. One of these graves I stood over yesterday.

I brought my grandsons, Jonathan, Thomas, Michael and Christopher over to look at their other Grandpa’s grave marker. William Rourke – 1936 – 1966 is engraved on the brass plaque. One of the boys reached down and brushed the grass cuttings from the face of the plaque. Together they looked intently at their family name on the marker in front of them.

Their other Grandpa was only 30 years old when he died in an airplane accident in the mountains of British Columbia, Their Grandma had been 5 months pregnant with their son Bill – who is their dad.

Bill and Lois Rourke were a young couple their whole life was before them. He was a rising star as a Pastor and Evangelist across Canada. She was a radiant young mom-to-be who was also an accomplished musician. Suddenly on that fateful day – William Rourke II and his friend, another pastor, died alone on that mountain side in a remote valley outside of the Prince George area. His young wife was widowed.

It is a long story that is now 42 years old. Lois moved to New Jersey to live with her mom and dad. Then when her parents retired they came to live with Lois for the rest of their lives. She supported them all these years – until this past week when her mom passed away at 101 years old.

Lois is one amazing lady that has become for me the ultimate example of someone that lives in her TODAY. She discovered the 213 words before they were placed on the plaque not far from her husband’s grave.

YESTERDAY was Lois’ Fifth Time to stand at this graveside in 42 years. She has left her TOMORROWs in God’s hands. Almost two years ago now she announced her plans to marry Manne Idestrom – a widower – that marriage took place on the last day of 2007. YESTERDAY she stood hand in hand with her husband and son Bill (My son-in-law that I am very proud of…!)

I have to stop this post… it may become a Love Story and a great Canadian novel. But that is what every great novel is made up of…isn’t it… a whole lot of wonderful TODAYs strung closely together with love.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Saturday, September 27, 2008

“This is a Perfect Day!"

“This is a Perfect Day! I am so …!” Then he stopped and struggle for more words. He asked, “What is a better word for what I feel?”

I replied, “Happy…?”

He said, “Yah, Happy is perfect for what I feel.”

Rej struggles with his words now. At times it is worse than other times. There is a brain tumor growing in his head now. It has covered and infiltrated most of the right side of his brain – so his left side is paralyzed. His left leg still supports him but his arm will not function any longer. His speech is slow but he can communicate.

Rej shares a love with me. We carve wood together. Recently he completed his very first wood carving. His son had cartooned a snake and Rej carved it for him.

Yesterday Rej and I took his carving and some of mine to Bobcaygeon, Ontario to place them in the Kawartha Wood Carving Show. For me it was a nice drive to a great activity. For Rej it was more. It was his first drive in the country after about four years of going no where.

You see Rej has been in prison for a few years. Since coming out he has not traveled anywhere. The daily routine of maintaining his life has been about all he can do. Each afternoon he lays down to rest. The stuff going on inside of him really makes it hard to do much.

Arriving at the Wood Carving Show it was necessary to climb the stairs – about 15 of them to get to the second story of a large community center. We couldn’t find an elevator to make it up there. So the stairs were his biggest challenge of the week. But he wanted to see the carvings so badly he would tackle anything. Later on the ride home he was exhausted just from the stair climbing up and down.

You see… Rej must be thinking very carefully on every step as to how he will shift his weight and then move his good leg to the next step up or down…while feeling nothing with the other side. His good arm clutches the walking stick that he has clipped to his forearm.

As we came from the Carving Show and drove slowly along the street he sighed deeply again, “I am so happy… this is the best day of my life.” Then he exclaimed, “Look at that! That is wonderful – so beautiful.”

Ahead of us was a sunset over the water way in Bobcaygeon(photo above). It was a colour display like no other I had ever witnessed. Each of them seems better than the last however. But in front of us was perhaps the best we have witnessed for a while. This was especially true for Rej. In prison you never see a sunset. You are in your cell by 8 PM and you miss all of them for as many days as you are living there. For Rej that has been a while.

This morning as I reflect on what took place for us last evening… I am sure that God gave Rej and me that special gift together. I took photos that captured some of what we saw. Together we had savored the beauty in front of us. It was one very special moment.

Rej asked, “Do you think we can stop for coffee at Tim Hortons? I am buying.” Then he grinned. “This has been a wonderful day and coffee together would make it even better.”

I have taken so much for granted… so very much. What passes me by quickly – or what I pass by quickly is a treasure for Rej…in fact every moment of every day is a treasure to Rej.

Last evening Rej’s parting comment was, “I can’t wait to see if I win a Ribbon…”

Today I am out to find more treasure as we say Good Bye to a 101 year old “Grand Old Lady of the Church”, Wenonah Barnes. Then I will travel to see our treasured wood carvings…and maybe pick up a Ribbon for Rej…maybe…?

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Friday, September 26, 2008

Legacy

“How will we make it? We have nothing to lose now. It is all gone…”

As money evaporated with the market problems everyone was more than a little worried what would happen. How would they go on? Even people without great Stock Portfolios wondered what would happen.

My parents were both in their early childhood when 1929 – on Black Tuesday – October 28 & 29th. My mom was 8 years old then. Dad was about 12 years old. They went through the transition from the Roaring Twenties to the Dirty Thirties – and survived successfully.

How could that be? The answer is simple I believe. There was treasure buried within the family. The treasure was not something you could put you fingers on – like gold or silver or even cash. It was treasure that came from your ability to do something with your life or hands.

I have stated this before… “Don’t be afraid to learn something new.” It was my Dad’s special survival technique – his ‘mantra’. He was able to move through life with an ability to adapt to whatever was thrown his way.

In Saskatchewan, World War II was thrust into his early working dreams and changed everything for him. His first real jobs began as a farm hand working for others at pay that would be a pittance. Then opportunity came to join the war effort and he began work in a factory making large guns as a lathe operator/machinist.

With the end of the W.W. II he began a job in a small community in the town garage. It would begin his journey toward being a journeyman mechanic. In that job he would also do the machine shop work operating a lathe doing various jobs.

Later through another opportunity opening in front of him, he would be hired at the new and growing Government Garage – that worked on the large fleet of Government Vehicles that fanned out across the Province of Saskatchewan.

In a shift of moods within the Province, the political elements changed. In his mid fifties he would lose his job as mechanic at the Government Garage. The newly elected Liberal Government shut the whole thing down and sent all Government vehicles to Liberal Supporter’s garages.

Dad lived his mantra again and found a new job as a Machinist with a place called Brandt Electric and then the very large Stelco – a prairie steel company. His job was to operate huge lathes that machined the fine rollers for rolling steel sheets.

The look in his eyes as he described his new job was amazing. There was new fire as he learned a new craft of huge machines. He wrote his papers for and qualified for a Journeyman Machinist in this job. Amazing for a man his age.

All the while he built The Lincoln Motor repair business that he was so well known for over many years.

Time went on and a new position opened at the Provincial Jail in Regina. It was not a glamorous position in my mind. He was to be the maintenance man for the whole place. His description was simple, “When a toilet is broken, I fix it. When a jail cell lock doesn’t work I fix it. When the sewage holding tank needs cleaning I clean it.”

I looked at him as if he was crazy. Why would he take that kind of ‘demotion’ in all appearance? Especially when he had achieved his writing of his qualification papers as a Machinist now. Why leave these jobs for this Government Job as Super Janitor? It didn’t make sense at all!

His work with the men inside 0f the jail, the offenders was amazing. Everyone saw his ability to work with the men. Even the dirtiest job like cleaning the putrid sewage holding tanks had men volunteering to work with him. He had built a good relationship with the different guys that he had work for him. The management “saw his ability” and suggested that he apply for another position within the Jail – the Welding Shop Instructor.

Over the years Dad had learned welding as early as the old garages on the farm had existed. He had operated the blacksmithing part of any early garage on the prairies with the Forge and Anvil. His step up to the acetylene tanks and torches had happened years ago. So the new offer was not that hard to accept.

A man that had not yet completed his High School Diploma let alone college of any sort was now the Welding Instructor.

Under the amazing leadership of his Staff Supervisor he not only received his qualifications a Journeyman Welder he also completed his High School equivalency and graduated from High School at around 58 years old. They then offered him the opportunity to go on to University to study more. But that never happened – he planned to retire at 60 years old.

If I sound like I am bragging on my Pop – you bet I am. He was amazing.

Yesterday I re-discovered something that I already knew. Kind of funny actually when I think of it. My Dad was very creative. In 1957 he bought his first good camera. It was a Zeis Ikon, 35 mm camera.

I have been looking through the 1000s of slides that he took. I have also been trying to scan some on to the computer hard drive of my kids and grandkids. Ity is amazing what he did with his small camera.

There is the small boxes of slides is our entire family treasure – hundreds of photos of early times that are forgotten. People that are now long gone – were captured for their children to see… on small 35 mm slides. What a legacy to discover.

I am blessed to witness this long gone treasure again. These old home slide shows that once bored us to death now are soon to be new DVDs for the Lincoln and Kirkpatrick Clans to see.

As I sat there pondering yesterday this treasure that I have found in some old boxes I was amazed again.

This is all made possible because of my radical change of jobs in my late life and career… 90 some days ago.

It is appropriate that it should happen yesterday. Today I sign my new contract with the Ontario Department of Colleges as a newly minted Self Employed Benefits Program particpant. I am going back to school at 64 years and 5 months old.

I checked in the mirror this morning and there is something special happening – I have a twinkle in my eye – just like my Dad did. It is really there and I have never felt more alive than NOW.

Finally – here is photo from one of the slides that made me giggle when it popped up on the computer screen… or so many memories… so very many.
Believe it or not… this is Murray, Glen, Pat and young Karen – about a million years ago. Oh Boy!

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Brian Sinclair, 45 – PART TWO – This Should Never Have Happened

Following my earlier post about Brian Sinclair… one of the readers wrote the following response. It certainly brought memories for this one as well.

This person is from Peterborough and the PRHC is their hospital.

I can relate to today's Blog. On one of my recent trips to the ER of our new hospital. My daughter and I waited in the waiting room for many hours after reporting to the triage desk. Several times my daughter went to the triage desk to see if we had missed hearing my name called. This was certainly possible because, with that many people waiting, there is usually a high volume of conversation noise, and sometimes you find yourself engaged in conversation with someone else.

After many hours of waiting, and many trips to the washroom to relieve myself of the bladder pressure and the mostly blood that my bladder was complaining about, one of the nurses called out a list of names, and just before leading this group in to the examining area, she looked at me and asked my name. She then riffed through the pages on her clipboard and said, "You must nave not heard your name called; you were called hours ago. Come now with this group." When I got into the examining room, I explained to the nurse there that I was told that I had missed hearing my name called. She replied, "Your name was never called. They misplaced your file in the triage unit."

I could just as easily have died in the ER waiting room, as did the poor man in Winnipeg, had my condition been as grave as his.

On another occasion I was told by my urologist, when my daughter phoned him to report that I still had severe bleeding after being allowed to return home an hour or so after having had a cystoscopic bladder examination, to go up to Emerge and to phone him as soon as we arrived. She did, and he said "just tell the triage nurse that I'm expecting you and I will meet you in the examination area now." We told the triage nurse what he had said, and she said, "That makes absolutely no difference! There are at least 45 people waiting ahead of you, and you won't be going anywhere until every one of them goes in." So we waited “x” number of hours before we finally gained entrance to the examination area. I guess I would have to say that I'm not all that impressed with our new PRHC as far as its Emergency Room procedures are concerned.

Anyway, that's my rant for today. :-)

Have a great day.
Yous truly...
~ "Been There Done That" ~

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Sources…
http://winnipeg.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20080923/wpg_brian_sinclair_erdeath_092308/20080923/?hub=WinnipegHome

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080924.whomeless0924/BNStory/National/home?cid=al_gam_mostview

Brian Sinclair, 45 – This Should Never Have Happened

The time seemed to drag by as we sat in emergency waiting for our turn to be next… for the wonderful moment when the nurse would come and get you. I was in pain and needed help – that’s why we came to this place entitled “Emergency”.

Lest you think that this just happened – it didn’t. I’m okay and haven’t had to go through this for over a year. But it is my example to begin this post.

In Peterborough Regional Health Centre, our hospital, the new Emergency has a special name. It is the “Dembrowski Emergency Access Department” – named in honour of a financial donor. From the outside it is amazing to see the large letters above the door. But at a second look you see “D.E.A.D”.

No where would that be a more appropriate naming than in Winnipeg.

Brian Sinclair was 45 years old and had lived in Winnipeg along time. No where in his wildest dreams would he have ever thought that he would be famous one day. If someone would have told him that the Premier of the Province of Manitoba would be speaking about him – he wouldn’t have believed it. Brian had been by the big building where the Golden Boy stands on top, where the government meets to make huge decisions about people like himself – but that world was so very far from his world. No one really cares about him over there!

Brian had been living “on the street” in a wheel chair. He had been in regular contact with Main Street Project Mission, where he likely was getting food and some shelter on bad days. His friends and some relatives were there as well. He was fairly well known in his small circle.

Brian had a problem that was very serious. Last March he had been in the hospital for the very same problem – but now it was back again and even worse this time. The problem was with his bladder. He had a catheter and with that came the problem of infection. But this time it was much worse. The pain had to be unbearable.

Even he knew it was serious when he had not been able to urinate for over 24 hours. So he caught a taxi to the Winnipeg Regional Health Centre – the WRHC. As he was unloaded from the cab into his wheel chair that was the last help that he would ever get.

34 hours later a Hospital Emergency worker finally forced themselves (or were forced to by a concerned fellow patient) to check this chronic complainer. Sinclair had been back many times to the Emergency Room – everyone knew that! And guess what he or she found? Manitoba's chief medical examiner describes it best…

“Dr. Thambirajah Balachandra said Brian Sinclair, 45, hadn't been able to urinate for 24 hours because of a blocked catheter and his bladder was full. He had been dead for hours and rigour mortis had set in when finally attended to.”

From all that I can discern from the articles posted about Brian, he was Aboriginal – a First Nation person that lived on the street. He was also a double amputee that had lost both his legs dew to frostbite while living on the streets of Winnipeg.

Sure he was well known at that Hospital. Sure he had been there before and he may well have snuck into the Emerge to sleep in a warm place. And with the loss of his legs, perhaps poor diet and lack of cleanliness that comes from sleeping on the street, always sitting in your own same clothing for long periods of time – you are not the best representative of the human race.

Now try this. With the catheter in place and then let go from the hospital – Brian is given instructions as to how “you can do this yourself – at home”. No problem – right? “Now Brian this is important that you clean the tubing and then insert this in carefully to be able to drain the urine out. If you have problems maybe someone where you live will help you. If you really are having problems a Home Care worker will assists you. You need to call to have that care come to your home. Make arrangements and be sure that you get on their list of care.”

Home for Brian was pretty much wherever the wheel chair rolled to… the awning up the street to cover him from the rain…to a warm air vent. Perhaps even the shelter would have a bed if he got there early enough. But they have rules that you cannot get in until 4 PM and it is first come first served. He was usually lucky enough to get food there – but beds were full – other than the mat on the floor.

BUT Murray – were you there to see all that happen? Nope. I watch it happen in our city. First come, First Served is everywhere in our community. If you snooze you lose. And if you are in a wheel chair you will not get to the front of the line of hurting people.

Now if you have ever undergone the catheterizing you will know that there is some discomfort. And if they tell you to go home and do it yourself – even after the top teacher in the world telling you how easy it is – your hands will shake as you penetrate your own body.

Nope. I have never done that (yet). But someone close to me had to and the results were infection. And this person was in a perfectly clean environment. Brian Sinclair wasn’t.

The sad part was the comment by the director of the Main Street Project Mission. His name is Brian Bechtel.
“The shelter will soon have a nurse on-site which was a recommendation that came out of an inquest several years ago. Mr. Sinclair's death may at least highlight the need to bring health care to the homeless directly rather than assuming they will seek help on their own”, Mr. Bechtel said.

Who cares? That’s the main reason that I write this story today – is to ask – WHO CARES?

God does. That is one comfort that I have when thinking of Brian. But my concern is for me and my family in MY COMMUNITY. And in our case with the Brand New PRHC with its new facility it is better than before.

But I still have a little concern with the name D.E.A.D being hooked up with the area that I am rushed into for emergency help. Then when I check out the PRHC’s web site and they clearly warn you that the FAST TRACK for Emergency help is open from 8 AM to 12 MIDNIGHT… there are 8 hours there that it isn’t really good to get sick…

Brian Sinclair, though you cannot hear or see what is going on right now – I remember you and will think of you often this week.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Sources…
http://winnipeg.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20080923/wpg_brian_sinclair_erdeath_092308/20080923/?hub=WinnipegHome

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080924.whomeless0924/BNStory/National/home?cid=al_gam_mostview

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Faith in Faith vs Faith In God

Woodrow Kroll wrote…
“An old friend used to tell me, "You know, if you just have faith, that's all that matters."

It was one of the most misleading tidbits of spiritual advice anyone could ever dish out. Sadly, it's a false hope millions of people cling to.
Why is it false?

It is not true because faith has no meaning unless it rests upon something or someone. Faith requires an object. You cannot simply "believe." You must believe something. You cannot merely trust. You must trust some object, some philosophy, some fact, yourself or some other person.

It follows, then, that the "something" you believe or the "someone" you trust is of supreme importance. If you have faith in a fraud, a religion, material wealth or an untrustworthy person, you'll suffer the consequences of your badly placed faith. My friend was naively saying, "Just have faith in your faith." What a costly illusion!”

Watching…
In the last few weeks we have watched as the markets have tumbled and people’s life savings dropped like a stone tossed in the lake. From a substantial investment portfolio to zippo in a heart beat. They have little now but the last letter from their investment advisors. What they had poured a lifetime of energy into was evaporated in days and even hours.

People that had fairly large bank accounts with large sums of money wondered if they would get any out – if their bank buckled under the strain. They also wondered at how long the cash in the bank would get them through the next part of their life.

For one writer/commentator to speak about this as being similar to the 1929 Crash in the Markets – was frightening. I remember the black and white documentary films of men jumping from windows on Wall Street in New York. (Photo of Crowds outside NY Stock Exchange 1929)

One recent report of one very wealthy man losing $6.3 Million in one day’s drop is supposed to be real. There are likely hundreds of reports that were never given.

For the US Government to react the way that they have tells you more about what is going on than anything else. They are on the brink of some very nasty stuff.

President George Bush was grave looking in his sidewalk speech/announcements outside The Whitehouse. I felt for this man in this powerful position speaking without any power at all. I wondered how much he personally has lost financially – just before he exits his job.

Some of the articles that I have read put the costs of the War in Iraq at $2 Trillion in 2006. And they were spending over $200 Million per day since that time.

It has to be that our American neighbours to the south are in deep trouble.

Their faith has been in Military Might for one and the power of their dollar backed by the mighty investments that they have. Their faith has been in their Government and this is shown as the Government steps up to bail them out of the Financial Crisis now. For many they still maintain they "Just have faith in my faith."

As I read over the series of events that precipitated the Stock market Crash in October 1929 – it has so many likenesses to what is happening now(read link below).

In 1929, in Southern Saskatchewan, my grandfather and grandmother had a one year old baby and with her four older siblings. They worked hard and made a living. The tremendous impact of Wall Street would not affect them until a few years later when equipment and prices started to climb and grain that was produced was not selling – let alone not growing. The Dirty 30s would be their final blow.

My grandfather never had any stocks and bonds that I knew about. I imagine that he had listened closely to the radio on Wednesday, October 30, 1929 as reports came to everyone of people beginning to take their own lives. I imagine also that this is the reason that many of our family never invested in the stock market at all.

I came across an interesting story that demonstrates the faith in faith idea… or at least faith in self… His name was T. John McKee(Theophilus John McKee) – but was born Theophilus John Syphax. McKee was a White name. Syphax was a well known Black name. T. John did not want to live as a Black Man – so everything in his world became White – including his marrying a White woman and living completely in a White world.

He lived this way from April 1902 until 1948 – when he was “discovered” to be Black…or came out of his hiding as a White all those years. There was a lot of money involved – read it – you will love the story(link below).

As part of his White disguise he studied at a Theological college – “Trinity College” which leads to a Ministerial degree – a lot of God stuff. They must have talked of faith in his courses… yet he didn’t get it about God. Strange – very strange…

Pause here…
In this Blog today I have wondered from “Faith in Faith” – to the American Financial Crisis – to the Iraq War and it high costs - to T. John McKee…

All of it points to a lack of faith in one power. For me it is God. It was God that my Grandparents put their faith in so early in their lives. That being done it then affected us deeply as grandkids. That is likely why I have a bigger investment in Heaven’s Stocks than in Wall Street or Bay Street.

That is why I am poor here on Earth – but will be very well off in Heaven.

My question to you is – “What is your Faith placed in?” If it is anything other than God it could be shaken seriously some day – then what?

Why not make a Heaven Investment today – Try God!

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Sources…
Wall Street Crash of 1929
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wall_Street_Crash_of_1929
A Most Difficult Decision
http://onedroprule.org/about2286.html

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Grand Old Lady of the Church

Wenonah Muriel Barnes
August 6, 1917 – September 22, 2008

Grandma Barnes came into my life in 1987. I had arrived at Scarborough Gospel Temple and began serving as the Youth Pastor – 21 years ago.

I was much younger then – still able to keep up to the Youth of the Church. Grandma Barnes and Grandpa Barnes were much younger then too. She was 80 and he was a bit older.

There seemed to be a perpetual smile on her face and always had a willingness to greet you. She was a continual encouragement to everyone.

Early yesterday morning Great Grandma Barnes slipped away from us and into the presence of God. Her Harold was waiting for her. It was time. She was 101 years old and one month.

Flash Back One…
Grandma Barnes came into my life when her Grandson Bill started dating my daughter Anda. That was about 19 years ago – I have hard time remembering now – it seems that I have known both her Grandson Bill and Grandma Barnes forever. Bill would become my son-in-law. Then Grandma Barnes and I began sharing the eventually four wonderful Grandkids – for her it was her great grandkids.

Flash Back Two…
Her Harold was a joker. He would shock you by telling you that he was a “White N----r”! Yes it was the “N” Word designating a Black person in a negative way. He had been born in South Africa and was proud of his roots – but being born in Africa should make you black – he was white… well you get the idea I am sure.

One day at their house on Bobmar, Grandma Barnes was standing on the front step calling for Grandpa Barnes. As we drove into the driveway we caught the scene playing out in front of us. She was standing on the front step calling his name loudly, “Harold! Harold!” He was standing at the end of the driveway, around the corner of the house from her, grinning. We could see him, she couldn’t. The louder she called the more he grinned. When he saw our car pull into the driveway he motioned us to be quiet, don’t tell her where I am… by putting his fore finger to his lips and indicating “Shhhhhh…!”

Flash Back Three…
Grandma Barnes was then about 98 or 99 years old. She was attending a Funding Raising event for her church, Scarboro Gospel Temple. She was sitting near the entrance which allowed her access to see everyone coming through the door. Many of us had come back to support our church. For Grandma Barnes it was not so much to support the church as it was to see all her old friends from the church. However with most of her friends from the church having already passed away, she was looking for her younger friends – who came to hug her and give her their greetings.

As she sat there greeting people, extending her hand each time, it was as if she was the Queen holding Court – greeting her subjects as they came through the door. I waited with others to pass through the greeting area.

She saw my wife and me and grinned from ear to ear. We were beckoned closer. My wife shook her hand and then it was my turn. I looked at her pretending a shock and said with as much surprise that I could, “Don’t tell me you are still alive! I don’t believe it!”

People around us looked at me as if I was nuts. But their reaction was not the same as Grandma Barnes’. She was very quick. She said loudly, “Yes I am! And I am more alive than you are!”

Flash Back Four…
I think it was either Grandson Jonathan or Grandson Thomas that gave Great Grandma Barnes her other nickname… “Big Barnes”. The boys are full of life. When all four were over to her house they provided a form of entertainment for her that far surpassed the Gaither Videos or the Wheel of Fortune (or whatever her favorites were on TV).

Our daughter Anda would often stop to see how Great Grandma was doing. Or at other times be there for family events.

Great Grandma wanted to play with the boys. She would reach out with her cane when they ran by and would try to catch them. They would run and laugh as Great Grandma did her stuff. One time one of the boys decided he had enough, I think it was Thomas. He snuck up on her with a knitted quilt that had been lying on the couch beside her. He then threw the quilt over her head and ran away. His reasoning was easy to understand… “If she can’t see me – she can’t catch me!” Everyone laughed, even Great Grandma.

Another time when the one grandson was running by her chair she managed to reach out and grab his shirt. He was not going to be stopped and pulled even harder…like any great football player would trying to break the tackle. He continued and she hung on. The next thing that happened was he was free and she and her lazy boy chair were lying on their sides. Great Grandma was spilled unceremoniously out of the floor in front of laughing Great Grandsons.

Flash Back Five…
“Precious Promises” were one of her favorites. You may remember them – in a small box were rows of small card with scripture verse and thoughts printed on both sides. It was used as a small reminder that God was faithful.

Now consider this scene. When we sat to eat together, everyone pulled in close to the table. The Great Grandsons were hungry, mischievous, giggling, poking and whatever young boys do. After we ate, Great Grandma Barnes would insist on having each one of us pull a small card from her Precious Promise box – then read it. Keeping young kids at the table was not always possible.

This was her very old tradition of Family Devotion. Everyone should participate.

This family devotion had kept her through all these years. When her son-in-law Bill was killed in the airplane accident, her pregnant daughter Lois came to live them. When young Billy arrived he grew up knowing the Precious Promises at each meal. He was hungry, mischievous, giggling, poking and whatever his young boys do now. But he sat and listened… probably driven crazy by “Big Barnes” – like his sons were.

Whatever family crisis, family joy or family anything happened – there were Precious Promises that kept them all these years.

Today Great Grandma Barnes no longer struggles with memory issues or with the discomfort that she had these last months. I see her, in my mind, skipping and leaping with her Harold. Now she is living the Precious Promises that have kept her for over 101 years.

On Saturday afternoon, we are gathering to say our good byes to a Grand Old Lady of the Church. I have no doubt that the stories told will deeply move us all – as we describe “Barnesy”, Great Grandma, Grandma and Mom.

And Grandma Barnes… I agree with you when you said… “Yes I am! And I am more alive than you are!”

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Monday, September 22, 2008

Worship in 6,900 Languages

As we sat in the South Common Community Centre, Mississauga Ontario – the world was walking by our table continually. In the 20 minutes that we waited at least 8 nationalities walked by our table. This place where the Chinese Church had their service is in the heart of a Multi Cultural community that Peterborough has never seen.

It is only 167 kms from our city but it could be another continent. What an amazing difference one hour and 50 minutes of driving makes.

I stumbled on to these important facts…
  • According to the U.S. Census bureau, about 6.7 billion people are living in the world (projected to reach 7 billion by 2012).

  • According to the Nations Online Project, these people live in 249 sovereign nations, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.

  • According to the National Virtual Translation Center, Earth's people speak a total of about 6,900 languages.
With Canada’s openness to the world and its warm welcome extended to so many – it is quite conceivable that we have some one from every one of the 249 sovereign nations living in our country. We may also have the better part of the 6,900 languages at one point in any one day.

We, as Canadians, pride ourselves on being “Bilingual” – but we are way more than that. How do you described over 2000 languages being spoken at any one time- or maybe 3000 or more. That is my Canada. Yesterday there were few speaking English and none speaking French. Our Mother tongues were something that they could use – but not something they pride themselves in.

It was fun watching people in the Community Centre.

I had approached the main information and administration desk to ask where the Chinese Church was meeting. The guy looked at me and asked what the name of the church was. I was puzzled as to how to answer that one. I had forgotten to ask Franki what the church’s name was… after all how many Chinese Churches meet from 2 to 4 PM on Sunday afternoon?

Well the South Common Community Centre, Mississauga Ontario has four distinctly different Chinese Churches – each possibly speaking a different Chinese language – each meeting at the same time – in four different rooms.

So we sat and waited for the Chinese people that we might know to walk through the door.

As Christian pastor I have often spoken about a verse that has a huge content tucked inside…

John 3:16 (ESV) "God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."

Its description of God’s commitment is huge. God’s commitment is much bigger that huge. My understanding is so little – as are, I suspect, many others around me as well.

I grinned to myself yesterday as we listened to and hummed along to the beautiful Chinese worship songs sung with such gusto. It was like heaven to hear them.

I grinned because – if I could just take this small group at that moment back to Peterborough and plunk them down into our church – what would people think?

I doubt we, as good “Peterborough-ites”, could handle something that different. The exuberance for one would throw us a little. As they were led by Franki only playing her guitar… it would throw us anyway – we have so much more. The fact that none of us in our church would understand their words would be a completely unnerving thing for us.

The worship was so good and so real. These people loved each other and loved singing together. Then when the Bible was read, they all read each word in unison – a beautiful experience of a rhythm all of its own.

Remember the stats that I quoted earlier? “According to the National Virtual Translation Center, Earth's people speak a total of about 6,900 languages.”…

Which one will be spoken in heaven? I am told that we will worship God using language. Others are there now doing just that… But which language will be the dominant one? Will it be yours?

If almost all the 7 million people now alive on earth, plus all the millions upon millions that have already passed away gathered to sing praises to God… what will its sound like?

A while ago…
One of my Young Assistant Pastors was confronted by an upset parent. He was upset because the Young Assistant Pastor had not made sure the youth group would attend a Southern Gospel Concert where the “Gaither kind of Music” would be played and sung.

The Young Assistant Pastor tried to explain that even the man’s own children didn’t like the music let alone a crowd of old people that would attend (sorry old people).

The man sputtered and being very close to losing it – shouted – “Why wouldn’t they – it is the music that will be sung in heaven?!!!” The irate parent went on to sputter that they better get used to it because it will be what heaven is hearing ALL THE TIME.

I was able to get the Young Assistant Pastor to at least laugh about the silly statement of this poor man.

Can you imagine the shock this poor dude will get when it is not the Gaither’s Music being played on heavenly harps? Can you imagine when he puts in his song request – and the harpist looks puzzled by his words let alone his song.

Too funny! Just too very funny!

I am truly sorry for you – if I stepped on your “Southern Gospel” toes… but IT WILL NOT BE THE MUSIC OF HEAVEN – nor will Country and Western or Rock n Roll…

With the Chinese people making up 25% or more of the population of the world and India taking the next 25% - over 50% will not be us… and within their groups there are 1000s of dialects. And THEIR MUSIC is VERY Different!

BUT YESTERDAY…
Yesterday I heard a small part of heaven sing. It came from their hearts and God smiled with deep pleasure. Oh it was so good… and I have missed this part so much!

I can’t wait for Heaven… and its 6900 different languages blended into one wonderful voice in pure praise for our Wonderful God….

Have a great big inclusive day….

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Sunday, September 21, 2008

On Going Miracles

If I try to list the miracle in a string of words… here it is…

1980 to 1985 – Murray & Alida live in Hong Kong;
1985 – meeting with Mr. Chau’ and the Governor of Hainan Island, China;
1985 - coming home to Canada;
1980 – 1982 - Debbie D. lived with us in H.K.;
1985 – 1991 – Oakville and Scarborough, Ontario;
1989 – Rex Ing came into my life – we first met when he was a University student in Toronto – a Graduate Egineer;
1991 – 1994 – Yorkton, Saskatchewan – Debbie D. shares her story – going back to China;
1994 – 1998 – Regina, Saskatchewan;
1992 – “Bear” (Mr. Liu) – English Professor, the Head of the Hainan University English Dept – accepts Jesus in Regina and returns to China – he is Debbie D.’s close friend;
1998 – 2008 – ministry in Peterborough, Ontario;
2004 – meeting Franki Li in Peterborough;
2005 – meeting Mr. and Mrs Li – Franki’s parents at graduation;
2008 – this week – Rev Rex Ing suggests that she call Murray Lincoln to come to the church to preach.
2008 – Sunday 21st – the afternoon service at the Chinese Church meeting in the South Common Community Centre, Mississauga Ontario…

It has taken 23 years and 4 months to arrive at this particular point in my life to see this Miracle happen. Today I am speaking in the Chinese Church in Mississauga, Ontario. I will share the miracle of God moving in my life and the lives of so many precious Chinese people.

It is a great honour to be able to follow the Lord in this way – one step at a time.

When we met Franki at our church in Peterborough, it was a very short meeting and prayer time for her. Her young friend Kenny asked me to pray for her. Kenny had just become a Christian as well and believed that when we prayed something would happen. We prayed and it happen – God blessed and moved deeply in Franki’s life. She had just arrived back from Mexico where she had continued her studies.

Franki had returned to Peterborough to complete her studies. She grew in Christ as a Christian. Then she continued to move as new jobs came up and new opportunities came her way. And through it all she has stayed involved with a church wherever she lives.

This week Franki called to ask if I could come to her church to speak. Rev. Rex Ing had told her to call me. (Remember Rex… he had come from his graduation from the University of Toronto and his career as a very capable Engineer with Ontario Hydro – to take his Theological training to become a pastor… I had met Rex just after he had become a Christian under the leadership of another young Chinese Christian Pastor Jonathan Lee, from Singapore, that was doing his Internship with me in Scarborough.)

This story is a life time of God moving in me and around me. I am so thankful to be this close to the Miracle – and today to be in the middle of seeing the Miracle continue to happen.

Oh I forgot… Franki is a rising Church Leader, not a pastor(yet). Today she is my Translator for the English Sermon into Mandarin.

AND - Her mom and dad came from China again. While they are here on this trip her mother strongly gave her profession of faith and was Baptized two weeks ago today.

Today we will meet with Franki’s parents. We are absolutely delighted to meet with them again. Franki said that they are very excited as well.

You see… I have prayed for the Li family since I met Franki. Her father was very ill and not expected to live as I remember. He is doing well. Her mother is a dynamic leader in China – and has watched her daughter be transformed as she has become a Christian. Now they are fully immersed in the new faith.

Does the story seem too complicated to understand? That is why I listed some of it – carefully at first. It is God moving in me… and around me – always for my best and always in His perfect timing.

It is as if there is a Gold Thread of Blessing that is strung steadily through so many circumstances around me… And as God does the weaving the Tapestry in our lives is nothing short of amazing.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

SPS – that is a Special Post Script…
This week I received notice that I have been approved and accepted into the “Ontario Self Employed Benefits Program” or the O.S.E.B. program. That will allow me to begin work on my New Business – of WOOD CARVING! This will all help our practical side of ongoing financing our lives and making a way for our personal security.

With this I move from the Employment Insurance benefit – E.I. Under E.I. any money you make after 25% of the E.I. money is deducted from the weekly allowance. It was easier to not work – you made more…!

With the new S.E.B. I will receive about the same amount each week as under E.I. Any money that comes in while I am working with S.E.B. is added to the amount – NOT TAKEN AWAY! That will last for 40 weeks!

The ultimate goal of Chaplaincy Ministry with Leading Influence Ministry is then one step closer. Soon we will be able to see a further income from this ministry begin to flow. The Mechanism is now almost in place.

This week also we have received the largest Gift for our Chaplaincy ever! God has opened a Flood Gate somewhere and the Blessings he promised are flowing freely.

Thank you for praying for us! Thanks so much!
~ ML ~

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Dirty Baseballs

The concern first surfaced in a Baseball Game in 1920 from what I have determined. A pitcher through his baseball over the home plate, but he lost control with a slippery new ball – and it hit the batter on the head and killed him. A tragedy to say the least to have a “wild ball” kill some one.

It was shortly after that Lena Blackburne developed the Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud. It was a special mud retrieved from a section of the Delaware River running through New Jersey. In fact it is a secret even today.

It seems that Pitchers had tried to use shoe polish and chewing tobacco juice to get the smooth surface off the new ball. The smooth surface being the problem with a wild pitch.

Everyone has used the Lena Blackburne Baseball Rubbing Mud since that time.

However a young bat boy, Cameron Kruse, that was doing the rubbing of the newly mudded balls to prepare them for the pitcher, dreamed up a new invention. You can see him and his invention work by clicking on the YouTube connection below. An Amazing Guy!

The whole story points me to the thought that I have wondered about over these years. The hidden secrets of a better way are just under my nose. With a little thought I will find them – but when I am too busy I will never do much more than complain.

I need to take time to see how I might find a different way to do it.

This is so true when you are wood carving. The old way may not be the best way. In one kind of carving that first took me almost three days to do – I now have it down to six hours. It looks like it takes three days – but my price proves it is six hours…. Mind you – if I can find some one that will pay for a three day job I will up the price….

My dad said to me many times, “Murray, don’t be afraid to learn something new.” And I believed him. So I live that way. It was the best advice that he ever gave me.

Now if you look at the Invention that Cameron Kruse made, it is made from Lego. Go figure! The kid played with Lego and now likely will be a Millionaire soon. He kind of looks like Bill Gates come to think of it.

Cameron Kruse pointed out a new thought as well. A well rubbed and “dirty” baseball is hard to see coming at you at 97 MPH. A clean white ball is easier to hit.

I remember pitching a long time ago. Everyone wanted me to use the new ball then – because they could see it better. But when I threw it I often hit the batter. I knew then that something was wrong but had no idea how to fix it. The old ball that had hit the ground and the water spots on the field always worked better.

Why didn’t I invent it? Well for one thing we didn’t have Lego… and I am not really as sharp as Cameron Kruse.

Now today I have a problem… hmmmm?

~ Murray Lincoln ~
(PS – I never mentioned Mortgage once… but I still hate debt…)

Sources…
YouTube of new Invention by Cameron Kruse
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUEy8cFKHMQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ur9QNW5pcNY
Dirt on Baseball
http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/1018/p18s02-hfks.html?s=widep

Friday, September 19, 2008

Mortgage - The Dead Pledge

Okay – Okay enough about debt already Murray… tell us a lighter side story to make us feel good. Please?!

Here is the lighter story today… It started that way on my front porch… but first… just a wee bit more to understand.

Mortgage…
I am stunned by the amount of money that is owed across the USA and Canada! As I read the statistics being offered for us to understand my mind simply turned off – I cannot fathom how big $1.3 Trillion Dollars is. I think that is 1000 Billion – 3 times over. And that amount is only 6.8% of the loans outstanding in the USA.

Can you see why my mind simply turns off.

One article stated that…
Approximately 16% of subprime loans with adjustable rate mortgages (ARM) were 90-days delinquent or in foreclosure proceedings as of October 2007, roughly triple the rate of 2005. By January 2008, the delinquency rate had risen to 21%[ and by May 2008 it was 25%.

No wonder they have a crisis now!

As I mulled over this I was looking closely at the word Mortgage. There at the start of the word is the French word for “death” – ‘Mort’. I understood the second part in English – to measure – ‘gage’. Is it measured death?

Mortgage explanation from Wikipedia
A mortgage is the pledging of a property to a lender as a security for a mortgage loan. While a mortgage in itself is not a debt, it is evidence of a debt. It is a transfer of an interest in land, from the owner to the mortgage lender, on the condition that this interest will be returned to the owner of the real estate when the terms of the mortgage have been satisfied or performed. In other words, the mortgage is a security for the loan that the lender makes to the borrower.

The term comes from the Old French "dead pledge," apparently meaning that the pledge ends (dies) either when the obligation is fulfilled or the property is taken through foreclosure.

Okay… but it tends to have new meaning in 2008 – Mortgage means death now… or something that will kill you – if not taken care of.

I have a Mortgage – and at times it kills me… but my bank is gracious to receive my payments each week – lightening the debt load.

Now back to my Front Porch…
There suspended gracefully from the pillar and the flower pot is the gigantic spider’s web you see earlier. It is not a light web but rather sticky and stronger than usual.

When I pulled it apart two days ago it suck to my hand. Actually it stuck my face and hair as I had stuck my head into it by accident.

This has to be proof of the persistence of its builder. It was back again each day in the same spot. Finely crafted and built with an intelligence and ability that few engineers that I know have.

I looked closer at the webs near this spectacular weaving. There in the middle was a black, oblong case. Kind of like a brief case I think. Looking closely I pulled it from the web where it was fastened tightly. I pulled the black case open. There inside was a scrunched up creature that was indeed dead. He or she had unfortunately flew into or fallen into the web, stuck there and then was greeted by one of God’s amazing packing and handling creatures. Mr. Spider moved in on it and wrapped it up tightly.

A I looked at this amazing display and thought of the persistence of this Mr. Spider. His ability to quickly weave a Web with such ingenuity – then lay in wait for something to happen along.

Here he is in his splendor. He measures almost an inch in length and has amazing colouring. As I looked up from the Web – he was looking down at me. Though the photo doesn’t catch it – he is salivating I am sure rubbing his four long front legs together.
Looking very closely at one of the photos after placing it on my computer – there as a tiny sign hanging near the bottom – I didn’t catch it at first… but sure enough – there it was.

Here is the evidence. See below....I am sending this on to the “National Enquirer” and or another Newspaper in England – I am sure they will pay big dollars for this one. Mr. Spider is so honest.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Sources
Mortgage…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortgage
Subprime Mortgage values
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subprime_mortgage_crisis



Thursday, September 18, 2008

White's Resting Place

As we walked through the still cemetery it was magical. The overcast sky hovered over the scene before us. There were a few birds singing. A Canadian Goose sat near a tree not far away. Quiet surrounded us. A beautiful Peace was everywhere.

In front of us was the most unusual Grave Stone I had ever seen. It was solid cement – unlike the fancy and polished stones that others had placed over their loved ones. Just cement made this marker.

But this was really different from anything before or after its placing. There was only one other that would be similar to it – over a bit north of this one. It was also cement but entirely different from the one in front of us.

Under the stone is buried W. A. White – who passed away on Oct 12, 1902 at 42 years of age. On the South Side of the stone there is the lettering informing you of who is located at the spot. That is all that is said. Nothing more. Until you move around to the East Side where more is written… “In Memory of Lena Mitchell wife of W.A. White, Died Mar 29, 1898, Aged 36 Years – also their son Gerald, aged 10 weeks. Remembered.”

As you put the South Side and East Side words together the whole story becomes more clear. Lena passed away in child birth. 10 weeks later little Gerald died. W.A. White was 38 years old when his beloved passed away that horrible Mar 29. Then W.A. lived for another 4 years passing in the fall, right around Thanksgiving(that we know today) – likely a broken hearted man that never recovered.

In 1898 it was not unusual for women to die in child birth in rural Canada. And it was not unusual for the child to die later without his mother there to look after him. And it was not unusual for a young father to sorrow – but with Child Birth Deaths being high – it was highly likely that the young father would marry again. W.A. did not marry again.

The grave stone indicates that W.A. White is buried here – and Lena is remembered… likely buried somewhere else.

Now the very unusual part of the Grave Marker…made of cement. It is finely crafted – actually poured then engraved is my guess – into the shape of a Log Cabin completed on all four sides. The brick chimney includes the fine detail of the mortar protruding from between the bricks. The ends of the logs are axe hewn. The front door where Lena’s name is inscribed has a finely crafted door pull and the cabin window is finely crafted as well… all out of cement.

My “romantic imagination” tells me more of the story – though I can find no other proof.

W.A. White and his new bride moved into their small, newly built log cabin somewhere out in the rural area from Lindsay, Ontario. Taking his new bride from her family(or place) in Lindsay they were continuing to develop their new land and new future together. They were deeply in love. Unlike other couples every one knew them as something special. Their commitment to each other was amazing.

Word came to their parents that possibly lived in Lindsay. They were to be grandparents. Their daughter Lena was to have a child. They were worried as she lived so far from the Town of Lindsay but were reassured, “I will be alright…everything will be just fine! Don’t worry.” said Lena in the fall of 1897.

Winter was hard in that little log cabin. There was lots of snow and W.A. worked hard to keep the water open for his animals to drink.

Then on March 28th it started to happen… Lena was having great pains… the baby was coming. They were not sure when it would happen. They had just known it would be soon. The deep snow outside had kept them in the cabin hoping for a break in the weather. But even if there had been a break – Lena was so uncomfortable that a ride out of their farm to the nearest next farm was almost impossible – let alone all the way to Lindsay. They would have to do this themselves – maybe even just W.A. – the young farmer – as the midwife… all alone and frightened to death.
After the baby finally was born he struggled to make her comfortable but she was very low. She had lost a lot of blood. I can only imagine what a young 38 year old man on 1897 might have thought when he stood over his deeply sleeping wife. And we will never know what actually happened at the end. With tiny Gerald crying for his first milk in the crib beside her – she could hear him but do nothing.

On the Grave Stone its says “In Memory of Lena Mitchell…” and then at last “Gerald 10 weeks – Remembered”.

It is not unlikely that W.A. buried his precious Lena near the cabin. Then he tried to look after tiny Gerald – if not for the 10 weeks at least until the weather changed enough for him to get out. Can you imagine keeping up the farm work and looking after a baby in 1898?

Remember… I said earlier… “My “romantic imagination” tells me more of the story.” I really don’t know what happened… I have only put pieces together.

As we stood quietly and looked on… the small log cabin told all of the story for whoever would stop and read it. We did. And I honour W.A. White whoever you were – you were a man of honour!

One final thing is the names. W.A. White had two names before his family name. Lena had only one.

In the tradition of their solid British heritage that said something all by itself…. W.A. White was from a family that had means – they were land owners in Britain before coming to Canada. W.A. may well have come on his own. Lena Mitchell, also from Britain, had one name only – her family did not come from the same class as his did. One name only meant that her parents did not own land and could not give their children two names. Servants maybe? Maybe working for the rich folks that lived in the big house?

Or maybe – just maybe – Lena Mitchell had been W.A. White’s parents maid in Lindsay… and W.A. fell in love with her… One question... who paid for and who made the Monument? Hmmm?

Ooops there goes My “romantic imagination” telling me more of the story.

With young couples living to the max today, stretched to the max with their over spending, maxed out Line of Credits…(the stuff I have been writing about) – this story adds another perspective.

I encourage you today to think about W.A. White and his Lena together with their little Gerald. And if you are in Lindsay – the Grave Marker is not far from the River, north end of the cemetery, cross the bridge – turn left at the pioneer history marker… past the tree where the Canada Goose was sitting…. Then on the left… among all the giants of great polished granite – you will find one small log cabin.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

China’s Changing Youth – the New Church Coming

Yesterday I pointed carefully to the young couple that I have come across in my life. Debt ridden and buried in new problems, attending a church that is facing the same kind of problems as the individual does. Their own problems are their main concern – not that of a Church Group… leaving the church to face its own problems in a serious way.

Further study of the crisis in the USA in the financial power districts like Wall Street seems to lead down to the individual family crisis and their Family Home Mortgage problems along with personal debt. In fact the huge banking organizations failed when they were carrying too many huge bundles of failed Mortgages. The Mortgages all failed when the value of the houses dropped so low that it was worth far less than what was owed on it.

Do you remember when the greatest drive was to get a place or your own and simply provide a good life for your family?
Do you remember when the greatest drive was also to get out of debt as soon as possible and then build toward the future?
Do you remember a time that no one would ever consider having debt at all?

If you remembered these times – you are likely over 60 years old and maybe even in your 80s.

As I have been studying and writing about money problems and cash flow I came across the article that I am publishing here in full. It is relevant to what we see happening around us now. It is written by a friend of mine, David Wang, the President Emeritus of Asian Outreach and published in Asian Report.

The article is entitled “A New and Tough Congregation” (page 5 of link below).

I ask as you read it consider the similarities to our North American family setting. Then consider the church that they attend and the one that we have in our hemisphere.

Enjoy…
~ Murray Lincoln ~
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“A New and Tough Congregation”
By David Wang

The topic of their private discussions at the spa, and over meals, was the changing characteristics of their congregations. Over the years it was always accepted that believers gathering in China’s Three-Self official churches were mostly elderly, the remnants of China’s missionary era. Whereas congregations in the rural house churches were made up of mostly semi-illiterate peasantry. “Both of them are relatively simple, passive and obedient,” the urban church leaders expressed. “They are grateful just to be able to gather to worship. And if there happened to be someone to preach from their pulpits, they are satisfied.”

But then, China’s urban churches are a new phenomenon. People they attract are post-Cultural Revolution. They are shaped by the social changes and dynamics of 30 years of Open Door Free Market policy. In other words: much more freedom and wealth.

Of their young congregations, the urban house church pastors are now identifying these new personas:

1. Individualistic: They are all single children of China’s One Child Law, who have been raised as “China’s Little Emperors and Empresses.”

“We are all self-centered, low EQ’ed, spoiled brats. And unfortunately — we are proud of it!” One IT specialist, in her late 20s, thus described herself and her friends in church. “We don’t know how to really be considerate or care about others.”

2. Irresponsible: In their growing up, few, if any, have had to share responsibilities or struggle together with their parents to make ends meet. “Our only responsibility was to do well in school, to get ahead,” the same young woman told us. “Even then, our parents hired private tutors to serve us. And the tutors got the blame if we didn’t improve.”

3. Entitlement: This generation of city youth are used to being given everything by their “Six Adults” — two sets of grandparents, plus their own parents. These senior generations have suffered much poverty and hardship in their own lives. Thus they just can not stop piling everything onto their one and only child.

China’s popular Youth Daily has dubbed this Now Generation as the “Wealthiest in the 5,000 years of our history, and the most undeserving.” The urban pastors lament that their congregations are taking it for granted that the world owes them everything.

4. Consumerism: “For the first 50 years of New China, our national hobby was to save everything. We were frugal to the point of being miserly.” Professor Zhang Xinghua, of Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, once told me. “In the last 10 years the national hobby has changed 180°. The Chinese now are spending everything.”

The youth most probably will add this footnote to the professor’s remark, “And we spend it on ourselves!” They eat at restaurants, shop at malls, visit cinemas, and sing at karaoke’s. Almost always chasing after the latest, and most fashionable of these. Likewise they hop churches.

5. Info-overload: During this very retreat, China’s Internet population topped 250 million. “It’s now the world’s largest, and growing exponentially.” The trend is, at all costs to push China from the Agricultural Revolution into the Information Revolution, bypassing the Industrial Revolution.

“Our congregations are now using mobile phones to do their daily reading. Whether its news, sports, weather reports, or even the Bible,” the pastors acknowledge. “They have all downloaded concordances, references, dictionaries, even lexicons onto their hand phones.” The knowledge level of China’s urban church is rapidly rising. “But the level of commitment to a new life in Christ is not.”

The Church in China endured the Cultural Revolution and learnt to overcome - in persecution. Please pray that the Church of China today will also overcome - in prosperity.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Murray Lincoln’s comment… does it seem odd to you that the Young Chinese Population has caught up to and maybe even are running a neck to neck tie - with our society - for first place in Self Centredness? Hmmmm?

From
http://www.asianoutreach.org/News/documents/AR289-web2.pdf

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This Debt is Killing Me

The sickening look on the young man’s face was evidence enough of the pain that he was feeling. As he described the almost hopeless feeling of having this large debt hanging over his head he shook his head slowly from side to side saying, “This debt is killing me.”

He accrued more debt since his college days. In college he had come out owing and had not been able to get free of the student loan. At the time he got the student loan it was the only way – he would graduate and then get a good job – paying off the loan easily. But not now – the debt mountain was impossible.

How did it happen? Well it was so easy it makes your head spin to hear the story.

After graduation he met his wife to be. They hit off right from the start. One date led to another. They didn’t need "e-Harmony" – they were lucky – they found each other without having to pay any “hooking up” price to find each other.

When they married he came into the marriage with $25,000 school debt. She had another $18,000 school debt. That is suddenly $43,000 to take care of with one “I do”… with not so good of an income.

She also had a car that she had bought new on a special long term kind of low payment offer the dealership was giving to those that qualified. She had bought it with a down payment out of her student loan and then kept up the monthly payments with her on-growing student loan. It was justified in that instead of paying the costs of travel on a bus or in car pooling to the University – the money was going into her own car – which some day would be paid off.

The odd thing was the financing on the car was not through a normal place of financing but somewhere that you had to keep paying a certain amount on the lease/purchase payments. It was now 5 years old and she owed more than the car was worth if she could sell it and the car had problems that would cost a lot to fix! It was their only vehicle.

Though they were graduates she didn’t get the best job in the world. She was working at something far less than her education would offer – but that was all she could find – and this job didn’t pay that well. The owner of the business was known to be fugal – or tight – very tight with his money. The reason he did okay in business is that he paid little.

Then it happened. It was pure joy at first with the unexpected announcement – she was pregnant. A baby was coming.

They hadn’t really checked into what would happen if she did get pregnant. Maternity leave was to be theirs – but the amount paid to them for her maternity leave wasn’t as much as she was making for sure – the salary she was making was cut. Her maternity leave benefits were 55% of what she was making…which had been about $24,000 a year or about $460 per week… which then went down to $253 a week at the 55% mark… and that lasted for the period of her maternity leave.

Then there was the problem of what it cost them for day care and where would it be. All the day cares were full up… the one that they did get cost $25 per day…not bad.

His salary had remained pretty much the same since graduation, making $36,000 per year. There was a hope that maybe there would be a raise at the end of the first year – but nothing so far. The company’s performance had not been what head office had expected and the down turn in their market had made the raise not possible.

To get by over the first year and get settled they had bought a few things. With the new credit card they had paid for a few things more. Then they borrowed some money from her brother. The new High Definition TV was a blessing – now they could watch great movies at home and no more $35 night outs at the theater… with the cable package they had they had lots of movies….

Pause…
The story went on and on. As it unraveled there was little or no hope for them to start paying off more student loans – if any. The calls were coming about missed payments so were the letters – and the brother that loaned the money was moving and needed his money back.

I could see why the debt was killing him. The love for each other was evaporating and she was not as responsive to his desire and love making any more.

What a mess.

One thing about it – they did attend church. They were involved somewhat. But when the church needed to ask for the extra offerings and itself was falling behind on its cash flow – they couldn’t help. They just felt like staying home and not hearing the pastor’s appeals for everyone to work together and give just that little bit more.

The young man looked at me and confessed, “Pastor, we have not been able to give much to the church at all. We do not and cannot tithe. We are so maxed out that I can’t find any money to give anything – let alone more.”

Reflection…
When our Northview Pentecostal Church built its structure and became known as the New Church up there on that hill – in 1980 it was not the same for young couples then. And at that time the older couples – middle age and beyond were solid givers. You could do almost anything with faith and in faith. The $1,350,000 debt was doable… and even the 20% interest being paid on that debt was possible.

No one would have guessed then that the next generation would face the obstacles that they do today with finances. And no one had thought it through far enough to see what it means to have to keep up payments without the solid growing base that is needed.

No one thought that “the base that gives” in a church would eventually be so far in debt themselves and be using their own Line of Credit so much that they couldn’t worry about a Church Line of Credit.

Sure… Sure… I know that God can give us a revival and a wonderful move of His Holy Spirit… and that will likely happen soon. But unless that move of God includes a Revival of Local Salaries and pays our young people more – it will not see a great tithe or offering coming in …. And unless they get a hold on their debt – they might want to help but for the most part it will be almost impossible… almost…

I talked with one pastor that told of the need they have locally. Almost all of their bright young adults and young couples have considered moving to Alberta and other places where they can make more money and pay down some of their bills.

Yesterday’s further announcements about the further unfolding disaster in the USA financial world made me quiver and shake a bit.

The last Saturday’s sudden rise in the price of Gas – up 13 cents a Litre in one jump – nearly floored us. That was done even before there was a problem with supply somewhere in the USA… and in actual fact it will not make any difference to our Gas supply in Canada AT ALL.

“NOW… next Sunday – I am asking you to double your TITHE of 10% at church and then give a special OFFERING this MONTH on top of that… next month we need you to do that again – only this time you need to double your TITHE of 10% to 20% two Sundays to help us face the first snow storm and the plowing…”

As I thought that thought out loud… I settled back down… I am no longer the pastor and I don’t have to say that anymore… Whew! There is some relief today…

~ Murray Lincoln ~

“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:8)

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Cost of The Thing

"The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run."
~ Henry David Thoreau

As I caught that quote I had been searching for more information on “Line of Credit”. In doing so I stumbled on to these few pages offered on the Net. The full link to it is included below.

Henry David Thoreau (born David Henry Thoreau; July 12, 1817 – May 6, 1862 was an unusual man for his time – maybe even for ours as well.

In reading the quote above, in the full context of where it appears, it is fascinating. Thoreau states just after the quote,
“An average house in this neighborhood costs perhaps eight hundred dollars, and to lay up this sum will take from ten to fifteen years of a laborer’s life, even if he doesn’t have a family; - estimating the pecuniary value of every man’s labor at one dollar a day, for some receive more, others receive less; - so that he must have spent half his life commonly before his wigwam will be earned.”

Remember this is probably written between 1845 – 1849.

Imagine 10 to 15 years to pay for a house. Imagine that amount of time was likely half a working life time – about the same as today’s “30 and Out” program some companies have. Then think of a house for $800 – total payment to by it.

In 2008 to find a mortgage that would be $800 a MONTH is a dream.

Further to help with perspective – Thoreau stated in the same article that, “An annual rent of from twenty five to one hundred dollars…”. Renting a house was from $25 to $100 a year – a nightmare then. Compare today’s prices and see if it is any less of a nightmare. It is NOT!

Our Northview Church has run into the Line of Credit – our Overdraft – often over these last few years. With the monthly income shrinking we had to go into this area regularly. And in the last year we were there all the time. In our church’s case that Line of Credit is $50,000. Another church I know has about $200,000 line of credit.

When we could no longer clear this amount off at the church we had to reduce the expenses – that was salaries and that meant layoffs. If you have followed this Blog – that was my loss of a job.

How can it get that way? Well income drops, expenses go up and it happens. It also happens when many of the congregants have also been carrying their own line of credit – with many families operating in that Line of Credit… and not having an increase in their income – but rather an increase in their spending. Then they learn to accept it and simply live with it. That’s the way it is.

The church became an extension of the average of each family. Older families didn’t(don’t) use the Line of Credit – younger ones did. But for the most part it had become acceptable – because there was not other way.

In the USA in recent times there has been a crisis with the Housing Mortgage field. The “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac” shock has taken its toll. These are two large Mortgage companies that were in huge trouble.

I couldn’t understand why really – until someone explained for example that people had houses that were worth a possible $400,000 to begin with. They would have the mortgage together with their Line of Credit owing on the house. Then the value of the house dropped with the drop in prices everywhere across their area. When their house value dropped to less than what they owed – they were dead! Many of these $400,000 houses were worth less than $150,000 to even $75,000 (or nothing if you cannot find any buyers) with $300,000 left on a mortgage and the people had a full line of credit at maybe another $75,000 – they owed $375,000 on a house that they couldn’t sell.

It didn’t happen once – it happened thousands upon thousands of times.
Again the quote…
"The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run."
~ Henry David Thoreau

Paul the Apostle says….
“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:8)

I hate Debt! I have watched DEBT Kill people and churches. I say it again – I HATE DEBT!!

10 years ago I stepped into the leadership of Northview church as their pastor – the debt has gone down from $1,350,000 to $775,000 in the 10 years. But that next $775,000 is a new goal to get it gone – along with the “Line of Credit need”.

Today I wonder if the dear old folk that planned for the Northview Church to be built on the hill where it is at now…would have gone as far as they did into debt knowing what might happen down the road? I wonder if any have thought about it since?

I certainly do… and I HATE DEBT! – and I had “no say” over the Debt that was originally incurred – but did it ever change my life – wow!

Christmas is just around the corner – and I will again refuse to buy anything on credit. I will not take a trip I cannot pay for. I will not take a telephone offer that looks good but will cost me in the end… because… and here it is again – I HATE DEBT!

~ Murray Lincoln ~

Sources
Walden and Civil Disobedience – Page 28