Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Devotion for the week

On Monday's i write a devotion for the week which i use when visiting people. So i thought i will put it on my blog each week for you to read.

Who is seeking whom?
Luke 19:1-10

Zacchaeus was a despised man in his community. As the chief tax collector he was the head of the one organisation everybody loved to hate. Tax collectors had a poor reputation because they would add a little to the each tax bill to keep for themselves, and when people could not pay their bills the tax collectors would lend them the money at an excessive rate of interest. In Jericho Zacchaeus was small in height and status.

Zacchaeus was seeking to see Jesus whom he had heard so much about. In fact a crowd had gathered to see Jesus and possibly witness him perform a miracle like healing lepers (Lk 17:11-19). However Zacchaeus soon discovered that Jesus was seeking him to perform a miracle in his life. While listening to Jesus speak in his home Zacchaeus’ heart was pierced by Jesus’ words and faith was created where greed and self righteousness had reigned. Zacchaeus repented of the way he had abused his position as a tax collector and pledged to repay everyone whom he had overcharged.

Zacchaeus learned more than a moral lesson. He learned that salvation is found only in the Son of God, not in the wealth we humans can amass. As Abraham received the righteousness of God by faith, so too Zacchaeus believed that Jesus is the only way to earthly joy and eternal life. Jesus seeks us also that we may hear the good news that he alone saves us, and that we turn from our frantic attempts to bring joy to our life through accumulating goods and wealth. Jesus’ words perform the miracle of creating faith in your heart that you believe the promise he makes it true; those who believe and are baptised will be saved (Mark 16:16). You have eternal life starting here and now. May you experience the joy of salvation as Zacchaeus did, and your life be changed to reflect that joy.

God bless

ak XO

Tuesday, 30 October 2007


In the last week i have tried two new flavours of chips. Both are Lays products and my favourite Lays variety at home is Light and Tangy, but they are not available here. The first was Dill Pickle, which i wont be buying again. Too much of a dill pickle flavour and a single dimensional flavour profile as well. The second was much more enjoyable; Ketchup. Yes they do taste like sauce. Now i don't sit down for an afternoon snack with a spoon in one hand and the sauce bottle in the other. That would be disgusting, but in a chip it works.

Snack away

Adrian XO

Sunday, 28 October 2007

The important things in life

The fast food industry of North America is something to behold. McDonald’s, A&W, Tim Horton’s, Wendy’s, Harvey’s, KFC, Burger King, Coffee Time, Taco Bell, Pizza Pizza, New York Fries, and Subway. Most of these ‘restaurants’ differ very little: a burger encased in a fluffy bun, a variation on the Big Mac. Although some of these businesses pre date McDonald’s. One of these is a Canadian institution. Tim Horton was captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs ice hockey team. His fame is similar to James Hird from AFL or Alfie Langer from NRL. Tim, along with a business partner started Tim Horton’s, a coffee and donut shop. Soon after beginning the business Tim Horton died when he crashed his car at high speed. Today Tim Horton’s is everywhere. My local shopping centre Owen Sound has 20,000 people and 5 Tim’s, one you will find in the hospital. Tim Horton’s has 2733 outlets in Canada, almost twice the number of stores as McDonalds and has 62% of the coffee market. Starbucks comes in second at 7%.

Two other important places that Ontarian's visit are the LCBO and The Beer Store, these are the only places where you can buy alcohol in Ontario except cellar doors. What the latter sells needs no explanation. I wonder if it has such an obvious name because beer drinkers have a low IQ, and if the name was anymore complicated they would not be able to find their precious liquid. Entering The Beer Store is just like walking into a big fridge, because that is what it is. The only part of the store that is not fridge is the checkout.

LCBO is an acronym for Liquour Control Board of Ontario. The LCBO is run by the Ontario provincial government. When I arrived at the farm house where I am living there were bags of groceries, one of them contained an LCBO gift card. Yes, our Canadian Lutheran cousins like a drink as we do.

One more thing needs explaining. Ice hocky is the national sport, and national obsession. Canadian’s invented the game and make up the largest nationality in the NHL (which includes mostly US teams). In Canada you can play ice hockey or practice playing various social versions of the game: wearing shoes on ice or on concrete with inline skates or street hockey on a flat surface using a tennis ball and wearing runners. Canadian’s are ice hockey mad. One of the most popular teams is the Toronto Maple Leafs. They have not won the Stanley Cup for 40 years and this year they have got off to a bad start, at one stage they had played 8 games with 1 win. If you don’t barrack for the Maple Leafs you hate them, just like our attitude toward the Crows or Collingwood, sorry Sharni. One of the most high profile Maple Leaf supporters is Canadian Mike Myers aka Austin Powers/Dr Evil.

As you can see Canadian’s differ little from Aussies; they want cheap food, a drink, and for their favourite team to win the flag. Maybe next year Hawks, maybe next year.

XO Adrian

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

My weekend

I spent my weekend at the Ontario East District Confirmands Retreat at Grace Lutheran Church St Catharine's. There were about 55 participants, most of whom are going through catechism classes which usually takes two years, although some have already been confirmed. The focus for the weekend was devotional life: prayer and bible reading. As with most camps involving this age group sleep was at a premium, so i had catch up this morning.

When the retreat broke up after church, our group of 7 confirmands, 2 leaders and the two drivers went to the Welland canal which connects Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, then on to Niagara Falls. We were fortunate to see a ship enter lock #1 and be lowered about 10 metres before continuing its journey into Lake Ontario. Amazing process. The height difference between the two lakes is 96 metres and there are about 8 locks.

Far more spectacular is Niagara Falls. The two falls, American and Horseshoe (Canadian), are huge and the amount of water that flows over them is astounding. What adds to the experience is the falls can be seen, heard and felt. The closer we got to the Horseshoe falls the greater the amount of mist in the air. Depending on the wind it would swirl or even stop for a time. Because of the mist and sun rainbows could always been seen. A spectacular place to visit, but if you don't like commercialism don't turn around. High rise hotels and a casino dominate the skyline. It is like sitting on the beach at Surfers Paradise admiring God's handy work, watching the waves pound the beach, to turn around and be confronted with concrete, bitumen and tactless capitalism. Thankfully we don't have too much of that at our Australian natural attractions like Ayers Rock, Flinders Ranges, Kings Canyon, etc.

The American Falls, Buffalo NY State is in the background.

The Canadian or Horseshoe Falls. The Maid of the Mist can been seen in the water.

A close up of the Horseshoe. See the people on the bottom right
of the photo getting a close up view.

A double rainbow.

In case you are wondering, no the falls don't freeze in the winter. Too much water moving too fast for it to freeze.

XO Adrian

Saturday, 20 October 2007


I have settled into life as a vicar in Canada. There has been a fair degree of adjusting from life as a student in to working as a vicar. A different schedule to the day, Sundays are busier than ever and writing sermons, devotions and Bible studies is so much better than writing assignments. To this i'm sure my class mates will join with me in saying AMEN. On top of all this has been the added stress and joy of moving to Canada. Despite the challenge it has been, i now feel like part of the furniture.

Once a month the service is taped and broadcast on a local am radio station the following Sunday. Some of the members have told me i have a good voice for radio. Does this mean by association that i have a good face for radio?

Yesterday i went to my second winkel which was great. Meeting more pastors and hanging out with them is fun and helps me learn more about the joys and challenges of pastoring. Which is getting closer all the time, God willing.

Blessings to you all

Adrian XO

Wednesday, 17 October 2007


I was in a supermarket on Monday and discovered that Canadians have a different range of chips to choose from than we do in Australia. They don't have Chicken or Light and Tangy, nor did i see Lime and Cracked Pepper. On Sunday i told friends that Pie and Sauce chips were available for a while, the girls came close to gagging. In Canada they have Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper, sounds nice. Dill Pickle sounds ok and All Dressed (sounds more like the temperance unions slogan for the mardis gras than a chip flavour). I'm told that All Dressed is spicy. I will let you know what my tongue thinks of these exotic flavours as i encounter them.


XO Adrian

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Bit n' pieces

Facebook, huh. I bamboozled, I cannot find my way around that thing. I get requests for all sorts of things, try and play the game, but fail to accomplish anything but sign up new friends. I shall persist, but it is testing my patience.

More on computers:
As many of you know i have almost no skill when it comes to playing computer games other than solitaire. My fine motor skills are like a 5yo child on red cordial, jelly beans and coffee!! So, last night i found myself at some friends house and was asked to play x-box. I told them i was pretty much an easy beat, but i would join in. To my surprise the first game didn't involve using my hands, but my feet. It was a dance game where you have to place your feet on a mat where indicated by the arrows on the screen. It was fun, i didn't win, i don't think. I'm not even sure if it kept score. We then moved onto the racing games and i was the one who spent more time trying to make my own track than sticking to the road. The night was great fun, the food sensational and the company and blast.

You know you are in Canada when:
  • Bob the builder and his mates have a North American accent, not the English one he was born with.
  • You can buy flannelette boxer shorts.
  • This one is good, supermarkets display the price per volume along with the overall price, so price comparisons are easy to make.
  • There are unlocked cars in the car parks, even with their windows down.
  • School students have no uniforms and neither do the bank employees. The bank staff look unprofessional.

I have started watching a new sport, ice hockey. And i like it. Despite what i previously thought the aim of the game is not to smash the oppositions face into the glass wall. Although you can if you are contesting for the puck. The game is high speed, there are no slow parts so players are substituted every few minutes. Ice hockey originated in Canada and is their national sport.

Blessings to you all

Adrian XO

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

God speaks

At random times God brings my thoughts together for a teachable moment. God uses Bible studies, devotions, sermon preparations and working among God’s people to speak his truth into my life.

Today I spent the morning studying Luke 17:1-10, the text I’m going to preach on Sunday. In the afternoon I visited a man in hospital and gave a devotion on this text to him and his family. What I spoke about connected with his daughter. What did I do that my speech would speak to another’s heart and encourage faith? Nothing, but… I was faithful.

Faithful in studying and preparing God’s word with prayer. The Holy Spirit is the one who speaks to the heart of God’s children. This is Paul’s point in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5. My speech is not the power of God’s word; the Spirit does his work when the word is spoken in truth.

Luther says pray as if everything depends on God and work as if everything depends on you. God uses his faithful, although imperfect, children to minister to one another. As a vicar and pastor to be, this is my daily privilege as well as a continual challenge.

May the Lord fill you with joy as you speak God's in love to one another.


Adrian XO

Tuesday, 9 October 2007


Thanksgiving day is a national holiday in Canada. They cannot believe that we don't have thanksgiving in Australia. It is interesting to note how Canada has been influenced by the British as a commonwealth country, and what it has picked up from America, it super power neighbour. 75% of Canada's exports go to the US. Anyway, my first thanksgivings, one on Saturday and Sunday, were wonderful occasions of focusing on family togetherness. On Saturday i went to Lloye Wathke's house for lunch with her children and grandchildren. This was a traditional thanksgiving dinner with roast turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie for dessert. Everyone is shocked at the weather, 25 and humid. It reminds me alot of the Gold Coast. After lunch i joined in a game of flag football. The non contact version of American Football (grid-iron), similar to touch football. We spent the rest of the afternoon sitting in the shade talking.

On Sunday i had dinner with Dennis and Lorraine Heeber's family and there friend Amy. This was a non traditional thanksgiving dinner; BBQ steak and salads. We then went hiking on the Bruce Trail at Loin's Head. We only got back to the vehicles just on dark. No we didn't see any bears. The walk was great to burn off some of the calories, and the scenery was brilliant. I love the different trees they have here. The day was closed by having apple pie on the beach.

The thanksgiving day adventurers.

The cliffs at Lion's Head were we hiked.

The glorious sunset

The Lion's Head, can you see it?

Happy thanksgiving, XO Adrian.

Friday, 5 October 2007

This is the life

I have just had the most wonderful afternoon. I visited a church member who lives on the shore line of Mc Cullough Lake. Unfortunately I didn’t take my camera, but the view is simply amazing. At her place I saw my first chipmunks. They are the cutest animal I have ever seen.

Coming back to the church I took the scenic route at a leisurely pace. Driving down a winding dirt road the scene consisted of Maple trees ranging in colour from green to orange to crimson red and every shade in between, stunning looking horses belonging to the Mennonite farmers, Mennonite children walking along the side of the road, a monarch butterfly crossing my path, a chipmunk racing to avoid the car and the autumn sun bathing the countryside in warmth. To top it all off, the radio was playing the Glen Campbell classic Like a rhine-stone cowboy. Can life get much better… yes if you were here.

God is unendingly brilliant in creating beautiful things for us to enjoy.

Tomorrow I am planing to go to the Blue Mountains and on to Collingwood. The locals say the best fall colours are over that way in the Beaver Valley.

Enjoy your spring, I’m loving my autumn.

XO Adrian

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Pepe Le Pew

I walked into the church last Saturday and was greeting by a strange new smell. After catechism class i was told that new aroma to my nose was the smell of a skunk!! Us Aussies get a lot of our education in things North American from Walt Disney and for this aussie traveler skunks are no different. I knew they had powerful odor, but when you are experience it for the first time it is something else. Thankfully, the smell in the church comes from the little creature opening his lunch box while walking past the closed door, and is not a full blast of his arse-nal. Two traps are now set outside of the holes he has dug under the back of the church and all the doors are open to air the place out.

I have been told that if i am going to take a photo of a skunk not to get closer than 5 metres or he will get me.

XO Adrian

Monday, 1 October 2007

The wildllife

Canada has a many animals we don't. I have seen raccoons on my way home from ladies guild, a mum deer and her two kids on the way to church and last Friday saw my first Coyote. I have Friday's off and went to Tobermory at the top of the Bruce peninsula. There i went on a boat cruise around the islands just off shore which are so beautiful. They are densely packed with White Spruce, lots of nice rocks and crystal clear water. On Flowerpot island the captain of the boat pointed out a Coyote (double click on the photo below).

The reason the island is called Flowerpot.

More of beautiful views

I have also seen my first bear. It was actually two black bears and despite what you may have heard about bears they are not so dangerous. I think they are just misunderstood and want what most humans want. The two i saw were so consumed in what they were doing they didn't even notice me.

See ya, Adrian

Mmmmmaple syrup

My taste bubs have been put to the test sampling maple syrup combined with a variety of foods. In Canada Tim Horton’s is franchise that mostly sells coffee and donuts. It is very popular. I had a coffee and a Canadian Maple donut, which has maple syrup frosting and a custard centre. Verdict: I will be buying one again.

Friday I had a maple syrup flavoured waffle cone. This I can also highly recommend.

For supper (dinner) Friday night I had baked beans in maple syrup. If you like the idea of eating dessert as a main course, then BB’s in maple syrup is for you. I would not have them again because I like tomato flavoured beans.

XO Adrian