A Sail Flapping in the Wind

There is nothing worse than a sail banging around and flapping aimlessly in the wind. It makes lots of noise, but fails do harness the wind passing over it. In fact, in that state, the wind is damaging the sail. A sail that is not under tension is a danger to itself and to the rest of the rigging on the boat.

However, when a sail is held in tension by ropes that are guided by the captain, the sail catches the wind and drives the boat forward. The sail must work under load and be held in tension by the rope and guided by the captain.

We can be like that sail flapping in the wind when we are not focussed on God. A great amount of time, energy, and resources could be expended without any results if we are not being guided by God.

When I am not held in tension through a clear vision and a close walk with God, I drift and am not focussed — like a sail flapping in the wind.

Being focussed on God means being attentive to him in prayer, seeking him in the Word regularly, and acting on his directions and commands in scripture. This will likely feel difficult because the sail is catching wind and you feel the tension of the rope being tightened. 

But we must not falter at that point. Hang on and we will find that the sail does not tear, the ropes do not break, and the hand of the captain is steady. 

As we continue in that work and tension, we will begin to see our life take shape and begin to move in ways we had not imagined could happen.

Trust in the captain and brace yourself, for the wind is blowing. 

Can you feel it? 

A Sweet Anticipation of Christmas

We are approaching the end of November and you know what that means! I am not thinking of American Thanksgiving or Black Friday sales. I am thinking about advent. In my earlier years, advent meant one thing to me and that was a calendar with chocolate behind each date.

I would stare at that cardboard calendar with its cartoonish picture of a manger complete with cows, sheep, shepherds, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus — all illuminated by a giant star. Every passing day was rewarded with another dose of that poor quality chocolate, which to an eight year old seemed like it was hand-crafted by a swiss confectionary. What I remember about advent was that it was sweet and rewarding.

I once heard a story about someone who saw a nativity scene in front of a church and remarked “Why are Christians trying to make Christmas about Jesus rather than Santa?” This is a legitimate question if the origin of the Christmas holiday has vanish from the public consciousness. 

Advent means “coming or arrival” and Christians around the world use the month leading up to December 25th to celebrate the arrival of Jesus over 2000 years ago in a town called Bethlehem in Israel. December 25th would not have been the actual day that Jesus was born on, but it is used to signify and celebrate the birth of Jesus.

The very name ‘Christmas’ is made up of ‘Christ’, which was a term used for Jesus and means anointed one, and ‘mas’ which refers to the celebration of the meaning of the death of Jesus which is called the Eucharist or Lord’s supper today. The meaning of Christmas is the celebration of the birth of God’s special blessed one who died so that people could live at peace with God.

It is no wonder that Christmas is known as a time of peace, good cheer, and joy. We even give gifts to one another to celebrate, which is something I enjoy very much and even more so as I give gifts to my little boy and watch him open them with excitement.

In these precious moments, I admit I am not necessarily thinking of a baby born 2000 years ago, but the act of giving gifts and creating a joyful experience is all about celebrating that event and its ongoing effect in my life and in the world.

As I reflect on my 8 year old self, enjoying the sweetness of a chocolate advent calendar, I realize that I had one thing right: advent is about eager expectation of something good.

Whatever your belief about the days leading up to Christmas, I pray it will be a time of joy and celebration, even during a time when all of this is going to be very different from what we have known in the past. I will leave you with these words of Jesus. “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you.” (john 14:27)

Who Steals a Truck on Easter Sunday?

My wife and I are new to Williams Lake. I have just started a pastoral position with the Cariboo Presbyterian Church, which meets in houses all across the Cariboo. I drive all over the Cariboo in the church truck to visit and lead worship in these house churches. My travel has stopped now with the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and we have switched to online services. We are also celebrating Easter for the first time with this church and I am reminded once again of how the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus continues to be evident in new ways.

It was Easter Sunday morning, after a video call with other members of our church, that I looked out my kitchen window and discovered that my truck was not parked where I had left it. Someone had stolen my truck early on Easter Sunday morning.

Here is a difficult truth that I am still learning; there are no guarantees that life will go the way you expect. I expected Easter to be a time for sharing warm greetings and maybe even some candy. For Christians, the Easter holiday commemorates the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus over two thousand years ago. This moment is the central core of Christian belief and hope. Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:23-26a) The early followers of Jesus were expecting Jesus to be a great leader that would overthrow the Romans and lead Israel back to being a ruling power, but those hopes were dashed when Jesus was nailed to a cross between two thieves. The expectations we might have for a good and happy life can meet a swift end when our life makes a sudden change for the worse.

Easter is not just the celebration of disaster though. Jesus had told his followers that he would die, but that would not be the end. He indicated that he would be buried for three days but then be raised again (John 2:19). Easter is also about “resting in the earth” in the sense of Jesus’ burial. In the hours and days after Jesus’ burial, his followers were left with the conflict between the reality of Jesus being dead and his words that he would be raised from the dead. I felt this as I was waiting to hear what had happened to my truck. I knew it was gone, but was unsure what the future would hold.

Here is the miracle of Easter, that which was fuzzy and inconceivable to those followers of Jesus became crystal clear on the morning of the third day. God had physically raised Jesus from the dead and God continues his resurrection work even today. My truck was found by the RCMP the same day, with no damage, not far from where it was taken. I did not have much hope that it would be recovered, much less that it would not be damaged.

How are you dealing with a burial moment in your life? Is your spiritual life, your health, marriage, or finances in the tomb? God cares about even the small things in our lives and is still bringing the dead to life. This is the hope of Easter and it can be your hope too!

Where Would We Find Jesus Today?

The answer is that he would not be where we would expect.

In Luke19:1-10 we read that Jesus passed by a rich tax collector, who had been seeking Jesus, and then asks to eat with him at his house. That might not sound like a big deal to us, but lets put this in our context.

Remember the financial crisis of 2008 that was caused by the shady business practices of big bankers in the US? Many people lost savings, homes, and experienced terrible suffering because of what those bankers did. Many of these bankers made huge fortunes as the financial sector collapsed in the US and then around the world. Now imagine one of those bankers, who was responsible for some much loss and suffering, hears that Jesus is in town and he goes looking for him.

The story in Luke is very much like this situation. Tax collectors were disliked by the Jews of Jesus’ time because they were seen as extortionists and traitors because they were collecting taxes for the Romans. There is an important point to this story though. It says the tax collector was “seeking” Jesus, meaning he knew he had done wrong and wanted to know how he could make it right. If that 2008 banker went looking for Jesus, I think it was because he knew he had done something terribly wrong and wanted to know how he could make it right.

So what does it mean if Jesus is willing to talk to and even eat with someone who had caused so much suffering but was repentant and seeking to make things right? It means that Jesus can extend mercy to those who most of us could not, even to world-class crooks. Jesus spends time with people who are in need of mercy.

But how about “where” Jesus would be. There is another story in John 4:1-15 that shows that Jesus goes where nobody would expect him to go. The text says that Jesus was traveling to Judea and decided to walk through an area called Samaria. This place was within Israel, but the people that lived there had grievances with the rest of the Jews that went back many centuries.

The Jews and the Samaritans lived together, but they remained strained in their relations. Most Jews would go around this place if they were travelling, but Jesus went straight through it and stopped to speak with a woman along the way. He explained to her that the differences that had kept them at odds were now ended because of the new way God was speaking to all people — though Jesus.

I think we would find Jesus in similar places in Canada, talking with anyone that wanted to speak with him. The point of the text in the gospel of John is that Jesus was removing barriers to God that had been put up by religious leaders. I think we would find Jesus doing the same thing today. His message has not changed. His message is that God has shown his love to all people by trading their sorrows for his joy. And this comes by faith in Jesus.

If Jesus walked among us today, he would be forgiving people who did not expect to be forgiven and walking and talking with people who did not expect to see him.

The Brothers Karamazov and the Love that Overcomes

What is a father? A biological relation? A familial position? A role? One of the themes in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamazov  is the effect of a reprobate father on his sons. It involves treachery, murder, lust, betrayal, loyalty, compassion, and sorrow to name a few.

This theme culminates at the end of the story in the closing arguments of the lawyer for Dmitri Karamazov, who is on trial for the murder of his father. This lawyer separates the biological father from the traditional role of father and beseeches the jury to recognize the difference between the two. The consequence of convicting Dmitri for the murder of Fyodor as his father are what is at stake. He argues that to convict Dmitri for this murder is to isolate him and condemn him to eternal damnation. It is a confirmation to himself that he is evil and that those convicting him are evil. He is evil for killing his father and the judge, jury, and prosecution is evil for forcing him to acknowledge that Fyodor was his father.

Fyodor was a cruel, selfish, petty, and malicious man who thought only of himself and his lusts. He cared nothing for his children and stole the little amount of money that was their inheritance from their mothers (the three boys were half siblings). In the end, the jury convicts him of the murder of his father and in so doing, Dostoevsky leaves a chilling thought in the air that the role of father is convicted along with him. What will become of fathers?

I think time has come to answer that question and the result is not favourable. Men who beget children have lost much of what it means to be a father in the century since Dostoevsky asked the question.

If Fyodor was cruel, selfish, and petty, then what should a father be and why should a father act in that manner? To start, could we say a father should be the opposite of Fyodor, which would be caring, selfless, and honourable? The second question is “why” a father should act a certain way.

Dostoevsky’s way of answering that question was through his detailed story that followed that lives of these three boys, each with unique personalities, ambitions, and outcomes. Dmitri was the headstrong soldier whose undisciplined life led to his downfall. Ivan was the smart, educated intellectual who scorned his father and God. His intellectual pursuits, sorrow, and scorn for God led him to lose his mind in the end. Only the innocent monk Alyosha comes out in the end and avoids the disaster of a reprobate father. In the end, it is not strength or intelligence that overcomes, but strength of spirit.

Alyosha has learned to love other people under the tutelage of the Orthodox monks he had been living with. If the role of father will survive and overcome selfishness, then we as people seeking to live together, with strong and healthy familial relationships, must learn to love, and I would add, learn to love from Jesus Christ.

Just before his death, Jesus knelt in a garden overlooking Jerusalem and asked God that if there was any way possible that he would not have to die on the cross. His desire nevertheless was not his will, but God’s will that would be done.

This relationship of son to father is the perfect model for us. Not in that God caused his son to suffer terribly, but in that they shared a perfect love that overcame even the most disastrous life events through not strength
nor intelligence, but spirit.


My struggle with grass creep


Alicia and I were walking back to our new home in Williams Lake and I remarked to her that one thing that really bothers me about our yard is the lack of definition between the grass and the gravel parking area. The grass is like a slow moving tide working its way up the beach, which is my gravel parking lot. I need boundaries to clearly define what is parking lot and what is yard, otherwise they join in a messy transition that does not look good. Every time I get out of my car I imagine how I will dig up portions and create clear boundaries with borders, fences, and ground covers, all designed to give me the definition and boundaries that I need to have peace of mind. I have an impulse to impose order on chaos. I wonder if anyone else feels this way? Continue reading “My struggle with grass creep”

Experiencing love as a besieged city


Blessed be the LORD,

for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me

when I was in a besieged city.

I had said in my alarm,

“I am cut off from your sight.”

But you heard the voice of my pleas for mercy

when I cried to you for help.

 Psalm 31:21-22


The Israelites knew about sieges. The Assyrians laid siege to Israel and led the inhabitants away as captives. Later, the Babylonians did the same thing to Jerusalem. A city under siege is terrible. When a dominating army has surrounded a city, no one gets in or out. People eventually starve. Living conditions become unmanageable. Sieges suck the life out of the inhabitants. Continue reading “Experiencing love as a besieged city”

New Members to the Team

We are excited to announce that we have extended a call to Mark Carter to take over the leadership of the southern portion of the house church ministry. Mark and his wife Alicia, along with their 8 month old son Micah, are returning to the Cariboo after Mark’s theological education at Regent College in Vancouver. They are excited to join the ministry and look forward to serving in the Cariboo.


Jon Wyminga & Shannon Bell-Wyminga

Jon and Shannon both grew up in Southern Ontario: Jon in the Toronto area and Shannon in Port Hope, a small town along Lake Ontario.

Jon first pursued a diploma in graphic design and during that time in college committed his life to Christ at a youth retreat. At the same weekend he sensed a call to missions. He went on to work in short-term missions in Holland and Toronto before going to Ontario Bible College, York University and eventually seminary. Shannon studied for a diploma from Ewart College in Christian Education and a degree in Religious Studies before she and Jon went to Knox College for ministry training.

Jon and Shannon dated while in university and were married in 1986. They each finished their degrees and entered Knox College together and were ordained together in 1991. Their ministry experience to that point had been focused on inner-city missions and they went on to share a position in Montreal in an inner-city ministry of the church. The call to the Cariboo and rural ministry was quite unexpected, but God always knows what is best for them. They have been truly blessed to labour in God’s vineyard in the Cariboo.

They have settled in the remote, predominantly Dakelh community of Ndazkoh where they are reaching out to their own village as well as other local villages and bands. Jon and Shannon have 2 daughters: Shelby is an actor, graduated with a BFA in acting from Trinity Western University. She is married to Tyler who has a BA in music from TWU and is working on a Master’s degree in theology and the arts at Regent College. Joelle is also working on a BFA in acting at TWU.

Jon and Shannon’s vision is to see Ndazkoh and the surrounding bands transformed by the love of Christ.

Bruce & Jackie Wilcox
Bruce & Jackie Wilcox

Bruce and Jackie Wilcox

Bruce was born in Kamloops. B.C., and has lived pretty much all his life in and around the 100 Mile House area. Other than a couple of stints of post-secondary education, he worked mostly for local lumber manufacturers until his appointment to full time ministry in the CPC in Aug. 2013.

Under the mentoring and encouragement of Dave Webber and other teaching elders, Bruce responded to a call to eldership in the Church in 1999, and has since been designated a “lay missionary with training” by the presbytery of Kamloops. Bruce began full-time ministry in the Cariboo in August 2013, taking on many of the house churches that had been led by David Webber until his retirement and developing new areas of mission as well.

His wife Jackie is a care-aide who works in home support, and they have been blessed with the house church model of worship in the CPC, and opportunities from the Lord to reach out in ministry to others with that; whether in a designated building, people’s homes, or places like Seniors’ Care facilities.

Bruce and Jackie live in 108 Mile Ranch, and have four “kids” – all grown up now. They love reading, music (Bruce loves jam sessions and trying to learn more on his guitar), and a good hockey game.