Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Fathers day for me is a time to be grateful, not a moment for accolades.

I am so bothered by the men in our world that take the responsibility of being a father and husband as some selfish prize to be worn when it’s convenient. Empty of the work, sweat, tears, sacrifice and pain it take to be a true father, to be a good husband, to be a loving daddy, and to be a man embracing and taking on his responsibilities.  So on Fathers day, I’m not so worried about the accolades of the idea of fatherhood, not reposting all the Social Media meme’s that boys with kids cling to for their own self worth, instead I am deeply humbled by the little voices in my ear too early in the morning, or too late at night that start with “daddy…”

I have found a wealth of treasure, more valuable than gold or sports cars, massive houses or global vacations. More valuable than repeating weekends golfing with friends, wing nights out every weekend, or a summer long beer and fishing pole experience. More valuable than anything this world holds… and also more costly. This treasure that yields unending joy also costs me everything. For my these treasures I will and have sacrificed everything.23270328_10154802828660940_8148700724681488498_o

It smells sometimes like vomit, dirty diapers, or old milk and sometimes like happy meals and candy,  sometimes like paint and markers and way too many bath bubbles, or sometimes like fresh laundered PJ’s and freshly shampooed curlys wet on the pillow beside me. It feels like a soaking wet lap, or a very dirty hug, or a slimy rotten fruit between the car seats. It sounds like the screaming death of warrior cats, or the soft cry of brokenness, the endless giggle of elation, or the scream of DADDY! As I walk in the door after a long day.28577640_10155096780880940_8284783964552429568_o

Deeply outweighing the value of any earthy treasure is the incredible weight and honour of being a dad. Daddy. What better word in the world is that. When I come home and hear my baby girls scream DADDY!! And my youngest comes running around the kitchen island with her arms in the air my heart is overwhelmed.

When their feelings are crushed, their dreams (of that moment) ripped up or their little bodies get banged up they instantly cry for Daddy and come running for comfort… what greater reward and responsibility is that?

To be able to work, to provide, to be with, to sacrifice my own needs, or desires for the little girls that surround me and place their trust and love and life on my shoulders, what greater burden is there?

To be able to wake up early to change a diaper and plug in another bottle, or to wake up late to a night terror and offer comfort, or to go to the dollar store for a night of treats, and movies with my little girls who are desperate to spend time with me. What more incredible moments are there?

Fathers day isn’t about a gift or a treat or a reward for me. It’s not. I’m not saying that as a hero or looking for more praise I’m saying that as a point to the boys pretending to be men, for the biological fathers pretending to be dads. Being a Dad is a joy because we get to sacrifice ourselves for others, not because they sacrifice themselves for us.

  • For little hands that need to be held as they sleep,
  • for little feet that need to be taught how to walk,
  • for little bums that need changing,
  • and little ears that need praising.
  • For growing kids that need encouragement
  • And nervous kids that need calming
  • for frustrated ones that need solutions
  • Creative kids that need inspiration
  • Athletic kids that need challenging
  • Tired teens that need motivation
  • Lonely ones that need a date night with dad
  • Scared ones that need a tight hug
  • Anxious ones that need a back rub
  • Bored kids that need someone to play catch with
  • sad kids that need smile
  • broken kids that need to feel valued

THAT is our calling, that and more, more, more. Bills that need paying, teams that need coaching, life students that need teaching, Wives and their mothers that need to be loved and respected and cherished in front of them.  that is our blessing. That is our calling. Being called Daddy, earning that term of endearment, that is our reward.

On fathers day I’m going to spend the day with my girls in deep appreciation of each of them. Of their 3 little personalities, their craziness or quietness. I’m going to re-appreciate that everyday constant routine of life that gives me these girls, that gives me these moments that sometimes drains me to deep exhaustion. I’m going to refuse to be a childish boy that walks away from his family and be the man that embraces every moment.

I am not good. I am not perfect. But GOD knows I love my kids and my wife beyond all else. God knows I get so tired and so drained and so broken that I fail and fall away from my daily responsibilities. God knows that sometimes my brokenness comes from a loss of dreams and hopes for my own selfish reasons and I’m quickly reminded that I am successful when two little arms wrap around my neck and say “I love you daddy”


This Sunday, I’m going to watch the wiggles and sing and clap with my youngest. I’m going to watch slime making videos on YouTube with my middle one, and I’m going to make slime while watching Full House with my oldest one.  While my wife has to work, on my weekend i’m going to get up early and go to bed late. Were going to do soccer tournaments, and walks, naps and snacks.  I’m going to watch them bike loops around the block, draw endless pictures for praise and replace a dozen bottles and change a half dozen diapers. I’m going to endlessly pick up toys, do relentless amounts of dishes, cook food that doesn’t get eaten, clean up messes because they don’t listen, go to the bathroom with the door open to make sure no one is getting hurt, and after 9:00 pm I’m going to sit desperately quiet… and I’m going to be grateful that I am their daddy. Thank Jesus I’m a dad!  I’m not going to anticipate a present that we can’t afford, I’m going to be glad I got to spend just another day in the life of my kids… and be thankful that I could afford the time.




I find it most difficult to see when blasting lights are most abundant
Light so much it overwhelms the senses and misdirect my sights to the profane
My vision is often clearest in the deepest spaces of purest dark
Where any trace of light is lost and objects of distraction disappear into the blanket of nothing

I close my eyes.

My mind seems most polluted when absolutely nothing can be hidden
Enticements twisting with the wind like leaves raging from trees with the gusts of autumn
Nothing or no one to stop the foolishness that dances across unlimited absurdity paraded as beauty
No trees, no hedges or roots of wisdom for caution or slow the excess being poured onto the masses

I close them tight.

Lies displayed on canvas like museums where gawkers roar in ignorance over the nonsense
Discounting endless flaws in their version of wisdom and passing it as beautiful artistry to be praised
Pumping in uninterrupted volumes of oxygen to keep the masses happy, awake but barely alive
Quieting scrutiny to save any separation from masses where stillness, reason and thinking waits

Tighter still, and tighter still.

Oh God I pray for perpetually quiet moments of deep reflection
Where eyes and minds aren’t soaked in countless lies being dramatized on stage as truth
Where costumes are removed in front of curtains and wolves in packs stand revealed
Where the single voice of truth is louder than any combination of prevailing deceptions.

Tighter still my eyes are closed, so the world is left silent and wisdom can finally be heard.

If even these distortions and lies can be perverted into “light, clarity and truth”
Where injustice is hailed as just and love betrayed to the masses as a fleeting physicality
How tight must we hold to unchanging truth while the winds of change shift endlessly around us
Eyes Closed, deep invocation, Focused, one truth, embracing revelation, chasing His perfection.

– Marshal Burnham

There are few words that can be said that calms the waters after a mass shooting, terrorist attack, bombing, or any mass death caused by one or many.

Blood boils, insults are hurled, lines are drawn, battle sides are taken. Wars of words are waged, attacks and counter attacks cover over the social media landscape, news and headlines. I don’t have any answers. Some people seem to / claim to, others say they won’t work. Some say they have found the root cause, others say they are misdirected.

Some cling to their faith to drive in their attacks with a heaping of insults of misquoted or misunderstood scripture. Others attack that same faith with a dose of mockery and disdain also embracing misquotes or fractured verses to make their point heard even louder. Dear God we are a broken, sad, hateful, lost, bruised world that is desperate for hope.

Some search for hope in celebrities, musicians, sports, social media, friends, family, loved ones, children, themselves, money or the stars. over and over again those sources of momentary inspiration, love, or adoration will fail us. They will fail us, or fade away and leave us completely empty.  We crave something or someone to follow. We crave being led. Whether we find ourselves alongside the masses in thoughts, or riots, or ideologies, or quietly/secretly following that loud spoken politician who “speaks for us”, we are always searching for the next idol, leader, or god… endlessly failing us, but we search on.

until Jesus. (Awkward silence, eyes rolling, fingers tapping)

I find my hope resting in the true living word of God. It’s in the perfectly recorded written history of the Old Testament, and the eyewitness accounts of God in the flesh of the New Testament…. that I find my hope. My hope begins and ends with Jesus. Never failing. Endlessly true.  Fully redeeming. Agape Love.

I’m sure that’s maddening or awkward to hear for many, and I get it actually as the name of Jesus alone shakes the masses, disrupted every government for the past 2000 years and still today.  Doesn’t make it any less true for me. The fact that most of the unbelieving world gets its source material on Jesus from heresy, word of mouth, their own thoughts, those of others, ideas of leaders, social media, documentaries, this History channel, or from their parents faith is often frustrating to me, or those of us who have just approached the source directly.

but I digress.. my point is this… I find my hope in scripture. I find my hope in the Truth of the Gospel, in the message of Jesus Christ. I’m not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus or of my belief in Jesus Christ – Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile”.

So, all that being said, today (in the light of the mass shooting in Flordia) I read this verse, (which those who trust in the bible believe to be “what is to come” in the last book of the bible called “Revelation” likely written by the Apostle John), and I had to cling to it a little longer than normal.


Rev 21:2-4
(2) And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. (3) And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, (4) and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

Here’s to the hope that is to come

Marshal Burnham

The argument I made every Christmas was always “It’s our holiday, why are you taking our holiday”. Growing up I was always frustrated that Christmas was robbed by the masses, perverted and twisted into a spending frenzy so the message of the Birth of Christ was muted and dulled. Then Easter came around, and I was equally disgruntled at Capturethe world for turning the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior into the celebration of a massive bunny that poops chocolate.  I wondered why Ramadan, Hanukah or other major world religious holidays didn’t get the same treatment. Why do no other faiths have to contend with the world to keep their faith and their celebrated days pure and untarnished by the world.


Even writing that piece above got me a bit bitter. Thinking that I’ve finally resolved my issues and that I’m ready to write it down and solidify my thoughts on the issue, I realize that I’m still a work in progress. I’ve got a long way to go but I’m happy to be on the journey. What led me here was the thought that we get ANGRY if not FURIOUS that the story of “Love, Grace, Forgiveness, and Redemption” is being ruined or distorted by a world in dire need of Love, Grace, Forgiveness and Redemption. We have come to hate our fellow man because they need love but have “stolen” our story of love.

It just feels so ironic.


Many Christians beg the world with slogans, lawn signs, posters, posts, tweets, instaposts (?) and whatever resource we have to “KEEP THE CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS” 1297498459570_ORIGINALwhile in their haste and bitterness, frustrations and sadness fail to “KEEP THE CHRIST IN CHRISTIAN”. That’s a bold statement – and lets be clear, it does not apply to most and it shouldn’t apply to any Christians. Unfortunately it does, and too often.  When I first heard the line “If you want to Keep the Christ in Christmas, maybe learn first to Keep the Christ In Christian” I was a bit ticked off. I thought “Quit stealing our holidays and maybe we would!” Haha…. Terrible. Once again our own words were being hurled at us and we once again had to justify our position and intentions.   Urgh… will this attack on our faith ever end? (hint: No)


But that statement didn’t leave me. It hung on like Klingon for a few days, weeks then years. It really took a bite out of me and it wasn’t even a bible verse, it was just a thought, a concept. I was challenged to think, “am I missing something here”? Did Jesus put any focus or attention on his Birth? Did he ever drive home the importance of celebrating his birth? Did Jesus himself, the one in which we claim to follow, celebrate, worship and emulate (to the best of our ability) ever put his foot down on these types of issues? When He died and rose again – was the purpose to stick a flag in the sand and claim that day as Christmas for Christians globally and in perpetuity? Or… was it to send a bigger message? (hint: Love, Grace, Forgivness, Hope, Redemption, Salvation).

I’m a husband to a wonderful wife, a dad of 3 unbelievable girls, and have a very wide extended family of whom I love dearly. We LOVE the holidays. In the face of my bitterness that the world has stolen and commercialized the sweet celebration of the birth of Jesus I sill indulged and continue to indulge in every single Christmas shopping extravaganza, movie (especially the horrific made for TV ones starring famous 80’s and 90’s sitcom stars long forgotten.)Candace Cameron_jpeg I don’t/can’t miss a holiday treat, a holiday meal, I drown my bitterness in eggnog, truffles, Lindors, icy-mints, clementine’s. Okay, I’m getting distracted… sorry. My point is… I LOVE what the holiday has become for my family.  From the story of the Birth of our Saviour, to candle light services, caroling, Snacks, gifts and National Lampoons Christmas Vacation and all of it in between. My wife and I have “cleverly” blended the commercialization with the deep profound love and respect and celebration of the story of Jesus, but I can admit to fumbling with the message of hope a few too many times over the season as we get lost in the commercialization. In the end, I think we’ve done it well so I’ve felt justified in allowing some bitterness towards my fellow humans to grow if they don’t or haven’t done the same. (in my most humble opinion).

“If you want to keep the Christ in Christmas, maybe learn first to Keep the Christ In Christian”. Back to this. What does it mean to keep the Christ in Christian? I think the bible teaches throughout it’s entirety that it means to love people, embrace them, feed them, clothe them, honour them and even give grace to those who don’t celebrate this season for what it means to me or the Christian faith.10428014_10152403692345940_93995036958062967_n That seems easy. I mean it really does. I know the idea of loving our enemy is not easy but if we consider the atrocities that I personally have committed while claiming to be a man of faith and STILL I’m loved, forgiven, and embraced by a holy and Just God, then I should find it easy to simply love someone who doesn’t love me back. (1 John 4:19 “We Love because he first loved us”).

So Christmas, for me, has changed over the past decade. I’ve learned that this world is LOADED with different people, faiths, personalities, viewpoints, ideals, preferences, etc. My goal, if I am a follower of Christ is to make the incredible story of the gospel known (see the end of this writing for more info on that) to all people, and I attempt do that by honestly just loving people over this season. Regardless of all the above points, just love people. I have failed at that. I still fail. There’s probably someone reading this who feels like I haven’t done well at showing them or people they know that they are loved. My apologies, I’m working on it, and I will continue to do so. When I don’t love, when I don’t show grace, or compassion, forgiveness or mercy then I have failed the message of the Gospel. There is an UNBELIEVEABLE story of hope and salvation that is available for ANY man, woman or child, that is shrouded, covered up and muddied when those who claim to subscribe to that message do nothing but hate, judge, impose and attack.

My goal is not to challenge how people celebrate their holiday. Frankly, happy Ramadan brother, happy Hanukah friend, Season’s Greetings Sister, happy holiday loved one. To love is to set aside my bias and opinions (which are sinful by nature). To love is to build a relationship, friendship, some trust, in hopes to create an opportunity for dialogue.

I can’t forget that true love speaks truth. At some point love requires that honest conversation.  Frankly, if I’ve been diligent in my quest to show people they are loved as they are, then I don’t think that’ll be an issue. I know the truth, I’ve been set free by the truth, and it’s absolutely incredible. I would LOVE to tell you that beautiful incredible truth that you are LOVED by a God (John 3:16) that loved you so much he died in your place, to cover your brokenness and sin (While we were still sinners Christ died for US – Romans 5:8). I’d love to sit and tell you that you are loved more than you will ever understand or comprehend by a God bigger than the Universe and more intimate than a friend who knew you before you were even formed in your mothers womb. I’d love to offer you the message of hope that says all your flaws and failures, those deep dark broken places that break you and keep you weighed down with burdens you can’t release can be simply washed away, forgiven, covered, healed, and mended by a personal Jesus. That’s my goal. My hope is to be able to share with you the true message of Hope that Christmas brings all humanity through Jesus Christ. Maybe someday I’ll get that chance.  Maybe not. But what I can do, what I can offer is love. It’s been given to me when I have not deserved it, so how can I not show that same love to a fellow brother or sister regardless of whatever.

Thanks for reading. Love one another.

John 13:34-35 says “A new command I give you, Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples.”

(Sorry for all my grammar errors, I’ll fix them as I see them)


The Gospel and Christmas

The Story of Christmas. Firstly I’d ask you to put this away, because the bible tells it much better. I’d say open the Book of LUKE (in the latter half of the Bible) and just start reading. It’s an incredible story. That being said while I have you hear let me make it simple.

We are flawed. If you think you are perfect than you can stop here. But if you have ever stolen anything in your life, ever lied to anyone, ever looked at anyone with lust, ever thought anything dirty or inappropriate, then you are essentially a Thieving, lying, lustful, perverted, sinner. That’s heavy. But it’s everyone in history if that helps. We all struggle with sin. We all have a sinful nature. (Romans 3:23). That sin separates us from God.

The story of Christmas is about God looking down on us and in love sending His Son to cover the cost of that sin (that would ultimately end in death. Eternal death. The COST of sin is death (Romans 6:23) but the Gift of God gave us was eternal life through Jesus). Jesus (God in the Flesh) came down. Born as a child to suffer as we did, to be tempted as we have, to live and to die, to be hungry and thirsty, to struggle and to live just as we do. Jesus was sinless, perfect, and the sins of the world was placed on his shoulders. As a result he was crucified and suffered in our place. A Sinless Jesus, died in our place to pay the cost for our sins. Doesn’t end there. Death did not defeat him. Jesus then rose again, from the grave, with death and sin defeated and offers us the hope of that resurrection. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved the bible promises. (Acts 16:31). Accept his forgiveness and be forgiven. It’s that easy. There’s no good deeds, no work, no earning that salvation. It’s free, the cost has been paid.

Connect with me to talk more, lastly. I’ll end with a story I LOVE called The Judge. It’s an amazing metaphor to explain some of what I mentioned above.

The Judge: I’ve taken it from the site

The Judge

Upholding what is right comes at a cost.

There’’s a story about a judge whose own son was brought before her for a crime he had committed. The judge felt a deep grief that her son would violate the laws upon which she based her entire life. Tears welled in her eyes and she listened painfully as the evidence against her son was presented. The courtroom sat in silence wondering how the judge would rule. Would she just give him a reprimand in an act of mercy? Would she give him the minimum penalty for the offense? Much to their surprise, she handed down the maximum fine, upholding the law to its fullest degree. The son was in shock, for he knew that he couldn’t pay the fine and was anguished at the thought of imprisonment. He looked up at her in disbelief.

But then something happened that nobody expected. She stepped down from the bench, took off her judge’s robe, told her son how much she loved him and then paid, out of her own pocket, the fine she had just handed down.  Not everyone understood what she had done. As a judge, she showed her commitment to honor the law to its fullest, but she then stepped down from that seat of honor and showed her love for her child. Her son never understood the depth of his mother’s commitment to the law until that moment, and, until that moment, he never knew the depth of his mother’s love for him. He felt deep sorrow for the pain he had caused her and for those he had hurt by his act of crime. With his head bowed, and his tears flowing freely, he asked for her forgiveness, which she willingly and freely gave to him.

This story is actually an allegory for God’s relationship to us. Our crimes are our willful departure from the laws given us by God for the way we are to live. When we break those laws, God is grieved and pained. Inevitably there are natural consequences of our failings that hurt others, sometimes affecting lives for generations to come. This is why God’s laws say that the penalty for sin is death. His holy nature demands that He not just let us off the hook or go easy on us. So what did He do? He came down from heaven to us in Jesus Christ to help us to understand His laws, to show us the depth of His love for us and to pay the price of our sin with His own life. This never made sense to me until I understood how I fell short of God’s standards for life and how deeply that had hurt those who depended on me the most. But once I knew the love and forgiveness of God, I turned away in disgust from my deepest sins and understood, in a way I never had before, how to love and forgive others.






William Branham


Indoctrination 24/7

No internet

No freedom (no desire)

Always surrounded with the same men

The same words

The same scriptural references

The same teacher

The same message.

The Satanic Cult of William Branham circa 1950 And today.

Let me explain.

Before I start. Please let me say I’m no expert. I’ve spent a lot of time studying what these guys believe and its dark, scary but mostly sad.  There are many experts who have escaped this cult only to lose family friends, employment and everything they loved and held dear, but as a result they found the true Jesus.  there are a number of sites of people who have escaped offering truth of this dark “message”.  At the end I have provided their websites, please consider giving them some time as well.

SO… This is important. For some time now in the little/big city of London Ontario, church goers have been trying to separate ourselves by a few in our community who claim to be Christians. I called them the Screaming Preachers in a previous blog I had posted. There’s so much more to this story so much to their story that I simply didn’t know. The more I read, the more I asked the sadder it became.  There is a true sadness to the brokenness of this situation, but it also calls somewhat for some exposure.

After the article I wrote went somewhat viral I had a myriad of people I’ve never met privately messaging me. From pastors to other church goes, to people outside of the faith and to people who know and have known Matt (the one I mostly spoke to or got yelled at by) from university years prior to his cult indoctrination. (No body contacted me that knew Steven – The other guy but also the leader) So today I went back to them to ask some questions, get yelled at, get told I was the devil and I was going to hell as an evil pastor (which I’m neither) and hear some more about what they Actually believe.

First to start, I’m changing the name “Screaming Preacher” to “Screaming Heretics” I can’t keep giving these guys an equal title as those who do some great preaching in this city. I believe that local Christians have kind of been going at this from the wrong angle since we’ve been trying to tell people that their brand of Christianity is NOT the norm, it’s on the outside of mainstream and limited to about…. 5 people. And while they are currently getting attention in the press over this, there needs to be some more said about who EXACLTY they follow and what EXACTLY they believe. (Because it’s kinda crazy). I want to EXPOSE THESE GUYS so while they keep claiming to be Christians, you will know they just aren’t… in fact… they aren’t even close.

Let’s start with William M Branham. Cult Leader extravaganza. At first when Matt, one of the two, was hurling isolated old testament verses at me to justify the idea that I was going to hell due to my cargo shorts being “ladies underpants” or my tattoos that were “written by the hand of the Devil” I assumed they were TRYING to speak on the scriptures behalf, but I was mistaken. THIS ISN’T THE CASE. They are trying to speak on behalf of Willy B, using Scriptures.  William Branham actually said those exact quotes (Oddly his daughter posted a picture of him online wearing Cargo Shorts in Africa).  Matt Carapella and Steven Ravbar (taught and led by their elder Rudy Ravbar) don’t follow Jesus as you would expect someone who claims to be a Christian to follow. They actually follow this guy William, and everything they do, say, speak, yell and scream is classic Willy B even down to the bizarre terminology they use for insults, a lot of them come right from the 40’s – 60’s, terms we don’t even use anymore.

After much research and finding the right sources on this guy, it’s a very sad, misled and misdirected cult devoid of logic and reason.  I don’t mean that harshly, but things are so poorly aligned with Williams versions of facts its actually unbelievable that people would listen to anything he says.  Willy B was an old school “evangelist” of sorts until his mental health took over and disillusionment started to run the show. In the 1940’s he named a church after himself called the “Branham Tabernacle” (tad bizarre to name a church after oneself isn’t it?  at least a little bit?). He started some massive healing road show, in fact he was kind of known as the leader of the modern healing revival shows. (yes shows, not services) ANYWAYS, this guy has quite the following and really has blinded a great many hundreds of thousands with statements that a grade schooler can prove to you as false. He claimed to all sorts of nonsense including the exact dates of the end times (don’t worry, he failed many times, thus you are reading this). He claimed he was Elijah returned. He claimed the United States would be destroyed in 1977.  He also claimed to raise people from the dead (never been proven or validated – obviously – there are three different accounts of this singular event in finland, all different, and his was the only one suggesting he raised an unconscious boy from the dead).  Doesn’t end there. He made claims of prophecy (when he used the term “Thus Sayith the Lord”) that simply over and over again never came true (16 people dying on the Municipal bridge – Proven fact it never happened, killing a brown bear – never happened, speaking to 300k+ people in Africa – by his own words never happened, Seeing the cloud (read THIS LINK for more on the Cloud issue) DEFINATELY never happened) on and on I could go (there are so many more, see links below for more information)

The odd thing with this man, every prophetic claim he ever made or recorded was after the fact.  They are all recorded AFTER something happened, and even then, he usually still got it wrong.  He would usually claim in a message that he had made a prophecy about something that had recently happened.  Years or decades later he will state he prophesized about “said event” when he was younger (for example).  The Municipal Bridge supposedly collapsed sometime in the 30’s (never happened so hard to nail a date down).  His only ever recorded prophecy about it was 60’s saying he saw the prophecy about it when he was a boy… BUT IT NEVER ACTUALLY HAPPENED, at all. (He claims the great flood of the day ruined all the papers on it so there’s no proof, but microfiche was in full glory then, and every paper from every area in that time was saved and can be accessed today.   I mean…this gets weirder and weirder the more honest research you do about it.  There is an ongoing challenge by former believers to find ONE prophecy he has made, before it happened where it actually occurs.  NOT ONE PERSON has been able to do this, not only that, those who have tried have time and time again left “The Message”. (Praise God)

According to Matt and Steven, and the rest of “The Message” believers,  Willy B. was God’s 7th Angel Messenger.  So… there’s that. what does that mean? well… to William it means a lot. He teaches (actually stole this teaching) there are 7 church ages (not from scripture), and in each age there is a messenger. the last one being William (or Elijah). Here’s the tricky part… William teaches that you MUST believe the “Message of the Hour” or “the Message of that Church Age” to be saved. So when William contradicts the scriptures, he is always right. When he changes basic orthodoxy He is again right, and those who don’t believe are damned (regardless of what the Bible says, if it conflicts with William, than William must be considered correct and any questions about it can be “Put on the Shelf” until truth is revealed some time down the road…)

One odd issue with this is around the Trinity. Branham openly and adamantly claims that the theology of the Trinity is satanic. and those believing in it are damned, those who have been baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy spirit have actually taken the mark of the beast. WOW… I mean. bold. (yes, I know Jesus himself says to baptize in the name of the Father Son and Holy spirit!!) The odd thing here is, William also teaches that John Wesley and Martin Luther were also Church Age Messengers.  BUT, Luther and Wesley believe in the Trinity and taught it.  SO, according to William, people in those church ages had to believe in satanic doctrine to be saved????  This type of theological nonsense is all over his teaching. it’s illogical, doesn’t line up, but he insists on it.

William Branham

Another hilarious tidbit about this guys is his picture where there was an “angel” captured in it as well…. in 1950 they took a pic of him speaking and there was an issue in the development. a spot of light during the development phase, but then claimed it was an angel, and kinda went hogwild with it. (See more on the story of the Huston Photograph here) .

These guys, Matt and Steve blindly and ferociously follow William Branham along with hundreds of thousands of others.  There’s a real sadness to it, Its brainwashing at the best and I don’t write that to be demeaning or condescending, but that’s my strongest opinion on the matter.   The following is a clip where Steven explains their thoughts on William (I just took this myself downtown, it’s a bit rough)


I had a rough statement there.  After the first 20 minutes of him calling me a child of the devil, then when he exposes that he follows this “prophet” who is clearly not of God, then my only thought is… if it’s not For God it’s against God.  If this is not God’s message…. who’s is it? Who stands in opposition… Satan.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Eph 6:12

So what do you get when you have multiple men living together, following the same cult leader, 24 hours a day, eating together, travelling together, street cornering together, denying internet together, and removing themselves from all family, friends, and any other biblical scholar, and mix in a clear portion of mental health history? You get Matt and Steven deep into the cult of William Branham. William Branham has nearly 1100 recordings that are still all over the internet by his sons online business (not a ministry).  A Cult which has nearly 50k followers in the US alone, and supposedly nearly 40k followers in Brazil among other places globally racking up arguably nearly 500k globally.  What you DON’T get is real authentic Jesus following Christianity.  What you don’t get is the grace and love and forgiveness offered by Jesus Christ. what you don’t get is true, hard, deep theological understanding of scriptures and its implications to the world today.

There’s a sadness here. A Sadness Christians shouldn’t ignore. They need prayer, they need truth they need love. In the midst of all the hate they spew they are lost, broken, disillusioned, confused and betrayed men who need truth, they need love, they need some grace, and they need freedom.

What are you looking for?  Want to hear truth? Need some freedom from the baggage you’ve been carrying for too long?  connect with me. Connect with a local church.  Heck, please come join me at my church if you are from London or the area. West Park we are just Everyday people, on a journey together, pursuing Christ.

Love you all, I mean that. I love them too. Pray they get some freedom from this cult.



men that were Ministers in “The Message” for nearly 40 years created this site for hope after leaving. Believe The Sign

AMAZING podcast with former members, research, facts, history, and interviews from former followers all over the world. Off The Shelf Podcast

John Collins spent DECADES in this cult and has extensive knowledge and research and an amazing site as a resource called Seek Ye The Truth

For those recovering from The Message another amazing resources site Morning Mercy




The HOUNDS of HELL were calling me the Child of the Devil…

I was walking during lunch. I usually try to walk downtown for the hour, taking different streets and seeing different faces. Downtown London can be scary. I’m 6’5 and I’ve eaten enough in my life to look a bit intimidating and I cover of my face with a sizeable beard so people usually don’t bother me too much. Not that it’s my intention, it’s just the way the cookie has crumbled. Today was different. It was quarter to, and I thought I’d better take a left and head back.

As I crossed the street I saw London Ontario’s screaming street preachers with massive sandwich boards over their bodies with KJV scripture all over it. I ran in to them the previous week where they heard that I was a Christian but called me a vile demonic child of satan (one of their reasons was because I was wearing shorts which was “women’s underwear”). They screamed from their megaphone the threats of coming wrath and how evil we all were. I decided not to pass at their corner as I was late on time and I needed to get back. I didn’t care to get into an argument with them… the vile demonic creature that I was. So I just kept going straight until for some reason at the last second I turned, it was an awkward turn so last minute that I just about hit the building standing at the corner. I don’t know why I turned but as I walked past the screaming preachers, I passed a man that was behind them who was shaking his head and looking right at me trying to make contact. He was short, maybe mid 40’s, roughly shaven, a cigarette between each ear, dirty clothes and he smelled of strong alcohol.

His name was Brian. The screaming preachers never asked him that, but his name was Brian. He reached his hand out for me as I passed and I grabbed it. Extra firm. Coarse as sandpaper, and firm. I took out my earbuds and asked him how he was doing. His face dropped and he was upset. The screamers had just spent the past 30 minutes berating him, calling him out for the struggles he was clearly well aware of, and hammering on ministries he had been a part of in the past when he was trying to get clean.

Brian let go of my hand and asked me if I was a Christian. I said “yes”. He stepped back a bit, seemed surprised and then asked “like them?” to which I replied. “I don’t know… but I doubt it.” He rubbed his face, his eyes were strained and he was fairly upset. He started to ramble for a bit, so I leaned against the broken brick wall on the corner and zeroed in. He had a lot to say and I was happy to just listen.

Brian was once a graduate from an amazing… AMAZING organization called Teen Challenge. If you don’t know it, look it up. Brian has relapsed a dozen times in his life. “Over and Over again I keep failing. Over and over again I keep failing God.” He repeated with real shame in his eyes. I could only console him with the words “me too Brian, me too”.

My heart broke for Brian. I’m absolutely no different. My sin overwhelms me daily and over and over again I fail to live up to the faith to which I subscribe. Brian seems to wear his struggles on his sleeve a little more than I. The world can see, smell and hear Brian’s struggles. His mouth wasn’t tamed, his words were raw and crass. His clothes were worn and stained. His breath was thick with alcohol. What an amazing guy this was. So bold to say he was struggling and broken to someone he’d never met. So bold to list his failures, his shame, his emptiness, and his frustrations. This guy was amazing.

The screamers looked over to me, saw me talking to the man they spent 30 minutes berating and raised their voices. Over their megaphone they started to almost curse us, and threaten spiritual consequences at me while telling Brian I was spawn of the devil (actual words)

The noise they squawked by divine intervention literally faded away as Brian’s ramblings continued. He spoke of a desperation to have God “come lift him up from this s#i+”. He would say “how the hell can… oops heck, how the heck can I find some hope when I can’t stop drinking”. Brian spoke of being old school and getting into fights in the same breath that he spoke of reading the Bible this morning. Matthew 11 and Philippians 4:6 he kept quoting. He actually knew his Bible, he seemed to have a real love for it. “I have a beginners Bible Marshal. I have a beginners bible and I read it every day. I know Jesus. I love Jesus but I can’t fight this addiction. I can’t win this thing”. In a huff of frustration he said “all these tornados, all these floods, all these addictions, all these people hurting… sometimes I think God has just given up on us. He’s just given up.” Only to counter himself in the next sentence “But it’s me, he’s still there, he’s still God, He’s never changed, I have. I’ve walked away, and I’m too embarrassed to come back, I don’t even know how to come back”….on he went.

I just sat and listened. He needed to be heard and I wanted to hear.

The preachers came close. Borderline intimidating (if I found Tilly hats, Khaki cargos and sandwich boards intimidating). They tried to jump in a few times and he just kept rolling. I paid them no attention, ignored them completely and like a good dog they backed off.

Brian ended his rant. He looked and felt depleted. We talked a bit, I gave him some comforting words of scripture. I reminded him that we are all struggling, we are all broken, but we are forgiven and we need to keep fighting and praying and reading and talking to God, crying out for help and surrender our failures and weaknesses to him because in our weakness HE is made strong. Some of the basic stuff, as I type this I wonder if I said or did enough. I wonder if it was all to cliché.

I asked Brian if I could pray with him. He instantly dropped his head and clenched his fists and closed his eyes. Hands on his shoulder, on the street with people screaming from behind I prayed with Brian. We prayed for direction, for help, for a strengthened prayer life, for strength of the will to overcome temptations, for strength in the body to overcome addictions.

After a few minutes I looked up and Brian was still head down. Tears dripping on the pavement. It seemed like a silent moment. We ended our prayer and I looked at my phone. It was still quarter to. Don’t ask me how, but not a moment had passed since I last minute turned that corner and grabbed Brian’s strong hand.

The hounds of hell came closer now. Like his sandwich board was rubbing my shoulder. I looked at Brian and said find a church (which they HATED, because they think all churches are corrupt), so they screamed in protest calling me the “mouth of the devil” I shook Brian’s hand, and said I will see him again, we will pray again. I asked if he wanted to walk with me back but he had a bus coming. As I left the Screaming preachers chased me down.

Screamer: “I see you have a tattoo”

Me: “I have 9”

Screamer: “what you are doing is wrong, you are violating the purity of scripture, you will be held accountable for your false prayer and false teachings against this man”

Me: “How?”

Screamer: “You are perverting truth with worldly sin” (all this on the megaphone) “his friend chimed in calling me a “vile, vile man of the devil, with words of hell written on you” (my ankle says “SAVED”, so….)

They both continued to walk with me and try to berate me. I put in my headphones, pressed play and one of my favorite songs came on. “No Longer Slaves” (Timely) I smiled at them as their mouths flapped but all I heard was the fantastic harmonies of Shane and Shane. And I moved on.

Love God… Love Others. I hope to see Brian again, but not the two screaming preacher meatheads.

Love God…. Love Others.  I’m not going to spend time writing about why they were wrong (if you want to know that read PART 2). I can tell you where I was wrong. Where I didn’t pray for those guys as they were clearly lost, where I didn’t stand for scripture, where I didn’t expose darkness…. but I won’t.  This story says enough. I’ve failed, I’m a failure but I’ll keep trying to love.  I need to love LOUDER than their megaphones and more actively than their sandwich boards.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13



I need to discuss a Pet Peeve of mine. So here we go!

“Just You Wait….” Every new/newer parent hears this countless times through their parenting journey of the early stages of life.  I usually hear it the most right after some grand moment with one of my girls.  That moment opens the doors for the Just-you-waiters, they see that moment and seize it every time.   Just when my little girl runs up and gives me a great big hug after Sunday school while we stand in the church atrium chatting about.  I’ll scoop her up, swing her around, and share a moment and a laugh.  She proceeds to unload handfuls of half done colouring pages and a difficult to decipher crafts and takes off through the masses of cookie snacking, coffee drinking fellowshippers to find her own post-church treats.

This is the moment the door is open.

wait-traffic-sign-k-7650Only moments after she’s taken off, the inevitable comment comes from the experienced parent nearby… They casually side-step up to you, maybe offer a friendly up-nod, or just a slight elbow/shoulder nudge, followed by a head shake and a long exhausted sigh.  Then it comes, as you both watch her dart into the masses: “Just you wait” they say.  In an arrogant tone of grand precautionary warning they offer their words of endless wisdom.  “Just. You. Wait.”  Then the storm of negativity comes flooding in – rushing in over that wonderful moment washing away every trace of happiness.

“Just wait till she’s a teenager” – “Enjoy it while it lasts” – “It doesn’t last long, just you wait and see” and on it goes. Wow. I mean… wow. Great advice and terrific perspective. Thanks for that! How terrific of you to overwhelm me with the reality of my limited precious moments with my little girl.

waitThen there is the other side of the Just-You-Waiters . These people have it WAY better than you. And believe them… you think this moment is good?  YOU HAVE NO IDEA! “JUST. YOU. WAIT.” In their most humble opinion… you have simply not experienced happiness. At all. Not on any level like they have. This moment… it’s nothing. Just you wait for it though… they’ll promise you that much. They will strip you of everything and hand you back a small promise of hope all in those boastful 3 words. But you have to wait for it. Just wait.  When my littlest baby is gripping my finger and giving me a smile (that likely is just the result of gas, but I accept it as deepest expression of admiration) they come.  They come when I’m clinging onto the beginnings of new expressions and changes in life with the ultimate hammer-down of “Just. You. Wait”

“You think that finger hug is good? Just wait till they can wrap their arms around your neck, then you will really know love from a child.”

“You think that smile is good? Just you wait until they can say I love you, so much better”

Whammo – knocked down to size. Boom. No longer permitted to enjoy the moment as it is. Instead, It has been recommended, that I just wait….


The Problem with Waiting.

“Just you wait”, they said. So I waited.  I waited for those long nights of screaming and needing me every 30 minutes to pass.  / All of a sudden I’m not needed, I no longer run to their room at night to cradle them in my arms, to feel their heart beat slow and their eyes close as they find deep peace from the comfort of my arms.

Just you wait, they said. So I waited. I waited for the moment when my baby could finally crawl and walk and explore the area around them. /  All of a sudden those cozy moments in the morning of overwhelming trust and epic new smiles, mini hands grasping  at my fingers, supported bounces on my lap all seem to disappear, lost to a world of new independent exploring.

Just you wait, they said. So I waited. Wait until they are finally out of diapers and can go to the bathroom and get changed on their own. / All of a sudden those funny moments of giggles and peek-a-boo on the change table, those little bare bum cheeks sliding off the bed and running around the kitchen squealing with naughty delight have faded.

Wait until they go to school. / Now the house is so empty.

Wait until they have friends / Now they never want to be home for movie nights.

tt meWait, wait, wait. If it’s good, just wait cause it’ll all go away.  If it’s new and amazing, just wait, cause you don’t even know… No! I won’t.  I’ll enjoy every difficult rotten overwhelming moment and live in the present. I’ll appreciate every area of growth and love.  I’ll enjoy exactly what I have now. I’ll be glad someday knowing that I never waited, but just lived in that amazing, precious, endless moment and gladly let it passed into the next. My mind will slow down that dance in the atrium at church, She will forever swing in my arms as her golden curls bounce… and THAT moment wont’ be lost, not from my past and not from my future.

So Just-you-waiters… I’m looking forward to your next comment… trust me. Just you wait!

There’s Joy in the Mourning


On January 1st 2009 we experienced our first miscarriage.

My wife and I were on a cruise with her family, and it was nearing the end of the adventure, one day left.  It was at about 12:30 am on New Year’s Day and we were in the middle of an ocean somewhere in the Caribbean. My wife had gone to bed early as the New Year’s celebrations went on into the night.  I stayed up a bit later, then came back to the room around midnight.  The memory of every moment surrounding the next hour or so still haunts me today.  I came in and something was wrong.  Pale, weak, crying.  There was my wife suffering alone, and no matter how close I was now, she still felt so alone. I remember her face, seeing the sadness in her eyes as our hope faded away into the darkness.  She was a nurse and she knew what was happening.  She also knew she was losing blood and her blood sugar was low.  I ran to my mother in laws room who had been a maternity nurse for 30+ years to get some help.  She came quickly and sent me off to the buffet to get some brownies or something with sugar to help with the blood sugar.

Typing this brings it all back. That’s 7 years ago now, but every moment seems to flood back in detail. I ran back to the room with a small plate, and I remember looking off the ship into the middle of blackness.  Feeling so hopeless and so broken.  I was so sad.  It wasn’t three weeks before that night that we had passed the 3 month “safe” mark and decided as a Christmas gift to tell the family and the world of our new, and first pregnancy.  We discussed names, and guessed the sex.  We talked with my siblings about hand me downs and what we would definitely need and not need to buy.  We discussed everything.  It consumed us with joy.

As I sprinted along the deck going to get some needed food for her this all came back but hit me like shattered glass and I ran with tears falling over my shoulders. At this moment my concern would rest with my wife.  We had support through her mother, and we were safe.  She was going to be okay physically but I knew how her heart had wrapped around this little gift of a child.  I knew how her hopes were laces like praying fingers through the details of the next few months.  I knew that this was a loss larger than we could handle alone.  (God is Faithful)

We mourned through the night. We sat heavy and silent for hours. We cried and slept into the morning. Jan 1st 2009 we sat on the deck of the ship in the sun.  Very quiet.  The beginning of our new year was broken and sad.  We were just so sad while the world celebrated the birth of a new year around us.

(There’s hope in front of me)

For the following few weeks I told some family and friends of the loss. My wife kept away from people so she wouldn’t have to hear reminders or condolences.  They knew and she knew.

Little did I know that this deep pain would bring so much joy. I couldn’t see the plan then.  We were frustrated and lost, but we never lost faith.  We were confused but never got angry with God.  We were hurt.  We told Him.  We were desperately sad.  He heard our cries and saw our tears.  We gave our fears, and hope and sorrow to Him to find rest and eventually we did.

In an odd turn of events we found the starting to our new year to be powerfully moving, and full of beautiful change in the midst of our loss.   We found a new fervor for our faith, a new closeness with each other, a fresh desire to dive deeper into our faith and heavier need for prayer, a desire to seek solace in scripture.  All that led to a fullness in our lives, but not to joy… our joy was yet to come.

I remember early in April my wife started to feel the weight of frustration again. Getting pregnant again didn’t have the ease for us it seemed to have for others and we wanted desperately to have a child.  Then that moment came.  I was asked to go get some pregnancy tests from the local pharmacy and I came back with a no-name brand package.  She rolled her eyes and couldn’t believe I cheaped out for this event.  She tried….It read positive.  I was sent back out for a name brand type now. The next morning we tried again and again, it read positive.  There should be joy now… right?  We should be elated.  We watch all these posts on social media where the wife surprises her hubby with a positive stick.  He goes crazy, and they cry tears of joy.  Not us.  We didn’t even let our hearts beat for a moment. We talked with false excitement but our hearts were guarded.  For the following few months we were scared, nervous, expectant but defensive.  There was truly no joy in the process at all until we reached the 4 month mark.  Until a doctor could tell us that we were in a safe place and we could celebrate. Slowly our hope started to rise, and we began to dream.  We shared with friends and family again, and their elation gave us some freedom to celebrate.

Sometimes I watch a video I made on December 25th 2008.  It’s our announcement video.  The whole family slowly catches onto our surprise and they scream and cry and dance….  If we only knew then what we know now.  But that video gives me joy.  I now know that about 6 days after that video we would be very broken, and feel so alone, a price we seemed to have had to pay for unspeakable joy.  God is Faithful.

18970_247262615939_6256683_nOne year later on January 9th 2010 we gave birth to our first little girl.  Keziah Jordyn Burnham.  An incredibly big baby who screamed with life and colic for the next 6 months.  A little girl that has changed everything about me.  Everything.  My passions, my life, my dreams, my direction, my desires, my hope. On January 9th I looked down at this little bundle the nurse handed me, full of slime, guk, blood, and eye cream, matted wet hair and I felt unrelenting joy. This is what God had in store. This is what He wanted me to have. God is Faithful.

Now I don’t pretend to think that God made our miscarriage happen. I don’t know what goes on outside of my understanding.  I know we are living in a broken world.  I know that things happen that we can never understand, that don’t make sense, that don’t seem to have a purpose or a plan.  I know that I rarely have any answers, but on that day I knew one thing was certain.  This was God’s plan.  Whatever we went through was worth it, whatever it took to get this little girl into my arms – it was worth it. God is Faithful.

These little arms that screamed to be hugged, little legs that begged to be chased, little fingers that I needed to teach to play piano, or write stories. Little eyes that needed guidance, little ears that needed protection.  A rapidly pumping heart that needed guarding.  All of this was ours.  Joy, unrelenting.  Joy, unspeakable.   Tears flowed from my eyes as I looked at this little baby, knowing that without our great loss, she would have never been in my arms. My God, is faithful.

Today Kezzy is 6. We sat together not too long ago to talk about life in a very real way.  I explained that before she was born that mommy had a little baby in her tummy.  “I don’t know why babe, but I’m thankful.  I know that if that never happened, then you and me wouldn’t be sitting here talking.  I would have loved that baby, but I never would have known you, loved you, played with you, danced with you.  You are my Joy in the mourning.”  Kezzy looked at me as I welled up and said in a quiet voice “I’m glad that God took that baby to heaven, so I could be your little girl.”  Perfection. God, you are faithful.

A year after Kezzy we experienced another loss. We were guarded again for this one, and never went public as my wife couldn’t handle the pain of another loss in front of family and friends.   She suffered in silence for some time.  I told some family in private and we wept together, prayed together.  Again the sadness swept over us and like a heavy blanket on a roaring fire and snuffed out our joy for some time.  In all of it, I never forgot my lesson I learned in our first loss.  There was something great coming.  There was someone incredible just on the horizon.  It took us two years but we were once again blessed with our second little girl.  Zoey Belle Burnham. God is Faithful.

This one wild, funny, crazy endlessly sweet little girl has sent my world into more bliss that I expected.  When we wrestle and play I couldn’t imagine any other little baby… She’s exactly what I could hope for or dream of.  Exactly what I needed and wanted. God is Faithful.

I truly don’t know how all this works, I don’t know the divine plan in it all. I know in the midst of the pain it’s impossible to see joy.  In the darkest moments of life, any light just seems to hurt.  I know from our now 6 miscarriages that there’s no ease, no freedom from tears.  But I also know that through those most difficult times we found incredible joy.

Our happiness is lost in the moments of getting pregnant. Any couple who has suffered multiple miscarriages knows how painful even a positive reading can be.  The day to day expectation of loss is heartbreaking.  We refuse to connect, refuse to think of names or give life to that future.  It is a desperate time that can drag on for months and be stolen away from you in an instant.

This isn’t a plea to find joy in your mourning. It’s just a word of hope that you will.

Mourn. Feel that loss.  We have, we do, we will.  Even as I type I feel sorrow for the losses we’ve had, those unknown faces I would have loved.  But know also that there is hope beyond your situation.  There is joy on the horizon.  There is a future in front of you that you can’t even imagine.

Now as I type this, I have a little frame beside me I got for my birthday. We have been low on funds lately and I was out of work for 6 months so our birthday gifts involved paying bills with limited funds and celebrating a meal together.  But my kids and wife got me this little wooden frame.  Inside is a picture of me and my two little girls hugging me on either side with wild smiles.  Our three elated faces smushed into this little wooden frame.  I don’t know what that picture would look like without our miscarriages, but I know what it looks like with them, and I’m filled with joy…..

UPDATE: thump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump….

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

UPDATE: thump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump.  My wife  leans in closer,  trying to hear the sound of a little healthy heartbeat over the shouts of our 4 and 6 year old scrapping joyously in the doctors office. I get a call from her in my silent office where she excitedly describes the sound of our little heartbeat pulsing rapidly. There’s finally joy in her voice.  Hope has returned to a very saddened and frustrated heart.  After 4 years,  and many prayers… My God is faithful. Just a month after writing this we discover we are pregnant. And after a few more months of fear,  we find ourselves finally, after many years,  in a place where we can celebrate new life…. Thump-thump,  thump-thump…. Can’t wait to meet you little baby, I’m going to be an amazing daddy.

Little Baby Beaux Aurora Burnham (I call her ‘Lil Beaux Peep’) was born on March 30th 2017. Healthy and 10.6 lbs. (wowza) She is an unbelievable addition to our growing crazy family. thank you for all your love, comments, shares and prayers.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ecclesiastes 11:5

“Just as you do not know how the life breath enters the human frame in the mother’s womb, So you do not know the work of God who is working in everything.”


Posted: January 7, 2016 in Uncategorized

IMG_8431 (3)Well I’m clocking out for the last time. Turning off the office lights and packing up our little government house. It’s cold today, it’s -35 but it doesn’t make it any easier.  I went outside last night at 2:00 am to see the lights dancing across the sky for one final time. I heard the wolves and dogs howling into the darkness, and icicles started to fall from my eyes. This is truly one of God’s greatest creations. One of the most beautiful places in the world. Endless wilderness, and quiet (albeit broken) communities full of culture and history.

I almost don’t deserve to be sad I’m leaving. it was like a blink or a dream and after waking up, realizing it can’t continue forever you just spend a few moments remembering the most amazing parts of that dream

spring1Salmon fishing in Haines Alaska beside a mother bear and her cubs, in front of a seal with Eagles diving beside me. Hunting and exploring the endless forests and mountain ranges across the territory.  Quadding trails thousands of feet in elevation through the keno Mountain ranges or in our own back yard.  Harvesting my own little pocket full of gold in my bucket list gold claim.  Spotting an incredible variety of wildlife (from Bison and moose to ermine and martin) around every corner of this great wilderness. Camping in every park or beside every body of water in the Yukon in quiet un-populated solitude.  Viewing glaciers, whales , sea lions and porpuses in Juneau Alaska. Watching bears, seals, eagles and salmon compete for existence in Dyea/Skagway Alaska. Driving the top of the World highway chasing Caribou. Seeing fields full of moose on our way to Anchorage Alaska.  Flying into the remote “Fly in only community” of Old Crow and experiencing a culture like no other (and food prices that would blow your mind). Driving the infamous Dempster Highway to the NWT border and the Arctic Circle. Experiencing 24 hour daylight, and almost full darkness in the same place.  On and on and on the experiences go. This is truly like no other place in the world.

The fact that I got to experience it at all is an undeserved blessing. The fact that we convinced ourselves in the middle of our busy lives, with two little girls and a new house to pack it all up and head to an unknown distant north leaves me so thankful that we took a risk.  We had no idea what we were about to do.

IMG_7071 (2)

Road to Whitehorse

We have without question experienced some of the worst times in our lives. Living in a broken, small, cut-throat, heartless backwards community that has only a few shining lights has had it’s moments of much difficulty. being hours away from civilization also had it’s feeling of freedom from mass consumerism, and left a desperate desire to feel life at times.

In the end. this was the greatest thing we have done with our short lives. We’ve met some of the greatest people I believe I will ever have the pleasure of meeting, turned friends into eternal family.  It was the greatest of experiences. We stopped and walked from everything we knew and journeyed into the unknown for a brief 2 year adventure. While I wish it could continue, I know it can’t and I’m beyond thankful that it happened. Better to have loved and lost, then never to have loved at all.


A Beautiful Burn – Beauty for Ashes

Cambell Highway Burn (4)

Tall black charcoal remains of old Black Spruce spear the sky across hectares of land as I drive the Klondike Highway in the northern parts of the Yukon surrounding the great Fox Lake.  In 1998 this stretch was ablaze and 45,000 hectares of land was roasted by the firestorm. Pretty incredible. Driving past I can see the tall black timbers standing motionless as far as the eyes can see, weaving through valley and mount seemingly endless across the region.  It’s truly an incredible sight. Never again will the thick forest be the same, or return to its former glory. The entire Fox Lake region is scarred by its past and there’s no near effort that can aid in hiding the injury.

For me it’s all new. Having only lived here coming up on two years now, these blackened forests and ash laden floors are all a wonder to me.  True Yukoners on the other hand seem accustomed to seeing the charcoal woodlands covering the region as part of the natural cycle.  The summer before I arrived in the Yukon, just north of my small village of Carmacks was a grand old forest fire that decimated thousands of hectares of land just off the Robert Campbell highway. I arrived in January but as spring and summer rolled in I noticed the strangest thing.  This little town of 400 had blown up to 1000+ in population. But it wasn’t highway tourists and trailering families that filled the town. It was blackened-faced backpack-wearing entrepreneurs in old broken down cars.  They came in droves to little old Carmacks and filled the stores with ash. These people had come from across the country to roam the forest floor looking for edible gold.  Morales.

In the aftermath of such a great disaster came the strangest reward.  Through the ash popped up millions of Morale mushrooms ripe for the picking.  Hundreds if not more came to comb the burned out forest for these small treasures. Small business stands were set up to buy them and dry them to be shipped overseas and across the country to top tier restaurants for premium dollars.  An entire economy was created as a result of the deep burn of the forest.  Camps were set up, buyers and drivers, pickers and dryers.  Countless rewards for thousands of pallets, earned at the sullied fingertips of hippie entrepreneurs as they scavenged the blacken forest for their pearls.  Then, like a strong wind had carried them all away, with the forest picked clean they were all gone.  Tents, backpacks, hitchhiker thumbs, dreadlocks, bandanas, and white shirts turned black all disappeared in a matter of a week.

Cambell Highway Burn (1)

It’s wild from the outside looking in. In the face of this great disaster comes the strangest reward. But today that forest, only two summers from its burn remains nothing more than a fire pit across thousands of acres. But I know there’s more to the story.   Every time I take my 2 hour journey to get groceries, go to church, see a movie, or visit friends I’m reminded that there is so much more for the future of that burn as I pass the Fox Lake Burn of 1998.

After years of darkness and death, slowly new green life begins to emerge from the ashes.  The once black covered floor begins an entire new chapter of various greens and purples, whites and yellows as flowers and grasses, trees and shrubs hesitantly surface from their hiding. New growth, new life.  Never again will that forest be the same as it once was, but we can now begin to see some of what it may become. It’ll be unlike any other forest, it’ll show its painful past and begin to nurture something new and fresh all at the same time. Beauty exchanged for ashes. Now, for me, Fox Lake stands out amongst the rest. Tested and torched, littered with new growth, it has become a beautiful collection of old and new, defined by its darkness but beautiful because of its scars and emerging life.

Bob Dylan once was quoted saying ““Behind every beautiful thing, there’s some kind of pain.” There’s no question that pain, while in the moment leaves us desperate for escape, changes us completely and almost always for the greater. There should be no insinuation that time will eliminate our bruises and scars from the past.  The idea that ‘Time heals all wounds’ I would say is closer to fiction than it is to reality.  While with time we may find the wisdom to define and assess our pain from a better, healthier, and stronger position, the scars remain and most often we are better for them.

Cambell Highway Burn (7)

For better or worse, our scars define us, and more than that, they help move us forward. In the book The Problem of Pain, C.S. Lewis once said “Try to exclude the possibility of suffering which the order of nature and the existence of free-wills involve, and you find that you have excluded life itself”.  From our pain comes new life, new growth, economy, relationships, wisdom, understanding, appreciation, paths, and dependency.  Life emerges from the ashes.

Part of the natural cycle of the Fox Lake Forest is to experience a deep burn.  Whether it’s once in a life time, or every other decade, a painful scorching was part of its life cycle.  Out of that process and with time comes new life.   New life that is affected and changed by the burns of it’s past.  Those tall blackened, scalded trees remain as a witness to the past, while the fresh blossoming greens arise as a testament to the future.

Our pain, our mistakes, our bruises and our scars are now and forever a part of everything we are. They shape us, challenge us, remind us and push us forward. Don’t deny the burns of the past, just embrace them for their beauty today.

There are many who don’t see this the same way, many that don’t see that there is a natural reaction to the world around us that causes pain, or that causes burns.  Many people would argue that if there was a God, if He was real then the forest would never burn.  A real God, a loving God wouldn’t and couldn’t allow the results of the fire to roast this life to ashes.  Without realizing what true love is, they assume that God has either abandoned us, hates us, or simply never existed.  We see the forest fire raging and we shutter at the damage but we refuse to consider the purpose and the cause.  We see a world riddled with sin and darkness and wonder where the plan is in it all without truly searching for answers.

fox lake burnI can’t pretend to have it all understood.  I can’t pretend that I’m satisfied with all the burns of my past, or those close to me who are standing in the fire in the present.  I can list the pains I wished were swept away with a good rainfall.  I could list the embers of today that I wish didn’t exist at all and that I spend hours in prayer begging them to go away.  But then I look over my shoulder and more often than not thank God for the fire.  There’s an old song I sang growing up in my youth called ‘Refiners Fire’.   It’s based on the idea that God uses a fire to refine us like precious metals (Malachi 3:3).  Once pulled from the dirt, unshaped and unclean God takes that brokenness and brings us to the fire.  He works with us, holds us, molds us and takes our flaws and carefully, over time and sometimes through fire He refines us to something as precious as pure gold.

It’s a stretch for some isn’t it?  If God was so great, we wonder, then why the need for the fire, why the need for refining.  Well a lot of that is on us.  There’s another half to the story.  The fact that we live in a broken sinful, God resistant world plays a big part. The fact that we ignore His design, reject His plan, discard His purpose, throwaway His Word plays a large part in our story. The beauty of God’s true love for us, is that He gave us the freedom to choose it. We can reject Him and His purpose for us, and feel the natural fire of consequence. God warns us to not lie, cheat, steal, lust etc. and if we ignore that then we are the only ones responsible for the consequences.

In the Fox Lake BurnHowever there’s redemption to be found. There’s unlimited grace, and never ending forgiveness offered when we simply accept Jesus. The scars will remain and temporary penalties for sin will likely persist, but eternal consequences have already been paid for, and when we accept that forgiveness we are truly free, and we are saved from the ruin of this world and ourselves.

We are both product of a sinful and dying world, and we are being refined by the fire. Both apply, both affect us daily. Embrace the lessons and the challenges of our refining that will steer us towards our Creator.  Accept the forgiveness for our broken failing state and find true freedom in the cross of Christ, and look back at our forest and be thankful for the burns that refine us.