Sunday, October 31, 2004


Song of the Day: Collective Soul, "Heavy"
Verse of the Day: Galatians 6:2

There are those people out there who make more work for themselves in school than they need to. They feel the need to read everything the professor assigns, and to recopy their notes, and to do any little thing that is even remotely mentioned in the syllabus. Sometimes these people can manage to do everything, but often it seems like they just take more on themselves and that in the end they are gluttons for punishment and usually burn themselves out pretty quick.
As anyone who knows me and my attitude toward school knows, that is most definitely not me in school. But in life is another story. For some reason, I get into these cycles where I just don't enjoy life. I can enjoy parts of it, but for stretches I just get down. I don't understand it. But I do it. And I don't like it. Sometimes I just think that I really need to just have some fun, but I don't. I let everything build up, and then I don't really let anything out.
Obviously, it doesn't help that I'm in high-stress situations, some by my own doing. School, IVCF President, other commitments. But why do I let these things bog me down? Why am I so selfish sometimes? Why do I not enjoy these things? It's beyond me.
And I know it doesn't really help that the main person that I want to share all these things with is 14 hours away and working more than full-time hours as a teacher. I really want to be more open and honest, but sometimes I just don't know how. Our individualist tendency in North America is sometimes all-too pervasive in my everyday life.
So if you catch me being down and all burdened and feeling like everything is too heavy for me, tell me to smarten up and lighten up. Life isn't all that bad. And I'm a fool for treating it like it is as often as I do.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Live for what?

Song of the Day: U2, "Wake Up Dead Man"
Song of the Day: Brave Saint Saturn, "Daylight"
Song of the Day: Lifehouse, "Take Me Away"

I know. Three songs of the day, no verse. But that's today. In some way, each of these songs is me right now. They're all different, but they're all me. Sometimes I don't get it either.

I wonder how people who don't have the light of things hoped for go on living each day. I have the hope of Christ, the hope of eternity, the hope of salvation to come, and I still find it difficult to go through some days. I want to live in joy. Not happiness, but the joy that Christ gives me in what I'm doing. And who I'm with. Honestly, if I had a choice, I would love for this mortal flawed insignificant life to end and for Christ to come and remove us from our fleshly prisons and release the lowest of us to experience Him more fully than the fullest anyone could on Earth. But I know that God has a purpose, and a calling, and a place for me here, and it would be selfish to desire otherwise. So I continue living, sometimes not with zest or joy but with only the recognition of Christ as head of my life and executor of my temporal estate. And it's only by the grace of God that I can have that, so I am thankful for this life as long as He chooses to give it to me. That's what gets me through some days.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Fall Cleaning

Song of the Day: Skillet, "Open Wounds"
Verse of the Day: 2 Corinthians 3:17

I've decided to alter the format somewhat. The "Thought of the Day" just wasn't cutting it for me. After the title, it was getting hard to think of something unique for the thought of the day. So for now, Song of the Day is staying, and I'm trying out "Verse of the Day" for now. It's partially a way to make me think more about what I read and encounter during the day, and what verse best describes that day. We'll see how it works. No particular reason for the song of the day...just that I finally found it and am hearing it for the first time right now. Go Skillet go. But on with the blog.
I have been spending a lot of time in the last week cleaning up my life. Today I spent a sizable chunk of the day on my computer just cleaning up files and burning data discs and such. I started to weed out and rework my contact list. I have been getting stuff that has been on my "To Do" list for months finally off that list. And I've been making some decisions to stop doing some commitments and fresh opportunities are already coming up next week. It's just one of those weeks where I have needed to take the time to take an inventory of my life and make some choices to get it right with God, with others, and with myself. Sometimes those choices are difficult, but they are rewarding in the long run. November 1 is All Saints' Day, and I feel like it is a new beginning for me. Ah, the smell of fall cleaning. So fresh and free.

Derek out.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Back to the Drawing Board

Thought of the Day: Crossroads
Song of the Day: Switchfoot, "Learning to Breathe"

This is a heavy weekend. A crossroads. One of those times where you know you are at a key point in life, where you need to make some key decisions that could very well affect the remainder of your life. I can think of other times when I've been in a place like this, and they never get any easier. I guess that's part and parcel of being human and doing things like failing and trying and not quite succeeding. It's times like these that I'm glad that I have the Lord's leading to follow and to guide me. Without that, I don't know what I would do. If you're a praying person, keep me in mind this week. Thanks.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Life is like my walk to school

Thought of the Day: The secret to surviving studenthood is...
Song of the Day: Grand Incredible, "Right on Time"

It just recently snowed here in Saskatoon, and it was evident from my walk to school that not too many people had the time or wherewithal to shovel the sidewalk. But the extra few minutes it took to get to and from school allowed me to reflect on how life is a lot like that journey I took.

Sometimes we can stride ahead, confident that the ground beneath us will remain constant and that we will not have to watch our step. We are carefree and most likely enjoy the walk. Then there are times where you cannot enjoy the walk at all, where you are so busy concentrating on not falling because the ice below you may give way at any minute. This walk is not really enjoyable, but we still have to get through it to get where we want to go and/or need to be. The comparison to life is rather straightforward. There are times where we can just keep on going and enjoy what we are doing, without having to stop. Then there are those times where every step in life has to be carefully measured and taken to ensure that we stay upright.

Being a student features both of these times, ideally. But the difference in being a student is that you never leave work. Work always comes with you, always exerts pressure on you, always exists even in the back of your mind. No matter what you are doing, there is always a sense that there is something else that you should be doing. But this is where the key to surviving studentdom comes in: knowing your limits. You do what has to be done first, and then you do what you can do within the limits you have set. For me, that means that I try very hard to go to bed each night by midnight and take a Sabbath on the weekends. Sure, I could fill up those times with various things, whether school or IVCF or whatever, but I'll never get everything done anyway. So my theory is that I have to take some time to breathe and enjoy a bit and to invest in me, or else I'll go completely crazy.

I've also decided to try to treat being a student more like work. Eight hours a day. Granted, being a good student often requires in excess of sixty hours a week, but you do what you can. Besides, that midterm's only worth 10%, right? Right?

A slightly exhausted D out.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Hollow Pursuits

Thought of the Day: I think that was Scott Russell...
Song of the Day: Project 86, "Hollow Again"

I am pretty sure I just passed Scott Russell of CBC Sports fame in the Place Riel lobby. But by the time I could turn around, he was gone. A close brush with fame. But I digress.

I have been learning a lot lately about "things." Things that distract us from God. The ole' Mary or Martha question (cf. Luke 10:38-42). When the things that we do distract us or take away from our relationship with our creator, they become meaningless and hollow. This is the message of Christ in John 15:1-5, which boils down to him saying: "Focus on me, because I'm the only thing that's worth focussing on." And I should not be focussing on things, but on Christ himself.

I think this whole idea was best summed up by one of my favourite bands, Project 86. Their song "Hollow Again" from the Truthless Heroes album is based on T.S. Eliot's poem "The Hollow Men." Here are the lyrics. I hope you get something out of them.

Somehow I lost my way
And now it’s clear to me
All that I fought so hard to keep
Is all I had to leave

I know you can't hear me
And you won’t believe me
But there is something I must say here
Before I fade away

(This is the world ends…again)

Forever we will be…
Forever we will be hollow
Hollow again

So I'm left here waiting
So long I'm contemplating
And now I know how it is
But now it’s far too late

How will we open the eyes of the dead
When we are hollow

And all along here I was told
By fallen men in their charade
That we could find a hope inside
The safety of this empty place

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Redeye to the Hat

Thought of the Day: Me tired.
Song of the Day: Collective Soul, "Counting the Days"

What a week. Everything's going again, and I'm helping drive my mom back to Medicine Hat tonight after she goes to the Sting-Annie Lennox concert. This weekend is the last round of stuff that should really take up a lot of time. Next week it's buckle-down time for school for a few weeks, as well as getting back on the IVCF train and getting LHCYA going. And I just found out that the extended Return of the King drops on Dec. 14. Sweet. A little slice of my life.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The source of my energy

Thought of the Day: Oh yeah, I'm an "extrovert"
Song of the Day: Switchfoot, "Spirit"

It's funny how a day can change your whole outlook on life. At the beginning of today, I was bummed out. Nothing was going right, and I felt so out of control and just like life was crazy. Then I talked to people all day. All day. I had conversations--meaningful conversations--with about 10 people today. And then it hit me. I'm an extrovert. I feed off of people. Where do I go to get recharged? People. So what happens when I talk to people? Good things. Note to self.

"Corner Gas" is the funniest show on TV since Seinfeld. Pure Saskatchewan. They love it in the east because they think it's exaggerated, but we love it here because we know it's real. I hadn't watched it until last week, but now I'm hooked. Season one comes out on DVD next week...oh so tempting...Tuesdays at 7.

Which leads me into my next point. I have two shows that I watch now. That hasn't happened since I was in high school. I have Corner Gas and Survivor: Vanuatu. I kind of like having some TV shows to watch again. And they're both on peasant vision. Score.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Spider-Man 2 changed my life

Thought of the Day: Why does it seem so odd when a movie actually moves me?
Song of the Day: Mars Ill, "Breathe Slow"

First off, blog business. I'm toying with the idea of a new "department" on the ole' blog: "Verse of the Day." Overdone? I don't know. Maybe, but maybe not. Maybe it will just be one more way to connect with the readers. Or maybe it would be a vain and empty endeavour. Thoughts? Also, is the existence of a "comments" actually useful? I've been thinking that maybe those make it too "blog." I know it is a blog, but I think it's more than that. To me it is. Feedback? Alright, now that that is out of the way, onto the real blog.

I finally saw Spider-Man 2 tonight. A must-see, and one of the few movies I would actually go so far as to own a copy. There are so many positives about that movie. Special effects are great. Casting is as perfect as can be. It is truly a perfect example of everything a sequel in the superhero genre should be. But perhaps the best feature of the movie is the truly human aspect: not one of the characters feels like a cardboard cut out. Even J. Jonah Jameson has some depth to him. I especially loved Alfred Molina's troubled Doc Ock. Powerful.
But I fully understand why I did not see the movie before now, as it made a significant impact on my life. Not in the overwrought, cry-when-the-director-wants-you-to-cry Hollywood sentimentality. Rather, it was the honest connection of one soul seeking another who understands and knows the deepest struggles of life. For me, that was Peter Parker. It sounds strange, but I really identified with his identity crisis throughout the movie. (No spoilers, don't worry.) Is he Peter, or is he Spider-Man...or can he be both? And will he ever find the answer to his search?
For me, I felt as I was watching this that my "Spider-Man" is my ministry, mainly IVCF. Is it possible to be the Derek who has fun and hangs out and listens to music and says crazy things and is off the wall, and to be the leader that is responsible and able and dependable and mature and wise and solid? I believe that as I understand my calling and myself, I can begin to answer that question. And the answer is yes.
I've been struggling lately with balance: life and ministry. Calling and existence. Obedience and sacrifice. This weekend is the time for me to reflect and evaluate and decide. And I feel like Peter Parker has helped encourage me in the midst of my struggle with his example.

Faith, hope, love, and spidey sense.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

I love being the "rock-writer"

Thought of the Day: Too much music, too little money and time
Song of the Day: Demon Hunter, "I Play Dead"

As you may have been able to tell from my band sites on the side of the page, I love the music. I love how I am able to play the role of rock-writer for this year with the Sheaf. I have already interviewed some amazing bands, and there are a lot more in store for the rest of this year. Tree 63 comes Nov. 5 to Saskatoon. I'm sure the bands at YQ will be good enough to warrant interviewing (I'm betting on Relient K and O.C. heard it here folks).
The problem is that there is only so much time and money and so much good music out there. So much. By Christmas, there are new albums from: Mars Ill, Roper, Day of Fire, Sixpence None the Richer, Relient K, Grits, Third Day, Collective Soul, U2, Superchick, and Supertones. Pretty much an album coming out every week that I would buy. I'm really counting on the fact that I can get some of them free from the Sheaf in order to satisfy my music needs. Add to those the ever-growing list of CDs that have been released that I want to purchase, and it is a long list indeed.
Maybe someday I can actually make a career out this obsession with music and be a professional rock-writer. But I may just have to settle for the fact that there will always be too much good music and too little of me to listen to it all. The rock-write life is tough, I know. I'm just glad that I have to live it, and not any of you.

Faith, hope, and love.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

God is my Gatorade

Thought of the Day: It's a good thing I love this so much.
Song of the Day: U2, "Silver and Gold" (Rattle and Hum version)

Today is one of those days. A day where things just begin to weigh on you. Not carefree, but careful. I often wonder why I am doing all the things I am doing. I often wonder if I can. And then I am reminded that I am where God has called me to be, and He will supply me with the strength to do what I am called to do.

This week and upcoming weekend are proving to be an interesting time in my life and my ministry areas. A time where I can reflect and understand just where everything needs to be and needs to go for the next two months. The start just takes so much out of you. I need this break this weekend. Really, we should have a longer one, but I'll take what I can get. After this, there's no break until Taiwan at Christmas time. Two months of sprinting. But God is my Gatorade, and He will replenish me as needed. Joy.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Friends are friends forever?

Thought of the Day: What is true "friendship"?
Song of the Day: U2, "Vertigo"

Don't worry, this blog is not the kind of rabid tirade inspired by a so-called friend stabbing me in the back and betraying me and making me question who my real friends are. Don't worry. I have just been thinking about friendship a lot lately. I spent a good chunk of this weekend catching up with people who I had not seen or talked to in recent memory, and that has helped fuel the fire of this thought train in my brain.
What is a "friend"? What most people would consider friends are more like acquaintances. There are a lot of people with whom we spend time that we really do not know at all. There is little of substance in a lot of friendships. And we all have a lot of friends who are really our friends' friends - people we spend time with because our friends do. And there are many levels of friendship, from the "hanging out" to the deep friendships that you very rarely get.
In all of this, I have spent time reflecting on what I consider a true friend. I know better what does not now than I did ever before: frequency and quantity. Spending a lot of time with someone does not necessarily equal true friendship. Quality, intentionality, connection - these are some of the things that truly matter. My best friends can talk to me once a year and still remain best friends.
I think that a lot of people allow their friendships to get in the way of God. Michael W. Smith sang that "friends are friends forever," and I am not sure I quite believe that. I believe that God puts people in our lives at certain junctures that He intends to take away later on. Even our earthly relationships are subjugated to our heavenly ones. That means submitting ourselves to God's will in every human relationship we have. It's a tough pill to swallow sometimes, but it is necessary.
Basically, I think what I am trying to communicate is that I know a little bit better all the time what a true friend is, and who those people are, and that God has put a lot of really great people in my life. Maybe friends are friends forever, after all.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

The Next Generation of Thought

Thought of the Day: There are times I enjoy being a geek.
Song of the Day: The Star Trek movie fanfare

I have been sharing a long-lost love with a friend recently: Star Trek The Next Generation. I watched it as a kid, and I am now beginning on that journey again. Pure genius. If I ever do an M.A. about post-modern thought in the western world, TNG is right up there. Still the best episode of TNG ever: The Best of Both Worlds, followed by Tapestry and The Inner Light. All Picard episodes. Hmmm. Anyway, I imagine I will be going back to where I have gone before, and I will love it. I am a geek.

By the way, I also love being post-modern. If only the North American Church would finally agree with me....

D out. Or is he? Can D be out? Or is it all just an elaborate ruse to make you think that your little box is self-contained and without disharmony? I don't know. Do you?


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