Another One of Those Family Updates (Graduations, Cameras, Travel)

Over the past few weeks it has been interesting to see how different jurisdictions in Canada and elsewhere in the world have created and released guidelines for worship services during a pandemic. And then it has been interesting to see how different churches interpret those guidelines. Here in Ontario, we were given broad guidelines from the province that were to then be explained and enhanced by more specific versions from the various regions. But since all of these documents were …

A Mid-June Family Update

After many of these family updates in which I’ve had to report, “not much has changed” I can finally say, “lots has changed.” As of today my region (Halton Region) has entered stage two of Ontario’s reopening plan. While most stores have already been allowed to open, stage 2 now permits malls, attractions, recreation facilities, restaurant patios, barbers, and so on. This is good news, though it will also begin to show how many businesses have not been able to …

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An Early-June Family Update

It occurred to me the other day that it has been almost three months since I shook anyone’s hand—or had any other form of physical contact with any person who is not in my family. And I think the last hand I shook was Paul Washer’s. The last day I was out of the house before everything went into lockdown, he was in town and we spent the afternoon and evening together. The time concluded with me interviewing him as …

COVID-19 and the Future of the Christian Conference

Christians have long valued conferences. In the past few decades, as travel has become easier and less expensive, Christians have valued large national conferences where thousands or tens of thousands gather to worship, learn, and fellowship together. The story of the “New Calvinism” could not possibly be told apart from the rise and impact of these events. Yet conferences were among the early casualties of the COVID-19 pandemic. Together for the Gospel, Ligonier Ministries, The Basics, and other major events …

The Safest Place for the Weakest People

It has been a blessing to hear from friends and family across America whose churches are beginning to meet again after the period of forced separation. It has been fascinating (though a little strange) to see photographs of the spaced-out seating, the masks, the deliberate distancing, the omnipresent bottles of hand sanitizer. While I expect it will be some time before we gain the privilege in Ontario, I look forward to the day when we, too, can once again worship …

So Very Weak, Yet So Very Proud

It was in early 2020 that we first began to hear of this novel coronavirus that was sweeping through parts of China, then making the short hop to nearby Asian nations, then making the longer hop to not-so-nearby European nations. The reports out of China were alarming, the reports out of South Korea sobering, the reports out of Italy terrifying. Slowly and then all of a sudden it was in our countries, in our towns, at our doorsteps. We are …

It’s Not Often in Life You Get a Do-Over (So Take the Do-Over!)

Life is like a basement. It’s like a basement in that, despite our best efforts, we just can’t keep it from getting cluttered. Every few months, Aileen and I have to go downstairs and clear out our back room—that room where empty boxes accumulate as we decide if we will keep or ship back the products we’ve ordered, where broken stuff waits until the next bulk garbage day, where unwanted or unused things sit until they are given away or …

Here Is Christian Encouragement From All Over the World

On Saturday I asked if you would consider sending along some encouragement. Specifically, I asked if you would respond to this: “God promises to work all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. This includes even, and perhaps especially, the difficult things. What are some of the surprising ways you have witnessed or experienced God’s goodness in this difficult time?” Hundreds of answers came pouring in from all over the world. …

I Miss the Ordinary the Most

Recent conversations with other Christians have shown that I’m not alone in carrying an unusual level of stress, fear, and anxiety. These are uncertain days and many of us are struggling through them in various ways. Some are feeling this struggle as a heavy emotional weight, some are feeling it as despondency or listlessness, some are feeling it physically as cold sweats or a tightening of the chest. And no wonder! We are quarantined within our homes, we are adapting …

Why Our Church Is Only Sort Of Streaming Our Services

Like so many other churches across the world, mine had to make a sudden and unexpected decision in the face of a pending lockdown: Do we broadcast our services or do we not? Under normal circumstances we would never even entertain the notion, but with a looming period of isolation that would last no less than weeks and that could well stretch into months, we were suddenly presented with the dilemma. We decided to “sort of” broadcast our services. Let …