I Lost My Watch

I Lost My Watch

In April 2015, I transitioned from 24 years as a financial planner and became the National Director for Kingdom Advisors where I now connect with Christian financial professionals across Canada. At that time, I was given a Hugo Boss watch from a fund company which meant a lot to me because it was a symbol of an important time of transition in my life.

Fast forward to August 2017 – my wife and I flew back to our home province for a few weeks. We were blessed to have friends who offered us their car to use while we were there. Let me interject a little about my friends, Keith and Alma: we have spent sufficient time together to be completely comfortable with them and they really understand that “The Lord owns it all.” To illustrate our relationship, I sent this text to them when we were about to fly back home: “So thankful for the use of the BMW the Lord blessed you with. Note: I avoided saying ‘your vehicle’ because I know you understand that what you have is the Lord’s. You are such a blessing!!”

After we arrived home from our trip, I searched through every piece of luggage and pockets of my jacket but could not find my watch. We called back to my in-laws, where I thought I had likely left it; they searched the room where we stayed. No watch. We called Alma and asked her to look in the car, but the result was the same – no watch found. We called the airport thinking I may have left my watch in the tray when I went through security.  Again, my watch was not found.

Where was my watch? It was lost and I learned today (May 22, 2018) that it actually had been in Alma’s car for all these months, completely hidden under the front seat.  The car had been cleaned several times since August without discovering the watch. In April, when the car was driven over a bumpy road, Alma’s sun glasses fell on the floor underneath the seat and when she reached for them, she pulled out the watch!

The problem was she had completely forgotten that I had even borrowed their car and her immediate action was to send  messages to those she knew who had recently used her car.  The response every time was “I didn’t lose a watch.” When the watch was found, the battery was dead so they thought that it may have been there for a long time, maybe even before they purchased the vehicle.  Could it belong to the original owner?

Here’s the amazing part of this story: Alma’s husband, Keith didn’t even know I had lost my watch on my visit. He took the watch, replaced the battery and began wearing it on occasion. For me, any hope of finding the watch was long gone, even when they texted and said they were coming for a visit. They arrived at our house and we enjoyed catching up in conversation over a delicious meal. I had no thought about the watch until I saw it on Keith’s arm. I felt a little awkward at first and did not want to interrupt the flow of conversation. How could I ask about the watch or where and when he had found it? Maybe I should just ask, “Where did you get such a nice watch?” Our conversation continued and out of nowhere, Keith lifted his arm to look at the watch and then said, “I have to change the subject: Lorne this watch is yours!”

Seriously! We were all shocked at the quick change in conversation and I realized how the Lord cares about the little details that concern us, especially regarding something that was lost. Keith said, “I just felt the Lord say, ‘This is Lorne’s watch.’” I realized that the Lord was using this circumstance to give Keith more confidence to follow the Lord when prompted. It confirmed to him that he could trust the still small voice of the Lord.

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Many times Keith doesn’t even wear a watch. He could have easily worn a different watch when he visited, or no watch at all. Was it just coincidence that he chose to wear the Boss watch for his visit to my house?

Here is what I realized from this whole thing: the Lord is interested in using every day situations to help us be more sensitive to His promptings.
What is most amazing about this story? It’s not as much about my lost watch being found as it is about a man being sensitive to know when the Lord is speaking to him and having a willingness to act on it. Do you have the confidence to follow the inner promptings from the Lord?

Reckless Love & The Cop Who Didn’t Shoot

Reckless Love & The Cop Who Didn’t Shoot

The news is filled with the shocking story of the Toronto van attack where 10 people have been killed. We seem to have become more accustomed to this sort of violence in Europe or America, but not Toronto, so close to home. We have family in Toronto and it is only hours from where we live!

After reading the article published at Maclean’s written by Scott Gilmore entitled: Toronto Van Attack: The Cop Who Didn’t Shoot, I couldn’t help but think of the Christian song: Reckless Love, since I have already written two blogs about this song. No doubt, the actions of the perpetrator were violently reckless but could the actions of the officer, Const. Ken Lam also be considered reckless? We have likely all see the video as he stands about 30 ft from the van with his gun pointed at the driver. Gilmore writes:

What was he thinking at that moment? He knew this was the van that had reportedly just mowed down more than two dozen people. He could see the smashed grill. He could see the man behind the wheel. Did he think it was about to explode? Did he expect the driver to jump out shooting? The cop holds his fire.

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It is obvious the driver of the van is looking to be shot, because he pretends more than once, to pull a gun from his pocket. Most of us would probably agree that this man deserved to be shot and killed, after his completely reckless behaviour. Ten innocent people are dead and another 15 injured, but the officer didn’t shoot. Another article said: This officer clearly had de-escalation in mind.

I wonder if some police officers think the actions of Const. Lam might have been a little reckless. Did he realize what the consequences of not shooting could be at that precise moment? After all, there wasn’t much time to think this through.  Only thirty-seven seconds elapsed from when the driver emerged from his van, to when he was face-down on the sidewalk. Not one shot was fired!

Const. Lam is rightly being praised because he didn’t shoot. The shooting of the driver was the expected outcome; after all, it is usually how the story ends.

Gilmore concludes his article this way:

We kill each other out of hate, or fear, or ignorance, or duty. Sadly, we understand this instinct well. This is the dark side of humanity. And rightly, we are mesmerized by the horror of it.

But there is light inside us too. We also possess the instinct to keep each other alive. This part of us can be more difficult to understand. But it deserves our devotion much more than the act of killing does. These moments of humanity are not uncommon, but they are precious. It would be good if we could remember that about Toronto, remember the cop who didn’t shoot.

Maybe it was the light inside Const. Ken Lam that made the difference and didn’t take that drivers life, even though we might agree he deserved to die. The driver of the van exhibited completely reckless actions motivated by hate. It can easily be argued the cop may have also acted recklessly, motivated by the light inside him, and in the opposite fashion with such a positive result.

The song Reckless Love says in regards to God’s love:

I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still you give yourself away. Oh the overwhelming, never ending, reckless love of God.

Many people are not able to wrap their heads around the thought that God can love humanity recklessly despite how depraved our behaviour is at times. Doesn’t God reach out to us to give us what we do not deserve? Didn’t this cop demonstrate “Reckless Love” (mercy) in a most beautiful way?

The Power of Sound

The Power of Sound

I had the opportunity to speak recently at a local church and chose to talk about the impact of our words. In essence, I began to walk through what words actually become as we speak them and the potential impact of those words on those who hear (including ourselves).

I quickly referenced Job 4:12-14 to demonstrate the path words take within us and how they are able to impact us. “A word was brought to me in secret; my ears caught a whisper of it. Among unsettling thoughts from visions in the night, when deep sleep descends on men, fear and trembling came over me and made all my bones shake.” We are truly complex creatures and what we hear impacts us more significantly than we realize.

If you look closely this verse reveals what words become:

  1. Firstly, “a word” was heard or became a sound.
  2. Then came “unsettling thoughts
  3. And “visions in the night,
  4. Which developed into “fear and trembling
  5. Finally it “made all my bones shake.

All this disruption came because of a whisper in the ears. How is this even possible?

The Power of Sound

Until I did some research, I didn’t realize that sound actually creates, organizes and forms all the basic fundamental shapes found throughout the known universe. For more than 50 years, scientists have proven this to be true. Interestingly, these forms are referred as “Sacred Geometry,” which is said to be a discovery of man, not his invention.

Take a look at an amazing video demonstrating the effects of sound being played underneath sand pebbles on a metal plate. The sound causes them to move and organize into geometric shapes and the higher the frequency the more complex the shapes (just watching for a minute will illustrate).

 

Sound is a type of energy made by vibrations. So if you think about throwing a rock in still water, the resulting rings of waves are similar to the effects of sound. It is interesting that irregular sound waves create noise, while regular repeating waves create music.

Researchers have also discovered that we pay more attention when an emotion (such as happiness, sadness or anger) is expressed through vocalizations than we do when the same emotion is expressed in speech. So sound itself then, may be more powerful than we typically give it credit. Have you heard the proverb: “a joyful heart is good medicine?” If you stop and consider how joy is expressed, it is usually in the form of laughter (maybe some of the healing is through the sound itself).

Consider our lives at times; there can be so many different inputs with emotional attachments (like anger and frustration) and the result is often noise. Joy, on the other hand, is medicine because it produces regular repeating sound waves, having an impact that is like music to our ears!

Elba Mueller explains the Power of Sound  by referencing one of the most amazing experiments, conducted by Doctor Masaru Emoto, who gained worldwide acclaim for his groundbreaking research and his discovery that water is affected by vibrational sound in some very surprising ways.

When I read this, my immediate thought was about creation (in Gen. 1), when “the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.” I’m thinking those waters were affected by the vibrational sound because “God said.”  It seems the sound of God’s voice resulted in the earth changing from empty to being filled.

In his experiments, Dr. Emoto analyzed the formation of differently shaped crystals in water as it was exposed to different sounds in different forms. Part of his research included verbal affirmations, thoughts, music, and even prayers from a priest. He focused on verbal affirmations of love and gratitude as they were being directed toward water that was sitting in a Petri dish. He then analyzed the water under a microscope and took before and after pictures to document the change.

pay attentionDr. Emoto and his team observed that after the experiment very beautiful crystals had formed in some of the frozen water samples where the positive vibrational waves were directed. Dr. Emoto then exposed water samples to music from Mozart, Beethoven, and other classical composers and found that beautiful crystal shapes formed in these samples as well.

He also experimented with people saying things like “you fool,” “I will kill you,” and other unpleasant phrases using a harsh tone. Dr. Emoto found that ugly, incomplete, and malformed crystals were formed in the water samples exposed to these negative expressions and tones.

 

Dr. Emoto concluded that any sound is vibration, and vibrations such as music and other positive sounds including the human voice can be a form of healing energy.

Here is what I find fascinating: on a 3D level the body is more than 70% water. If crystals formed in water from sound vibrations, then it seems pretty clear that the sounds and words we hear impact our bodies. Think about your words and the tone used expressing these words. I think it is fair to say that the vibrations we make when we speak are either forming something beautiful or something ugly, incomplete or malformed in those who hear.

When you talk with your children, spouse, neighbours, clients or colleagues; what impact is the sound of your words having? Are they building up or tearing down?

 

What Have I Become?

What Have I Become?

We are all on a journey in life and the one thing that remains constant is change. My wife recently took on the task of capturing some of our home videos (30 years worth). These include so many memories and changes, from hair styles to the way we dressed. The music at our youth events seemed radical to some at that time, but now, much heavier music is typically used in many worship services on Sunday mornings all across North America.

TrumpThink about politics for a moment. Just look back one year when the United States was in the midst of an election campaign. Let’s be honest, when you first heard that Donald Trump was running for President, how many thought he would actually become President? Most didn’t believe he had a shot at becoming the candidate to represent the Republicans in the run up to the election, let alone be in the presidential race. For many, the unthinkable happened … Breaking News: Donald Trump is now the President.

How was this possible? Many were left wondering how this could happen. Think about one of the things that politicians do everyday. They talk a lot, sometimes getting themselves in trouble because they say the wrong things. Things change because there are people who speak to influence others to bring about that change. 

For America, this was a major change. What was the basis for that change? I think you will have to agree that media of all kinds, was and remains a major influencer that results in significant change in our culture. Have you ever felt outrage when you hear about people who have been unfairly mistreated? Often times we hear about these types of circumstances through some form of media. When there is frustration over an issue, the media drawing attention to it can be the very means to bring change.

The fact is, whatever media you tune into begins to shape you and slowly your opinions can change, sometimes without even realizing it.

Change is constant and often comes through relationship and communication. Here’s an example in my life. I met a pastor in the early 2000’s who was a cyclist. He would often ride 30-50 kilometres (20-30 miles) at a time, and then on many Saturdays, he would double that distance. I first thought the guy was nuts, until he looked at me and said, “You would make a great cyclist.” Well, I wasn’t involved in any other sport and knew I could use the exercise, so I bought myself a bike and started. First, it was shorter distances, but in a very short time, I was riding those same distances too. Before long, I was challenging myself and one day, rode 120 kilometres (75 miles). My point is this: I became a cyclist, because someone said, “You would make a great cyclist.” I agreed with that statement and decided to become what I was told I could be. 

In 1991, I became a salesman of life insurance, partly out of necessity, but also because I was told I would be good for the role.

On 3.16.2017, our son, became a father, making me a grandfather. Well how did that happen? Without making this a PG rated blog, allow me to explain: It started with a conversation. Cathy (now my wife) and I, had our first date in May 1985. We talked together a lot on that evening. We shared our dreams and visions for the future and discovered that we had so much in common (at least until we got married, but that’s a story for another day). Well the words we shared eventually led to our marriage, where we publicly spoke our commitment to one another (before God and this company, I believe is how it traditionally goes). I still recall memorizing our vows in which we promised to “speak words of grace that would build one another up.” Maybe, I remember that so well, because it was one of the most difficult parts to keep.

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Well 25 months after those vows were spoken (to the very day), our son, David was born. He made similar vows himself when he was married (20 years later).

Here is the point: change comes to our lives because words are spoken.

Marriages happen because words are spoken (vows), divorces happen for the same reason. Politicians are elected in many cases because of promises made (words spoken) and not re-elected in other cases because promises were broken.

We are constantly becoming or changing because of the influence that comes into our lives through media (words that are spoken to us). You may not even realize it, but you are actually very much an influencer, and are helping others become who they are. The words you speak are more important than you realize because they are agents of change and with them you impact those around you.

Interestingly, the Bible says “the word became flesh” referencing, of course, the coming of Christ to live on this earth as a man. The Bible is the only book that has the claim of being alive and still desires to become something, or bring about change in us.

My son and daughter-in-law have discovered that when new life entered their lives, change was immediate. In my next few blogs I will walk through the impact  words have within us and how they impact what we become.

So let me ask you this: How have words spoken to you impacted your life? What change are you bringing in others through the words that you speak?

 

42 – It’s Not Just About You!

200px-JrobinsonOn a recent flight back to Newfoundland, I  watched a movie called “42” which is the story of Jackie Robinson (#42), best known for becoming the first black major-league baseball player of the modern era.  Manager, Branch Rickey intentionally searched for a black player and the story unfolds. As I watched, I could sense the excitement that Robinson must have felt, being the first black chosen to be in the major leagues.

He was a talented athlete but is that the only reason Rickey selected him? I became very intrigued as the movie progressed because it really demonstrated that the choice was also because of his ability to turn the other cheek.  Sure, it was about winning, so the team needed talented players, but actually,  it was more about bringing change in the sport and influencing a nation.
The Brooklyn Dodgers were scheduled to play in Philadelphia, (ironically the city of brotherly love).  However, the home team refused to play simply because Jackie Robinson was on the team. The two managers exchanged words:

“You cannot bring that boy down here with the rest of your team.”

Rickey responded, “Why is that?”

“We are just not ready for that sort of thing in Philadelphia. I’d like to know what it is you are trying to prove!”

Rickey responded with an odd question, “You think God likes baseball, Herb?”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“It means someday you’re gonna meet God, and when He inquires as to why you didn’t take the field against Robinson in Philadelphia and you answer ‘It’s because he was a negro,’ it may not be a sufficient reply.”

I found it interesting that Rickey brought God into the argument to show that the way Robinson was being treated was very displeasing to God. The reality is Jackie Robinson was not only chosen because of his athletic ability but the colour of his skin and his willingness to resist the attacks that Rickey knew would come.

JR white boyWhen Robinson asked why he did it, Rickey explained that he loved this game of baseball and that he had given his whole life to the game. Then he referenced the past unfairness he saw when he was a player and their Negro catcher, Charlie Thomas, “a coloured boy was laid low, broken, because of the colour of his skin and I didn’t do enough to help. I ignored it.” He continued, “There was something unfair at the heart of the game I loved, but the time came I could no longer do that.” As a manager Rickey chose Robinson to bring change to the game. He told Jackie how he watched some kids playing and said, “I saw a little white boy up at bat … you know what he was doing? … pretending he was like you … little white boy pretending he is a black man. You made me love baseball again. Thank you!”

Branch Rickey was motivated to bring Jackie Robinson into the major leagues, not just to win the pennant but to influence culture.  It is said of Jackie Robinson that he helped change attitudes and led the team in more ways than one! In fact, in the baseball world, April 15 is “Jackie Robinson Day” when players wear the #42 on their jerseys in honour of this Hall of Fame hero!

Back to our vacation … Typically when we travel, we try to have a reason beyond just rest and relaxation. On this trip, we were able to visit with some old friends that we hadn’t seen for many years. I believe our visit helped to lift spirits more than we actually realize. Our trip back “home” was very fulfilling, mainly because it wasn’t just about us having a good time; we were able to have a positive influence on others. Remember, in all you do, life is not meant to be only about you!

Be sure to listen to this song at the end of the movie!! Take a few minutes to watch and listen.

 

The Value of Community

As the National Director of Kingdom Advisors in Canada, one of my goals is to bring Christian financial professionals into membership. With this drive for memberships before the end of the year, I have been talking much about the benefits. These include new study group content monthly, regular teleconferences, Core training to equip advisors with biblical financial advice and wisdom in practice management.

Last week, I had a conversation with a long time friend, Melvin, about his membership renewal and he talked at length about his 2-year-old granddaughter Isla. She was diagnosed with cancer a year ago, had recently been doing well after lengthy chemo treatment, but last week took a turn for the worse.

islaAfter more testing and scans, it was discovered she had two tumours on her brain. This past Thursday, just as Melvin was arriving home, his son Michael (also his partner in his practice) called saying,“Isla may not make it through the night.” Michael asked his Dad if he could call as many as possible to prayer. Within an hour, more than 100 had gathered to pray at the church. Isla did make it through the night, is now back on chemotherapy, and Melvin told me, the tumours are shrinking. This has been a roller coaster ride for them.

Back to his membership, Melvin said,“I just do not have the time right now to be engaged with Kingdom Advisors, but I would like to continue membership because I want to be connected to people who pray.” So the value Melvin feels he has received is through prayer support, not the tools and resources I was promoting, at least not right now.

It has made me realize that one of the greater values of Kingdom Advisors, or any organization for that matter, is Community. We can support one another, not just with great ideas, but also by simply being supportive of one another. Prayer is a means of connecting with a higher source and having at least two or three agree is truly important.

There are likely other members of Kingdom Advisors and other persons that we are presently in community with that are facing a similar challenge this Christmas. Let us pray one for another. I would like to take this time to wish everyone a blessed Christmas season. May the peace that passes all understanding be yours!

 

How Churchill Advised The Queen

How Churchill Advised The Queen

the-crown-netflixWe recently watched the new series”The Crown” on Netflix. It is a drama series that chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II.  It is quite amazing how the cast resembles the people we have watched for decades in different forms of media.

While we may not know if many of the scenes or words spoken are all exactly true, I found some advice Winston Churchill gave the young Queen to be very interesting. As she was leaving on a flight to tour some countries in the Commonwealth, he instructed, “Never let them see the real Elizabeth Windsor. The cameras, the television; never let them see that carrying the crown is often a burden. Let them look at you but let them see only the eternal.”

Churchill was telling her that although people will look at her, she must determine what she lets them see. In essence, the Queen needed to represent the crown more than herself. Her priority was to put the interest of the crown ahead of her own delight. This entails self-denial, sacrifice and service for the higher purpose of the crown. Churchill instructed the Queen to display the eternal, or higher calling.

We are seen everyday by others but what do we let them see?

While we may not live the life of a Royal, we all have choices to make about how we are seen by others. We all have opportunities to “let them see only the eternal.” We try to be at our best when we have an important meeting, but are we intentional about who we represent? For the Queen, she was called to represent something that existed before she was even born.

The fact is eternity is set within the heart of each of us, even commoners, and whether we recognize it or not, we are all representing something greater than ourselves. That also means there is a grander purpose in the conversations we have than we realize.

At times, I have felt my life lacked meaning and purpose. However, I now know that during those times, I failed to recognize the eternal in my day-to-day life. It is too easy for us to become focused only on the routine of the day and overlook the opportunities to have an impact that is eternal. Consider the words you share and the advice you provide to others. In many cases it has a greater impact than you realize.