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One Year in Madoc and the Introduction to “Practical Ministry” (Part 1)

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.

But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.

Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.

For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

– James 3:17-18

Before I begin this month’s message, I want to take the opportunity to celebrate our one-year anniversary of moving to Madoc! My son, Ryan, and I feel blessed to call Madoc “home” and I’m looking forward to meeting more of you in the coming months and years ahead :)

Looking back on the past year, I’m nothing short of amazed at how enriched my life has become. I have learned so much about myself, not only through this process of transitioning to a completely different lifestyle but also through a renewed commitment to allow God to refine me and mature me even further, according to His perfect design and purpose for my life. 

While I won’t pretend this process is easy, I do know that facing my fears and meeting the challenges that follow is helping me to develop a very practical insight into how I will approach life, going forward. 

For instance, as a business owner, I have been exploring the ways in which I can successfully expand my business and introduce it to my new community. Coming from the city, the obvious steps seemed pretty straightforward… create the vision, determine the plan and follow the steps. However, I’ve learned that one of the gifts of living in a small town is that the process becomes much more relational because you are actually meeting and interacting with the people who are involved in every aspect of that plan. These people have names, struggles, contexts, strengths, weaknesses, and opinions. You might know their sister or go to their church or bump into them on the street. Unlike the city, they aren’t just “contacts” you have in your database that you only think about when you need them. They are your neighbours. They are your community. 

This led me to my big “aha” moment:  

Life, Profession, and Ministry are meant to be interconnected. 

I’m reminded of 20+ years ago when I first opened my psychotherapy practice and was uncomfortable with charging for a service that so many people needed, yet couldn’t afford. I would jokingly say that I wished I could be like Lucy from Charlie Brown and just put up a sign saying “the doctor is in” and people would simply show up on my porch and chat about what was going on in their lives. Fast forward to when I became a Marketplace Minister in 2015 (but before I became a Christian – long story, lol) when I would say that I saw myself as an “old town vicar”, being part of a community, officiating life-cycle events and offering support and comfort where necessary. I never saw myself as a pastor of a church but now I realize that, as Christians, we are all called to some form of “practical” ministry. 

I suppose that writing these blog/devotionals every month is part of my ministry, as is being a member of my local Chamber of Commerce and volunteering with the BIT. Technically, these are “business” organizations, but they also embrace a community spirit, are more organic vs bureaucratic, and focus on how businesses can support their community, not just the other way around. 

This has really altered my perspective in terms of how I can serve Madoc through my various business endeavors and I’m excited to share some new ideas and developments with you in ‘Part 2’ of this post next month!

Until next time, I’ll leave you with this Gardener’s Blessing:

May God grant thee

Enough sun to warm the earth,

Enough rain to make things grow,

A good strong back,

A wide-brimmed hat,

And a good sharp goose-neck hoe,

Strength for a day of toil

And some quiet evening hours,

With a sip of tea

And a gentle breeze,

And may all your weeds be wildflowers.

       – Ralph Emerson Purkhiser

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