Itinerary for Jack’s Northern California Speaking Tour

P1000025I will be traveling and speaking at Wycliffe Associates banquets in 25 cities in northern California and Nevada for the next six weeks.
If you are in the area, please come to a banquet, it would be great to meet you.

All new, true, stories of Bible translation!

Here are the links to my itinerary.





A Couple’s Most Important Day

Jo and I are about to celebrate our 52nd wedding anniversary on March 31. We can attest that a successful, long-lasting marriage means falling in love many times, (most frequently with the person to whom you are married!)

52 Years Ago

52 Years Ago

I remember our wedding, held in my home church in Red Deer, AB—a small white, wood frame building that accommodated perhaps one hundred packed in tightly. The reception was in the basement which held maybe fifty, probably fewer. It was an extremely simple affair. My younger sisters helped Jo and me to decorate the basement the night before the wedding. The reception meal was salad and buns provided by the ladies of the church. And that was about it.

It was a small, plain, and simple; an almost insignificant beginning—a mere acorn wedding compared to some of the watermelon ones we have attended since.

Compared to the early 1960s, Canadians today are much more affluent. We also have better credit ratings and thus more money to spend. No wonder the business community invented the popular slogan, “Your wedding day is the most important day of your life.” They spread this lie because they need people to spend lots of money on the wedding.

Wedding Debt
Many couples, unfortunately, swallow this lie and spend themselves into debt for the wedding. They should get some advice, not from their newlywed friends, but from some oldyweds. They will be reminded what they already know deep down inside—what’s more important than the wedding is the marriage that follows.

In spite of this deep down knowledge, and in the face of the advice from oldyweds, some couples just don’t get it. I have heard several stories from pastors who during pre-marital counseling heard the couple say, “Oh, we can’t afford to attend a marriage seminar,” yet spend ten times the amount on flowers. Some won’t even buy a good book on marriage.

Why Get Married?
Here’s one aspect of marriage that Jo and I have proven true many times over the past 52 years of growing our acorn wedding into a sizable marriage tree. Judith Viorst, one of my favorite philosophers said it this way, “One advantage of marriage is that, when you fall out of love with him, or he falls out of love with you, it keeps you together until you fall in love again.”

Newlyweds have the aura of youthful beauty, enthusiasm, vigor, sex, fun, future. Oldyweds have the quality of inner beauty, wisdom, joy, history, stamina, endurance. Newlyweds become oldyweds, and oldyweds are the reasons that families work.

That’s why the day-to-day work of becoming oldyweds is vastly more important than the romantic event of becoming newlyweds.

Oh wait, I think I said that already. . . . four or five times.

Important notice for you who live in northern California
I will be traveling and speaking at Wycliffe Associates banquets in 25 cities in northern California and Nevada for the next six weeks. I didn’t include the URL links in this emailed column since spam blockers might react. So I will send the URL links in a separate email. If you are in the area, please come to a banquet, it would be great to meet you.

Leaving a Legacy of God-Stories: The Why & How

This is a follow-up post to last week’s God’s Story about Cheryl: How I Blew It As a Dad. Many of you wrote to tell me you also have some guilt feelings for not remembering and telling your children about what God has done for you and your families.

Feeling guilty is one thing—doing something about it is something else. So here is quickie overview of the “something else.”

Why We Need to Leave a Legacy of God-Stories to Future Generations

  • Deut 4:9-10. Do not forget the things your eyes have seen, or let them slip from your heart. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.
  • Deut. 32:7. Remember the days of old, consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders and they will explain to you.
  • Psalm 90:16. May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendour to their children.
  • Psalm 77: 11-12. Our Lord, I will remember the things you have done, your miracles of long ago. I will think about each one of your mighty deeds.
  • Psalm 102:18 Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord. (This command precedes a list of things God did for Israel.)

References to “remembering” and “not forgetting” occur, on the average, every fifth page throughout the Bible. Obviously God wants His people to notice and remember what He did for them and to tell these God-stories to their children, and even to write them down so their children and grandchildren can read them and praise Him.


  • A God-story is not an autobiography, which is the story of our whole life.
  • A God-story is not a memoir, which is the story about a certain period of our life.
  • A God-story is the story about an event or incident in our lives, and our family’s life, where God acted to answer prayer, to protect, to heal, or to guide. It is about conversion, God’s provision, a divine coincidence, etc. Each God-story a testimony of how we, or our families, have experienced acts of God in our lives.
  • When we write these stories, they will live on and increase in value, bringing praise to God, long after we are gone.

1-Kaleden Camping July 2012 (2)How to Remember Your God-Stories

  • Sit down, preferably during family gatherings, and pray for God’s help to recall some incidents that showed His action in your life.
  • Ask yourself, “What events have happened to me, that, if they had happened to my grandparents, I wish they had written the story for me to read?”
  • As you begin to share incidents, it will stimulate others to remember a similar happening.
  • Jot down the key words or phrases of each event at the top of a separate sheet of paper to help you remember it.
  • Once you have a half dozen or more events jotted down, answer the following questions for each incident:
    • Who was involved?
    • When did this happen?
    • Where did it happen?
    • What happened? What was the problem? How was it solved? What was said? What were my feelings? What was the result? These and other What? and How? questions will lead to the basic story.
    • Why did this happen?

You now have the basic facts of your God-stories.

From there on just rethink the event and tell it, either by writing it out, or by recording it in audio. Just do what you can to get the story down on paper, or on the computer screen, or on the recorder. It is more important that you let your emotions, your excitement and your wonder show than that you write it out in impeccable prose.

No matter how your God-stories are preserved, you will know that you have pleased God Who will continue to receive praise and thanks from readers or listeners for generations to come.

And no more feeling guilty!

God’s Story about Cheryl: How I Blew it as a Dad

Our youngest daughter, Cheryl, was born with amblyopia, commonly called lazy eye—a condition in children when vision does not develop properly in one eye. When she was two years old, an epidemic of trachoma swept through the Canela village in Brazil where we worked. This is a serious eye disease that, at that time, had blinded six million people worldwide. Most of the Canela and all our family were infected and we worked day and night treating the sufferers with antibiotic ointment.

eye patch CherylWhen we took off Cheryl’s bandages, we saw that our toddler’s lazy eye had turned aside even more. The optometrist prescribed glasses and an eye patch to wear over the good eye to force the lazy eye to work. Each year he wrote stronger prescriptions.

After three years of service in Brazil our director ordered us to go on furlough much earlier than planned. “Your financial support continues to be so low,” he said, “you are borrowing money from other missionaries to buy groceries. Go back home and raise adequate support before you return to Brazil.”

When we arrived in Canada the eye specialist said, “It’s a good thing you brought your daughter in to see me today, her prescription is wrong, her lazy eye needs a different treatment. In another month or two it would have been too late. Her lazy eye would have gone completely blind.”

He prescribed different glasses, as well as a patch, and gradually her eye improved so much that by the time she entered college her vision was near normal.

1-20-P1040389When I finished writing this story, I gave it to Cheryl to read and she exclaimed, “You mean if we hadn’t been so under-supported and poor, you would have stayed for nearly another year, and I would have gone blind in one eye? I never knew that. Dad! This happened 45 years ago, why didn’t you tell me earlier!

Yeah, why didn’t I?

Because I failed in one of the most important duties parents have—to tell their children what God has done for them. All through the Old Testament, God commands His people to remember what He did to benefit them and their families and to tell their children, even to write them down.

Just before singing God’s praise for a long list of things that Hes did on earth for His people, the poet urged his listeners to action, “Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord” Psalm 102:18 (NIV).

This incident encouraged me to keep going through my decades of daily journals and find incidents where God answered our prayers, where He protected us, where He arranged amazing co-incidences for our family. I continue to write them up, wanting to leave them as a legacy of God’s actions for our children, grandchildren and beyond.

So, what about you?

How do you remember the God-stories in your family’s life?

How do you pass them on to future generations?

At Last, A Blog Post From Jack

I usually take a break over the Christmas season, “I’m extra busy,” I think to myself, “it’s hard to make time to write, and my readers, also, have little time for reading.”

Here Comes the HouseOn top of that, this year we bought a prefabricated home that was due to arrive some time in January which would mean a move with all the sorting and packing that entails. So I added on another four weeks to my break. The arrival of the new home, however, was delayed, and so were the utilities hookups so . . . add another week! Then two writing jobs popped up that I had to do right away, and I needed to prepare a banquet speech for the California tour using all new stories.

You can see where this is going, can’t you?

Eventually, however, we did get caught up and we were in the new house, putting things away which had its own challenges with the new place being much smaller and having far fewer storage cupboards and closets than the old one.

Now here it is, a full ten weeks since I last posted on my INsights and OUTbursts blog.

So much for the OUTburst, here are the INsights.

  • Once you stop doing something you have done regularly, the momentum is lost and it is much easier to stay stopped than to start again. In fact, it is downright hard to get started again, even when it is something you love to do!
  • On the other hand, when you are in the midst of major changes, it is smart to know your physical and emotional limits, and to think long and hard before you stretch them too far.
  • A major move, in the middle of a colder than usual winter, to a new house that is still without electricity, heat, and water, could negatively affect your marriage relationship.
  • If you and your spouse let problems come between you, they will drive you apart; if you face them together, they will strengthen and solidify your relationship. I’m delighted to report our relationship is better than ever! (Yes, I checked this line with Jo and she agrees.)
  • I  received insights into some numbers too.
    • 25 – The number of houses we have moved into and lived in for a year or more since we married.
    • 52 – The number of years Jo and I will have been married by March 31.
    • 104 – The number of years of combined married life plus 104 years of combined fulltime Christian ministry.
    • 110 – The approximate number of times we have moved, counting places we have lived in for at least two months. (I didn’t include six-week-long speaking tour trips.)
    • 123 – The number of combined years Jo and I have been followers of Jesus, our Saviour and Lord.
    • 151 – Jo and my combined age (by March 19).
    • ??? – The number of people who came to know Jesus as a result of our lives and ministry, or who were influenced to follow Him more closely, or who were inspired to new levels of obedience. Jo and I have no idea what this number could be, and I’m not sure that God is all that interested in it either.
    • ??? – So what is the most important number? The number of times Jo and I obeyed God’s voice, giving up our comfort, personal goals, and private longings in order to love and serve Him. Here’s hoping this will be the largest number!

The neat thing is that all you and I have to do is turn our lives over to Jesus’ Spirit to live through us. He does it all. His power has no limits. He never needs a break, not even when He is super busy, like over Christmas or while preparing a home in heaven for us.