Is God trustworthy 

Is it worth the risk to trust God? Or to put it another way…

Is common sense “common” in Christians?
It is often said, “I will not believe it until I see it for myself!” Even one of the most famous characters of the Bible said, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
Thomas has been severely criticized by preachers and other believers alike for his unbelief however many of us act in the same way when it comes to the practical issues of life. Can I trust God with my future? Can I trust God with my children? If I am faithful financially in my local church, will God be faithful to me?
More than 20 years ago, our family went out as fully supported missionaries. But when we started the project we didn’t have any money and no one who was going to pray for us. But we can share that because of God’s faithfulness to us, we never lacked anything in our service for God.  
We often want the guarantee first before we respond to follow the plan. But it never works that way with God. Even in the work of salvation, God says, “Trust in me, believe what I have said to you!”  
God is always faithful to His Word, Always! If you think there is something that He has missed, hang on, God has it all under His control. It is always worth trusting what He has said!

Why We Celebrate

If you take a quick look around on this 24th day of December you would think something big is going down!

Today, we are on the cusp of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. Over the past month we have been rehearsing the events and the characters in the drama of his birth. We could fill many books studying these important characters in the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy, and we would be right to do so. However, all of this reading, studying and putting ourselves in the shoes of these characters would be an empty pursuit if it were not for one thing.

The thing that makes Jesus birth so important is the reason for which came. If he was just a good example for us on how to live then we are kind of wasting our time, for many people are worthy of following their example. But only one person ,the God man, the Messiah, the son of God was born to reconcile God and man.

The good news of the gospel is that Jesus Christ born of woman, born without sin, and born to become the sacrifice for our sin. This is what makes Christmas important. If we divorce our celebration of the events of Christmas from the reason for which Jesus came then we are left with tinsel, wrapping paper, and a quote on quote “nice holiday”.

We can sum up the Christmas story with this verse from Romans chapter 6 verse 23, “for the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” And we live in the attitude of gratitude, “thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” (2 Cor. 9:15)

That is what gives Christmas it’s meaning!

The Age of Being Disagreeable

We are living in an age where everyone believes they are right.  Have you noticed?  There is a war of ideas, thoughts and words that makes enemies of friends and separates the closest of friends.  Pick any topic and the debate can quickly erode into name-calling and hard feelings.  Unfortunately, this is even true in the church.

Here is the question that I have been asking myself,  “How can we demonstrate love even in the midst of disagreement?”  Is that even possible?  I believe that it is.  Now, before you call my psychiatrist and book an appointment for me, let me tell you what I mean (I don’t have one, sorry to worry you!).  There are very few issues that are so black and white that I need to draw a line in the sand to dare others to cross it.

It seems to me that we who confess the Name of Jesus Christ, have neglected the role of prayer and the Holy Spirit.  If I am walking with integrity of character while seeking to glorify God in my relationship with Him and in my relationship with others, I am equipped with what I need to love others the way God has loved me.  In the name of openness and honesty, I need to tell you that I have not always thought this way. I was a huge proponent of drawing a line in the sand! And, as a result it cost me at least three ministries that I love very much!  Yes, I am a slow learner!

Our model for this type of attitude is the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.  He often taught that we are to love our enemies and pray for those who treat us disrespectfully. He was quite the revolutionary to say the least!   I have been in church congregational and missionary meetings where the words of Jesus were not the ideal! In fact, they were down right laid aside and forgotten!  They were painful meetings to be a part of, very painful!

We must remember to practice the ethic of God’s love, His agape love, His selfless love in the midst of those situations. God is working out His plan in both you and the person or situation you are dealing with.  I read recently that we will never be able to say that we are right when we are wrong in the way we express ourselves.  There are very few situations that allow me to treat another person with disrespect and not miss the blessing of God in my own life.

In every situation God is working out His plan. It is His plan that we love one another and seek the greatest good in the lives of others.  I always want to ask myself in whatever situation that I am in, “How can I best express the love of Jesus in this situation?”  Sometimes, that means I need to be quiet and let the Spirit of God do what He does best!  I am learning that every person I meet, every meeting I participate in, God’s plan is of greater importance that my own personal agenda!

It is my prayer that you and I learn to express ourselves in such a way that people are left with the aroma of the gospel of Christ, an aroma that is sweet, encouraging and filled with His love!

What in the World!

By this all people will know that you are my disciples...

By this all people will know that you are my disciples…

 

In recent days there has been a lot of hand wringing among the people of the church.  There is a general feeling that everything is out of control and that the world is careening rapidly down to the hill into the abyss of hell.  The announcement last week of the United States Supreme Court decision in regards to same-sex marriage has caused an uproar among people of faith.  I have had the privilege of living in the United States and know how patriotic most of God’s people are. There seems to be a very close association between government and the church. To many government is a reflection, or ought to be, of Biblical values. Continue reading

The Responsibility of Pastoral Ministry – Part 1

Winter 07-08 094

To serve the people of God as a Pastor is the greatest blessing (other than my wife and family) that I have had in my life! I have been truly blessed by the friendships that have been formed. Not just a little, pretend blessed but a knock your socks off blessed! Over the next few weeks I want to write on ministering to different segments of the congregation.

Continue reading

The Cross

the cross

I am humbled today.  To imagine that we are so valuable to God that Jesus would sacrifice his life for us!  Recently, like millions of Canadians and Americans I watched Dr. Billy Graham’s last sermon(http://myhopewithbillygraham.org/programs/the-cross/).  The broadcast was entitled “The Cross”. After hearing the God-story of the two people featured on the video and the message from God’s Word, I am moved beyond words.

As a young person who had just come to faith in Jesus, I accompanied our church’s youth group to a weekend conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  On this particular weekend, one of the keynote messages dealt with the Cross.  As a new Christian, I will never forgot how the speaker described how valuable Jesus, God the Son was to God the Father. He talked about all the Son of God had endured to pay the penalty of the debt of sin that I owed. He talked of the Roman scourge and the cruelest form of execution that the Romans had invented called crucifixion. To top it all off, the separation for the first time in all eternity of God the Father and God the Son, you and I cannot even begin to fathom all that meant. For all the human race,  Jesus endured the shame of the cross to purchase our freedom from sin’s curse.

Have you gotten over it?  The pure, holy, lovely Son of God was made subject to the wrath of God so that we could go free! His righteousness was applied to us so that when God the Father looks at us, he sees his Son’s death and righteousness applied. God knew that this was the only way for us to be saved from his wrath. Here is the kicker for me, in John chapter 10, Jesus said that he willing laid down his life for us, no one took it from him, by his own volition he died. If that does not move your heart today you need to see either your cardiologist or your pastor or maybe even both!

The world has believed the lie of Satan that what we really need is material possessions, be the king of our lives and in control of everything! There is a reason he is called “the father of lies” in the Bible. He knows that none of those things can bring us real joy or satisfaction that lasts more than a day. But we keep trying. Even those who say they are Christians have fallen into his trap.

What the world needs now is the gospel. But the gospel is difficult, the gospel is insulting because we cannot do anything to make ourselves acceptable to God.  You cannot save yourself! The Cross of Jesus Christ is foolishness to the human race because we really think can make it on our own.  Deep down we know we cannot unless God changes our heart.

I am grateful that the Cross of Jesus, this gospel of Jesus Christ, is the only way that I can find true life. I have found out that I not only needed the gospel that day in 1978 but I need the gospel everyday! I need his grace to mold my character and shape my future. What I need now is the gospel.

You and I are so valuable to God that He would endure the cross for sinners like us. Absolutely amazing! We are eternally grateful. Does that humble you, too?

The Practice of Prayer

In Times Like These

It’s Wednesday night at 7 o’clock, we are gathered at the corner of Queens Avenue      apraying handsnd Adelaide Street in London, Ontario to pray.  We sing a couple of hymns, listen to a brief study of God’s Word then we gather in groups to pray.  But the prayer time seems very sterile and safe.  We pray for health issues, the pastors and missionaries and conclude with an Amen. But there is something missing.  I finally have put my thumb on it.

Prayer can become very rote. We do it because, well, God created Wednesday nights for prayer meeting, didn’t he?  It becomes so mechanical that we can pray whether God shows up or not. We forgot that the fundamental reason for prayer is not asking for stuff but having communion with the Creator of the universe.

Jesus taught this in his model prayer to his disciples.  When we pray there…

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