As we move closer to the day of the celebration of the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the world is in a whole lot of turmoil. Personally, I am finding it difficult to turn on the television news because someone is coming out against this group or that policy, somebody is yelling at someone else! The only peace seems to be to ignore others and do your own thing, but someone will inevitably be against the thing you are doing! Continue reading
“What in the world is going on?” Have you said that to yourself or out loud recently? I have for sure! If you read the headlines, if you watch your favourite news channel on television, there is an inundation of frightening revelation of sin that for decades remained hidden and silent. We are reading of major political, television and sports celebrities whose past behaviour is now coming back to haunt them. There seemingly is no hope for them. For the victims of their crimes, there is finally hope that they no longer have to live in the shadows of past events that robbed them of hope.
How do the theories about how life should function actually translate into our daily routines of life? One plus one does in fact equal two that is the cold, hard fact. We want life to work neat and tidy that way. If you do ‘A’ then you will get ‘B’. Really? Does your life work like that for you? Please tell me your secret! Continue reading
I had no idea, you could say I was clueless! What did it mean to be a disciple of Jesus?
In 1977, I clearly heard and understood the message that God loved me and sent his son, Jesus, to pay the penalty of sin that I owed. I repented of my sins and placed my faith, my future, my total being in God’s care. Without realizing it at the time, I stepped into a process of walking with God everyday. God was slowly transforming my value system from being solely concentrated on me and my desires to him and his desires for me.
There is indeed a process that God places us in to become all that he wants us to become. All who have made that decision to receive Jesus as Lord are learning to understand what God desires. We no longer live for self but for the Lord.
Every person who is a Christian is a follower, a disciple of Jesus. Everyone should have a plan of growing to become more and more like him. How? Here are a few ideas:
Personal Plan for Spiritual Growth
1. Identify with the Community of Faith through baptism and church membership.
2. Find areas to serve God using the spiritual gifts, abilities and interests he has given us.
3. Grow in intimacy in our walk with God through daily, disciplined reading of the Bible and prayer.
4. Seek to encourage others in their walk with God through being a part of a small group. You cannot grow on your own, you need the encouragement and you can encourage others as well.
5. Share your faith. God has/is working in your life not just for you but that others can know him through you. God wants to use your story to change the lives of those who do not know him.
6. Give of your financial resources to support the work of the local church. God calls us to be generous with what he has entrusted us with financially.
These six principles are “basic training”. The entire span of our walk with Jesus is based on these. Following Jesus is not rocket science but is the discipline to faithfully practice them continually growing to become all he wants us to be.
My friend, go for it! Grow in faithfulness, love God passionately, serve Him loyally, and impact others radically. This is what a disciple of Jesus looks like.
It has been a very difficult week. Much harder than most. We have witnessed the absolute horrific tragedy of the church shootings in a tiny town deep in the heart of Texas. How in the world do we make sense of that? Dear people who left their homes as they usually have done to attend church completely unaware what the next hour would bring. Their lives, and ours, have been changed forever. Continue reading
Life is precious. However, the way we treat it at times is the exact opposite of that. I am reminded of the game we played as children, we called it “King of the Mountain” in our neighbourhood. The objective was to climb to the top of the dirt pile and defend your spot with all your might! This would involve tossing all competitors off your “regal territory.” What a blast!
Unfortunately, my friends, some adults, some Christian adults, some Christian adults who are leaders in the church are still “playing” that game. But, it isn’t a game. And, it is acted out in the “dirt” of daily crux of relationships and responsibilities.
In the church of Jesus Christ the rules are different, they are the exact opposite in fact. The way up is down, the way to life is death to self, (Phil 3:8; Matthew 10:38). We place God’s agenda above our own and seek to make him the King of all of who we are. Our goal is to advance his ethic of love and forgiveness, (Matthew 28:19-20).
Because life is precious we take serious the biblical commands that are centred around the “one-anothers”, (Romans 12:3-21). In the community of the redeemed there is a mutual recognition that on our own we cannot make it, (1 Corinthians 12). We need each other to “spur each other on to love and good works,” (Hebrews 10:24). I, therefore, cannot claim that I am superior to you! How dare I!
The spiritual leaders of the church still need to recognize their need to practice these good works. Too often, I have seen those same leaders act as if they are above the necessity of daily practicing the spiritual disciplines of prayer, love, and diving into the Bible, realizing that they too need to confess their sins. Some of these people have forgotten that they have reached where they are because did practice them at one time, not because they deserve to be there!
Whoever you are, whatever title you have in front of your name, you would do well to remember who actually is the King! It isn’t you, it is the One who “bought you with a price” to remind you that “you are not your own.” (1 Corinthians 6:20)
Friends, we must live in the light of the truth that Jesus Christ is the true King of the mountain in our lives! How is it going for you?
For His Glory,
Pastor Bill Finch
One advantage of growing older, or I should maybe use the word “maturing”, is that one can look back and learn from mistakes and bad decisions that were made. There are no “do overs” in life, you just hope that you learned from the bad experiences of the past.
1. Value people and places
I have moved our family from London, Ontario to Grand Rapids, Michigan to Edinburg, Texas to Buenos Aires, Argentina back to Edinburg, to Montreal, to Tillsonburg, Ontario to Calgary Alberta and to wherever the next stop is. Each of those places holds significant people, experiences, and memories for us. Also, each of them could have been much longer, deeper, richer and more satisfying stays.
What I know now is that one must dig his roots deep in the soil in order to reap satisfying results. We left places before they began to really turn the corner in a positive manner. I did not see what I had in terms of deep relationships with people and congregations. I took that way too lightly.
2. The Momentary vs the Enduring
When I was younger I put more stock into the appeal of the next thing than I did into being faithful in the current assignment. I allowed others to speak into my life saying how bad the current situation is. Instead of hunkering down and ignoring those voices I allowed them to sow seeds of bitterness and “the grass is greener” mentality. How could I allow that to happen? Why didn’t I shut down those thoughts before they got too carried away in my mind, and especially in my heart.
The enduring ministry is that God can work in spite of the negative things we see around us. There is a greater ministry that God has called us to, there are people who are cheering you on that you become blind to when you focus on the negative.
3. God is Faithful
Forgive me if I get carried away in this post. It is part confession and part therapeutic on my part. Do I wish I had made better decisions? Of course I do! I would long to be in those places to see the Lord turn things around! All of those places where we have been have experienced tremendous growth and blessing from God. If I would have faithfully planted myself and not listened to the negative voices, I would be able to see that God is faithful to His work, be it the church or the theological training school.
In each of the places we have been there are wonderful friends who are brothers and sisters in Jesus. I love them deeply and my life is a compilation of their contributions to my life. I am eternally grateful for the Alejandro’s, the Alex’s, the Wilson’s, the Austin’s, the Fuller’s, the Michael’s, the Ferguson’s and the countless others who have made invaluable contributions to my life.
The story of our life and ministry is not over yet. My prayer is that the Lord would grant us many more years of faithfully serving Him.
For His Glory,
Pastor Bill Finch