A Faithful Life

How do you put into words the impact that this one man has had on my generation and the one previous to mine?  He served Jesus Christ with faithfulness to the message of the gospel. He was faithful to his wife, his family and to God’s Word. He was willing to do what ever it took to get that message to as many people as he could. He was critiqued by many from within the church but he was more interested in reaching those lost in sin than in placating people who would never be satisfied with him or his style of ministry. 

Many times I sat with my Dad watching the Billy Graham crusades. Dad would never go to church but he would watch and listen to Billy. As a young person who was trying to find  out what was true, I would listen attentively to the message of salvation.  I would not come to Christ until a few years later but the seed was sown.

I thank God for the life and legacy of Billy Graham. His life’s work was to share the message of eternal life in Christ to as many as possible and to live his life for God’s glory ought to be something every person who claims to know Jesus ought to emulate.  

May the words of the Apostle Paul encourage us to be faithful, like Billy, in sharing and living the message of Jesus

“And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ…”

Colossians 4:2

The King of Your Mountain

king_of_the_mountain-720x340Life 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

finch1959@gmail.com

The Identity Crisis in the Pulpit

CrisisinPulpitThe article that I am about to write I could not have written 5 years ago. I believe that I suffered from an identity crisis as a Pastor. What is more, I believe the office of Pastor is suffering from an identity crisis.  Between the power model C.E.O. type who demands allegiance, and the average church member who sits in the pew, the gap is deep and the gap is wide. There are Pastors who use their people to achieve fame among denominational leaders, and Pastors who struggle to gain the respect of the people in the pew.  Continue reading

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

Life’s Great Purpose

68A978F8-1AC2-4ACC-8C16-339BEF91D575Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together! (Psalm 34:3 ESV)

The joy and delight of every person who has by faith come to Jesus is to magnify the Lord! Is there any higher calling and responsibility in all the world? As we look at this verse, we notice that this calling begins with one’s own personal walk with the Lord. Because of God’s grace and mercy in my own life I want others to join in with me!

Continue reading

Hungry to Learn

Classroom 031

“School House Rock”[1] was television’s attempt to teach children basic things about math, science and government. It aired in the 1980s during Saturday morning cartoons.  One phrase I recall was “conjunction junction what’s your function.”  Remember? It taught kids school subjects while they watched Bugs Bunny and others. I, too. have had the privilege of teaching in a Bible college, and in the local church as a Pastor and Teacher.  I have discovered that the best students are not always those who receive  “A’s”  (speaking as one who rarely received one!) but the best were those who loved to learn.  On the other hand, there were others who one could tell were not there because they choose to be there. In my annual Bible reading plan, I have arrived at the New Testament epistle the Apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonians. These people were absolutely amazing! We ought to try and bottle what they had! They had such an insatiable desire to learn but not just in the sense of “book learning.” They took what Paul taught them and lived it out.  They were any teacher’s dream! I can imagine that they sat on the edge of their seats waiting for every word to fall from the lips of God’s servant. As they heard the word of God, they accepted it as the word of God.  To them, Paul was not just another lecturer visiting them to talk about the latest philosophy to come out of Rome. When they heard him speak they understood that God had sent him to be his spokesperson.  It was more than a philosophical chat about abstract ideas. Reading from 1 Thessalonians 2, they understood that these were God’s words and as such they sat with rapt attention at the Word as it was taught. This word was received by them into their hearts and began to take root in their lives. How fervent was their desire to learn God’s Word? Such was their dedication to learning God’s word that they were willing to suffer at the hands of their fellow citizens.  I would call that dedication to learning! As they heard the word and applied it, they knew that they had become citizens of the kingdom of God and as such needed to live distinctly from the rest of the culture. What an impact!

This got me to thinking.  With what attitude do I come to the Word of God when it is preached and taught?  I think that we in North America have become so accustomed to coming to church and hearing God’s Word that it has become mundane.  We have lost the thrill of learning it to live it! Now, those of us who have the privilege and responsibility of teaching must to do so in creative ways.  As the late Bible teacher, Howard Hendricks said many times, “We don’t have the right to be boring when we teach the Scriptures.” But how do we hear the Word? 1 Peter 2:2 says, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation.”  For babies, milk is fundamental for their growth and development, no one has to lecture them on their need for it. For the believer in Jesus, the Word is fundamental to learning to become all that God desires us to be.  You and I must long to grow in our relationship to God. It is fundamental! I often think that every time God gives me the opportunity to sit in on a sermon or in a small group that this is another opportunity to marvel at his grace, to deepen my trust in him and grow to become more like Him. I am on the edge of my chair, I don’t want miss a thing. You?