Being Christian in the Age of Social Distancing

When I was a kid, my Dad, who was born in 1919, would tell us tales of life going to school in a one-room schoolhouse and walking there 5 miles in a driving snowstorm, uphill both ways, and having to make a fire in the boiler to heat the classroom! Amazing stuff! Dad had great stories!Continue reading “Being Christian in the Age of Social Distancing”

North of 60

Time always reveals the truth! I recently celebrated my 59th here on the planet. The reality of the quick passing and brevity have hit me like a ton of bricks. More than ever I am aware that the majority of my life is behind me. If I was to counsel my younger self what would I say to him? Good question, isn’t it?

By the grace of God, he has given me the awesome privilege to serve some very incredible people in some awesome places on planet earth. But…it could have been much better than it was. I often wish that what I know now I could have learned much earlier. It is not as if there were not people who tried to tell me but I was too stubborn to listen!

First, I would say, “Be patient with people and circumstances.” I often wanted people, and ministries, to change their point of view. Instead of working through situations I decided to move on. They may never have changed into what I wanted them to be but grace teaches me to give room for God to work in you and in them.

Second, I would not have listened to the opinions of others who were negative against administration and people in authority. My older self would now say that God knows what he is doing, there could be a greater purpose for why that policy was brought forward that you know nothing about. Furthermore, they could be right!! The horror of horrors! I could be wrong!

Third, allow God to mature you where he has placed you. I have often thought about people who are “lifers” in those places I left. There is such a maturity when they speak of their ministry. They speak with the wisdom that can only be grasped after years spent investing in a place and people.

Finally, I am thankful that I am still learning. God is still teaching me that there is much yet to be done. I don’t look backward with bitterness or depression but I optimistically use the lessons from the past to move forward. Philippians 1:6 continues to give me hope, ““And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

I am not 60 yet, I have 360 plus days to go! But I am excited to build on the foundation that God has established in my life. I’m still in process, still learning and still want to learn! How about you?

God Bless,

Pastor Bill Finch‭‭

Following Jesus

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.

Back To Basics

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Something just doesn’t add up!

Mathematics was never was one of my strongest subjects in high school. It is embarrassing to say so but…I was in the remedial class.  There I said it, whew, I feel much better for having bared my soul to you! But one thing that I did learn was that if you do this you will get that.  It is the law of cause and effect.  It is black and white, the answer is either right or wrong.

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Step by Step

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When I first became in Christian in 1978, I knew very little about the discipline it would require to live the Christian life.  Soon after God invaded my life, I was soon met with challenges in my life that I never had before.  Yes, I was now assured of a home in heaven when I died but I struggled with the reality of the battle between my new nature and the old, cantankerous one that refused to let go.

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Turning Over a New Leaf

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This blog is not about my favourite hockey team, so it is safe to continue reading!  But it is about the “post resolution” making blues.  It is somewhat traditional to make all kinds of promises that this year is going to be different from all the rest we have lived.  We are going to lose weight, start an excersize program that involves a little more than lifting your fork to your mouth, and many other things we could mention.  If you are normal, and I know you are reading my blog because you are normal, your resolution will last to perhaps January 20th before you fall back into your old patterns of living.

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The Freedom of Grace

Just in case you missed it….

For the last couple of weeks I have been receiving phone calls that have become a little annoying. When I go to answer the call with a very polite, “Hello”, on the other end I hear the horn of a cruise ship with a voice saying that I have won a free cruise.  I have never let the call go far enough to find out if my bride and I actually need start packing. But it did get me to thinking, is there anything in life that is free?

Continue reading “The Freedom of Grace”

The Freedom of Grace

Canadian currencyFor the last couple of weeks I have been receiving phone calls that have become a little annoying. When I go to answer the call with a very polite, “Hello”, on the other end I hear the horn of a cruise ship with a voice saying that I have won a free cruise.  I have never let the call go far enough to find out if my bride and I actually need start packing. But it did get me to thinking, is there anything in life that is free?

Continue reading “The Freedom of Grace”

Hungry to Learn

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“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?