Category: musings


Too often we get so wrapped up in our own importance we forget that we are not the solution. My knowledge, my strength, my culture, or my will power is not enough for myself let alone anyone else. “When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Luke 2:16-17) Christ lived among the sick, he walked beside them, reaching out to them at their level. We can learn a lot from his approach and how he loved his neighbors.

Too often we in the church think we are the solution and forget that Christ is the solution. He is the reason why we do the things we do. We serve not because it earns merit or favor but because he served us first when we didn’t deserve it, when we were sick. We serve not to be cured but because we are cured. God has been reminding me of this over and over again the last few months, from the video above, a buddies sermon, friends, my kids, and through the people I have the privilege of serving at work. Christ came, died, was resurrected, and will return, not for the righteous but for those who are sick. Stop trying to be the cure and start offering the one true cure.

around the hospital Nov 3

Will you offer the one real cure to those around you who are sick?

A good friend reminded me this weekend that if we focus on what we don’t want we will always end up there. If I focus on not being like my dad I will end up being like him or if I focus on the ditch while driving I will end up in the ditch. People do not set goals to not do or be something, they set goals in the direction they want to go.

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“…every organization eventually becomes a direct reflection of its leadership, whether for good or for bad.”
Larry Osborne, Sticky Church, Pg. 123

Knowing what we don’t want is great however one must focus on what is to be achieved. What is the purpose of Christianity and why do we believe what we do?

Family and God

My last few entries have all started the same, I want to write but find little time. Writing usually is a time to decompress my thoughts however I have been doing that with the camera recently (pictures are linked to my instagram page). This weekend in Alberta is a long one for Family Day holiday, good times. It all started Friday after work window shopping on Kijiji, never a good idea but always fun, found an awesome deal on a lens I have wanted since I bought my new camera, picked it up Saturday and headed to the park with the girls.

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Something I have wrestled with and have yet to clearly define is the role of family in my spiritual walk. Yes they are important, and yes God gave them to me but scripture puts a different spin on things. There seems to be a tension between earthy family and the Lord. That can be seen throughout scripture, Adam & Eve, Job and wife, Jacob & Esau,  Peter, even with Jesus.

He replied to him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” Pointing to his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” 
Matthew 12:48-50

Photo 2013-02-17 03.33.36 PMIs Christ denying his earthy family? We also see in Matthew 8 that Peter was married as he has a mother-in-law. You exam Peter’s life as recorded in scripture and it does not appear like he spent a lot of time with his family. Paul also has strong words about marriage and family. The idea of family is typically used to show how we are brought into the family of God, adopted into his family.

I think that it is good for a man to remain as he is. 27 Are you pledged to a woman? Do not seek to be released. Are you free from such a commitment? Do not look for a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marries, she has not sinned. But those who marry will face many troubles in this life, and I want to spare you this.
29 What I mean, brothers and sisters, is that the time is short. From now on those who have wives should live as if they do not; 30 those who mourn, as if they did not; those who are happy, as if they were not; those who buy something, as if it were not theirs to keep; 31 those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away.
32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife— 34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.
1 Corinthians 7:26-35

So as I move forward I am truly thankful for the wife and children I have been given for they are true blessings from God, but I am torn by the fact that I seek to please them in the affairs of this world and the Lord’s affairs. Matthew 6:24 comes to mind with as I read Paul’s words “No one can serve two masters”. Have I worked this all out? Not at all, but my prayer is that I can lead my home in the ways of our Lord and that together we will be a reflection of God’s light.

What role does family play in your spiritual walk with the Lord?

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winter fieldFarming is a major analogy in the bible. Seeding, growing, and harvesting. The harvest is what farming is all about. In the Church harvesting is seen as people responding to the Gospel and believing in the work Christ has done for us. In farming the harvest is what brings the food to the table. The harvest for the Church is what brings people to the great feast in heaven.

Where is the harvest?

Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:37, 38). This idea of harvest has been miss placed and misinterpreted in the Church today. Where was Jesus when he harvested? Where were the disciples? The Bible tells us clearly where the field is that needs to be harvested. We have many promises that working the field will bring a plentiful harvest. “Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense” (Proverbs 12:11).

Where should we be if we are looking to be a worker in the plentiful harvest?

In the church?

Not all, but a majority of Christians today do not look at the harvest. Is the harvest meant to be an altar call at the end of a church service or some event that you brought a friend to? Today we, pulling the log out of my own eye, tend to be dependent on these alter calls and crusades to reach out dumping the harvest on our pastors and those brave enough to say that evangelism is one of their gifts, but is this what Jesus was meaning?

Seeker sensitive churches come at the expense of discipleship and in an effort to make the Gospel understandable we lose theological understanding. Instead of being driven by our understanding of who God is we become driven to just increase our numbers or serve physical worldly needs.

These are good things, but we have become reliant on the “church” to do all the harvesting instead of the way God has chosen to use us all and send us out into the field. “The  Lord  had said to Abram, ‘Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). God calls us into the field, so where is the field?

The Field!

The synagogue is not typically the scene of the harvest. We are called to action, to serve those around us, and as we go to make disciples. Interestingly Matthew 9:37-38 is sandwiched between Jesus being out in public and him sending his disciples out into the area villages. When he is talking about the harvest he is not in a church but in the world. He is where the sick are and he is among them seeking them out (Romans 3.11) and being the great healer. You look at the story of Zacchaeus and see a similar thing. “Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through.  A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy…  For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:1, 2, 10). Christ was there to seek and to save. He does not sit on the sidelines waiting for people to seek him out for he knows that they cannot. And if we call ourselves Christ’s disciples then we must follow him into the field.

We must be willing and able to share the Gospel with the people we meet Monday to Saturday, with the people we spend 40 hours a week with, the parents who we see every practice, the kids we play with at recess. The key is to be open about what you believe. Acknowledge the tragedies of this life, big and small, it all starts with the brokenness we all share.

Where are you?

The church is a great place to grow and can serve as a place to harvest, however the bible clearly calls us to get out into the world around us. We must leave our homes and seek out the sick. “Then Jesus came to them and said,  “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:18, 19). While we are going are we harvesting?

So Abram went, as the  Lord  had told him; and Lot went with him… Genesis 12:4

The 12 hour drive home went smoothly and the only casualties were 2 of the Barbie’s, one lost an arm and the other her head. The drive inspired me to quote lyrics from a song for my last vacation quotes and pics posts. Also, here are a few pics I took just outside Gleichen, I love Alberta!

I can be there for you when it can’t get much harder
I can cover your head when life starts to rain
I can hold on tight when you feel like you’re falling
I can bread crumb the path when you’ve lost your way
I can make you laugh when the whole world is crying
I can build you up when you’re broken in shame
But if all that we do is absent of Jesus, then this so called love is completely in vain…

Mercy Me This So Called Love from the album The Generous Mr.Lovewell

 
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

Matthew 9:36-38

Prosperity isn’t wrong, but prosperity is always dangerous…We must live lives that show there are things that are worth even more than this world’s prosperity.

Preaching The Cross by Mark Dever, page 30

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Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

1 Corinthians 1:25 NASB

I think one of the best parts of our trip so far is the lack of television.

Do you see in 1 Corinthians 15 when death loses its sting? Do you see when it’s swallowed up in victory and can no longer create mourning? It is when we put on the imperishable. So, at funerals we mourn and we hurt; death stings, and there is real loss. This text rightly used at a funeral should point us to hope of the day where it won’t sting any longer…If he justifies us, he will glorify us (Romans 8:30).

Matt Chandler, The Explicit Gospel, page 169

We cannot pretend that death does not sting. It still hurts and shows us that the world is still broken. We take hope not in the idea that everything is right now, but that Christ will return and make all things new. Everything on earth and in heaven will be renewed to how it was supposed to be.

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Strawberry picking – despite the rain it was a blast. By the end of our vacation we will definitely be sick of them since we filled 3 ice cream pails.

 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Matthew 6.24

Randomly during the worship time at church today during the song God With Us I thought of the above verse which led to thinking about why we have money and its purpose. Money is really just a standardization of desire. Say I have 10 chickens, but I desire to have 5 cows. Without money we work under the barter system, but what if the guy with the cows doesn’t want chickens? I have to then find someone who desires my chickens and is willing to give me something that the guy who has the cows desires. And what happens when I can’t find a guy who desires chickens and has something the cow guy desires? Money allows me to simplify that process to sell chickens and buy cows. So now I desire money above all else because it allows me to fulfill any material desire I may have. Money becomes our master. God, however, calls us to desire Him above all else, we are to make God our master. Why? Because to God money is meaningless. He who made the universe is not contained by our need for money nor does my lack of money limit his ability to fulfill the needs in my life.

 
And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith? 

Matthew 6.28-30

He will certainly care for you!

Matt Maher – Letting Go

I’m holding onto Your love
I’m letting go of myself
I’m holding onto Your love
I’m letting go of myself
I’ll say so long to everything else

I just wanna be in Your arms
I just wanna be in Your arms
Moving ever closer to Your heart
To Your heart

This week I spent some time in the Epistle of Galatians. The beauty of this letter is in how Paul explains the law in relation to Christ. The freedom found in Christ is captured in the idea of resting in the arms of God and moving closer to his heart. The fruit of the spirit cannot be produced through our own works but through the transforming work of the Spirit in our lives. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are produced by a sanctified heart, a heart close to God’s. Self-help will lead to despair and utter hopelessness, but when one lives and walks by the Spirit one cannot help but be these things.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5.22-26)

According to the 2001 Canadian census Canada has 22,851,825 Christians. Our population was 29,639,035 which means that Canada is 77% Christian. It also means that we have a ratio of more than 3 Christians to every non-Christian in our country. In the world today there are 2.27 Billion Christians and 2.84 Billion unreached people. The Joshua Project defines unreached as:

 

From this overall ethnic people group list, a subset of unreached / least-reached peopleshas been identified based on the criteria of less than 2% Evangelical and less than 5%Christian Adherent. This subset helps focus attention on the unfinished task of the Great Commission. We desire that this list be used by mission agencies, denominiations, churches and missionaries to accelerate the Gospel’s advance into each of the least-reached people groups. Joshua Project has also developed a Progress Scale indicating a spectrum of reachedness rather than a simple on / off indicator.
 

Global Statistics

Peoples-by-Country Individuals
All People Groups 16,655 6.87 billion
Unreached People Groups 7,056 2.84 billion
% Unreached Peoples 42.4 % 41.3 %
10/40 Window Total 8,687 4.53 billion
10/40 Window Unreached 5,995 2.75 billion
10/40 Window % Unreached 69.0 % 60.8 %
  Count
Affinity Blocs 17
People Clusters 253
Peoples Groups (without reference to Countries) 9,989
Unreached Peoples Groups (without reference to Countries) 4,373
Countries 237
Languages 6,517

As a person who feels strongly called to reach out to all people in the world (Matthew 28.19-20) with the message of who God is and what he has done for us I don’t think we can just stay home and say “I am not called to global missions”. I know and understand that we all have different gifts and abilities which allow us to reach different people, however it seems that we have huddled up in a corner and are failing at reaching out to all the people groups in the world. John 3.17-18 says “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” A lost soul is a lost soul and the Good Shepherd will leave the 99 to find the 1, “it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish” (Matthew 18.14). We must reach out to both the lost here and over there, that is what we are all called to as followers of Christ.

Are we following Christ’s footsteps and looking for the lost?

http://www.joshuaproject.net/

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