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Showing posts from February, 2009

FISHING FOR ANSWERS

I am not a fisherman. Approximately every three to five years, someone who loves fishing will ask me to join them and I ponder the question.
Let’s see… I have been fishing probably fifteen to twenty times in my life.In all of those missions, I have been assured by the experts that we are going to a great place to catch fish.I am given great instructions on where to cast, what to use for bait and stories of their previous successes.
By the time we are done, I have caught nothing but a fresh awareness that the fish must know I’m out to get them.Mystically they know to stay away from my line.I am also convinced that my fishing teachers are smarter or possess some higher magic that allow them to catch fish while I leave empty-handed.
Actually, I did catch two fish on separate occasions.Both were tiny sunfish that needed to be returned to the water.I almost felt the thrill of conquering a fish.But, I’m told that my experiences catching runt fishes doesn’t really count.
Maybe that is why I keep…

INVISIBLE PASTORS OF INVISIBLE CHURCHES

Chaplains are pastors.They shepherd, teach and equip the people of their respective communities with the same sense of calling, training and significance as their brothers and sisters who pastor in local church settings.Many of them serve hundreds of people with an army of volunteers.
Every chaplain’s story is unique.Some chose their respective vocation in response to God’s call while others transitioned to the field after engaging in local church ministry.
Chaplains serve in a wide range of people groups in many unreached sectors of the community.Some of these include:
·Correctional Services (jails, prison, halfway houses, community reintegration programs, young offender facilities)·Medical (hospitals, palliative care, nursing homes, special needs, mental health)·Retirement Homes & Gated Communities·Academic (schools, colleges & universities)·Military·Police (RCMP, OPP, City & Regional Forces)·EMS (fire, ambulance, critical incident teams)·Business & Corporate (transport…

MEMBERS ONLY

Recently, I was at a funeral lunch held at Windsor Yacht Club. On the property and in the buildings there are signs placed which indicate that the Club is for member use only. If you were to walk in and help yourself as a non-member, you would be violating the rights of privilege that belong to members.In fact, there are stewards of the Club who watch to see that members are cared for and that non-members do not take advantage of the facilities, unless they are authorized guests.
Jesus broke the bread and poured the cup with His Disciples.He has paid the price with his own death so that anyone who wants to can become a member of His Body.
1 Corinthians 10:16-2216 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17 Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all partake of the one loaf. 18 Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the …

WILEY'S WIN-WIN WORLD

Matthew 4:8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."10 Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.' "11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

In a last ditch attempt, the devil offers an alternate route to the Kingdom.What was the mission of Jesus about?It was about God’s love for a lost world.It was about bringing love and redemption back to Creation.
The Devil had temporary power in the earth realm and offered to hand it over to Jesus.The Kingdom would not need a sacrifice.The Devil had a better idea.If Jesus would simply acknowledge that Lucifer was Lord, Jesus could have the world.
The Devil was saying, “You can have what you really want and so can I.It will be a win-win if you are willing to go my way.”
Jesus resi…

DON'T JUMP

Matthew 4:5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written:
”‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.' "7 Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' "

What was the devil doing?Another question centred on Jesus’ identity.If you are the Son of God…
Why the temple and the holy city?In the place that most represented God to the Jews, the devil asks Jesus to demonstrate God’s power to protect.Maybe if Jesus performed the test, he would have a false confidence about what lay ahead.If the Father can be shown to protect him in this way, surely he would protect him from the sacrifice on the Cross.
Satan wants us to believe in a God that is more interested in protecting us than He i…

MAKE YOURSELF A ROCK SANDWICH

Matthew 4:1 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread."4 Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' "

Why is it that temptation often follows on the heels of spiritual affirmation and intimacy?Jesus was barely dry after being baptized… and the Spirit led him into isolation for forty hot days and forty cold nights.He knew that He needed to fast.He would not eat.The time was a gift of devoting himself entirely to prayer, rest and reflection.
There’s something we do not understand about God’s love.The same Father who said ‘This is my beloved Son’ and the Spirit who flew out of the open sky to rest on Jesus, now lead him to the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
It’s true that God does not tempt…

LUCIFER AND THE SNAKE OIL MIRACLE CURES

Who is most prone to temptation? Are there ‘safe zones’ where humans can let down their guard and live freely without having to fight against destructive and selfish motives?I once knew a blind man who collected calendars with pictures of nude women.He only had 4% vision in one eye, but that was enough to keep him interested.
Every saint and every sinner – tempted to turn from God.It is as common as the belly button.
You can live at a Christian retreat centre and attend prayer meetings every day.That will not protect you from being tempted.
I used to believe that temptation happened more often to people who had wishy-washy ethics. People who associated with criminals, addicts and rebels were easier targets for acts or attitudes of disobedience.I thought that the best defence was a safe distance or isolation from those who were weakest at resisting.Then my childhood ended and I discovered the hardening cement of temptation around my own feet.

When we see a brother or sister in sin, there a…

I CAN SEE CLEARLY NOW

At the vain age of eleven I cried as the school eye-tester told me I needed to wear glasses.I almost drowned in a sea of self-consciousness at the leper status of being labeled ‘Four Eyes’.
No one could have prepared me for the moment of clarity when I first donned the little wire-framed lenses.I saw detail and depth that my weak eyes were ignorant of.

At the age of 47 I now wear contact lenses that are one step short of bifocals. One lens is for distance and the other for close up. The optometrist told me that this works for 80% of the people that try it. The brain compensates and you end up with balanced vision. For me, it works.
When the Scriptures say that God gives vision, I get it. You begin to see things that did not previously exist for you.

Isa 41:17,1817 "The poor and needy search for water, but there is none; their tongues are parched with thirst.But I the LORD will answer them; I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them. 18 I will make rivers flow on barren heights…

JESUS IN THE TICKET LINE

I love a good concert. There is a special feeling as you travel to the venue, park your car and get in line for the ticket window.Whether it’s a $5 show at a small club or $100 pre-bought ticket, there is a similar feeling.
I am about to experience the sound, the sights and the crowd ambience of artists who have something special to give me.In my head I know that they are just as ordinary as you or I.Enough of them have told us that life on the road is difficult. I’ve heard dozens of stories of their hardships, failures and disappointments.But still…
We want to meet them.There are people who follow them around and show up backstage like lifelong friends.What’s that about?Fans who know more about the artist than the artist… it’s really kind of weird when you think about it.
So, what would it be like if you went to a venue, stood in line for tickets and discovered that the 4 people ahead of you in line were actually the band?What if they were lined up like everyone else and paid the price …

STRONG DRINK FOR THE WEAK AND WILLING

How important are you in the plans that God has for the world? Have you noticed the Holy Spirit has a way of lifting us up when we are falling down?This same Spirit will also brings us down a notch if we get too proud or self-sufficient.
God's loving correction causes us to change.We find ourselves hitting the reset button when God speaks.

Matthew 20:20-2720 Then the mother of Zebedee's sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. 21 And He said to her, "What do you wish?" She said to Him, "Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom." 22 But Jesus answered and said, "You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They said to Him, "We are able."

Though it was their mother asking the question, Jesus perceived that the two boys were really the one…