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Showing posts from November, 2009

THE EMPTY CHAIR

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Luke 14:
21 "The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, 'Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.'



In a world that rewards the proud and accomplished, God turns his favor to the unnoticed.

To the one who will serve God, there are clear instructions.  Go to the broken and weary.  The disadvantaged and marginalized know love when they see it.  They will more readily respond to God’s offer.  They do not have the excuses of materialism, career-building and what others expect of them.

This is part of our calling.  We are to become gatherers of God’s broken family.  We are to deliberately connect with people that are in great need.  It is not simply sending invitations, but relating to people in ways that invite to come with you.  You know the Master and can verify His desire for them to be with Him.  We need to truly believe that …

EXQUISITE EXCUSES

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Jesus illustrated God’s heart with a story about a special banquet.  It is a picture of God’s Kingdom.


Luke 14:
16 Jesus replied: "A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, 'Come, for everything is now ready.'
18 "But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, 'I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.'
19 "Another said, 'I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I'm on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.'
20 "Still another said, 'I just got married, so I can't come.'

God’s invitation is to come to a favoured place with Him where everything is ready.  He is not inviting them to come wait around.  There is a sense of God being ready to serve upon arrival.
The reasons given for not attending reveal the ways that God can be sidelined in people’s lives. 

The one who bought a fiel…

FOCUS ON THE BROKEN FAMILY

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I was recently invited to a local high school as one of three community members for a discussion about drug abuse among high school students.Twenty-five students showed up as part of their urban school program.

“What was it like to smoke crack?” asked fifteen year old Kayla[i].She was a frequent pot-smoker and had tried ecstasy and several other common drugs.

Josh, an eighteen year old high school student who had recently been through rehab sat forward in his seat.With eyes bulging and teeth grinding he blurted, “It’s like nothing else.I’d take a hit and my brain would race.It was a powerful feeling of being somewhere else... being someone else.It was so strong that I would do anything to get more and use again.I’d rob people, steal old ladies purses, it turned me into a monster.”

“When and how did you start using?” asked Mister Rollins, the urban school program facilitator.

“When I was a kid, my dad used to beat me senselessly.He threw me down the stairs.He was an alcoholic.When I was th…

CRUNCH TIME FOR THE HEALER

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Mark 2:
5 When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven."
6 Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 "Why does this fellow talk like that? He's blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?"
8 Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, "Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, take your mat and walk'? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins . . . ." He said to the paralytic, 11 "I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home." 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, "We have never seen anything like this!"


This was a crowd that came to see a miracle.  They had heard of Jesus’ …

JESUS IS BAD FOR PROPERTY VALUES

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Mark 2:
1 A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. 2 So many gathered that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. 3 Some men came, bringing to him a paralytic, carried by four of them. 4 Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus and, after digging through it, lowered the mat the paralyzed man was lying on.




When you really think about it, this was somebody’s house.  Not just any house, but the one where Jesus was staying.  It was a friend’s house.  Part of the deal with following Jesus was being inconvenienced on occasion.

First, there was the co-opting of the house for neighbors and strangers who filled every room for days.  There may have been some expectation of hospitality.  Someone had to clean up after the party died down.

Then, these four men dismantle the roof and lower their friend into the presence of Jesus.  I would thi…

THE HEROES WHO WALK AMONG US

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Pick a movie-- almost any movie.  The industry thrives on stories of people trying to do the right thing in the face of impossible odds.  Heroes are the individuals who make incredible sacrifice and intervention for the sake of others.  Everything is against them, but they win their war or die trying. 


Most people want to be heroic in some way.  Even outlaws and thugs have a code they live by.  They may not care that they are scorned by the public.  But among their peers, they want respect for being solid.  Even the bad guys look up to the smarter bad guys.


As a kid, do you remember linking arms with your friends and chanting, “We don’t stop for nobody”?  It was the hallmark chant of pre-pubescent solidarity.  Alone, any one of us might have to defer to the strength or dominance of a bigger kid, but together we became a force to be reckoned with. 


When a group of people are drawn together around a common purpose, they often develop a motto, song, and creed or mission statement to keep th…

AFTER THE MIRACLE

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Mark 1:
43 Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 44 "See that you don't tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them." 45 Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.





Jesus wanted the man to show himself to the priest. It was important to have their endorsement of being healthy. That was the appropriate step to be restored into the community.



Jesus did not want his healing ministry to overshadow his message of the Kingdom. He told the man to go to the priest and not talk openly about the healing.



Instead the man went everywhere telling people about his healing. People became more interested in Jesus as miracle worker than as the truth-teller of the Kingdom.



When Jesus makes us pure, there are usua…

CRY OF THE UNCLEAN

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In ancient Judaism, leprosy was not just a disease; it was a mark of spiritual impurity.It was not just Hansen’s Disease, but many variations of skin disease and disfigurement.It could even be ascribed to mildew appearing on the walls of buildings or clothing.
The diagnosis and treatment of leprosy was overwhelmingly a function of religious observation rather than medical practice. While the exiling of lepers may have provided some quarantining effect on disease, writings from the biblical period overwhelmingly demonstrate that the Israelites viewed leprosy as a demonstration of God’s punishment. The sentences imposed on to lepers far exceeded the precautions needed for medical quarantine, and the assumption of a leper’s guilt pervaded the psychology of both the healthy and the diseased. Even people infected with benign forms of leprosy were subjected to the rigid regulations of the priesthood. The identification of leprosy in inanimate objects such as clothing and house walls also…

TO BATHE OR NOT TO BATHE, THAT IS THE QUESTION

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I know some people who have decided they will not bathe regularly. I’m sure they have their reasons, but I’m doubtful of their cause. If not bathing conserves water, that’s good. But when weeks pass and they’re ripe, I think they have thrown the proverbial baby out with the bath water.
To be more accurate with the metaphor, they haven’t put the stinky baby in the bath water. The baby smells bad and they are happy that water has been conserved. Could we at least call for some balance and sponge bathe every day or so?
It’s true that body odour is the best mosquito repellent of all, but none of the stinkers I know live in a malarial swamp.
Isabella of Spain bragged that she had had only two baths in her life--one when she was born, and the other when she married Ferdinand. They gave her a third when she died.
There is a man in India who stopped bathing because he believes it will result in having a male child borne to his wife.
Kailash Kalau Singh told a friend that a “seer” once told hi…

RENAISSANCE ON DROUILLARD ROAD

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"Renaissance," French for "rebirth," perfectly describes the intellectual and economic changes that occurred in Europe from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries.
During the era known by this name, Europe emerged from the economic stagnation of the Middle Ages and experienced a time of financial growth. Also, and perhaps most importantly, the Renaissance was an age in which artistic, social, scientific, and political thought turned in new directions.
For fifteen years New Song Church has been a ministry of spiritual renaissance bringing the light of Jesus to darkened wanderers. We are a group of people committed to be advocates, family and mentors to the urban poor in Windsor, this region and beyond.
Though often mistaken for a street mission, New Song is first and foremost a church. We are a church with the heart of a mission. We have intentionally placed ourselves among the poorest and the least likely to make Jesus known.
We serve meals and distribute …

WORK HARD AND REST EASY

Jesus demonstrated a strong work ethic, both as a carpenter, then in his ministry. The disciples were astounded by the Lord’s stamina to minister all day and pray through the night. People who succeed at Kingdom work are those who understand the work ethics required of servants.
A strong work ethic does not mean becoming a ‘workaholic’. Jesus also demonstrated his ability to rest while others laboured feverishly. He slept in the boat and did not give in to the temptation to help the disciples with the rowing. At times, He walked away from the demanding crowd. Competent leaders work hard and rest easy.