Showing posts from January, 2010


This is a true story that happened to one of the board members at my church.
One day Bill was at home installing ceramic tile on his basement floor and steps.  Brenda called down the stairs to say that their daughter Bree was on the phone and needed to speak to her dad.  Since he was in the middle of tiling, it was inconvenient to stop, clean up and go speak on the phone.  But since it was his daughter and it sounded urgent, he came upstairs and took the phone.
His daughter is a paramedic and told him about a serious situation she had responded to that day.  The call came on the radio dispatching her medical team to a kid’s camp several miles out of the city.  They hurried there with sirens screaming and lights flashing.
Upon entering the campgrounds, they were directed to a group of people next to a sports field.  Two kids were on the ground with obvious injuries and bleeding.
Bree began examining one of the kids and asked him what had happened.
“We were playing a game when we got hurt.”


Mark 5:
35While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. "Your daughter is dead," they said. "Why bother the teacher anymore?"
36Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, "Don't be afraid; just believe."
37He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James. 38When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly. 39He went in and said to them, "Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep." 40But they laughed at him.
      After he put them all out, he took the child's father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was. 41He took her by the hand and said to her, "Talitha koum!" (Which means, "Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). 42Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they…


Everyone has reasons for reaching out to Jesus.Here is a story of two people in need and how delays were part of their narrative.

Jairus - The Desperate Religious Leader
Mark 5:
21When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered around him while he was by the lake.22Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet 23and pleaded earnestly with him, "My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live." 24So Jesus went with him.

Jairus is a father with a sick 12 year old.His daughter was at home dying and this father reached out to Jesus.As a synagogue leader, he was respected in the community.His actions were sure to be noticed by those who looked up to him.

Jesus was notoriously scrutinized by religious leaders and often faced severe opposition.But Jairus was a desperate man with no other answers to the deathbed dilemma of his daughter.He …


When we are delayed, we are tempted to question whether God or life is fair.We have an expectation of some need being met and think a good God should respond like a mother to a baby’s cry.We also believe that doing the right things will lead to predictable outcomes.
In the summer of 1996, we put in an offer on our church building here at 993 Drouillard Road.The church had begun holding services in 1994 in rented spaces and we felt the need for a permanent setting to work out of.The old bar was listed at approximately $150,000 and included enough room and parking to house our needs.For the budget we were working with, we had not found anything close to what this property offered.We had viewed a dozen properties over many months and there were always setbacks to having our offer accepted.

When it came to this property, we had a confidence that we should buy it.On the Sunday morning that we talked with the congregation about it, we were comparing two properties.The other was on the West En…


Luke 13:
6 Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree, planted in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. 7 So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, 'For three years now I've been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven't found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?'
8 " 'Sir,' the man replied, 'leave it alone for one more year, and I'll dig around it and fertilize it. 9 If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.' "

The fig tree is a symbol of the nation of Israel.  Jesus used parable to say that their concept of God was not working.  Instead of producing the outcomes expected, Israel was barren.  The glory of God was not clearly visible in His people.  There was no fruit as evidence of God’s life working in them.

In agrarian societies, plants that will not yield are removed.  Jesus reveals something about God’s heart towards Israel’s barrenness.  G…


What about God’s responsibility?  Is he in the background deciding which disaster to roll out next?  The big question is whether God is arbitrary?  Does He act impulsively or on whims?  Is God moody and subject to uncontrolled outbursts?  If He bears ultimately responsibility for hurricanes and such, does that make God evil?

In the series ‘Transforming Christian Theology For Church and Society’ [i], the question was posed to a diverse group of theologians:  “Is God as arbitrary as life?”

John Thatamanil of Vanderbilt Divinity School answered in this way:

God is concerned with a variety of creatures, all of which are part of God’s creation; some of which would like to eat me.  Viruses are a part of God’s Creation and apparently there are entire galaxies which are exploding and colliding with each other.  There is destruction in Creation on a scale I cannot imagine.  If God is the God of all of that, then surely God is going to look arbitrary to me.  But if God is also understood as the on…


Around the world, worshippers are gathering with Haiti on their minds.  Many have questions about God in the face of such devastating human tragedy.  From a distance, it is easy to form opinions that do nothing to relieve a suffering nation.  It is more helpful to pray, to give toward relief efforts and to consider going to help. [i]
Haiti’s Interior minister Paul Antoine Bien-Aime said, "We have already collected around 50,000 dead bodies.  We anticipate there will be between 100,000 and 200,000 dead in total, although we will never know the exact number." [ii]

The Telegraph Media Group reported:

If that casualty count is confirmed, it would make Tuesday's 7.0 magnitude earthquake one of the ten deadliest on record. The death toll would also rival that of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which claimed roughly 250,000 lives. However, officials with knowledge of both incidents said the Haitian disaster - which hit a country already barely functional - posed an infinitely tough…


Luke 5:
36 He told them this parable: "No one tears a patch from a new garment and sews it on an old one. If he does, he will have torn the new garment, and the patch from the new will not match the old. 37 And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the skins, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. 38 No, new wine must be poured into new wineskins. 39 And no one after drinking old wine wants the new, for he says, 'The old is better.' "

The patching of a torn garment implies that the old robe is ready to be replaced, but it is more economical to patch it and keep using it.

Jesus is calling for an emptying of their closet which will result in a trip to the dump.Get rid of the old rags and pay the price of being covered by something new.

Jesus is like a new piece of cloth. No seamstress worth her salt would take a new piece of cloth and patch it onto an old garment. Such a match produces two problems. The new cloth wil…


After Jesus invited Levi the tax collector to join his team, he was met with raised eyebrows and extra caution.  The Pharisees and teachers of the Law could not understand why Jesus and company surrounded themselves with the unrighteous and sinners.

A quick study of Jesus and his disciples lacked the appropriate behaviour expected of religious leaders. 

Luke 5:
33 They said to him, "John's disciples often fast and pray, and so do the disciples of the Pharisees, but yours go on eating and drinking."
34 Jesus answered, "Can you make the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? 35 But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; in those days they will fast."

“Genuine, religious people fast and pray.  They wear sackcloth and put ashes on their head regularly.  With the terrible problems facing the nation why are you always having a good time?  You should be on your knees!  Your disciples do not behave like those who follow John the Bapti…


This year I am coming up on twenty-five years of working full-time in churches.  I think I might stay with it.  It has failed to bore me.

My Bible College internship consisted of spending three weeks shadowing the staff of a church with several hundred adherents.  Through spending time observing and participating in various activities and ministries of the church, I was expected to gain insight into the inner workings of pastoral life and the leadership required to lead a congregation—in three short weeks.

Fortunately now, internships last three months instead of three weeks.  Today’s student at my alma mater ‘Eastern Pentecostal Bible College’[i] also have the advantage of ongoing mentoring from area pastors. 

My time at the large church was interesting and challenging, nonetheless. 

I especially remember the youth pastor coaching me in his office.  In one of our sessions, he said, “Kevin, I noticed when you led in prayer at the young adults meeting, you weren’t fervent enough.  You ne…


‘Greensleeves’ is an old English folk tune first published in 1652.Throughout history there have been many lyrics attached to this beautiful haunting melody.

In Shakespeare’s time, he mentions the song in ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’.It was played while traitors were hung.It was a song associated with drinking in the pubs.

In 1865 Englishman William Chatterton Dix wrote "The Manger Throne," three verses of which became "What Child Is This?" In the era while Dix was writing hymns and raising a family, Christmas was not the celebration it is today. Neither was it a season where many openly celebrated the birth of Christ. Conservative Christian churches forbade gift-giving, decorating, or even acknowledging the day. These Puritan groups feared that if set aside as a special day, Christmas would become a day of pagan rituals more than a very serious time of worship. In this context, it was unusual for Dix to feel moved to write about Christ's birth, since many hymn w…


So many Christmas hymns speak of the justice and mercy that the King of Kings is initiating in human history.There are also songs which tell stories of inspired humanity acting in Christ-like ways.‘Good King Wenceslas’ is a legendary Christmas song inspired by an actual historical figure in what is now called the Czech Republic.

King Ratislav and Queen Drahomira had their son Wenceslas raised by his paternal grandmother Ludmila.This arrangement allowed them to remain focused on the matters of state. It also provided an environment where Wenceslas learned of Jesus from his grandmother.

When Wenceslas was 13 years old, his father Ratislav was killed in battle.His mother Drahomira became the ruler.She had always been a private, practicing pagan and her ascent to the throne gave her opportunity to promote paganism and persecute Christian priests.

Wenceslas privately continued to practice his Christian faith and gained support from Christian nobles who overthrew Drahomira and placed Wencesla…


In the medieval Roman Catholic Church of the 12th century, a Latin hymn ‘Veni Emmanuel’ was written for the first Sunday of Advent.

Advent, which begins four Sundays before Christmas, is the season of the church year that emphasizes the anticipation of Christ's first coming to earth. His coming as the Messiah was first prophesied in the sixth century B.C. when the Jews were captives in Babylon. For centuries, faithful Hebrews looked for their Messiah with great longing and expectation, echoing the prayer that he would "ransom captive Israel."[i]

In the 19th century Anglicans scholars and preachers translated many of the ancient Greek, Latin and German hymns into English.John Mason Neale translated ‘Veni Emmanuel’ into the Christmas hymn ‘O Come, O Come Emmanuel’.

The verses speak to believers of every age about the anticipation of Messiah’s arrival.The hope is echoed through our Christian experience as we wait for the Second Advent of Jesus.He will come again to rescue all …