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Showing posts from March, 2010

THE PERSECUTION OF CHRISTIANS TODAY

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Rev. Johan Candelin writes about the issue of persecution against Christians.  For an interesting perspective on this global reality, read this:

http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/15390.htm

THE GOOD NEWS THAT INFURIATES GOD'S ENEMIES

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 Jesus warned his disciples about the sort of difficulties they would face in His Name.In sending them like sheep running through a wolf pack, they would face the sufferings that He endured as the human example of the Father’s Love.


Matthew 10:  (The Message)26-27"Don't be intimidated. Eventually everything is going to be out in the open, and everyone will know how things really are. So don't hesitate to go public now.28"Don't be bluffed into silence by the threats of bullies. There's nothing they can do to your soul, your core being. Save your fear for God, who holds your entire life—body and soul—in his hands.29-31"What's the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head! So don't be intimidated by all this bully talk. You're worth more than a million canaries.32-33"Stand up for …

TWO HUNDRED MILLION BROTHERS AND SISTERS...

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As a boy I remember pondering what to do if someone threatened to kill me unless I deny my faith.  I had read the New Testament accounts of believers being tortured, imprisoned and put to death for holding to their belief in the risen Christ. 
I had enough awareness of history and world events to know that Christians continue to be persecuted.  I wondered if it might happen to me someday.  Childhood fears kept me from openly sharing my beliefs.  Eventually though, I came to realize that it was the duty of all Christians to share the hope that lies within them.  We have the right to tell people the truly good news of God’s Love.
Still, I wonder what the future holds.  There is something in human nature that would nail Jesus to a cross.  That same human nature practices atrocities against Jesus’ followers still today.
I wish it were simply a case of paranoia; perhaps a mistrust that comes of growing up in a closed system - but that would be naïve.  The world is still a dark place where pe…

MY OTHER BLOG - COMMUNITY CHAPLAINS

I have started another blogspot called Community Chaplains .  It will replace the similarly named Community Chaplain over at wordpress.

I like the blogspot features better.

Over the next while, I will reprint articles on chaplaincy and community building.

Pass the link along to anyone you know who works in chaplaincy or faith based community initiatives.

DEBBIE THE WILDFLOWER

On March 5th, I spoke at the funeral of a fifty-year-old woman named Debbie.She had attended my church on occasion with her sponsor.
Debbie had a lifelong challenge with an addiction to a variety of hard drugs and her body finally could handle the abuse no longer.
She was an orphan whose parents had died in 1967.Grandma raised her until she was on her own.Her brother and sister carried on lives that she lost track of.Neither one was there at her funeral since all contact had vanished.
It was a social services funeral with the gray felt coffin and nothing extra.What made it most unusual, was the fact that the service was held right at the graveside.In all my years of funerals, I’ve never been to one outside.Even social service funerals are usually held at funeral homes.
It was a little known cemetery named Fairbairn on Baseline Road near the Windsor airport.It was a beautiful spring day with thirty or so friends gathered around the open grave.
Her former partner Ken had told me about this p…

LOVE IS ENOUGH

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 As long as you focus on self or the magnitude of the mission, you will be tempted to back away from the calling in your life.It’s important not to dramatize or catastrophize, but to think clearly and realistically about the opportunities at hand.What can you do today?Who can you reach out to?Who has God nudged you to bring hope to?
Matthew 10:40-42"We are intimately linked in this harvest work. Anyone who accepts what you do accepts me, the One who sent you. Anyone who accepts what I do accepts my Father, who sent me. Accepting a messenger of God is as good as being God's messenger. Accepting someone's help is as good as giving someone help. This is a large work I've called you into, but don't be overwhelmed by it. It's best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won't lose out on a thing."
Who called you?Whose team are you on? Keep Jesus…

THERE'S A REASON WHY YOU GET DANGER PAY

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In jobs that involve working in extreme environments with life-threatening risks, employers often offer incentives in the form of ‘danger pay’.
God’s eternal rewards far outweigh earthly rewards.And the Kingdom funds its employees with danger pay.The work of God is often extreme and working with people is fraught with many risks.
Jesus warned us about being naïve do-gooders.
Matthew 10:16"Stay alert. This is hazardous work I'm assigning you. You're going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don't call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove.17-20"Don't be naive. Some people will impugn your motives; others will smear your reputation—just because you believe in me. Don't be upset when they haul you before the civil authorities. Without knowing it, they've done you—and me—a favor, given you a platform for preaching the kingdom news! And don't worry about what you'll say or how you'll say it. The righ…

DEALING WITH SLAMMED DOORS

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If you’ve ever been trained for door-to-door sales, you will learn that your goal is to quickly assume that the homeowner has compelling reasons to want your product.
When we approach people with the claims of Jesus, we are not selling a product and rushing to the next door to earn a bonus for being a top-seller.  We are entering the lives of people to introduce the God who wants to call them into a new way of being.  This is not door-to-door sales, but person-to-person introductions to the gift of salvation.  We are not selling, but giving.
 Matthew 10:12-15 "When you knock on a door, be courteous in your greeting.  If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation. If they don't welcome you, quietly withdraw. Don't make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way. You can be sure that on Judgment Day they'll be mighty sorry—but it's no concern of yours now.
Many people struggle with the need to be validated and completely accepted in each new environment.  I…

CAN'T LOVE GOD AND MONEY

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Money has a way of revealing character. The love of it has an insidious effect on its lovers.  Judas was perturbed at the woman's costly gift of perfumed oil being poured on Jesus.

Matthew 26:14 Then one of the Twelve-the one called Judas Iscariot-went to the chief priests 15 and asked, "What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?" So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. 16 From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over. NIV

Is the message of ‘good news to the poor’ too much for some to bear? It was certainly more than Judas Iscariot could tolerate.
The actions of this poor woman and the response of Jesus to her caused Judas to let the Devil take over.Judas saw the truth about Jesus and decided to cash in with the religious crowd.They would pay him to rid the world of this dangerous man.
Jesus was dangerous because he let a sinful woman bring worship.
Jesus was dangerous because he promised a lifetime of poor friends.
Jesus was dangerous…

POOR FRIENDS CAN BE QUITE COSTLY

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A woman pours costly perfume on Jesus' head at her own expense.  Maybe we should figure out how to be more like this woman and waste our life on lavish giving.  One way we can do that is to ‘waste our life on the poor’. 

Matthew 26:10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."

The disciples were insensitive to the beautiful gift that the woman offered.  They were insensitive to the exchange between God and a woman.
Wherever the gospel is preached, this woman is memorialized.  What about the poor among us that offer worship in a way that is hard for you to understand?  Do these people get the respect that Jesus gave this …

QUESTIONING HOW OTHERS SPEND

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There will always be poor people in the land.Christians are to have this awareness and be good to them.Jesus would quote this very phrase from Deuteronomy when faced with the presence of discrimination towards a woman.

Matthew 26:6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. 8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. "Why this waste?" they asked. 9 "This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor."

Simon the Leper had been healed of leprosy by Jesus. He bore the name as a historical fact, not as his present reality. Reputations are like that.People sometimes remember what you were and not what you’ve become. One who should have understood the power of social stigma was now facing discrimination of another in his home.
Her act was understood by Jesus to be worship …