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Showing posts from June, 2010

THE MEMORY OF BROKEN ROADS

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Every time I drive to Hamilton on Highway 403, I am amazed as the route takes me down the mountain.Over the crest and down I travel safely and smoothly.It was not always that way.


Our friend Al Saunders remembers working for an engineering company as they surveyed the land and planned for a smooth route down that mountainside.They made a way for millions to journey through.
When John the Baptist echoed the prophet Isaiah he talked about preparing the road that Messiah would come in on.Every valley needed to be filled in.The bumps and mountains needed to be brought low.A straight road through a rugged wilderness meant the King could arrive.
In the path of our lives, there are many low places--- insecure, dark valleys that God wants to raise.We also have some proud, rocky outcroppings and insurmountable obstacles that must be carved away or tunneled through.
With the mighty machines of the Kingdom, the road is being built.We may tire of the endless detours and delays associated with road co…

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RIELLY

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Pastor Rielly let us all know on Father’s Day that he doesn’t always understand the hype surrounding holidays.  But Friday was another day of remembrance.
Happy birthday Rielly!  This week he turned twenty-nine and we had a conversation in which he seemed to mope, just a little.  I could sense the spirit of Scrooge over him whispering, “Bah!  Humbug!”
At twenty-nine he is realizing that he is not a kid anymore.  With his youth disappearing in the rearview mirror, the road ahead appears long and foggy.  As a brother twenty years further down the road, the trip has been a grand adventure with an ever-changing landscape.  There have been some dark stretches and patches of fog, but overall there is much to see and experience in the uniqueness of who you are becoming.
Let me say that we thank God for the day you were born.  Your birthday matters because God designed you as a gift to the world.  We receive the gift of who you are.  As God’s grace continues to grow in you, there is a deepening …

MERCY OR SACRIFICE?

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Matthew 12:1 At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them.  2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him "Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath."3 He answered, "Haven't you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?  4 He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests.  5 Or haven't you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent?  6 I tell you that one greater than the temple is here.  7 If you had known what these words mean, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent.  8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."


If only the Pharisees knew the verse about God desiring mercy, not sacrifice-- they were too busy listening to themse…

SING A SONG OF SABBATH

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Matthew 12:1 At that time Jesus went through the grain fields on the Sabbath. His disciples were hungry and began to pick some heads of grain and eat them.  2 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to him "Look! Your disciples are doing what is unlawful on the Sabbath."3 He answered, "Haven't you read what David did when he and his companions were hungry?  4 He entered the house of God, and he and his companions ate the consecrated bread—which was not lawful for them to do, but only for the priests.  5 Or haven't you read in the Law that on the Sabbath the priests in the temple desecrate the day and yet are innocent?  6 I tell you that one greater than the temple is here.  7 If you had known what these words mean, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent.  8 For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."
This is a theological discussion according to Jesus concerning the very nature of God and not just an infraction of a…

PENDULUMITIS

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It seems that most holy and good things suffer from ‘Pendulumitis’.It is all to the left or all to the right—obsessed upon or disregarded as meaningless.We are trapped in time and motion like the pendulum of a clock… never stopping… always ticking.
Each present moment is already gone into history.You cannot keep the past firmly in hand.Each present moment aches for the future.We are trapped in a looping cycle of linear progression.
God is at rest from the time trap.He is eternal-- above and outside time while hidden in the midst of each moment.Sabbath is our invitation to behold the Eternal One and rest in His timelessness.
But then there is Pendulumitis.
The Pharisees obsessed on rules to the point of building a hedge of by-laws and policy about every conceivable violation that breaks the Sabbath.God’s Law was not enough for them.They insisted on complicating everything to the point of no longer being meaningful.What God intended for the wholeness of His people, Pharisees turned it into …

1 2 3 4 5 6 rest...

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I’ve got the music in me.No… really!From the age of fourteen, I have played guitar and created music.I’ve played in a variety of band configurations, performed solo and recorded several projects.


On the Birkman Method[i] personality assessment, I scored 99 out of 100 possible points in music as an area of personal interest.
I have more than 13,000 songs on my iPod.
I taught music and corporate worship twice as a distance education instructor for Master’s College & Seminary.[ii]
Even when others could lead the worship at church, I have chosen to do most of the leading because I love to.It is fair to say that I enjoy—no, probably obsessed with music!
I have had many philosophical talks with fellow musicians and writers about what makes a great song and a good arrangement.A reoccurring discussion has to do with when not to play.The silence of a voice or instrument in an arrangement assists greatly in the presentation of a song.It seems that some players are more interested in filling the …

URBAN CRY SCHOOL OF MISSION

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New Song Church has embarked on an ambitious endeavor to train and equip people who feel an impulse to work among the poor through church ministry and social agencies.

We have had a distant admiration for ministries like JPUSA, Tony Campolo, Urban Promise, New York School Of Urban Ministry, Yonge St. Mission, Evangelicals For Social Action, The Foundry in Nashville, and a handful of others.

A question for Canadians interested in moving downtown is where to get an experience that also has an academic component.  Through a partnership with Global University, we are beginning a one year internship program that includes 10 Bible College courses recognized internationally by the Pentecostal Assemblies Of Canada and the Assemblies Of God.

We have a site with lots of details.  Check it out and feel free to write or call me if you want to know more.

Go to:  http://urbancryschoolofmission.blogspot.com

PEARLS UPON THE NECK OF PIRATES AND PROSTITUTES

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There is another side to riches, even the wealth of Heaven.Wealth attracts pirates and thieves.There are people who see the opportunity to better themselves and satisfy their lusts by posing in the Kingdom.They are wolves in sheep’s clothing.There are people whose agenda is devilish.
In Acts 8, there is story about Simon the Sorcerer.He was the ‘Kris Angel – Mindfreak’ of his day.He had a large following of people who were convinced that he had supernatural powers.Simon then heard the gospel and became a baptized follower of Jesus Christ.
One day, he saw Peter and John laying hands on people and they were filled with the Holy Spirit.No doubt, they spoke in tongues and prophesied.Simon approached the apostles and offered them money to give him the power to do what they were doing.
Acts 8:20Peter answered: "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before G…

PEARLS UPON THE NECK OF GOD

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The kingdom is like a merchant who seeks fine pearls.  He is trained in where to look and how to assess value.  Not just any pearls, he wants the finest.  God is like that merchant looking for you.  You are like the merchant looking for God’s best.
Divers sought pearls in the Red Sea, Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean, and some pearls could be worth the equivalent of millions of dollars. [i]
Imagine a church where its people were sold out to seeking the treasures of Heaven.  What if we all were focused on securing the riches of Christ?  The average eye cannot see the value of a church devoted to Kingdom buy-in.  Are you a pearl diver in the ocean of God’s love?
Pearls are mentioned fewer than a dozen times in the Bible, where their status as a prized jewel makes them a touchstone of beauty, value and permanence…  Because of their beauty and value, pearls become a recognized standard of excellence when biblical authors wish to make a comparison.  Thus, ‘The price of wisdom is above pearls’ (J…

SELLING OUT TO BUY IN

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Imagine knowing that a certain treasure would be yours if you bought the whole field.It means liquidating your current assets and putting all your eggs in one basket.It would mean selling out to go after something much greater.It would mean buying a field that you did not particularly have any use for just to acquire the hidden treasure.
When you seek God, you do just that.You wholeheartedly decide that nothing present in your life can be compared in value to what you will possess.When no-one understands why, you will sell all and let go of previous securities.Before you possess what God has for you there is a dispossessing of your inventory.Like an immigrant selling all to find a new life in a better place, you give it all up to get passage and a start in the new country.
The field is God’s people, the church.Have you bought in to the Church?That is not to say that there is a financial transfer involved, but the gist is there.I will not possess Jesus without also possessing His people.…

GOD'S BENEVOLENT DICTATORSHIP

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Matthew 13:44"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.45"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. 46When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
What is the kingdom?Jesus says here it is like a treasure and a treasure seeker.Like many treasures, it is not out in the open.Most people are not aware of its existence.The world cannot naturally see the Kingdom of God.
But there are some who are looking for it.These are the treasure seekers.These are the wild-eyed dreamers who know ‘there’s gold in them there hills!’
Treasures were often buried for safekeeping.The most likely circumstance envisioned here is that of a peasant who, while working in the field of a wealthy landowner, found the treasure but covered it again lest the landowner claim it for himself.The peasant then invested all …

PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET

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If you knew with absolute certainty that you could at minimum triple your money, how much would you put in?How far would you be willing to sacrifice now for a no-risk guaranteed increase tomorrow?Most investors would say don’t invest more than you are willing to risk.
My father-in-law is a chicken farmer.Before retirement, he made a sizable living from his broiler barn.Additionally, he added to his wealth with beef cattle, laying hens, seed-cleaning, cash crops, etc.,.Although I have never collected eggs with him, there is an old farm idiom which says, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”
Most of us city dwellers have not collected eggs or spent any considerable time with chickens.What does this expression mean?
To "put all your eggs in one basket" is to risk losing everything all at one time. Example: "My father is a very careful investor; he never puts all of his eggs in one basket." If you had a certain number of "eggs", it would be safest to put thos…

CHURCH MULTIPLICATION IN WESTERN ONTARIO

This video piece has been put together by the media-tech hounds at our District Office.  It features New Song Church and Lifeline Church.






RECEIVING JESUS

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Have you received Jesus?  What does that question mean to you?  Does it mean that you have confessed your sins and accepted God’s mercy through Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection making Him Lord of your life?

In the theological quest to be reconciled to God, that is receiving Jesus.  It is a most important starting point of identifying yourself as a follower of Jesus.  The creeds are all about this truth.
Jesus had some other ideas about how we receive Him.



Matthew 10:40"He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me. 41Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward. 42And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward."
The gist of receiving Jesus is intimately connected to our…