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Showing posts from March, 2015

The Real Gospel

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Steve Jones, the President of The Fellowship of churches to which I belong sent this email out this morning. The issue he speaks about has been something that has bothered me for some time. The trend to ignore the death of Christ in favour of the more positive message of the Resurrection has been growing—even in my own church. I am glad that our president has chosen to speak to the importance of Christ's death. Here is the email.
Dear pastors, missionaries, chaplains and friends, Steve here… This next week we celebrate the resurrection of our Saviour. This Sunday, we will begin our Easter worship services with the words, “He is risen!” However, before Jesus rose, He died. An organization in Britain called The Churches Advertising Network unveiled a fairly unconventional Easter ad campaign a few years back. They said it was designed to take the “churchiness” out of the Easter holiday. Among the symbols being dropped in the campaign was the symbol of the cross. It was dropped be…

Just A Little More Time

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Pilate might have thought that somehow he had been able to wiggle his way out of assuming guilt for the death of Jesus, but now matter how carefully he washed his hands on that terrible day, other blood stains could not be removed. You see, Pilate had been responsible for many deaths during his reign as Rome’s representative in Jerusalem. 

He might have excused his actions as simply “doing his duty.” After all, governors held the right of life and death in their hands as part of their mandate to preserve order. Absolution from guilt in those cases could be argued. But maybe not.

In Luke 13:1-9, in the midst of one of His discourses, some Galileans brought Pilate to Jesus’ attention. They reminded Jesus that Pilate had sent his soldiers to kill some citizens of Galilee while they were in the Temple offering their sacrifices. Holy places were supposedly sacrosanct, untouchable. Pilate’s actions labeled him as the worst of the worst. The attack was an unforgivable sign of disrespect towa…

Ask What I Want; Get What God Desires

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Prayer is tricky. No, the actual action of praying is not difficult, but praying correctly is. I don’t mean the form of prayer we use when I say, “correctly” but rather the content of those prayers.

When Jesus gave us His model prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4, He gave us the basic elements that should be included in our prayers. Most of them are very straightforward. But when it comes to the “Give us each day our daily bread” we often run into the problem of “correctness.” We know that this statement is a general one, and can include every need that a human being can have. But it is what to ask for that will guarantee a positive response from God that troubles us.

“How do I know that what I am asking God is according to His will?” is the question that many ask.

I remember the prayers that our missionary team prayed many years ago on behalf of a woman in our small congregation in Caracas. She was one of the first converts to Christ. Betty was diagnosed with cancer and underwen…

Light

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Last evening there was a power outage in my neighbourhood. It was 10:30 before crews were able to restore the electrical current. That meant an evening in the dark. What does one do in the dark? It was too early to go to bed and the days are not long enough to be able work for a while by the light of the sun. So…

I improvised by reading by flashlight. It worked but my hands protested at have to hold the light so that I could read. The amount of light probably didn’t do my eyes any favours either. But, as the saying goes, “a man’s (and a woman’s) gotta do what he’s (she’s) gotta do.”

My Scripture reading for this morning was from John 8:12-30. The section begins with, “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’” I remember this verse, not only because I learned it as a child in Sunday School, and have heard it repeated a good many times since, but because our pastor preached on it just …

Ministry from a Dry Well

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Louloubelle has taken a liking to drinking water out of the bathroom sink. It's a bit of a nuisance when I am trying to wash my face in the morning! But hey, if you're thirsty, you're thirsty, right?

If we are thirsty, we look for something to drink. If we are hungry, we look for something to eat. If we are tired, we look for some place to take a nap. We know what to do when we have a physical need. We are not always so smart when it comes to that deep, gnawing emptiness that comes with spiritual need.

Perhaps, unlike hunger or thirst or weariness, we think, “going without” spiritually won’t hurt us. Or, we think that a weekly intake on Sunday morning is sufficient—if we get there. According to statistics, only 25% of evangelical Christians read their Bibles daily. A whopping 86% of Canadians never read the Bible. The latter number shouldn’t be all that surprising. But that 75% of Christians don’t think it’s important to be reading the Scriptures regularly should be, not o…

Salt, Light and Little Children

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There is a huge debate going on in Ontario these days about the new curriculum to be introduced into the education system. It allows for teaching on sex, consent, and sexual orientation to begin in the earliest grades. The change is promoted, indeed pushed, by an openly lesbian premier and apparently, if the allegations prove true, the curriculum was orchestrated by a minister of education who is currently being investigated for child abuse. One of the arguments against changing the curriculum has come from those who believe that sex education is the responsibility of the parents. Theoretically this sounds good but what happens in the case of children raised in an abusive environment? There aren’t any easy answers to the problem.

It didn’t take this morning’s Scripture reading to remind me of all that is going on in the province I live in, but what I read was certainly a reminder of how seriously the Lord takes causing the weak to sin. We can’t expect Christian behaviour to characteri…

The Universal Eternal Donor

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When was the last time you heard a sermon from the book of Lamentations? Frankly, I don’t ever remember hearing one! I guess we don't care to dwell too long on the negative, but our approach to Easter sparks some interesting negatively positive online conversations. I’ve been reading a series of posts built on the observance of Lent. It’s not something we Baptists celebrate unfortunately. In any case, this morning’s reading was from the book of Lamentations and appropriately had to do with godly grief (http://shereadstruth.com/2015/03/02/godly-grief-2/).

What I read hooked nicely into the Bible passage I read this morning in which Jesus tells His disciples that He is going to die and rise again. Matthew 17:23 tells us: “‘They will kill him, and on the third day he will be raised to life.’ And the disciples were filled with grief.

In the post, the grief described from Lamentations was grief over sin, the kind of grief that leads to repentance and restoration. In Matthew, the grie…