Joy comes by many different means. There are things we see and things that we member and things we complete that all give us joy. At this time of the year joy comes through memories, sights and sounds. Most children feel joy at seeing snow, either because school might be cancelled or for the fun of playing in it. This time of the year brings joy to people as they see Christmas lights go up. There are sights we see in nature that give you joy to see whether it is sunset or sunrise, flowering fields or harvest fields, flowing rivers or peaceful clouds, flying birds or running animals. These are ways we find joy in our world. It is our seeing God at work around us. Even when those who reject God feel joy from such beauty, they are sensing God in the world around us. It is about God giving us a good world to live in and we can see his good hand at work in it. Such joy is a response to God, I started with the example seeing Christmas lights. While such joy may be based in the love of presents, it is always a good time to remember our joy is based in the coming of Jesus.
Saturday, December 03, 2011
From the Pastor's Desk, December 4, 2011
This week two Toronto girls were arrested for beating up a third woman.  They were arrested when the video of the assault was posted on the internet and someone told the police.  Why might it be posted on the internet?  Because our culture tells us to seek after fame.  Now their fame has turned to infamy and probable jail time.  This stands in stark contrast to the story of advent.  Jesus coming into the world by way of an average family (Luke 1:48).  He would at times flee into the wilderness when the crowds were too large or started political aims (John 6:15).  Jesus rejected celebrity for its own sake, rather he focused on the glory of God.  He will, one day, return.  Then He will bring justice and complete the arrival of the kingdom of God.  On that day he will attract the attention of all people and his entrance will be one that no one will miss.  It will be so majestic that red carpet affairs will pale in comparison.  Jesus will attract the fame, yet the key example for us in his advent is not a craving for the spotlight, but humbly living.  So we too should not seek the spotlight, but live the lives given to us by God.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
In 1 Samuel 16, we read about David being anointed as the future king of Israel. God has said this will be although Saul still sits upon the throne. So the next few chapters will eventually turn into a dance of David becoming a leader and king, while Saul declines. They are interesting stories. Here are some stories that remind us that God is in control. David becomes king at the right time and Saul is deposed at the proper time.
There is something to think about here in our day and age. We are watching the current rash of rebellions sweep through the world. It does not take much research to find that often rebellions come in groups. This last week in Libya, Tripoli fell and Qaddafi is in hiding. He is not fully overthrown yet, he is running from what seems to be inevitable. This is vanity like Saul trying to fight God and stay king. God put Qaddafi in place and Qaddafi has not been a model leader. Now his power is dwindling, it is over. It is best not to fight God, we see that in the life of king Saul.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
There is a place in this world where theology and the natural world can come to a simple, mutual understanding. There is a legal case in Manitoba where a man is charged for not stopping his wife from committing suicide. It is easy to look at this and say the man is immoral. The way the papers report the story the man bears guilt, but he may not bear legal guilt. It is important to realize that the law can only really tell you what not to do. There are some few things that it can try to force you to do, but these are usually tied to penalties for failure. This man who did not try to stop his wife’s suicide may not be found guilty. The law cannot declare him good only “not guilty”, and that can be a huge difference. As Christians we look at the law and realize that it teaches us about God, but it does not make us holy. No matter how hard we try, failing in the smallest aspect is a total failure as it is written, “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” (James 2:10) Suddenly the legal system faces the fact that it cannot declare someone good only “not guilty”. Following the laws in life may be right but in the same way they cannot make us right with God, which is a good analogy to share with others.
Labels: Current Events
Sunday, August 14, 2011
This last week London was turned upside down with riots. The hard part to grasp is why it happened. As we read the reports we here all kinds of conflicting reasons. Bad youth to gangs to simple hoodlums are all reasons offered. Each explanation has some evidence offered but they do not account for competing theories. All these offerings are to support their ideas for how to solve the problems. The difficulty is that the solutions focus on either someone making us better or by getting us to live right and thereby we will act right. Usually making us better amounts to education or some program that provides money. In order to get people to act right people believe that they either need a job or to be part of the community. Most if not all of these answers can be right, but there is a serious faith in these answers to solve all our problems. These same answers create problems for us as well. The reasons this is so is because the world fails to account for sin. Liberals assume all people are good and need to be taught not to be bad. Conservatives believe that most are good and some are bad. As I read the Biblical account I am convinced that all are bad. Sin is an issue for everyone and we all need Jesus. This is the difference and while education, jobs and being part of the community can be a help that supplements the true answer.
Sunday, August 07, 2011
As I finished reading the latest article about another person responsible for the current economic crisis in the western world, I am struck by how the analysis and expectations amount to a promotion of man to become God. There is a real expectation for the poor man, in this case in charge of the Euro-bank, to be aware of everything and all the consequences. There is a belief that runs through the article, and this is by no means limited to this article, that these problems could have been fully avoided. Yet, few are willing to address the lack of responsibility or justice inside the system. These issues are things that God brings punishment to open our eyes to the sin that entangles our lives. These are the reasons God brought punishment on Israel in her history. Basically, these articles are rejecting God’s hand in the midst of this crisis. They reject that there could be any more causation other than some men whom we demand to be omniscient and when they fail the next day we say the answer was obvious. Yes, we have a responsibility and when the world seems to be crashing around us we need to ask if God wants us to see something as well.
Labels: Current Events
Sunday, July 31, 2011
This week John Stott passed away. He was a well known pastor and author. He began his ministry in 1945 and while he retired in 2007 (at age 86) he still continued to have a ministry in the world around him. He was serious about his ministry and it showed. He was not undone by immorality. He also never let himself get caught up in the culture of celebrity that we live in. He lived humbly in spite of the huge following he had and the influence of his books. His life was a good example for the rest of the world. After last week with the Norwegian shooter being labeled a ‘fundamentalist Christian’, a label we can now see is completely false, John Stott’s final impact is refreshing. The news had to deal with Stott from time to time and they never found him easy to ridicule or ignore. The articles relating his death from the major news outlets were largely positive. Here was a man who ran the good race and everyone knew it. Here is a man who, in his passing, strengthened the church, not for its loss, but for testimony of his life now over.