Thursday, 31 December 2009

Happy New Year!

Philippians 3:2-3
Steer clear of the barking dogs, those religious busybodies, all bark and no bite. All they're interested in is appearances—knife-happy circumcisers, I call them.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009


What I termed 'stranded' yesterday as a theme can also be referred to as 'exile'. This is how Dallas Willard puts it:

We have to follow a servant God, and make his kingdom, his way, our way. It means we give up our self-centered kingdom for God’s kingdom. Often we need to experience exile before we can give up our personal kingdoms for God’s kingdom. Exile is a formative experience because it is in exile that we allow our kingdoms to be torn down. When we acquaint ourselves with God’s kingdom, we find that the way of this kingdom is servanthood. To serve is to perform an act of love, but most people fail to serve because they have a sense of scarcity in their own lives. We can serve only out of abundance.

We learn in exile that God is enough, that his kingdom is sufficient and will never pass away. When we live as servants, we are servants with our whole lives; servanthood is not just a set of generous actions. When we die to our own kingdoms and to ourselves, fruit comes from strength that comes from life that comes from an inner source of vitality that comes from being a servant in God’s kingdom.

Jeremiah 29:7
Seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Stay open to experiencing God as a loving companion...

Last night my van broke down on a busy freeway. It looked like my son would not only miss his hockey game but that we would also be hard pressed to get out of our predicament without a significant cost of time, money & a dose of hypothermia!!

Amazingly my sister-in-law drove by, recognized the van & was able to turn around & get my son to his game. Then a tow truck was fast-tracked & within 30 minutes I was on my way because the it wasn't a breakdown- I had run out of gas!

I later dreamt of having flown to a remote area of Africa yet had forgot my passport & realized that return to Canada was going to be very challenging indeed. I had also picked up some strange skin condition that was causing me much difficulty.

The theme of being stranded was very strong yet I realized the situation was not hopeless but that I had someone traveling with me who had said they would never leave or forsake me. I was stuck up the river without a paddle so to speak, yet it was strangely peaceful. One of God's wonderful reminders of life with Him.

Are you committed to living more of the moments of your life with God this next year?!

Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Which direction to go...

The New Year's resolution's are getting cranked up right now. Choosing a resolution is like choosing a road to travel on.

Most resolutions are abandoned after just a few days - the going gets too tough. Perhaps you'll stay on track with questions like this:

What are the opportunities for learning & growth today? What are the opportunities for serving others today?

When, where & how will I start my journey? Who will I involve for support, encouragement & acountability?

When I hit a bump, how will I go about adjusting to my new course? What do I have to do to maintain the growth?

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Love what you do...

...and do what you love.

I almost think that Paul could have written that to the Philippian church. We often think we need to quit our job or move to another city to find something or someone we like. But most of the time it's right there before our eyes if we'll just learn our lesson & trust God...

Philippians 4:11-13
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

1 Peter 5:5b-7
All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because,

"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me show love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
St. Francis

Friday, 25 December 2009

Meery Christmas!!

From my clan to yours!!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

The Gap between Herod & Jesus...

Matthew 2:1-12
Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”

King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”

“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:

‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”

After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.

Wherever you find yourself spiritually right now, take some time to make a detour to see the Lord Jesus. The God of the Universe often shows up in very unexpected places & he most definitely is the key to wisdom...

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

aching for some bacon

You can get a large audience together for a strip-tease act, that is, to watch a girl undress on the stage. Now suppose you came to a country where you could fill a theatre by simply bringing a covered plate on to the stage and then slowly lifting the cover so as to let every one see, just before the lights went out, that it contained a mutton chop or a bit of bacon, would you not think that in that country something had gone wrong with the appetite for food? And would not anyone who had grown up in a different world think there was some equally queer about the state of the sex instinct among us? C.S. Lewis

Tuesday, 22 December 2009


Can I trust you?
Do you really care about me?
Do you really want to help me?
Can you actually help me?
Will you please help me?

So many people are asking these questions around Christmas time. The weight of relational struggles, past hurts & betrayals as well as the pace of life has left many a soul crushed & without hope.

Will you slow down enough to see these questions in the eyes of those you meet?

2 Corinthians 1:3-5
All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Jesus Plus Nothing Equals Everything

What do you have to trust God with?

Philippians 3:8-11
Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I've dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn't want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God's righteousness.

I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

On Apology...

I've been familiarizing myself with Dr. Aaron Lazare & his work on apologies this past week. Dr. Lazare is very insightful on the subject & raises many excellent points in his book, "On Apology."

I was also interested in what Bobby Knight had to say about Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari at Knight's induction into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame this past week.

"We've gotten into this situation where integrity is really lacking and that's why I'm glad I'm not coaching. You see we've got a coach at Kentucky who put two schools on probation and he's still coaching. I really don't understand that." Bobby Knight (referring to Calipari)

What I find most amusing is whether a person could have integrity without apologizing for the various transgressions they've committed. Just ask Tiger Woods that.

Here we have Knight critiquing Calipari's integrity (& believe me Calipari deserves it as you'll get a glimpse of that in a minute) despite the fact that he was not known for setting his mistakes right.

In the article Knight alludes to staying around at Indiana too long, that he was perhaps 'too strong-willed' to last there for life, but where does it say that being strong-willed is more foundational to integrity than apologizing when necessary?! Indeed being so strong-willed as to be unable to admit mistakes likely is the definition of pride!

Back to Calipari- while he was coaching the New Jersey Nets he criticized a local reporter named Dan Garcia, calling him a 'bleeping Mexican idiot.'

Calipari 'apologized' later saying,

"I would like to apologize to Dan Garcia for my ill-advised attempt at humor and insensitivity for the remark. In retrospect, I can understand how the remark could have been misinterpreted. I have apologized to him personally and in writing. In no way was my intent to be derogatory in a racial context, and I am sorry for any pain my remarks have caused."

'Ill advised attempt at humor'?! He swore at Garcia & insulted his ethnicity! 'Misinterpreted' remarks?! 'Not intended to be derogatory'?! Hello John. (I won't address the other issues that Bobby Knight brought up that caused two schools being put on probation while Calipari was at the helm. I don't think he's apologized for them either.)

All of this critique is easy to point to for some public figure (again see Tiger Woods example). Their dirty laundry sits out in the open waiting for us to go through it again & again over coffee with others or while we ponder life at the water cooler.

The harder task is when you & I dig deep into our own world & address our own apologies.

Are they non-existent because we're too strong-willed?

Are you overdue in making something right in your own relational world?

A true apology is among the most graceful and profound of all human exchanges. When it is sincere, it is not an end but a new beginning. Aaron Lazare

Here's to many new beginnings...

Saturday, 19 December 2009

when God gives a gift He wraps it in a person.

Who are you especially thankful for?

Have you told them lately?!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Grace is a safe place.

Accept the invitation to stand in the presence of God.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

It's not only what you read but HOW you read it.

The words printed on the pages of my Bible give witness to the living and active revelation of the God of creation and salvation, the God of love who became the Word made flesh in Jesus, and I had better not forget it.

If in my Bible reading I lose touch with this livingness, if I fail to listen to this living Jesus, submit to this sovereignty, and respond to this love, I become arrogant in my knowing and impersonal in my behavior. An enormous amount of damage is done in the name of Christian living by bad Bible reading. Caveat lector, let the reader beware. Eugene Peterson

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

listen up...

To listen is very hard, because it asks of us so much interior stability that we no longer need to prove ourselves by speeches, arguments, statements, or declarations. True listeners no longer have an inner need to make their presence known. They are free to receive, to welcome, to accept. Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond.

Listening is paying full attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings. The beauty of listening is that, those who are listened to start feeling accepted, start taking their words more seriously and discovering their own true selves. Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends, to get to know their inner selves more fully, and even to dare to be silent with you. Henri Nouwen

Tuesday, 15 December 2009


Ephesians 1:16-19
That's why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn't stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I'd think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Do you have a Christmas tradition that needs to be unlearned?

Happiness in the family is most likely to be found when we begin living the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Luke 2:10-11
I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; for to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is. Christ the Lord.

John 10:10
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

Matthew 25:34-36
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Crazy Love?!

Jesus was crazy. He came into the world
with the nutty idea that human beings could love one another...

Peace on earth, indeed! Maybe Jesus should have stayed home. He was wrong. We cannot love one another.
The best we can do is keep the levels of hatred
low enough so we don’t exterminate one another
before we all die ...

It was a great idea, of course. Too bad it didn’t work.

What if he wasn’t crazy?
What if he was right?
What if it is possible to love one another?
What if the lion can lie down with the lamb?
What if Arab and Jew, Protestant and Catholic,
black and white, young and old, male and female,
can love one another without fear, without hatred,
without death and destruction?

What if the crib scene is what the world is really
all about and everything else is phony?
What would it be like if Jesus knew the way
things really were?
What if life does triumph over death,
light over darkness,
good over evil,
love over hate,
comedy over tragedy...?

What if... Andrew Greeley

Change everything. Love & forgive.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

I'm definitely certifiable then...

Bill Maher pretty much thinks that follwers of Jesus are nuts. His movie Religiosity highlights that fact rather painfully at times. Says Maher, "I think religion is a neurological disorder."

If that's the case then I'm ready to be institutionalized. My world has been so altered through my encounter with Jesus Christ & the subsequent years of learning to follow His ways that I could never go back. Nor would I even want to.

Far from thinking that God was a mean tyrant or that he wanted to ditch me (sorry Rev. Jim) I've discovered a God who so identifies with who I am & the road I've traveled that I want to help others discover that truth & guidance too.

Is God calling you to His divine purpose for your life this Christmas?

He who has this disease called Jesus will never be cured. Russian Proverb

The greatest answer to prayer is that I am brought into a perfect understanding with God, and that alters my view of actual things. Oswald Chambers

Friday, 11 December 2009

You have the right not to remain silent.

The coming of Jesus has changed everything. Those who have realized that fact of life have the opportunity to share it with others. Take the opportunities provided every day to show God's love in the flesh.

Matthew 5:14-16
"Here's another way to put it: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don't think I'm going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I'm putting you on a light stand. Now that I've put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you'll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

What Have I Done?!

The name Tiger used to bring with it a sense of power, mystique, & greatness (fill in the superlative). Now it hastens us to think of failure, hypocrisy & humiliation (insert your own name here unless you're perfect - John 8:7).

What is Tiger to do? What can you & I do about our own 'transgressions'?

Ole Hallesby has said, "Helplessness becomes prayer the moment that you go to Jesus and speak candidly and confidently with him about your needs. This is to believe."

Until we hit rock bottom & get tired of trying to 'spin' our way out of our troubles we won't find forgiveness & inner peace. A Puritan named Thomas Watson wrote, "repentance is the vomiting of the soul".

Get the 'moral dry heaves' where you repent until there is no more. Begin the road back by letting the Father find you in your own mess. Don't worry about the mess of others.