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I Have to Work New Year's Eve

Broken promises, they sit and fester in your gully like cheap Chinese take-out with a “C” restaurant rating.  It doesn’t matter if you stand up, lay down, go for a walk, your churning stomach stands as a reminder of the broken promises.

I have to work tonight, New Year’s Eve, because “people changed their mind”.  Not that I had big plans, it was more the thought of working on New Year’s Eve.  A night when most of the civilized world takes a break from their job to celebrate the year past and embraces the hopes for the year to come. 

Working tonight has been a bit of a sore spot because of a broken promise.  I was reminded of a few great verses in a sermon,  “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside ever weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the sh…

Incredible Faith, Incredible Doubt

(Part of the Faith to Move Mountain series, examples.  Taken from Luke 1:5-25)

There was a priest named Zechariah...he had a wife named Elizabeth.  "They were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord." Luke 1:6

Zechariah and Elizabeth walked blamelessly before God.  And then the Scripture says, "But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren." (1:7)  They served God faithfully but the one thing a Jewish man wanted was a son.  The one thing a Jewish woman needed to remove the reproach of her people was a son.  Zechariah and Elizabeth were "advanced in years", in other words, they were way past the age at which women give birth.

Zechariah, while performing his duties, is visited by an angel that tells him he and Elizabeth will have a son.  The crux of the whole story and the "faith learning moment" is this, Zechariah had not ceased to pray for a son for him and Elizabeth, though it was ph…

Faith to Move Mountains (part 2 - Examples: Noah)

Have you moved your mountain yet?  You are not alone if you said "no".  God was gracious to us to give us examples of imperfect people, who rose above the lure of the culture, to please God.  They (as we do now) lived in rebellious times when every intention of the thoughts of mankind’s heart was continually evil.  Righteous men and women found a way to live by faith. 

Consider these truths:

By faith, Noah... Heb 11:7

Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord Gen 6:8

Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his generation Gen 6:9

Noah walked with God Ge 6:9
Noah worshiped the Lord Ge 8:20

Noah was obedient Ge 6:22
Noah was reverent Ge 8:20; Heb 11:7

Noah was an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith Heb 11:7

Noah was a herald of righteousness 2 Peter 2:5

Noah, like Enoch, walked with God.  They walked by faith and they lived their lives to please God.  Noah found a way to live a righteous life in the midst of a generation who’s only thought was evil.  Are you seeing a …

Faith to Move Mountains (part 2 - Examples:Enoch)

Have you noticed the “great ones” were all about pleasing God?  Noah walked with God.  David had a heart for God.  Moses was already pleasing to God and his desire was to know God more so that he could please God more.  Abraham blindly obeyed God which gave him a unique relationship with the Creator, one that pleased God. 

“Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.” Gen. 5:24

Enoch is a man that we don’t know much about, but what we do know exudes a walk and relationship with God that was greatly pleasing to God.  So pleasing in fact that God took him home early.  Why?  Did God need the company?  Was he sparing him from some evil turn later in life?  God took him off this earth and into the presence of God to experience the greatest joy that any child of God will experience, an eternity with God.

How can I live like Enoch?  What lifestyle should I imitate to be found pleasing to God? 

    “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not fo…

Faith to Move Mountains (part 1 - definition)

What is faith?  It's an easy exercise to find the clinical definition of faith.  Though the textbook definition probably won't change your "faith", it seems to be the necessary starting point.  So here's a few textbook definitions to consider:  

Definition of Faith In the OT and NT, “faith” carries several meanings. It may mean simple trust in God or in the Word of God, and at other times faith almost becomes equivalent to active obedience. It may also find expression in the affirmation of a creedal statement. Thus, it also comes to mean the entire body of received Christian teaching or truth—“the truth.” In Colossians 2:7, the term suggests something to be accepted as a whole and embodied in personal life. In 2 Timothy 4:7, Paul witnesses to having “kept the faith.”[Emphasis added]
Elwell, W. A., & Comfort, P. W. (2001). Tyndale Bible dictionary. Tyndale reference library (470–471). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Faith, in the Bible trust in, or reli…

A Muffler that Makes Sounds

It's amazing the simple pleasures of life.  What brings you joy?  A great cup of java, reuniting with old friends, unexpected savings on a purchase.  Oddly enough, my joy came at the low low price of $10 and a landfill.  Let me explain, we recently moved into a new house and they left behind a washer that didn't wash and a dryer that didn't dry and a dishwasher...well you get the idea.  Locally, I was able to take the appliances to the landfill for the rock bottom price of $10.  After living in Toronto for 6 years, the land of recycle and pro-active environment protection, I have to confess that taking a truck load of junk to the landfill felt a bit weird.  But clearing out my garage and starting fresh actually felt great.  I drove away exhilarated...the simple pleasures of life.

I found that I had a few extra minutes before work so I jetted over to the Post Office.  Just as I was pulling in, I began to hear this awful noise.  I quickly realized it was emanating from my …

Will anyone miss you when you are gone?

"And he [Jehoram, King of Judah] departed [died] with no one's regret." 2 Chron. 21:22b

The other day I was driving by a cemetary where a service was in progress.  It caught my eye because of the sheer magnitude of the event.   Cars lined the streets of the cemetary, the parking lot was overflowing and standing around a casket were a thousand people, mourning a life lost. Evidently, this person will be greatly missed and exerted a level of positive impact upon their community.

I can't imagine anything worse than wasting my life so that no one cared when I died.  Not because I didn't have a large funeral, but that my life counted as nothing towards eternity.  What a very sad commentary of a life lived (or not lived).  No one was sad that Jehoram died, no one bothered to even bury him in the tomb of the kings. 

Have you seen the website www.deathclock.com?  You can put in your date of birth, various lifestyle factors and you will see the estimated time of your de…

Faith to Move Mountains (intro)

When's the last time you watched someone wither a tree before your eyes?  How about sheer the top of a mountain off and send it hurling into the sea?  Never?  Me neither.  Yet the Christian life demands that we walk by faith.

My goal is simple.  Over the next weeks or months I am beginning an in-depth study on faith to deepen my "faith".  Why?  I want to move mountains.  Because when you have it, you please God.  The men and women that do the greatest things for God are the ones that have the greatest faith in God.  Finally, I don't want to waste my life.

I plan to post excerpts from my study here and it is my hope and prayer that you will take this journey with me.  I will be answering three major questions:
1) What is it?
2) Who had it? (Biblical Examples)
3) How do I get it and what do I do with it? (Practical Life Applications)


Oh, be careful what you ask for.  If you are serious about studying faith, your faith will probably be tested.  I just began this study…

Universal Power

“You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.”  This verse struck me in a new way today.  Not because of the sheer magnitude of it’s importance, but because of the context in which it was spoken.  I am referring to Matthew 4:10 and it was Jesus that quotes this Scripture to Satan, after Satan wants Jesus to worship him. 

Think about this.  God (John 1:1), in human flesh (John 1:14), who inspired the Scriptures for man (2 Tim 3:16-17) is now quoting them back to a being that is not human and lives in a different realm.  This shows the universal impact of the inspired Word of God.  Jesus doesn’t quote from some heavenly doxology or some unwritten ideology, he uses a commandment spoken to men for his defense.  The truth spoken in the pages of our Bible hold the same power in heaven as they do on earth. 

I just found that amazing.  That Jesus could have used anything for his defense and yet he goes to the written and inspired Word.  The power of the Word of God goes f…

OMG

There it is, in black and white, OMG is among the top Twitter abbreviations.  O my God!  A term commonly used by teenagers and young adults as an expression of surprise or amazement, especially in instant messaging or other social media.  This little expression has been so misused and overused that today as I read Psalm 25, I was stopped in my tracks at verse 2.

"O my God, in you I trust;
let my not be put to shame;
let not my enemies exult over me."

I could barely get past the phrase "O my God" without hearing it in a teenage girl's voice.  A phrase once used by the humble and contrite to express the deep longings of their heart, is now redefined by a generation that has forsaken God.  I would love to call it ironic but it's what a nation does that turns their back on God.  We take the familiar items of worship and veneration and we alter our perception and dispell the original meaning. 

Psalm 25 was the second passage of Scripture I read on the night I…

The Key to Continued Success

The Key to Continued Success

As Joshua led Israel from victory to victory through the promised land, the time came to send them away to their new homes.  God had been their victor.  God had conquered the land.  The people had served the Lord all the days of Joshua (Joshua 24:31a) and God had blessed them.  Unlike the skilled politician who talks a lot but says nothing or the legal quagmire of endless documents required to buy a home, Joshua’s final speech is short, simple and ever so powerful.  He lays out the key to continued success in a few short words:

    “Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments and to cling to him and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”  Joshua 22:5

So Joshua blessed them and sent them away to their homes.

You have been successful and you can continue to be successful if you follow these …

My Wife has a Job

Have you ever seen the show “Fear Factor”?  I seen a few episodes, enough to get the general gist.  For the chance to win a large sum of money, you are put in difficult situations and given a task.  If you complete the task ahead of your competitor, you win.  What makes the situation more difficult is the fact that the show preys on your fears.  They capitalize on your fears by showing you the dangers that you must face before you ever start the task. 

How often have I heard a Christian say, “If you knew what God had in store for you, you never would have done it.”  As I reflect on the last 12 years, I know that this statement is true.  My journey, not yet complete, has been shrouded in mystery.  Last summer I had no earthly idea that I would be were I am today.  And, it would come as no surprise if next summer I look back on this summer and say the same.  God reveals just what we need, when we need it, so that we have the opportunity to walk by faith, pleasing Him. 

Roughly a month …

What does the Lord require of you?

Mankind, He has told you what is good
    and what it is the LORD requires of you:
    to act justly,
    to love faithfulness,
    and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8 (HCSV)


      He has told you, O man, what is good;
      and what does the LORD require of you
      but to do justice, and to love kindness,
      and to walk humbly with your God?

Micah 6:8 (ESV)

Rekindling your Relationship

This morning I was reading about some of the most influential men in Scripture.  Abraham, Moses, David, Abel and Enoch.  They are influential to every Christian that ever has been and ever will be.  I think you could sum up their reason for eternal impact in a word, “relationship”, specifically relationship with their God. The Scriptures reveal the importance of their personal relationship to the Almighty God which at times resembles best friends.   

Quick, in a word or two, what character trait is associated with Abraham?  Faith.  How about David?  Heart for God.  This one might be a bit harder, Moses? You might say humble, you might say spoke to God face to face, like two friends or you might just say relationship.  All these biblical heros are canonized by their hallmark accomplishments and their walk with their Creator.  It is the relationship they had with God that makes them stand apart...even to this day.  They stand head and shoulders above the rest. 

Therefore, shouldn’t we …

Eating Myself to Death

The way we think, the way we respond, our actions to any given situation is defined by our life view.  I have been watching the new series Duck Dynasty and I have to say I love it.  Redneck millionaires that, for the most part, have not allowed their riches to change “who” they are.  Yes, they live in mansions, they drive expensive cars and they fly to business meetings in helicopters, but they still eat off the land, have strong moral values and recognize the importance of family and God. 

For us city dwellers, I would venture to surmise that the majority of us are more susceptible to our environment.  We grow restless and discontent with our two year old car, we want a bigger and better house (though we can’t afford it), we see what our neighbors have and we desire to have the same...or better.  Hollywood produces our heros and they change spouses more often than we change cars.  We venerate their unrealistic lifestyle with reality TV (see the irony?) and it comes as no surprise th…

While Walking on Water I began to Sink

The storm raged.  A fury of wind and water caught the small boat and crew by surprise.  These seasoned and hardened men, accustomed to the sudden storms like this, knew they needed to get to land.  They feverisly worked against the wind and waves as the storm wore them down physically and mentally.  In the midst of the howling winds, as they wipe water from their brow, they see an apparition in the middle of the sea.  “It is a ghost!” Jesus immediately speaks to them offering words of comfort and assurance.  After all, it was Jesus who put them in this boat to cross to the other side.  No doubt some of these weary disciples were questioning why this miracle worker would send them on a boat alone, only to be tossed to and fro by this sudden and violent storm. 

In the midst of this raging storm, impetuous Peter wants proof of Jesus identity.  With one word, Jesus gives permission to Peter’s request and transmutes the physical laws of science.  “Come” and suddenly Peter is walking on wa…

My Wife Lost her Job

If there was ever a tumultous roller coaster ride of ministry I would say our family has an express pass.  The last 18 months have been some of the hardest months of our lives, the most silent from God and the most disappointing from professing believers. 

My wife’s job seemed to be too good to be true.  Now I know you're smiling as you read because of the expression, "if it seems to good to be true...".  I love the last dialogue of the movie Willy Wonka (with Gene Wilder of course).  He says to Charlie in the elevator, “Do you know what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he ever wanted?  He lived happily ever after.”  Lori and I felt that after a long tough road of ministry, it was our turn for a little “Jabez” styled blessing.  So when Lori landed this job when she was still in another country, before she even moved, we counted our blessings. 

Two months later, she is ambushed with “we are broke and can’t afford to keep you”.  No apologies, a few excuses…

My Wife has Cancer

We were shocked to hear the phone ring at 7:35 am.  Lori got up to answer the phone and read the caller i.d., it was her doctor’s office.  She answer the phone and her face grew stern, vexed, serious.  As she listens intently, she holds up her hand forming a letter, “C”...Lori has cancer.

The issue of God’s sovereignty is something that has been near and dear to my heart for the last 6 years.  Prior to sovereignty my multi-year studies focused on God’s will.  The two are inexorably linked.  Therefore, when Lori told me she had cancer, in my heart, I acknowledged that Jesus is in control and this is for His glory.  It has been no accident that my quiet times have been in Genesis and I have been listening to John Piper’s eight-year study on Romans. 

Abraham is justified by faith, faith alone and it is credited to him as righteousness.  The wonder of that statement should take your breath away.  Joseph, when speaking to his brothers says, “it was not you who sent me here but God” (Gen. …

Making Your Way Prosperous

My wife worked with master motivator Zig Ziglar for years so I had many opportunities to spend a little one on one time with him.  I can tell you that he was a genuine off the stage as he was on the stage.  His book “See You at the Top” was built on the premise that if you help others to succeed and achieve their goals, you will also succeed. 

Ok, I can’t resist, here’s a quick list from Zig’s book.
1) Success starts with self-image because you are the only one who can make that possible. Before you convince anyone else, you have to convince yourself.

2) Successful people are ‘Good Finders’; they look for the good in other people. “You can have anything in your life, if you help others get what they want.”

3) No goals = no game. Activity is not accomplishment. Don’t be a wandering generality. Goals should be big, long range, daily and specific.

4) Unlimited possibilities. Records were meant to be broken. Until Roger Bannister ran the four-minute mile, most thought it was physically i…

One of the Greatest Chapters ever Written

Genesis 24

This chapter tears at my soul as one of the greatest chapters in the Bible.  Abraham, like Job, has been fully and completely blessed by God.  The abundant life that Abraham enjoys he owes to God.  Abraham’s long-time wife has passed away, his only son Isaac remains and before Abraham leaves this earth, he wants to make sure his son has the right spouse to live out his life, as he did. 

But these verses are so much more than finding a wife for Isaac, they are resounding assurance of Abraham’s faith in the promises of God.  He has seen God work over and over and over and continues to rely on God’s providence in every aspect of his life.  Abraham, even advanced in years, is not willing to compromise his confidence in his God.  Abraham has wealth and abundant resources at his disposal, yet he still relies on God.  This lesson should not be missed as dwellers in North America, the prosperity of God often sways us to rely on the blessings, instead of the one who provides the bl…