Showing posts from November, 2017

Gifted for the Common Good

"Gifts become dangerous or crippled or both if we are boasters, whiners, and complainers who are trying to use them in a competitive, jealous way. This doesn’t only happen when you feel superior to others; it can also happen when you feel inferior. Maybe you’ve set impossibly high standards for yourself and when you fail to reach them you go around despising and condemning yourself. Ask the Holy Spirit to cleanse you of competitiveness, comparing yourself to others, self-exalting bragging, and self-condemning whining, and you will discover gifts that you never dreamed you had." - Jack Miller on 1 Corinthians 12:7. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.

Is the Gospel Enough?

During a recent leadership team meeting someone asked what to say in response to questions about families that have left our church during this replanting season. "What do we say when someone asks why?" I quickly responded, "Say that the gospel wasn't enough for them." Now my answer was a little tongue in cheek, there are surely myriad reasons for those that had once committed to the church to leave in search for something more ideal. Often it is out of care for family or social networks they can't find anywhere else. But really, the gospel is all our little church has to offer so there does come a point where we hope it is enough! We don't have great preaching, or musical production. We don't have bulging student ministries (we have 2 high school students in the whole church) and while we have great curriculum, our Children's ministry is small just like the rest of our ministries! After some good conversation we decided against my answer, thinki

Prayer as a Legacy

Over the last several weeks I have had the opportunity to talk with a number of people of the biblical reality that our lives are a mist - a temporary and fading vapor. This can be terrible news if we live for our own legacy or achievements and they never come. Or it can be a sigh of relief that there is something more to be had, something greater and permanent. It is toward this joyful approach to the mist that we have spent the last couple of days thinking and praying. My wife's grandmother, affectionately known as "Muthie," passed away last week and yesterday we gathered with family and a wide web of those influenced and ministered to by Muthie to celebrate her life. She asked that the pastor make people sing and that he talk about Jesus so that is what happened. She even requested a change to the lyrics of "Amazing Grace" as she didn't think singing "when we've been there 10,000 years" was imaginative enough so we sang ten million instead!

The Subtlest of All The Snares

"There was nothing more to prove. His occupation was clean gone. Of course if he would have only have admitted that he'd mistaken the means for the end and had a good laugh at himself he could have begun all over again like a little child and entered into joy. But he would not do that. He cared nothing about joy. In the end he went away." "How fantastic!" said I. "Do ye think so?" said the Teacher with a piercing glance. "It is nearer to such as you than ye think. There have been men before now who got so interested in proving the existence of God that they cam to care nothing for God himself... as if the good Lord has nothing to do but exist! There have been some who were so occupied in spreading Christianity that they never gave a thought to Christ. Man! Ye see it in smaller matters. Did ye never know a lover of books that with all his first editions and signed copies has lost the power to read them? Or an organiser of charities that had lost al

The Pain of Progress

This week our youngest had major surgery to reconstruct her hips. I have been saying that she is being given hips that won't lie. That's the hope anyway! As she has been coming out of the anesthesia and working toward pain management and her normal personality, I am struck by the pain in her progress. Of course, she would prefer to never experience pain - and as her father, I wish she would never experience it either! But this pain, on purpose and intentional, is headed somewhere. It is bringing her to healing, functionality, better mobility and flourishing. These few days of major discomfort and the weeks of struggle ahead are all ushering something so much better. I am stuck that our sanctification works much the same way. Our becoming more like Christ, slaying the dragon of self and living for Jesus' purpose and glory. It is not easy and we could often categorize it as pain or suffering. But just like Adia's recovery, this pain is part of the progress. We run after t