Saturday, June 23, 2007
Friday, June 22, 2007
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?"
Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.
"Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
"The servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.' The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
"But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.
"His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay you back.'
"But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed and went and told their master everything that had happened.
"Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart."
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Rise Up Mighty Warrior
Indigenous Worship- worshipping the Creator with a new sound!
June 20-23, Edmonton
The Creation Story, Sunday, June 24, 1030 AM, Community of Hope Church.
Invite a friend- it'll be awesome!
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Talk to the hand...
"The One that God sent speaks God's words. And don't think he rations out the Spirit in bits and pieces. The Father loves the Son extravagantly. He turned everything over to him so he could give it away—a lavish distribution of gifts. That is why whoever accepts and trusts the Son gets in on everything, life complete and forever! And that is also why the person who avoids and distrusts the Son is in the dark and doesn't see life. All he experiences of God is darkness, and an angry darkness at that."
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
The Descendants, Friday Night at the Jubilee Auditorium...
June 22, 2007 - 8:00 pm
Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
A group of local musicians The Descendants and The Connection are participating in a benefit concert to raise $50,000.00 to support two charities: E4C – Edmonton inner city Hot Lunch Programs and Cause Kids – Sierra Leone Education Programs. The event will be held on Friday June 22, at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium at 8:00 PM.
“Education is vital to breaking the cycle of poverty. When children are hungry, trying to learn becomes even more difficult." Lennore Huddleston
Not only is this concert benefiting kids and their families, it is also being supported by kids and their families. The Descendants are aged 10 to 13 and have been performing for the past three years. The Connection is a band formed by local recording artists. Many of the members are family members of The Descendants.
The two bands have collaborated on a CD recording of original songs for this benefit that will be released in May. All proceeds will be shared between the charities. Tickets available at Ticketmaster or at the door.
We're so excited that Paul, Debbie & Luke Seburn are using their gifts and passions for this exciting venture!
Monday, June 18, 2007
Spiritual Mothering and Fathering
Happy Father’s Day. This is a celebration for many, a bittersweet day for others.
For many this is the ideal gift: picture of the Harley Easy Chair.
Father’s day gift for my step dad: a case of beer. Some of us had a great father- some of us had dads, or step-dads, or no dads that left us with a need to unlearn certain things about life and parenting that we’re still working out.
This past week I was channel surfing and caught a brief glimpse of the guys from American Chopper. Paul Sr. and Paul Jr. build custom motorcycles, choppers, for people like David Letterman and the Peavey guitar guy- they are very special bikes.
On this particular episode they were building different bikes, got into a competition, seeing who could get their bike built from the ground up started and running. Paul Sr. did it first. Then Paul Jr. had it all ready to go but his wouldn’t start. There was no reason it shouldn’t start, so his team was disappointed. Paul Sr. wanted to show a little fatherly love so he went over to start his again and rev it really loud to show who’s the boss and also who’s the best.
His wouldn’t start either! You can imagine how that made Paul Jr.’s day. Pretty soon it was ugly in the shop. I couldn’t find that clip but did find another one illustrating the father-son relationship. Have a look:
There are so few examples of good fathers & godly role models. Way too often there are relationships like that in our past, or in our present!
Twenty years ago I became a Christ follower and the pastor I first met says to me, ‘I wasn’t discipled’. That simply means grown up in the faith. For too often some have thought it’s been a paint by numbers path. Not so. There are no checklists for it.
There are just relationships that God gifts us with to help us grow up in the faith and to help others grow up, too.
True story, Word of Honor:
Joseph Heller, an important and funny writer now dead,
and I were at a party given by a billionaire on Shelter Island.
I said, “Joe, how does it make you feel
To know that our host only yesterday
May have made more money
Than your novel “Catch-22”
Has earned in its entire history?”
And Joe said, “I’ve got something he can never have.”
And I said, “What on earth could that be, Joe?”
And Joe said, “The knowledge that I’ve got enough.”
Not bad! Rest in peace? Kurt Vonnegut
"It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference." Tom Brokaw
Godly fathers and mothers teach those kind of lessons. Most don’t as we watched in American Chopper, but we learn as Christ followers through our spiritual mothers & father’s important life lessons such as these.
1 Corinthians 4:14-16
I am not writing this to shame you, but to warn you, as my dear children. Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me.
1 John 2:12-13
I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. I write to you, fathers, because you have known him who is from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I write to you, dear children, because you have known the Father.
1 John 2:15-17
Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
Paul identifies three groups: 1. Spiritual children, orphans. Those who have never been fathered or mothered. Many baby Christ followers have never grown up. Our chronological spiritual age may be 20, 30, 40 or even 50 years but we may still remain on milk. We make fusses when we don’t get our way, complain about not being fed, and haven’t yet taken spiritual responsibility to help others know, love and obey Jesus.
2. Spiritual young men and women, according to the Bible, have the living life of God, the Zoë life alive inside of them. They have overcome the evil one, learning to feed themselves but haven’t yet become spiritual mothers and fathers.
When you’re a kid you think your dad is next to God. When you hit the teenage years we discover there’s a few things dads and moms don’t know. We discover a place of youthful arrogance thinking our parents are from the Dark Ages. Then we have our own kids and become amazed at how learned our parents suddenly become! In reality our perspective is what has changed. Having spiritual children also changes our perspective.
When we have spiritual children we become more aware of our own need to learn from others. We want spiritual moms and dads to mentor and coach us.
In my twenties I wanted to change the world. In my thirties I wanted to reform the church. In my early forties I discovered I was the problem. Jeff Iorg
One of the great catalysts to maturity as a Christ follower is to become a spiritual mother and father. This is the third group Paul mentions.
Because of our many poor fatherly examples, we have a hard time grasping this stuff. There is no hierarchy here; no abuse of power; when Paul calls himself a father he doesn’t use it to convey authority but affection- love. He doesn’t call his children the obliged, but his beloved. He models what God the Father did in sending Jesus for us.
This is what Anola and I have been called to do. We seek to cultivate a community of friends who really love each, who grow up in the faith.
Church is people, ordinary people, living their lives for Jesus. No hype, no being mad at anyone, no special revelation or new doctrine or charismatic leader- its friends obeying Jesus together. Do you want to be a part of something like that?
“…’I am a nut about community, and what is missing in the Church for me is any realness between people. So many communities want pseudo-community and are not willing to do the work to have real community. They don’t want authenticity and reality. They want to hear a sermon that is going to make them feel better, but they don’t want to get real with each other and hear each other’s pain and talk about that kind of this. They don’t want to talk about the real stuff of life. That is very sad. Jesus said, ‘I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.’ Many churches I go to are not very [alive] places. You get the feeling that, beneath the smile and the singing and the clapping, there is no real life underneath.’ …” M. Scott Peck
The anger of man still can’t work the righteousness of God. Ralph Moore
We love Jesus, we love each other, and we reach out to the many people around us in our family, our neighborhood, our work and school.
Last Sunday night our communion service and foot washing was an amazing God time. Many tears were shed. For Anola and myself we saw that we’re ‘getting it’ as a community. We all need touches from God like that.
"Whatever comes our way, whatever battle we have raging inside us, we always have a choice. ... It's the choices that make us who we are, and we can always choose to do what's right." Peter Parker, Spiderman 3
Find out which friends stick with you
Personal growth or deflation
More questions than answers
Find out which friends stick with you
Find out which Christians will stigmatize you
Find out which Christians will demonstrate the love, grace, and forgiveness they received from Christ
Knowledge that Jesus will never leave you or forsake you
Personal growth or deflation
More questions than answers
Spiritual mothers and fathers help us learn how to reflect on scripture and what God is saying and life and grow personally through reflection.
This is not easy, unless we surrender to the life of God. Listen to just a couple of examples:
Love your enemies.
Love those who love you, and those who don’t.
Love God not money.
Love Jesus more than those whom you are to love deeply.
Love everyone in the way you love yourself.
Love God with everything that you are.
Love others in the same way that Jesus loves you.
Love people to death.
1 Peter 1:1-3
So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk. You've had a taste of God. Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God's pure kindness. Then you'll grow up mature and whole in God.
1 Corinthians 4:9-13
It seems to me that God has put us who bear his Message on stage in a theater in which no one wants to buy a ticket. We're something everyone stands around and stares at, like an accident in the street. We're the Messiah's misfits. You might be sure of yourselves, but we live in the midst of frailties and uncertainties. You might be well thought of by others, but we're mostly kicked around. Much of the time we don't have enough to eat, we wear patched and threadbare clothes, we get doors slammed in our faces, and we pick up odd jobs anywhere we can to eke out a living. When they call us names, we say, "God bless you." When they spread rumors about us, we put in a good word for them. We're treated like garbage, potato peelings from the culture's kitchen. And it's not getting any better.
Are you allowing God to help heal you through spiritual mothering and fathering?
Have you committed to inviting people into your life to help you learn to love and live more like Jesus?
Are there relationships around you where you are being invited in to help them grow in grace and love?
Jesus hath now many lovers of his heavenly kingdom, but few bearers of his cross.
God, today I die again.
Friday, June 15, 2007
Small steps of love and peace...
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Every ship leaves a wake as it passes by, and so do we as people. What is the emotional wake you leave as you pass by others?
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ—the Message—have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives—words, actions, whatever—be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
What does it mean, in today’s world, to be a follower of God in the way of Jesus?
What does it mean to be a faith community engaged in the holistic, integral mission of God in our world today?
How do we, as individuals and faith communities, respond faithfully to the crises facing our world?
What is our duty to God, ourselves, our families, our neighbors, our enemies, and our planet in light of Jesus’ radical message of the kingdom of God?
How can we engage in personal formation and theological reformulation for global transformation?
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Desperate for Jesus and His Kingdom
Would you describe youreslf as desperate? What would your friends say?
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
I was 28 when I moved to the city from the bush. We had moved to the city to go to college in search of a new identity. Moving from a lumber mill to a college setting, I would walk in the morning to the college. And my steps took me through this stand of pine and spruce trees. It was hardly a forest, although I think the tourist companies refer to it as part of the Regina Urban Forest (urban forest, sort of an oxymoron isn’t it?). Anyway, I would stand in the middle of those 6 trees and close my eyes and hear the wind moving through the needles. I would stand there and reach out and take some of those needles in my fingers and break them and hold them to my nose. I could hear my home and I could smell it. I could hear birds singing and for a moment I was home. For if a seashell can hold the sound of an ocean, those trees held the great northern forest, home to me and my mother’s people. Then I would cry sometimes, look out the window of our rented townhouse, to the northwest, and I would cry on my bed. Twenty eight, alone, and homesick.
I had moved. Who am I in the middle of this city? My world has changed but the things that anchor my identity are sometimes the small and mundane things, almost throw away things that hardly even make it into the anthropology books. They are the ornaments, the throw away items, the things that can be changed but these do not change the essence of who I am, do they? I am a living, thinking, organizing, socializing, emotional human being. I am located in one of various sociological groups that make up a culture that helps ensure my physical survival. These can shift and be rearranged and I will still be in my essence a man. Who decides what is thrown away? Who decides what I am or who I am? Identity, hard to grasp-
The grandiose social experiments with my people were based upon the idea that you could kill the savage and save the man. Is it really possible to do that? After you have thrown away all the unnecessary trappings of culture do you have anything left? It seems to me this is occurring in the midst of our societies and churches. Slowly for the sake of some higher calling more and more things are thrown away. Perhaps for efficiency sake we throw away the necessity of greeting one another or maybe even throw away the many smaller language groups and customs. One by one the dominant group throws away the unnecessary items, thinking, “These are not the essence of who we are.” Pollution, poverty, war, racism and all the other social problems all around us are a result of things being thrown away. Augustine would say that the good has been corrupted. The good has been pushed out and evil fills the hole. The good is distorted. There is a twisting that seems irreparable – except, somehow, if one could recreate a new heaven and a new earth.
I am from a group of those throw away people. Many in the new country’s government believed that all the aboriginal people would soon be gone; they would cease to exist, throw away things. When they proved more resilient it was thought that certain aspects of their culture and way of life could be altered or thrown away. A plan was launched to make them more suitable to fit into modern culture.
“They would not be harmed in their essence. They will have the same rights as us. They will need to get rid of certain backward habits. Those unnecessary trappings of days gone by will have to move and establish a new identity.”
The residential school sought to rip the cultural identity out of the children. “Throw it out before they got too attached to these unnecessary uncultured ways. You know the things: language and songs, and the way they look at you.”
“We will teach them new language and new songs, and a better way to look right at people.”
But, it ended up producing drunkenness, AIDS, drug addiction, suicide – all corruptions and the result of too many things thrown away.
The residential schools did not work. Society itself cried out because of the brutality of the system. It was abandoned but now children throw themselves away. But the same twisting remains: drunkenness, suicide, drug addiction, STDs. Now children throw themselves away. They have forgotten who they are. No value, thrown away.
So, the church tries to respond. Tries to affirm the identity of people. They haul out the grand themes of the faith. They talk about justification, redemption, reconciliation and salvation, but they still try and judge the essence and the throw away things for my native people. They try to be the ones who make a new heaven and a new earth by talking about a new identity in Christ, but what does that mean? It is sort of like the phrase “God loves you.” It has become a meaningless phrase. Love means sex, or new cars, or the new car smell, the depth and breadth are gone in our current society. But, if I say “God likes you,” the force of the statement causes you to draw back and wonder “could this be true?”
The statement, “my identity is in Christ,” what does it mean? Does it recognize that the sound of the wind and the smell of pine are a part of who I am, or are those throw away things, not important to the essence of who I am? When I feel the beat of the drum resonate right to the middle of my soul is that a part of who I am or just another throw away part, not important for this new earth and new heaven the Church is busy constructing? Can I be an Indian anymore or is that something I can throw away?
There are reasons why the situations exist in Canada between the First Peoples and new Euro-Canadians. We need to tell the truth to one another; listen to one another and together come up with a way to repair the damage. This is the way of reconciliation. God bless you all. Mequich, Merci, Thank-you. by Ray Aldred, from the Parliamentary National Prayer Breakfast 2007
Monday, June 04, 2007
Get The Life!
Now imagine that someone is asking you for advice: Help me to have some kind of church life and church experience but not really ever relate with God.
What would be your advice for this person?
What influences have caused you to miss out on an interactive life with God?
Pirates of the Caribbean II, Dead Man’s Chest Chapter 7 - 31:08
We’re all a little like that. We see the Bible as somehow important, although we’re often not sure even where to begin. We might as well even read it upside down for that matter.
We also think we credit for trying!
We gather at a service such as this to celebrate, seek, to discover life, not to somehow get credit with God for being here.
We come in search of, or to nurture a life with God, the with God life. There are two types of life- physical life and Zoë- a spiritual, eternal life.
Zoë: the eternal uncreated life that has existed for all time.
There are two types of death: physical death and spiritual death.
The life that is in Jesus Christ, the life that He offers us, opens us up to a hidden reservoir of divine love and power. God's life, this Zoë is brought into us and forms us into communities of Jesus' disciples who are enabled to express His life and love through our own life.
Listen to what God says:
With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved. Those who enter into Christ's being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death.
I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
1 John 5:11
And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.
Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you'll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you.
Dallas Willard writes that, "the simple and wholly adequate word for salvation in the New Testament is 'life.'"
Zoë is indestructible.
This life, this Zoë, is only for participants, not consumers nor observers. The consumer approach says that it is my life and I will utilize this "with-God life" to suit my needs and my purposes. God's life doesn't work that way.
To enter Zoë—the eternal, uncreated life that originates in God alone—I must surrender my life.
In entering into life-with-God it is not my life any more; it is Christ's life and I am privileged to be a participant in that life. Your life isn't your own!
Zoë was modeled by Jesus, comes from Jesus Himself, and was validated by the cross of Christ.
It enables us to have the kingdom in our bloodstream!
"In most evangelical environments, including mine, we have been overwhelmed with models and programs that are designed for local churches to grow bigger. Unfortunately, most really don't work...Many have also come to define Christianity by a set of beliefs. Churches are concerned that people know a set amount of doctrinal truth, and there is nothing wrong with that. But that set of knowledge is not Christianity." Mike Breen
Trust isn’t a mental state; trust is a relational state!
“…As a final question Alan asked Bill Bright what Jesus meant to him…Dr. Bright could not answer the question. He said Dr. Bright just started to cry. He sat there in his big chair behind his big desk and wept. I knew then that I would like to know Jesus like that, with my heart, not just my head. I felt like that would be the key to something.” Donald Miller
"If you can be talked out of your faith, you probably should be." Roger Ward
Would you want lawyers involved in a business deal with Donald Trump?
Remember that trust is always relational. Jesus is most trustworthy and knowable!
"Don't ever deny someone the luxury of being human or broken. That is not a luxury you yourself can afford to lose." Sarah Cunningham
Communion and kenny's story:
last night we went to b.p's and at the table next to us was a group of twenty-somethings obviously christians discussing a girl whose dress had become unbecoming and how they were going to have to deal with it, rather than talking about what might be plaguing her soul that was causing her to need the approval of the men around her. i wanted to get up and scream at them but i know i would only be screaming at myself cause i do the same just different people, mainly the self righteous. where does it end? as soon as i find something to hate in someone else i find born inside me. the only way is jesus...
1 John 2:15-17
Don't love the world's ways. Don't love the world's goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world--wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important--has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out--but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.
Close your eyes for a moment and picture a worrisome and troubling situation to you. Or picture someone who causes you to worry.
‘You are always with me, and all that is mine is yours.’ Says God.
"I call you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have learnt from my Father"
Allow the life of God, like a strong wind to clear any black clouds of worry and fear in your life.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
Saturday, June 02, 2007
Live Acts Chapter 4
The whole congregation of believers was united as one—one heart, one mind! They didn't even claim ownership of their own possessions. No one said, "That's mine; you can't have it." They shared everything. The apostles gave powerful witness to the resurrection of the Master Jesus, and grace was on all of them.
And so it turned out that not a person among them was needy. Those who owned fields or houses sold them and brought the price of the sale to the apostles and made an offering of it. The apostles then distributed it according to each person's need.
Friday, June 01, 2007
Our character is formed more from our losses and failures than our victories and successes.
Life's struggles have a way of shaping us for the better if we'll let them.
"By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the bitterest.” Confucius
We rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.