Biblical Messages

Gifts I’d Like For Christmas: 6. Hope For the Future

The Sunday after Christmas is always a time for God’s people to look ahead – to consider, prayerfully, what the future can be.  In this message, based on Jeremiah 29.1-14, we explored the last of the “Gifts I’d Like For Christmas” – a gift that looks toward hope for the future.

You can listen to the message here.

Happy new year to you – may it be filled with the gracious promise of God’s hope for the future!

Encouragement From The Word

The Sole and Soul of the Matter

Last week, I was doing some ‘on the road’ work for the Canadian Bible Society as I wrap up my tenure with the organization.  There wasn’t much snow on the ground at that time, so I decided to wear a particular pair of shoes that day that I thought would suit my travels.


A while after I was away from the house, however – too far away to be able to turn back! – I discovered that the sole of my right shoe had almost completely separated from the shoe itself.


Crud, I thought.  Now what do I do?


I had a few minutes to spare prior to a lunch appointment, so I stopped at a store to attempt to solve the problem.  First, I looked in the shoe department:  finding a size 11.5 wide in a shoe that interested me was, well, impossible.  So I took the next step:  I looked for some sort of glue to re-secure the sole to the shoe.  I must have looked quite silly dragging my right leg through the store, and then taking off my shoe on a bench at the end of the checkout, gluing my shoe back together!


The friend with whom I had lunch was, thankfully, understanding; he was tempted to call me his homeless friend from Toronto, but refrained from doing so but once.  In retrospect, I should have asked him for some duct tape!


I had one more appointment that day, though, and it would require a fair bit of walking; so some new footwear was definitely in my future.  I just had to find something that would be useful beyond the moment in my size.


I finally found some new shoes, and wore them out the door, the busted ones having been unceremoniously dumped at the shoe store.


But this got me thinking:  How often do I treat my soul the way I treat my sole?  That is, I took the sole of my shoe for granted, and did nothing for it until it was broken.  What about my soul?  Do I take it for granted, doing nothing for it until it breaks?


Thankfully, no:  I engage in activities that regularly nurture and care for my soul.  This includes, but is not limited to, such things as:

  • Bible reading, just for the sake of hearing from God;
  • Prayer – talking to God, in response to God talking to me in Scripture;
  • Worshipping God among his people, the church; and
  • Spending time with friends of faith for mutual edification and encouragement.


How about you?  What are you doing to nurture your soul?


I know there have been times in my life where I have not been as careful to care for my soul as I should have been, and the result has been something akin to what happened to the sole of my shoe:  a disconnect of some sort occurs, that makes my relationships with God and others less than it could be.  Maybe you’ve had a similar experience.


As 2008 draws to a close, you may be looking toward the year to come, and what you’d like to do for your own spiritual growth in 2009.  Please, make sure you look after your soul.  Don’t let happen to your spirit what happened to my shoe.  Care for, challenge, and deepen your walk with the Lord in 2009.  You’ll be glad you did.

Biblical Messages

Gifts I’d Like For Christmas: 5. To Be Like Jesus

Merry Christmas!  We had a crowd of nearly 200 people at St. Paul’s, Nobleton tonight to celebrate the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.  What a great opportunity to worship, and to connect with folks!

Tonight’s message was the fifth in a series entitled, “Gifts I’d Like For Christmas”.  This part was “To Be Like Jesus”.  The text was John 1.1-18 from the New Living Translation.

Part way through, I introduce this video, “One Solitary Life”.

You can listen to the message here.

Biblical Messages

Gifts I’d Like For Christmas: 4. A Deeper Relationship With God

It’s a time of year like no other when people are open to receive God’s Good News as truly good news!  And one of the gifts I’d like to give for Christmas, that I’ve received, is a deeper relationship with God.  In this message, based on John 3.1-21, I explored what it means to have a relationship with God that goes beyond mere religiosity.

Not everybody has a good view of the term “born again”.  Many folks, even church people, don’t think much of the term.  But Jesus talks about it as a key part of our desire for a deeper relationship with God.

Listen to the message here.  Feel free to post a comment!


Equipping the Church: The School of Urban Biblical Studies

Beginning in January, one of my personal mission endeavours and one of my passions will merge:  I will teach a course in the School of Urban Biblical Studies, a “subway seminary” being overseen by SIM Canada.  One night a week, I hope to be able to provide some teaching and encouragement to church leaders across the Greater Toronto Area who might not otherwise be able to receive a theological education.

I first learned about SUBS when it was still a glint in the eye of one of SIM Canada’s staff, who ‘pitched’ the idea to a group of people sitting at a breakfast table for a special prayer gathering almost two years ago.  The idea so struck me that I left my card with him, and here we are.

The idea behind SUBS is to provide a low-cost basic theological education principally to immigrant pastors and church leaders who work all day at a secular job in order to support themselves and their families, while also pastoring churches in their ‘spare’ time.  Many of these leaders could not afford a formal theological education.  Many also do not have cars, so the courses are all offered in church buildings within a reasonable walk of a transit line (thus the idea of a ‘subway seminary’). 

The course I will be teaching is called “Growing a Healthy Church Community”, and will focus on helping leaders understand both how God has wired us up spiritually and emotionally, and how to deal effectively with people who can sometimes be difficult.

If you or someone you know would be interested in sitting in on this course, taught at the People’s Church, Toronto, then check out

Biblical Messages

Gifts I’d Like For Christmas: 3. Deeper Relationships With Others

free_hugs_wideweb__470x3230The church is not always known as a place of depth in relationships, but that’s what Jesus calls us toward.  In this message, based on John 15.9-17, listen to what it can mean if God’s people engage in deep, authentic community.  In this message, this video was viewed by those in attendance at St. Paul’s, Nobleton.

Listen to the message here.

Feel free to reflect on the message with a comment!