Biblical Messages

ADVICE FROM A MENTOR: 6. Pursue Righteousness

In this final instalment in our series on 1 Timothy, “Advice From a Mentor”, we look at 6.2b-21, wherein Paul encourages Timothy, the early church, and us to pursue righteousness.  What can that look like?  Listen in below and find out.

Alternatively, you can watch the video by checking out our church Facebook page.

Encouragement From The Word

It will rub off

A show on television that I enjoy watching is “Canada’s Worst Driver”.  Frankly, in my books, anything Andrew Younghusband touches turns to gold, because he has such a great sense of humour, but also a way of being poignant when the need arises.

If you’ve not watched the show, the producers accept nominees from across the country of individuals who are deemed to be especially dangerous to the motoring public.  The producers narrow the field to eight candidates, who check themselves in to the “Driver Rehabilitation Centre”, at the old airport in Dunnville, Ontario.  From there, they are assessed and taught a variety of both driving and coping skills, in the hope that they will be rehabilitated.  Along with driving instructors, a therapist is also part of the rehab team.

The therapist is going to earn her keep this season.  One young woman from Edmonton who was nominated was deemed to be the most dangerous driver they’ve ever had on the show.  When the crew went to film her biographical sketch, they said they wouldn’t get in a car with her again.  That’s a pretty serious claim, if you consider the bad drivers who have been on this show before!

Her skills are astounding:  running through stop signs and red lights without even looking; texting and driving; passing on a double line; aggressive driving…and the list goes on.

What’s most troubling about this young woman is that she doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with what she does.  As host Younghusband said to her, “That is the driving of a horrible person.”  He wasn’t suggesting she was a horrible person; he was saying that her driving was that of a horrible person.  It’s like she was a different person behind the wheel.  She was someone who owned the world, who acted like society had to bow to her every wish.  She’s going to require some pretty heavy-duty psychological aid through this season, and I hope she (and all the other candidates) get the rehabilitation they need so they can carry on normally in the future.

When I told this story to a friend, who operates a railway locomotive, he recounted a story of a trucker that hit his train, claiming he believed he didn’t need to stop for trains.

Doesn’t it just make you want to shake your head?  I hope so!

While some will deem this a generational thing, in my experience, it’s not limited to a generation.  This sense of entitlement may be an epidemic.  Whether it’s by how we raise our kids, or how we treat store clerks, or how we treat other drivers, our responsibility as followers of Jesus in the midst of this challenge is to live like our Leader.  Ponder these words from the apostle Paul, who early in the life of the Christian church penned this truth about the Lord Jesus:

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Though he was God,

    he did not think of equality with God

    as something to cling to.

Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;

    he took the humble position of a slave

    and was born as a human being.

When he appeared in human form,

    he humbled himself in obedience to God

    and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor

    and gave him the name above all other names,

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,

    to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2.5-11, NLT).

Let this be true for us.  It will rub off.

Biblical Messages, Uncategorized

ADVICE FROM A MENTOR: 5. Care Intentionally

Paul’s directives to Timothy in 1 Timothy 5.1-6.2a focus on widows, elders and slaves, but mostly on widows.  What can this first-century letter teach us about caring for the needy?  The big idea is that to do God’s work – to care intentionally – we need each other.  You can watch it on Facebook“>here, or listen below:

Encouragement From The Word

God’s not finished with us yet

I was at a family ministry conference last weekend, and among the many things I learned was a song – a song easily taught to a congregation, and especially to children.  It has a fantastic message:

Create in me a clean, clean heart.

Create in me a work of art.

Create in me a miracle:

Something good, something beautiful.

You’re not finished with me yet.

You’re not finished with me yet!

By your power, I can change, I can change,

‘Cause you’re not finished with me yet.

The song was written and performed by a group called Rend Collective Experiment, and you can listen to it here.  Give it a listen, and you’ll find yourself singing along.

The message is clear, isn’t it?  It’s a prayer, based in part on Psalm 51, in which we ask God to make of us something that only he can do: to have a clean heart free from sin, to be a work of art made in God’s image, to be a miracle (which our birth really is), and to be something beautiful – which we are to God, no matter how others (or we ourselves) feel.

Then we affirm two truths:  God isn’t finished with us yet, and we can change by his power.

There are times when we feel pretty down about ourselves, or about the human race, but the good news is that if we open ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit, he will make us into what he longs for us to be.

Don’t be satisfied with who you are right now, as good or bad as you think you may be; God isn’t finished with us yet.  When Jesus died and rose again to save us from sin and bring us into eternal life, he knew we could be transformed – that we would be transformed.  God loves us as we are, but he loves us way too much to leave us there.

Don’t settle for the status quo.  Let the Lord work in you and make you new from within.  You’ll be better off for it, and so will the world!

Create in me a clean heart, O God.  Renew a loyal spirit within me” (Psalm 51.10, NLT).

Biblical Messages

ADVICE FROM A MENTOR: 4. Serve Faithfully

The Apostle Paul, in writing to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4, addresses Timothy as a leader, and his church’s leaders as well.  One approach to looking at this chapter is to say that to serve faithfully, we need to invest in ourselves for tomorrow.  Have a listen below, or check out the video on Facebook” target=”_blank”>here.

Encouragement From The Word



It’s one word that nearly everybody can identify with.  For many people, it’s what fuels their lives.  Hope is what makes people put one foot in front of the other, what makes people decide to get out of bed for the day.

I hope I will have a better day at work than I did yesterday.

I hope I will do well on this test. 

I hope my spouse will not get cancer.

Sometimes, hope is misdirected, though, isn’t it?  We can hope for something that we think might solve our problems.

I hope I will win the lottery.

I hope I will get a big inheritance so I’ll never have to work again.

I hope that nasty so-and-so falls into a pit and is never seen again.

Even hope can have its ugly side.  But that’s not what God intended.

Hope is invariably tied to faith.  What we hope for is often what we place our faith in.  If you re-read those “I hope” statements, they can all seem pretty vapid, even when the best of intentions are behind them.

There is a lovely little gospel hymn that reminds us where to direct our hope:

My hope is in the Lord

Who gave himself for me,

And paid the price for all my sin

At Calvary.

For me he died, for me he lives,

And everlasting life and light he freely gives.

Jesus is the one on whom we rightly place our hope, because it is in him that we rightly place our faith.  Is your hope in Jesus?

Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see” (Hebrews 11.1, NLT).

Biblical Messages

ADVICE FROM A MENTOR: 3. Lead Carefully

Character, chemistry, and competence: of those three, competence is most easily taught.  Character is instilled – and we need leaders of strong Christian character more than we need people who know how to do things.  That was Paul’s advice to Timothy in 1 Timothy 3, and it’s God’s Word to us as as church today.  Listen in below, or (and this is new!) watch it on Facebook” target=”_blank”>here.


Encouragement From The Word

Sufficient Evidence

There’s a lot of excitement among Toronto sports fans these days.  By the miracles of good playing and better mathematics, the Blue Jays secured a one-game wild card playoff against the Baltimore Orioles earlier this week.  The two teams were very evenly matched, as is evidenced by the fact that the game went to eleven innings.

The tension of the tie was broken in the bottom of the eleventh when Edwin Encarnación hit a walk-off home run, securing Toronto a shot at the American League Division Series, which the Jays are now playing against the Texas Rangers.  (If last night’s game is any indication, Toronto could be moving on quickly!)

Interestingly, at least in the Toronto media, what has taken at least an equal place in the news with the team’s move into the post-season is the story of an individual who tossed a beer can onto the field during the wild card game, nearly hitting a Baltimore outfielder.

Shame has been heaped upon this individual from all sides.  The Toronto Police Service believed they had footage of the individual, and recommended that he turn himself in or find his photo released to the public.  (I’m not sure that someone who would seek to hit a baseball player with a beer can would respond to the threat of public shaming, but that’s another story.)  Once the photo was released, the individual was identified and he has since retained counsel and contacted police.

Those who know the man say that it would be most uncharacteristic of him to do such a thing as toss a beer can onto the playing field.  The photo that was released, interestingly, shows him drinking from a plastic glass.  Ultimately, the evidence will be produced in court and the accused individual will be found guilty or not guilty.  At this point, the evidence released to the public seems particularly sketchy.

When I learn of situations like this, I’m often reminded of our responsibility as followers of Jesus to live out our faith and to take the Great Commission, to make disciples of all nations, seriously.  Over the years, though, I’ve known enough Christians who have kept their faith completely private, save for Sunday morning, and found that even some of their friends were surprised to learn they were Christians.

Faith must be personal, yes – it’s the only way truly to experience the grace of God.  But while it must be personal, faith must not be private.  After all, someone else removed the veil of privacy from her or his faith in order that you could become a follower of Jesus.

If you were charged and tried with being a Christian, would there be enough public evidence to convict you?

But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves” (James 1.22, NLT).

Biblical Messages

ADVICE FROM A MENTOR: 2. Pray Indiscriminately

In this second part of our journey through 1 Timothy, we encounter what we might call a contemporary roadblock in the challenging part of chapter 2.  Because of that, I deal with it first in the message, discussing verses 8-15 before verses 1-7…a bit of a different approach, but hopefully it was helpful.

Based on all of 1 Timothy 2, you can listen to the message here: