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Biblical Messages

Plans to prosper?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for IMG_0781disaster, to give you a future and a hope.  In those days when you pray, I will listen. – Jeremiah 29.11-12, NLT

I have been grateful for this series, inspired by Pastor Craig Groeschel, in which we have looked at some passages of Scripture that get misused from time to time.  Too often, we get stuck in eisegesis instead of exegesis (watch or listen to the message to learn what these mean!).  We want to mine from the text what God wants to tell us, not impose our agenda on the text.

Have a listen, or watch the Facebook feed (no account needed).

Encouragement From The Word

Look for solutions

Readers in Ontario will know what I mean when I say that this has been a wet summer.  It has rained almost every day here for much of the season.  I have wished on several occasions that we could send most of this rain to our friends in British Columbia (whose firefighters are dealing with wildfires) and Saskatchewan (whose farmers are dealing with drought conditions).  But we can’t.  We can only pray for them.

These nearly-quotidian doses of precipitation have been a real challenge for many families in the community where I live.  Already living with the reality of a high water table, many families’ basements have been severely damaged by the overabundance of rain, needing a place to escape.  Thankfully, ours hasn’t been that bad, but it has required us to be vigilant in listening to the sump pump work.

Because, sometimes, it can’t keep up.

We have tried a solution that we thought to be permanent, but wasn’t, and a couple of others that were temporary.  But a good, permanent solution was needed.

That solution came yesterday, with the installation of two sump pumps that will keep the ground water at bay.  Now, short of a power outage, we defy the rain to overflow from our sump pit!

Living in a church-owned home, while we have input into these decisions, they are not ours to make.  So we are grateful for a decisive Board of Managers, which seeks to take action quickly in order to preserve the integrity of the house, not to mention our personal effects.

The learning experience in this, for me, is an important one:  don’t just state the problem, look for solutions.  Often, if a little thing goes wrong in our house, I will simply fix it myself.  But I don’t have a degree in sump pump-ology; this one was a bit past me.  But thankfully, our team members know people who have experience in this area, and once we got the right people on the job, it was fixed, and we can rest confident that the problem is taken care of.  We can also rest quietly, knowing that the problem has been taken care of with pumps that make less noise!

When you face a problem, whether in your own life or in your church or any other organization to which you belong, don’t just state the problem, look for solutions.  And lean on others who have experience in the field.  It’s a constructive way to move forward.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3.5, NLT).


Biblical Messages

Do Not Judge?

This week, as we look at passages of Scripture that get twisted around, we come to the most commonly quoted Bible verse today:  “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged.”  This is from Matthew 7.1-5.  We also read 1 Corinthians 5.9-13.

Have a listen, or watch the Facebook Live video feed below.


Encouragement From The Word

One More Time

“Your father has a proposal to share with you,” said my mother, sheepishly, one day last month when my parents, my wife and I met together in a coffee shop.

“We’d like to go camping with you,” said Dad.

He had given this considerable thought, obviously, and was going to look into renting a motor home.  My wife suggested that it might be cheaper to rent a Kamping Kabin at a KOA campground.

After some research, the combination of available dates for us, my parents, and the various campgrounds I called left us with the opportunity to spend two nights at the KOA near Barrie, Ontario, where Mom and Dad would have a Kamping Kabin that was suitably air-conditioned.  (It even had satellite TV, which borders on ‘glamping’!)

The accommodations were secondary, though, to the time spent together, which we all enjoyed most.  My wife and I are used to camping in our little camper van with just the two of us, so sharing meals, conversations, and campfires with my parents was different, but reminiscent of my childhood, when we took our 16-foot Holiday trailer to all sorts of Ontario campgrounds, often with family or friends.

Those were fun times.  We are all older now, and health concerns challenge my parents on a daily basis.  Despite that, or maybe because of it, I was very touched that they wanted to participate in the camping ritual one more time.  Rather than relive old memories, though, what we did was more important:  we created new memories.

It’s never too late to create new memories with your loved ones.  Those memories last a lifetime.

Honour your father and mother.  Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you” (Exodus 20.12, NLT).

Biblical Messages

Ask Anything?

In this new series, we’re looking at a few Scripture passages that get twisted from time to time.  The series is inspired by Craig Groeschel from in Oklahoma, and I have adapted his outlines for my own voice.  This week, we look at the notion that when Jesus tells us we can ask anything in his name, he’ll do it.  So where’s my Cadillac?  We read John 14.12-14 and allude to Habakkuk 3.17-18.  Listen or watch below:


Encouragement From The Word

Changing the world

Most of us don’t know who Robert Raikes was, but he changed the world.  He also article-2680751-1F6362C700000578-945_634x653changed the church – through children.

Robert Raikes was the founder of the Sunday School Movement back in the 1700s.

What most people don’t realize is that when Raikes began his effort, he was not exactly aided by the church.  The Englishman, whose efforts sought to rescue children from what was effectively slave labour, teach them to read, and disciple them, caught the attention of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who convened a bishops’ meeting to attempt to stop him.

They believed Raikes’ attempts to disciple children was a violation of the fourth commandment, that it broke the Sabbath.

As time went on, what were called “Sabbath School Societies” were begun across North America, particularly in the United States.  But where was the greatest opposition to these groups?  Clergy.  It was the pastors who were opposing ministry to children because they viewed it as a desecration of the Lord’s Day.  One Connecticut pastor even said of a class held in his church one Sunday, “You imps of Satan, doing the devil’s work.  I’ll have you set in the street!”

Remarkable, isn’t it?  That something we take for granted – ministry to children on Sunday – would have been met with such resistance initially!

So it is with so much change in the church today; it meets with initial resistance, but in the end, if God is in it, it changes the world.

Gamaliel was a learned Pharisee in Israel in the time of the early church.  When people would complain about what the apostles were doing in Jesus’ name, Gamaliel’s advice was sage:  “If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown.  But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them.  You may even find yourselves fighting against God!” (Acts 5.38b-39, NLT).

When change comes, church leaders with integrity are bringing it in not for its own sake, but because they know that the change can help the church change the world for the glory of God.  And while that may initially be difficult to take, who wouldn’t want to get behind changing the world for the glory of God?

Biblical Messages

Beautiful and Faithless

As you’ll hear at the start of this message, the original title, and what appeared on the church sign, wasn’t quite congruent with Nahum 3 (or Romans 13.8-14)!  Have a listen, or watch the Facebook Live video below.