Friday, September 2, 2011

Out With the Old, In With the New

2 Corinthians 5:14-21

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.”

If the wages of sin is death, and “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin” (v.21) our sin, therefore a part of our nature died/dies with Him.

“And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view…”

Our methods of determining who has value and who doesn’t are not the same as God’s. We are all His children, and Jesus’ death on that cross was for all, not just some but not the others.

“…if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

Look at the picture above, who do you see? Think of yourself now, who do you see in the mirror? Who do others see in you? Is it the old you? or is it the new you, transformed into the image of Christ?

We are a new being. Te very fact that we announce our belief in Him a new journey begins. That journey deals with things like “who is he” “how do I fit into his vision” “what kinds of things can I do to make him more pleased in my day to day things”

The old you needs to be dealt with, the you that is hidden behind defenses, habits and reputations. The new you cannot be developed until you make space for him/her.

This doesn’t mean you will be such a different person you don’t recognize yourself in the mirror, but that you are such a different person that you and others can’t help but see God in you.

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. “

Since the fall of Mankind the human/God relationship has had a great divide, that divide being sin, and that sin – just as it was introduced by one’s choice to rebel, it was dealt with by one’s choice to take the fall. Jesus has reconciled us to God!!!

“”For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”

So I ask you, have you made that declaration to God - to be His? To allow Him to begin this new work in you? To be your Lord and your Savior?

If so, walk boldly with Him every step of the way, if you haven’t yet and want to, or you want to know more about this, post a comment, I would be glad to share more with you about this.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Give, Find, Open

7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8).

The message is clear, isn't it? Ask, ask and ask again. Seek, seek and seek until you find. Knock, knock and knock until the door opens.

Some of the greatest testimonies I have heard regarding persistence in this respect is of those who have prayed and prayed for a friend or loved one to accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. Yet for years they see nothing, no response, maybe even some hostility towards the gospel. However, in their final days while lying on their beds with that prayer warrior by their side, a request is made to know Jesus as that praying loved one does, and all the asking, all the enduring, all the persistence pays off.

Ask, and it will be given to you!

A few years ago, while living in Regina SK, I lost my wallet. Laurie and I searched high and low, day after day. All the while praying that God - who can see all things and knows where I put it down, where it is and if it could be found - would show us where it was. Every place we looked, every room we went into I felt that still small voice (1 Kings 19:12) telling me to look in the kitchen. As I did, countless times to no avail, I felt like there was no hope. But God knew, and even though we gave up, called the banks and credit card companies to cancel the cards, God still wanted to show us where it was.

The day after cancelling the cards, I woke in the morning to make coffee. In our kitchen we had a walmart white hutch that we used for our coffee maker and mugs. I opened the glass cabinet door to get a mug down and there just out of sight for one looking in without opening the door, was my wallet (in the kitchen!).

Seek, and you will find!

As for the door, just because you feel God calling you to a certain place, job or people group but all appears to be stacked against you and your endeavours, keep knocking! I heard it once preached that God presents us with doors, and that if one is closed its because its supposed to be, and if it is open we shouldn't worry about praying before entering it, but to just boldly enter in. I differ, just look at this verse, knock and it will be opened. If I just walked away from a closed door, I would not be in Brandon MB doing a church plant, my wife would have given up on the idea that she could nurse here in Brandon (BRHA said they weren't hiring any out of province nurses...ha) and I would just give up trying to get into some of the ministry areas that I am having a harder time getting into (yet those areas are intrinsic areas to the ministry type God has created me for). No, I say as Jesus said, knock, and knock again. Just because no-one seems to be answering doesn't mean they aren't on the other side ready to open the door for you, maybe God wants to see how dedicated you are, how persistent you are. He didn't make us to be push-overs did he?

Look at this parable: 1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. 2 He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. 3 And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

4 “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, 5 yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

6 And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? 8 I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:1-8)

See, if we can say that an ungodly man can show mercy and answer the request of someone who is just annoying him, wouldn't we say that much better of God, who hears us and wants to answer us? Don't we also believe that our faith, at any time, can be tested? So knock, knock, and knock some more. If you know what God has called you too and it lines up with His character as displayed in the Bible, why give up - especially when it could be Him testing your faith.

9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:9-11)

The Father wants to bless you and have you be a blessing for others. He wants to give you good gifts.

He has called us right from the covenant made with Abraham to be blessed and be a blessing, so as the golden rule tells us to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, let us not just receive the good God wants to give us, but be used by God to give unto others. Be at the right places at the right times and with the right gifts for those who don't yet know Him as we do.

Ask, Seek and Knock

Give, Find and Open

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Who's Leading Worship This Sunday?

By the title of this post I bet many of you initially thought of the music lead right?
Did you ever think that the most common and translatable verb within our Christian life could become just another abstract term found in the Christianese Dictionary?
Well, it has, and has been for quite some time.
The past week has been a challenging one for me in this regard. Valley Well Ministries is just about to officially open it's doors and Laurie and I are excited to have a friend from Regina/Eston College/Battlefords come and lead our worship music portion of our services. Yet it was in the conversations we have had with some new Christians or non-churched people that I found myself stumbling over my words. The word as you can guess that caused me the most trouble was the term worship. If Tim is coming to do our worship (and that is usually how we Christians word it - hey pastor, who is doing your worship these days? or, hey who did the worship last night?), what does that say to the non/new-Christian?
Thanks to the query of my Aunt, who ironically while I was internally facing this conversation, decided to ask what I meant. Lets not forget the puzzled look on this born/raised in the Catholic church style of services.
It was then that between Laurie and myself we explained how we meant that Tim was going to sing and play worship music - music that is specifically focused on the worship of our Lord and Savior, Jesus.
So what's so wrong with that right? Why blog about having to answer a question? How does this mean 'worship' has become another Christianese term?
I have heard preachers preach on this countless times, but since it still is apart of our conversations in the same way, I must at least blog about it!

Worship was never meant to take one segment of our church gatherings, nevermind that, worship was never meant to be a part of a mere 1/2 hour per week of our life. Worship is not just the music!!! But, we all know that right? Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to get hung up on terminology or culturally acceptable lingo, as the saying goes...I'm just sayin.

This pondering got me pondering even more thats all.

Worship is supposed to be a lifestyle, its a choice, but a choice that is in our best interests to make all the time. "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship" - Romans 12:1 We are to offer our whole living being as an act of worship, every part of our living existence should be a self-less act of worship. I know we are human, and therefore I do not say that we will be perfecters of this Holy Habit, but I am saying that when we worship God we need to think of every breath we take in and exhale out of an act of worship.

God is Holy and Glory, Power and Might, Mercy and Grace, Salvation and Refuge, Source and Sustenance, Creator and Finisher, Provider and Teacher, Alpha and Omega...what more needs to be said, He is worthy of our worship, the only One worthy. If there is any who deserves to have our full, undivided, unpartial, totally hot devotion and surrender it is Him. He is the essence of existence!

Let us worship Him always, with the very life He gave us, let us offer it back to Him as living sacrifices, laying our pride, our agenda, our worry, our fear, our ways, to do His!

What is stopping or preventing you from wholly serving the Holy One?
Get that thing out of His way!

Its not just about music, its not just about the sermon, the prayer meeting, the Bible study, the fellowship event, the place you serve every week or the mealtime prayer, its about how you wash your dishes, internally feel about company coming, treat that customer that ripped into you, drive down the street, discipline your kids, speak to your spouse (esp when they did something you didn't like), purchase stuff, eat, drink, goodness I could go on and on.

Worship, is at the very core of a Christian's purpose!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Board on Board

As was mentioned in the previous/first post there was to be a meeting with the pastor of Grand Valley Community Church in Brandon, MB. This meeting took place this past Monday April 11, 2011 at 4:00pm. The verdict:

Tim Clarke, the pastor is not only excited about working together but he seems to be one of those guys that is just good to work along side of. His response to us at the end of the meeting was, lets say yes now and work out the details later. Of course he would have to take the proposal to the board, a presentation that was to occur last night.

Last night, the board came on board with the vision. Tim has now asked that we meet the board, share our hearts and vision (not sell it, as they're already sold), and the details of cost, contractual agreements surrounding how we reside there and if/when necessary leave their building.

I just want to praise God for His unyielding provisions with this ministry thus far, and I believe He will continue to do so as time goes.

Please, keep us in your prayers, and if you feel the urge we would be so blessed with any financial blessings you can afford. We are still in the process of Incorporating the ministry so all financial donations can be sent to House of the Risen Son Ministries in Winnipeg, MB. with a note at the bottom stating that you wish to contribute to Valley Well Ministries.

Thank you, and May God Bless Enrich and Grow Your Lives Ministries and Families

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Beginning

Although today is not the beginning officially, I thought it would be good to start the posting now. Valley Well ministries is a new church that will be entering the community of Brandon, MB as of June 2011. My wife Laurie and I have a home already waiting for us and are currently in the process of discovering what building this new church will occupy.
When I say new, I do mean new. We are a church that is unlike any you have seen before. When you show up for the first time you will see the following: 1. Outside - motorcycles, 2. bikers socializing (possibly while smoking a cigarette), 3. Entering the doors - a door greeter that looks more like a bouncer than a "Christian", 4. Inside - people dressed as they would always dress, noone putting on their 'Sunday best' (unless that means their favorite t-shirt and jeans), and 5. a friendliness and sense of care and compassion that is rare yet most desirable.
We are currently 2 months away from the first day of many to come, financing is getting put in place, current jobs are being properly departed with notice, and paper work is being signed.
Once we are there you will see us in the soup kitchen, food banks (eventually running one ourselves), meeting with inmates and psych patients, and with an invitation to join us once a week for our faith-based 12 step program "Celebrate Recovery".

Laurie and I look forward to meeting you, and if you have any questions or would like to know where we are coming from or under who's guidance are we working have a look at the website links on the left side of this blog.

Blessings to you all!!