Sunday, October 19, 2008

Why is it that so many of my Christian friends are always so moody? Of all people we should have the most steady emotional center! Praise God that Christ stays the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"But above All?"

As I was reading James the other day, something struck me. Here's the passage: James 5:12
"But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your "yes" be yes and your "no" be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation. "
Never before had I noticed the "But above all..." at the beginning of the verse. This is at the end of a great passage about patience in suffering. There were all sorts of important things he could have called attention to. But, being divinely inspired, he chose verse 12 to say, "But above all...". The whole book is full of wonderful promises and challenges! Why this verse? Perhaps in the same way we are called not to be lukewarm. Any thoughts?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thoughts from a long few weeks of researching colleges...

For you alone, my soul in stillness waits; truly my hope is in you. Oh, God of knowledge, guide me in my pilgrimage! I ever seek yet, unfulfilled remain. Come light my path, bring comfort to my life... my hope reborn in dying and in rising. (Ambrose of Milan?)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Snow before Columbus Day?

The title really says it all. Fortunately we didn't get enough to stick but not far away it covered the road...I'm in for a long winter.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ceaseless Praise: Why is Worship Important?

Innumerable times throughout scripture, we are commanded to worship God. Many of those times are in the Psalms. In Psalm 19 we are told, “ The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” Everything that was created, in the heavens and on the earth, has been created to give glory to God and it does. Worshiping in song is commanded over and over again, “Shout for joy in the Lord, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright…Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.” Or in Psalm 34, “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth…Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!” Chapter after chapter exhorts us individually, corporately, to worship God and praise His name by telling of His great deeds by speaking, shouting, singing, and playing instruments with skill. But why are we commanded to worship God? Simply put, it’s because worship is a way for us to declare and display God’s glorious deeds among the peoples.

We worship God because He created all, “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.” (Psalm 95:6-7) Before the foundation of the world He not only knew us but also foreordained that we should be. God knew that all of us would sin and fall short of His glory. His holiness could not allow us to worship Him in our wretched state. But in His sovereign mercy He did not leave us condemned, but sent His son as propitiation for our sins, bearing the wrath that is rightfully ours so we, and our worship, could be redeemed. The author of Hebrews shows us well how we ought to respond to this news, “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” If we have truly been redeemed, our lives should be filled with ceaseless praise!

But does that mean that we must sing, shout or play instruments all day long? Are those the only forms of worship? I would argue that they are not. Worship is letting your manner of life be worthy of the Gospel. It’s putting on the full armour of God to resist the devil’s schemes; it’s letting no corrupting talk come out of our mouths, but only what will edify your brother. Worship is loving one another as Christ loved us and bearing one another’s burdens. It’s boasting in our weaknesses and being steadfast, abounding in the love of the Lord. It’s not losing hope though our outer nature fades away but being fervent in spirit. Not conforming to the world but being changed by the renewing of our minds. Worship is essentially glorifying God in word, spirit and action and encouraging others to do the same.

So why is worship important? Because that’s what we were created for. And at the end of time, people from every tongue, tribe and nation will be gathered before the throne and we will spend eternity together praising God for His mercy. “Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed." (Rev. 15:4) At the end of time, God will receive from everyone the glory due His name, and how much more pleasant that will be if we worship as the redeemed rather than the condemned!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Based purely on location, ( that is to say, let's assume the cost is comparable and the education equivalent) where would you choose to attend college: Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, or Steinbach, Manitoba? Any way you look at it, you're still an international student and are unable to work outside of the college while enrolled. Do you attend the anabaptist school, or go for the one with the more generic mission statement? The one thing I have concluded is that staying up late does not always assist one in trying to make important life decisions.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Thanksgiving in October?

So the question that I have been posing, obnoxious and impudent American that I am, to my new Canadian acquaintances is this: Why do Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving? They claim that it is to celebrate the pilgrims and the "first nations" original harvest feast. So I wonder: Why is it that they're so adamant about not being proud NOT to be Americans and still celebrating the early American colonists? Either way, we all know that it's really a Thursday in November, not a Monday in early October. = )

Tonight we watched the original "Jaws". It's interesting to me how a good plot can still be effective, even if the effects seem corny by our modern standards. The intensity of filming from the shark's perspective (supposedly due to the fact that the dummy was hard to film) reminds me of some of Alfred Hitchcock's earlier works. And you can't beat that salty old fisherman. Another classic movie to check off the list.

Friday, October 3, 2008

The Canada geese have been flying overhead by the hundreds, preparing for their annual invasion of the United States. It's really funny to watch them land in the farmer's recently threshed fields. These birds do things en masse.

Reaching Higher?

The title of our women's conference "Reaching Higher: Experiencing Life at the Next Level" has led me to question some troubling things I'm seeing in women's ministries. Mainly that the chief end of the speakers sounds dangerously close to a Joel Olsteen book. "Divine Secrets for a Victorious Attitude"? Teaching people to have "satisfying relationships" or "Maximizing the divine potential of every human being"? Book after book on "Enriching" your life with Christ thrown in there somewhere as someone to help you in your journey of self-discovery. It grieves me not only to see that this is what our conference speakers believe but that this is what we're feeding these women who are coming and bringing their non-believing friends. The christian life is not one of self-esteem, it's one of self-forgetfulness in light of the glory of God. But unless we realize our sin and the fact that we can't redeem ourselves ( even with these author's 5 easy steps) we can't receive mercy. So I'm praying that people will come to a closer relationship with Christ and his wonderful saving grace despite this conference. That instead of trying in some existential way to experience life at the next level they'll fall to their knees in humble adoration of God's holiness. Because while having a nice conference experience can't save you; the gospel can. (the speakers, should you desire to look into them yourself are: Michelle Mckinney Hammond, Gary Smalley, Erwin & Kim McManus, Valorie Burton, & Shannon Ethridge)