Temptations to which I am not exposed!

“Ever since I served as an infantryman in the First World War I have had a great dislike of people who, themselves in ease and safety, issue exhortations to men in the front line. As a result I have a reluctance to say much about the temptations to which I am not exposed…. I did not think it my place to take a firm line about pains, dangers and expenses from which I am protected.”

(C.S.Lewis, Mere Christianity, Preface)

Backward Christian Soldiers?

OK, I found these words online, a parody by George Verwer on the song Onward Christian Soldiers. Part of me wants to snicker, but another part of me is sad. Maybe the shock of the words is enough to make Christ-followers think about the ‘church’, about how others see us. You may be tempted to react negatively, but ask yourself, “how much of this is true”.

Please leave your thoughts/comments!

Backward Christian Soldiers

1. Backward Christian soldiers,

Fleeing from the fight,

With the cross of Jesus,

Nearly out of sight.

Christ our rightful master

Stands against the foe

Onward into battle, we

seem afraid to go.

 

Chorus: Backward Christian soldiers,

Fleeing from the fight,

With the cross of Jesus,

Nearly out of sight.

 

2. Like a mighty tortoise

Moves the church of God.

Brothers we are treading,

Where we’ve often trod.

We are much divided,

Many bodies we,

Having different doctrines, but

Not much charity.

 

3. Crowns and thrones may perish,

Kingdoms rise and wane,

But the cross of Jesus

Hidden does remain.

Gates of hell should never

‘gainst the Church prevail,

We have Christ’s own promise, but

we think it might fail.

 

4. Sit here then ye people,

Join our sleeping throng.

Blend with ours, your voices

in a feeble song.

Blessings, ease and comfort

Ask from Christ the King,

But with our modern thinking,

We won’t do a thing.

(reposted from July 7, 2007)

Reading the bible with Jesus: Psalm 15


This week I am focusing on Psalm 15 (Monday, Jul 20 – Sunday Jul 26, 2020)
Imagine sitting with Jesus and reading this passage with Him. How would you explain this passage to Him? What questions would you ask? What lessons would you glean?
If all scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16-17), then how is Jesus teaching, rebuking, correcting or training me through this passage?

Your comments will help me as I prepare my message for next Sunday (Jul 26, 2020).

Judge Softly


“Judge Softly” ~ by Mary T. Lathrap, 1895

“Pray, don’t find fault with the man that limps,
Or stumbles along the road.
Unless you have worn the moccasins he wears,
Or stumbled beneath the same load.

There may be tears in his soles that hurt
Though hidden away from view.
The burden he bears placed on your back
May cause you to stumble and fall, too.

Don’t sneer at the man who is down today
Unless you have felt the same blow
That caused his fall or felt the shame
That only the fallen know.

You may be strong, but still the blows
That were his, Unknown to you in the same way,
May cause you to stagger and fall, too. Continue reading ‘Judge Softly’ »

The place to begin!

“There is such an enormous gap between our words and deeds! Everyone talks about freedom, democracy, justice, human rights, and peace; but at the same time, everyone, more or less, consciously or unconsciously, serves those values and ideals only to the extent necessary to defend and serve his own interests, and those of his group and state. Who should break this vicious circle? Responsibility cannot be preached: it can only be borne, and the only possible place to begin is with oneself.” (Vaclav Havel)

Day 12 – Holy Land Tour

Today is DAY 12 (May 14), the last day of the tour!
Ray seemed very passionate today, passionate about the text.
This may be controversial, but I don’t want to be a disciple of the text.
I want to be a disciple of Jesus, and learn to read the text with Him.
It is a matter of emphasis, and I prefer to emphasize my relationship with Jesus.
Don’t get me wrong, I read the bible everyday… but so did the Pharisees.
They were people of the text, but they did not know and accept Jesus.
I have known people who knew their text well, but did not know or reflect Jesus.
I was one of them myself; I graduated seminary knowing the text, but not Jesus.
The more we spend time with Jesus, through the stories of the Gospels, the stronger we will be.
I want to be passionate about knowing and showing Jesus, a disciple of Jesus (not the text).
And I will use the text, as well as other believers, and prayer, and spiritual disciplines, to do it.
May I be as passionate about Jesus, as Ray was about the text.
Thanks for joining us!

Day 11 – Holy Land Tour

Today is DAY 11 (May 13).
We are the temple of God, where He welcomes the sacrifice of love.
Everyone of us is a living stone, everyone of us has a place in His temple.
Love, peace and grace are the mortar that holds a church together.
I recall once a church in a bitter legal battle for the church building.
How ironic, their fighting was tearing down the only building God was interested in.
Buildings can be helpful tools for accomplishing the mission of the church.
But often the members become the tools needed to maintain the building, the new mission.
God isn’t impressed by our buildings, no matter how nice them are.
If the early church could survive without buildings, can we?
Is this COVID-19 situation challenging the way we think about church and buildings?
COVID-19 cannot stop us from loving each other, and this is what makes God’s temple.
Just some random thoughts ion today’s session.

For more information about this virtual tour, click here.

Day 10 – Holy Land Tour

Today is DAY 10 (May 12).
What struck me was how hard it was for Jesus followers to belong.
To follow Jesus as Lord put you at odds with your neighbours.
You could not participate in society (the market, politics) like others.
But you could still make your presence known – by how we loved all people.
“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:35)
This is how Jesus changed the world then; this is how He will do it today.
Not by protests, not be petitions, not by politics, but by the fruit of the Spirit.
We show the world God’s way, the way of grace, mercy, peace and love.
If we are living like this, I suspect people will want to belong to us!
I was especially struck by how the different classes treated each other as equals.
Is this how our neighbours know and experience us?
Are people struck by how welcome and included they are among us?
Or are we as divided (if not by class, then by clique) as the world around us?
The way Jesus still works in the world today is through His followers.

For more information about this virtual tour, click here.

Day 9 – Holy Land Tour

Today is DAY 9 (May 11).
When Jesus calls us to come, He is preparing us to go.
He calls us from our little lives (small town Chorazin), and gives us a kingdom calling.
We do not just follow Jesus for our own salvation, for God and the world too.
He equips us to be like Him, to even walk on water (take on the impossible).
Do I passionately want to be like Jesus, and to do what He did?
Our world seems closed to God (Scythopolis), a mighty city impervious to us.
How can our humble faith in Jesus challenge the power and technology of our world?
But this is how God works; He takes nobodies and makes them somebodies!
Are we more impressed by what people do, than by what God can do?
Our humble faith, hope and love is a powerful thing, it can change the world.
But it is not up to us, we just need to step out of the boat (comfort zone).
We don’t need to win or convert the world, we just need to show Jesus to the world.
The Spirit will do the rest, as He has done throughout history.
If we live and love like Jesus, we will impact the world like Jesus!
But do I want to live and love like this; do I want to follow Jesus like this?
Am I willing to step out of the boat, onto the impossible?
For more information about this virtual tour, click here.

Day 8 – Holy Land Tour

Today is DAY 8 (May 10).
Today we begin the next series, ‘In The Dust of the Rabbi’.
His first comments about a disciple were overwhelming.
I am not THAT passionate, I am not THAT zealous or strong.
But then he shows how Jesus did not wait for the zealous to come to Him.
In fact He often discouraged those who those who wanted to follow Him.
Instead He went to those who had already decided not to be passionate disciples.
Those who were fishing had not been learned enough to keep going to school.
These are the ones that Jesus chose to follow Him.
“You did not choose me, but I chose you so that you might go and bear fruit.” (John 15:16)
Jesus takes ordinary people, so that he can do extraordinary things through them.
We do not need to be exceptionally gifted or passionate, we just need to be real and sincere.
To surrender our ordinary selves to Him, and let Him work through us in our ordinary lives.
This is how He brings glory to God, to show the world that He uses the anybodies.
This is very humbling, yet very inspiring because…. He chose you, He chose me.

“Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.'”

For more information about this virtual tour, click here.