Saturday, May 17, 2014

New Blog

I have decided to start a new blog. For my new blog posts including more features go to

Friday, April 25, 2014

Surprise on the way to Prayer Meeting

Acts 3:1-10 - Peter and John are on their way to the temple to pray - at 3 in the afternoon. They meet a man who is blind and begs for money. They apparently don't have any so they give him what they have and that is healing in the name of Jesus.

A few things strike me in this reading today. First, it is interesting that they were on their way to pray at 3pm. Obviously a practice that was common in that day. Or was this a special prayer meeting called by the new Christians? But their lives revolved around their faith and disciplines surrounding their faith. Maybe that is not so bad.

Secondly, what were they thinking that day? "Hey Peter, how about we look for someone to heal today? Think we can find someone who needs evidence of the power of Jesus today that we can discover and go far beyond what he expects and heal him? In the name of Jesus, of course!"

I think not. They were going about what they were doing and when confronted with a need met in as God "gifted" them. But,they were aware... they didn't just brush the guy off because they couldn't give him what he was asking for. They gave him something better. I wonder what we can learn from that? What I can learn from that?

What will I encounter today where I can be an agent of Jesus to see His power at work so people get so much more than they bargained for?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

He Is Alive!!

He is Risen! Just as he said he would be. He is Alive today - and that makes all the difference.

Watch the following videos to be inspired! Have a blessed Easter!

I love this new song "Forever" by Kari Jobe - Forever (Live) - Kari Jobe.

Here is the song I did as a dramatic monologue in our Easter Service this morning. Sung by Don Francisco (composer of the song) - He's Alive - Don Francisco.

Another classic song about Easter from the '70's - Dallas Holm "Rise Again" - Rise Again - Dallas Holm.

And then there is Keith Green singing Annie Herring's song "Easter Song" - Easter Song - Keith Green.

Yes, I love some of the music from the 1970's. May you be inspired!

And, if you want to listen to the sermon from this morning at Chilliwack EM Church, you can do so here: Easter Sunday Sermon.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Silent Saturday Sabbath

It was a dark day! A day of shock and despair. Their leader, their teacher, their personal friend and mentor had been suddenly arrested and executed! Just a day or so ago you were having the intimate passover meal together. Then came the chaos in the garden. Something happened between Pilate and the Religious leaders. And now - he was gone.

Disbelief! Peter was especially distraught because he had so boldly claimed that he would never abandon Jesus. But he was struggling. Something must have happened.

His body had been taken down from the cross. Thankfully a couple of the ladies had seen that he had been securely buried and they knew where it was so they could properly take care of the body after the Sabbath. As long as those guarding the tomb would let them.

But, now what? He was going to lead them into the Kingdom! They were going to be key leaders in that kingdom! What had they missed? Back to fishing? Really?

I wonder how many of us feel like we are experiencing a dark time - like that Silent Saturday Sabbath? Hope have been shattered and we have no idea what comes next!

Tomorrow is a new day!

Were You There?

Today has been a day to reflect on Jesus Christ giving his life to pay for our sin. A day of contrasts when man was at his worst and God was at his best. We tried to kill God and God rescued us.

It is interesting to note some of the people who were present at the cross. We sing the old "Spiritual" "Were you there when they crucified my Lord?" In a way we were - as we are the reason why Christ died. There are also those who were present that represented us.

There were those who represented earthly rulers. The soldiers were there executing the wishes of those in authority. Then there was Pilate who had the power to make the decision to crucify Jesus - or not. Throughout history there has been a conflict between church and state. Jesus is King and he is establishing His Kingdom - but it is not a kingdom of this world. 

Then there were those who might be considered social outcasts - the thieves who were crucified with Jesus. I wonder what their stories might be? What went wrong in their lives. Whatever it was, Jesus was there to offer forgiveness and hope for a better future. He still does that today.

There were the religious leaders who found their place in society threatened. Jesus also flew in the face of all their long-standing religious traditions. Status quo was contrary to what God was doing. How much does religious tradition stand in the way of what God wants to do today?

There were those who abandoned or denied Jesus. Peter as an example. Yet, Jesus didn't give up on them. He invited them back into relationship with him - and entrusted them with the future of the church. God still does that today.

And finally there were those who were devastated and brokenhearted. While Jesus was dealing with the sins of the whole world - past, present and future - he noticed his mother. She was in despair because her son was being horribly, publicly executed. Jesus cared for her and saw that she was looked after. He still does that today.

Jesus gave his life for me - for you. What will we do about this?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Most Lonely Place

Did Jesus ever feel lonely and get depressed? He certainly had reason to.

No one really understood him. Yes, he had friends. Close friends even. But they didn't really "get" him. When he was in his deepest times of distress they were drifting off to sleep or arguing amongst themselves. Like the night we call Maundy Thursday.

Jesus shared the most important meal of the year with his friends - his disciples. It was the passover meal - remembering how lambs had been sacrificed and their blood had delivered them from the hands of slavery many years previous. Now, knowing he was about to become the ultimate sacrifice Jesus talked to them about what was about to happen. They didn't understand. He taught and demonstrated how they should serve others. They didn't get it. Instead, they argued over who would be the greatest! I wonder how Jesus felt? Alone?

Then they went to the garden. To pray. I know, sometimes it is hard to concentrate and stay awake when others are praying. But, Jesus was in a crisis - deep crisis. He felt the pain so deeply that he displayed extreme physical symptoms of his anguish. And his 'faithful' disciples? They were asleep. How did Jesus feel? Alone? Depressed?

Then came the conflict. Jesus was arrested. The friends were brave - for a moment. Then they abandoned him. They scattered. And one of his closest friends wouldn't even admit that he knew Jesus. How did Jesus feel?

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God
Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart
(Hebrews 12:2-3).

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Price of Pleasing People

We all want to be liked! We want the admiration of those around us. We want people to want to spend time with us. We want them to speak well of us. We will go to amazing lengths to please people.

But it comes with a price. And sometimes that price is very high!

Reading Luke 23 we find Jesus has been arrested and brought before Pilate for trial. Well, kind of a trial anyway. Apparently Jesus was understood to consider himself the king of the Jews and the very Messiah they were waiting for. So the Jewish leaders wanted Jesus executed.

Pilate questioned Jesus and found absolutely no reason for punishment, never mind the death sentence. But, for the sake of the crowds he was willing to have Jesus beaten and then released. When he found out that Jesus was from Herod's territory he found a loophole where he would not have to execute an innocent man.

Herod wanted some sport with Jesus, but when Jesus would not cooperate, Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate - mockingly dressed in a king's robe. Now Pilate could not escape. He had a decision to make.

By treating Jesus with mocking contempt he became friends with Herod. Pilate was pleased. Now he had another decision to make. Do what was just and right, or do what the crowd wanted. He chose the crowd.

The strange thing is that frequently we have a choice to make as well. Will we do the right thing or will we do what people around us are clamouring for us to do? Even as pastor, I frequently have to make a decision - will I do what may still critical voices? Or will I do what God has called me to do? Will I please people or will I do the right thing?

I bet we all have to make those choices.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

May Your Kingdom Come

Considering our reading for Lent for today from Luke 22:66-23:1 I want to post the reflections by Tom Wright in his book "Lent For Everyone - Luke."
Hide in the corner as the assembly meets and, if you dare, watch and listen to the most extraordinary exchange. 
They are meeting, let's remind ourselves, because over the course of the previous few days - and, before that, over the previous year or two - Jesus had been doing and saying things that were, frankly, outrageous in terms of the world-views and the hopes of those in power in Jerusalem. 
All of that had come to a head when he had come into the city on a donkey and had challenged their power-base by going to the Temple and throwing out the traders. The best explanation for that is that, like Jeremiah or one of the other old prophets, Jesus was acting out a powerful symbol, which he had then explained to his followers. The Temple was under God's judgment. All its meaning and history, particularly its significance as the place where God met with his people, was now being drawn to a different place. To a person. 
But there's only one person, other than the high priest, who has rights over the Temple. As you hide in the corner and watch the scene, you realize how the connection has been made. It is the king who builds the Temple (think of Solomon), or who has the right to declare its future. And the king means the Messiah, the anointed one. And the Messiah, according to the scriptures, will be the 'son of God'. That's what Psalm 2 had said.
All that, to them, meant rebellion of the highest order.
These connections would be obvious to them, though we have to think through them to catch their full force. But it all adds up to an explosive cocktail of accusations.
And Jesus does nothing to deflect them. Indeed, he makes matters worse. He alludes to the famous Old Testament passage (in Daniel 7) where 'one like a son of man' is brought to sit at the right hand of God himself. In other words, ins given authority, under God, over the whole world.
This is the coming of the kingdom of God. 
As Jesus said, he wouldn't be drinking with his friends again until God's kingdom came. This is how he believed it had to happen. 
In the scene in Daniel, four mythological monsters come up out of the sea to attack God's people. The last one is the most arrogant. Then God acts, snatching up the 'one like a son of man' and vindicating him, setting him in authority. 
Jesus had hinted darkly, several times before and in various ways, that all this would come true in his own life story. Now the hour had come.
How often to we misunderstand others? How often do we misunderstand God when we have our own agendas which are not in line with God's plan?

"Lord, today, may Your kingdom come, may Your will be done on earth (right here in our community - and in my life) as it is in heaven."