Thursday, August 31, 2006

I'm Back

I have returned from our week away. Of course you probably noticed that already with the previous post :) The time away was great. It was an opportunity to recharge my batteries through rest and reading. During the time away I read Hitting The Bullseye by Paul D. Borden and Outgrowing the Ingrown Church by C. John Miller. Both books deal with church growth, but they are as different as night and day. Paul Borden takes a very business like approach to the problem of shrinking churches, and while what he states as being his reasons for wanting the church to grow are biblical, I could not help but question whether the way he encourages it to be done is the correct one. It seems like the pragmatic approach. It certainly has been effective in his own setting of the American Baptist Church. But, it seems to be very mercenary and lacking in taking a whole biblical approach. This is not to say that he did not have some good points. His understanding that the local church is the fundamental unit for church growth is right on and very biblical. His view that higher judicatories exist primarily to strengthen the local church in fulfilling the great commission is also right on. It is something that the RCA should take seriously in considering out 10 year goal. At least here in Canada, we send lots of money to the US end of the RCA, and see little or none of it back to our local congregations. I wonder what it would be like if the GS cut all those various groups and offices that we are supporting that have nothing to do with the 10 year goal, and put that money into directly assisting the churches in fulfilling the great commission. Better yet, let the local church keep the money and use it to minister the gospel in their local setting. Having said that, reading Paul Borden did not encourage me, or even really challenge me in my own walk of faith. On the other hand Outgrowing the Ingrown Church was a whole other situation. In is John Miller constantly went back to scripture to exhort, encourage, and correct the things that have gone wrong in congregation that have become ingrown. As I read it I was many times moved to repent of having become as ingrown as the congregation I pastor. I was challenged again and again to come to a full understanding of the gospel promises found in scripture that are fulfilled in the ministry of the Holy Spirit in all those who believe. I was made aware again and again that the many ways that I, like the congregation I serve, have become more and more ingrown. I was also reminded that it a lack of faith in the power of the gospel that lies at the heart of this inward focus. This book is one that I would recommend to others, and which I want to read again taking more time, so that I can work through what I need to do to live as a gospel minister. As I do so, I will hopefully post my thoughts as I go through it.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


What cartoon are you?

American Dad

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Monday, August 21, 2006

Camping at a New Place

Today we head out for a much needed week off. I don't know what it was about this summer, but I have been very close to burn out a few times. Perhaps it is the emotions of the second miscarriage we have went through as a couple along with various concerns of the church, but I am completely done. I am really looking forward to getting away for a while, and I hope it will help recharge my emotional and spiritual energy. We will be camping at Glen Rouge Campground. It is a campground in Toronto. After doing some asking around, it seemed like it would be nice, and our hope is to do some day tripping in Toronto (CNE, visit friends, maybe the zoo and/or a museum) so its location is excellent as it is walking distance to the Toronto Bus system. Now hopefully, we did not make the wrong choice. I will tell you when we return.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Canadian Funded Media Twists Words of Prime Minister

I found this following video linked from Grey In Black and White, and it is yet another example of the problem with media today and how easily they can edit what is said to spin it to mean what they want, not what really happened. As a former film student, I have always been facinated by how editing of video and how the clips are put together can completely change the message being given. Watch and learn how important it is to think carefully about what it being presented in the news.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Eucharistic Theology

No surprise here. Ok, I was surprised that it called me a Nestorian, but then the questions don't allow for the permanent union of Christ's two natures, while at the same time recognizing that his body is human and thus limited as to time and space while in his divinity he is ubiquitous. Edit: I removed the Nestorian part. (HT: Ars Theologica )
You scored as Calvin. You are John Calvin. You believe only those who have faith are united to Christ, who is present spiritually, yet you call this "Real."











Eucharistic theology
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Monday, August 14, 2006

Please Pray

Saturday we received a call from Annette's mom, that one of her second cousins died in a farm accident, he was only 12 years old. For more information look here and here. Prayers for that family as they go through this difficult time would be appreciated. The funeral is on Wednesday.

Browser Stats

"I was looking a the visitor stats on my blog, and one of them is what browsers people are using. I find it very interesting that 52% of the people who view my blog are using Firefox. I actually expected that the majority would be Internet Explorer, but I guess the word is getting out on how nice Firefox is. Having said that, these values are probably influenced by my advocating the use of Firefox to my friends and relatives who probably make up much of the readership on my blog.
Percent Browser Name Version
52 52.00% Firefox 1.5.0
36 36.00% MSIE 6.0
10 10.00% Safari 1.2
1 1.00% MSIE 7.0
1 1.00% Konqueror 3.4"

Saturday, August 12, 2006

1 Corinthians 1:4-9

1 Corinthians 1:4-9 (ESV) Thanksgiving 4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus, 5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge— 6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you— 7 so that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. As is found in the beginning of virtually all Paul's letter, here following the opening greeting we find a section of thanksgiving. In light of the problems that will be found in the Corinthian church in the rest of this letter, it may see surprising how thankful Paul was. He writes that he gives, "thanks to God always" for them. In spite of the sin that is allowed to run rampant in that church, the divisions between its members over incorrect things, their questioning of Paul's apostolic authority, and several other things, Paul still thanks God for them, not just sometimes, but always. Notice however, that Paul's thanksgiving to God for them is based firmly in what God has done in the Corinthians. It is because of the gifts of grace given by God in Jesus Christ to them, that Paul is able to thank God for them. For, that grace of God in Christ given to them, is a confirmation of the testimony about Christ that they have received. It is evidence that God is working in them and through them to make them more and more his people. Paul first pointed to the fact that God in his gifts to them enriches them in all ways, however, there are specific gifts in mind here as well. The grace that God has given in Christ is that he had enriched the Corinthians in Christ, "in all speech and all knowledge." The first enrichment is in all speech or logos. Although most English translations translate this as "speech," as Gordon Fee points out in his commentary, this word is used throughout 1 Corinthians in the context of spiritual utterance. At the very least the speech here is not merely the controlled tongue that James speaks of in James 1:26, but also has something to do with words of edification that teach spiritual truths. This is something that Paul will return to in the letter The second specific gifts is that of knowledge or gnosis. Again this is probably speaking of knowledge given by the Spirit of God, and again Paul will return to it in this letter. In both cases, although Paul is thankful to God for the Corinthians for these gifts, they are also things that are part of the problem in Corinth. These gifts that Paul repeatedly points out here are given in Christ, had become points of pride and stumbling in the Corinthian church. In spite of that, Paul is still thankful to God for them. That catches me short, for I wonder how often am I thankful to God for the people of God I know or minister to when they take the gifts they have in Christ, and misuse them, making them points of pride or division? Yet, here we see Paul was thankful for them. Yes, he will go on and correct the abuses, but he does not let that abuse remove the great truth that these people are God's people in Christ. That in Christ they have been given everything they need, even though they don't always use it the way they should. They too are people who are looking and waiting for the return of Christ. Paul then ends pointing out that since the grace of God was given to them in Christ and that they had been enriched in every way in Christ, that it is he who did this who will also keep them strong to the end so they will be blameless on the day of our Lord. There were problems in the Corinthian church, but Paul knows that God will not abandon his people. Those things need to be cleaned up, but God who gave the gifts in Christ, will also work in them to make them blameless. "God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord." Paul has such confidence in the effective working of God in his people, the he reminds the Corinthians that God is faithful. If he has done what he has done among them in his Son Jesus Christ, he will not leave them. No he will strengthen them. Again, this is a reminder I need. Often it seems that in my own life and ministry I am weak and unable to do the task set before me. While some of that is incorrect expectations both from myself and my congregation, I believe most of it is my own weakness that requires God's strengthening to keep me blameless. The reminder of God's faithfulness to complete what he has started, encourages me in those times when I am wondering if I can go on, or if my ministry is of any use at all. It strengthens me to know that when I am weak and helpless, God will strengthen me.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

1 Corinthians 1:1-3

1 Corinthians 1:1-3 (ESV) Greeting 1 Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, 2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: 3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I am hoping to try something a little different in my personal Bible study and blog. For the last several years I have been reading through my Bible in it entirety using various Bible reading plans. I have found that to be of great value to me, but often I would like to take some more time on a specific book in the Bible and spend time considering and meditating on it in depth. So after some consideration, I thought I might do that with 1 Corinthians. I considered doing Acts, but for some reason 1 Corinthians seems more appropriate. With that in mind, I hope to post my thoughts on various passages as I work my way through. Whether you find them helpful or not, or even insightful at all, I will try to post them. As I considered these opening verses in this letter, the first thing that struck me was in verse 2 the phrase, "to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints" What struck me was the repeated use of words that point to holiness. Those who are sanctified are those who are set aside as holy to God. The saints are the holy ones. As I considered what I know of the Corinthian situation--the well known wickedness of the city of Corinth itself, the sin in the congregation of the Corinthians seen in things like the sexually immorality of a man having his father's wife, the divisions among the congregation with some following Paul, some Apollos, some Cepheus, and things like that--this reminder of the calling of the people to be holy ones and their being sanctified in Christ seems very appropriate. The Corinthians needed that reminder that holiness is basic to the call and working of God in their life in Christ. In today's world, where wickedness is found on all sides, where sex is flaunted and used to sell, where coveting is encouraged by the advertising industry to sell more product, where people seek to design their own definitions of what is right and wrong, where millions of unborn babies are put to death, and the list goes on; this word is needed. I need it, because I can very easily start to forget the importance of holiness. Not forgetting in an intellectual manner, but in a practical one. I need to be encouraged by these words to realize that God's working in me in Christ is to sanctify me and call me to be a holy one, so that I seek to live that calling in my day to day life, fleeing from temptation and striving to live as God has called me in love for him. Since it is God who calls me and all those who are his to this, I think that implies that for us to live it out can only be done by his enabling. In ourselves we do not have what is needed, but in Christ we are sanctified. So, for us to live sanctified lives requires living in Christ every day, abiding in him as he called us to do. It is only in him and from him that the reality of this will ever work its way out in the day to day living of life as one called to be a saint.

A Rather Interesting Use of Treadmills.

Found this linked at Challais and thought it was a rather interesting use of treadmills

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Looks Like We Have Some Work To Do

I found this as I was browsing through some other blogs (HT: Ian Clary). As a parent who is hoping to home school our child, this approach intrigues me. It also makes me realize that I should have learned Latin long ago, and better start learning it now :)