Thursday, October 6, 2011

Death of a Legend

While the world mourns the loss of a brilliant mind in Steve Jobs, I got to wondering how much we really did lose. People have said that he was one of the greatest minds of our time and that may be, but what lasting effect did Mr Jobs have on our society? What effect did he have on me?

One of the first computers I ever used was a Mac. You know, one of those old one-piece things that worked only in black, white and grey. I could do puzzles and learn to type and that was about it. When the iPod came out, I was one of the first people to jump on that train. Even now, I rarely leave the house without my current device (a 160GB iPod Classic). At school, Macs sit on desks in neat rows and I have come to have a love/hate relationship with the machines. At home, a PowerMac G4 sits under my piano with an assortment of recording gear hooked up to it. In a way, Steve Jobs changed my life. I have become dependant on devices that originate with him and his ideas. But is this a good thing?

The world waited this week in anticipation of the new iPhone. The iPhone 5 is coming out! Alas, it's only an iPhone 4S, but a new model nonetheless. We waited. For a new phone. We already have phones. Some of us more than one. What does it matter if a new model comes out every 6-12 months? Why do we need the latest and greatest? Because someone told us it's always best to have it?

Thanks to Steve Jobs (and others - I'm not saying he's responsible for it, all, but he was a driving force) I can now watch my friends and family feed their Angry Birds addictions while sitting at the dinner table. I can avoid conversations with teenagers because they can't hear me, their iPods are turned up too loud.  I can watch women preen in their phones using the dual camera option as a mirror. I can see children under the age of two adapt to technology that wasn't even an idea when I was a kid and now they can't live without it. I can see mothers and fathers conducting business in the car, at home, shopping and a mealtimes because the iPad made it possible for them to do so.

So my question is this: why are we so caught up in mourning a man whose lasting contribution to society is a series of devices that take us away from what is most important?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Wake up. Get up. Go out.

The song recorded above came to me one day. I love it when God writes songs for me. It makes the writing experience so much easier!

Since then this has been the anthem of pretty much everything in my life. My pastor has been preaching on getting the church activated in ministry. I've spoken with many other Christians about the same thing. People in churches all over the world are aching to see the church arise, get up and take her place. Too many Christians are too content to sit in church on Sundays and that's it. They never help. They never get involved. They never let people know about that God they claim to believe in.

We've all been faced with serious questions when it comes to our faith. Faith in and of itself is not something to be taken lightly. To add to it, Christianity has come (and will come) under attack over and over again and those attacks seem to be coming on stronger as time goes by. This is where the church cannot afford to sit back and watch.

In many typical business models, it is said that 10% of the people do 90% of the work. This has been proven true in church circles as well. No matter how big or small a church is, it's always that faithful core doing all the work. My question is: what about everyone else?

Over the years I've heard any number of excuses, some of them valid, some just crazy, but none of them good enough to excuse lazy Christianity. If this life is about getting us through to the next, our own ambitions are useless. What I want to do here on earth will be of no value to me in the end. I want to live my life to give God glory. I don't need it. I don't want it. I want to get to the end zone and hear "Well done, good and faithful servant."

To serve is the key here. No one in ministry from the pastor down to the janitor is exempt from service. To give of oneself for the benefit of others is the greatest gift of all.

So church, what are you going to do? Sit down and watch or stand up and take your place?

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Faith or Function

I've been struggling this week. Not that my life is so difficult. I'm busy, but it's not all that bad. Since starting school again, I've been faced with a world I thought I'd left behind. The school environment being part of it and widely liberal thinking being the other.

We Canadians are coming up to an election. This is an important event for us. I heard recently that there are approximately 3 million people between the ages of 18 and 25 that are eligable to vote. Most of them are not being targeted and encouraged to take action and vote. I'm glad.

All around campus I've been hearing things that make my heart hurt. Young people railing against our current government. People saying we need change. People who aren't happy with the direction Mr Harper has been taking us. I'm glad that most of these people don't seem to care quite enough to vote.

Perhaps it is because I was born and raised in the church that makes me a strong supporter of conservative government, but that doesn't really matter now. I'm old enough to make my own choices and I still choose to support the Conservatives. When I got a phone call from the party asking if they could count on my support, it was a resounding YES! I don't want to imagine a Canada with leaders who don't care about the morality of our nation.

All of that being said, I find myself surrounded by people who do not share my political views. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Morals are lost and faith is no where to be found. When people push the envelope, it's not in the direction of truth, but lies. This is where my struggle is.

I am endevouring to enter an industry where faith-based work is frowned upon. The question that came to me this week was this: if one can lie by omission, is to omit my faith from my work to deny it? Would I be denying my Lord and Saviour if I give in to those who say I cannot be successful if I include my faith in what I do? I know I am not alone in my struggle. And when asked the question of why not, an instructor was left nearly speechless. She had no exact response.

What is it about the world that sees rage against faith as edgy, modern and stylish, but anything promoting faith and morals has become archaic and even offensive?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

When God Comes A-Callin`

Believe it or not, God calls everyone. Yes, everyone. God has a call out there for preachers and teachers and rapists and mass murderers. We are all the same in that respect. But what`s happened to the world then? If God has called everyone, why aren't we all happy in church? The biggest problem - there are a scarce few who answer the call. Too many Christians are afraid that if they answer the call of God, they will have to give up their jobs and move to a third world country. Not so. I've known of preachers who give up their church to join the work force. God needs Christ-like business men as much as he needs preachers in the church and missionaries on the field.

I'm back in Peru and God has been teaching me many things. I've learned more about His will for my life and how to walk it out. Truth be told, I've been holding back, afraid of what it will mean when I give it all up to live for the cause of Christ. For me, I know it will overtake me. It's a scary thing, the thought of giving up everything and letting God have his way.

In Bible school I had an instructor who told a story about a man. This story takes place just after the turn of the 20th century. He prayed and he prayed. He wanted revival so badly, it overtook him. God overtook him. There were days when he would be on his way to work and he'd be praying as he walked and he'd have to stop because the weight of God's presence was too much for him and he'd stand there in prayer hardly uttering a word. People would pass by him wondering what was wrong with him. By the end of the day when people were returning from work, there he'd be still standing right where he stopped still praying out God's will. He was diagnosed with religious fanaticism. But you know what happened? Revival came and it overtook his entire country for nearly a year. He changed the world by being obedient to God.

When people begin to crave God more than they crave anything else, things are bound to change. But why is it that my story took place 100 years ago? Why don't I have a story like that taking place last week? Humanity has forgotten what God's voice sounds like. In a world of free will and feel good what happened to God's will and God's good?

For those who are ready and willing God is preparing them for the greatest outbreak of revival in world history. Those believers who really (and I mean REALLY) believe will band together and begin to pray and they will pray with an urgency like nothing before. Lives will begin to change one at a time and then a few more and soon masses will by crying out to God for change. Crying out to God to save their families, churches, cities, countries Those who once opposed God will come running to Him and no one will be able to stop it. The day is coming and it's coming soon. The church will rise up to stand and take her place.

The biggest question is who will be left behind? I won't be the one to stand back and watch the world change without having a hand in it. Shame on anyone who calls them self a Christian and does nothing but sit in the corner watching as sons and daughters fall to their knees in prayer crying out for God to change the world.

It is our turn. This is our time. I challenge any and every believer to be a part of what God is prepared to do in every life. Don't stand back and let it pass you by waiting for another wave. THIS is the wave you need to catch. THIS is the wave that will change the world. If you wait, it will be too late.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A New Revelation of Love

I came to a new revelation several weeks ago and I've been mulling it over ever since. It's caused a major shift in my thinking and I've even had to take a good look at some of the other things I've believed without question.

There are several major questions that non-Christian people will ask of Christians: Is it wrong to drink alcohol? What about sex before marriage? How do you feel about homosexuality?

My first reaction is sadness. If that is what non-believers first see in Christianity, us Christians are doing pretty sorry work in spreading the Gospel. How often do you hear people say, "Oh, you're a Christian? Man, you guys are the greatest bunch of people around!"? I'm willing to bet on... oh... never. More often than not, I get, "You're a Christian? I guess that means you're not allowed to drink of swear or have sex. That sucks."

I heard a preacher say once that Christians get in trouble when we shout what God whispers and whisper what He shouts. Jesus never shouted about homosexuals or alcohol or liars. Jesus' life on earth screamed LOVE!

Here's my revelation: I have gone for so long disregarding all those who say that gay people are born that way. Hold on right there, I'm still not saying they are, but I've had a shift in thinking about this one. According to God's Word, we, as in all of humanity, are born with a sin nature. We are pre-disposed to sin. That means all sin. No sin is greater than another whether it be lying, stealing, cheating, adultery or murder.

What makes a person lead a life of sin is a lack of control. A Christians, we are told that we need to renew our minds. That means, replacing our sinful thoughts with God's thoughts. We cannot expect non-believers to grasp this idea and we cannot fault them for it. Sinners are supposed to sin. That's their job and most of them are pretty good at it. So why do we Christians frown at them for it?

When was the last time you heard God say, "Hey you over there, go judge your neighbour. And you, yeah, you in the white shirt, you haven't pointed out enough sin today." That's not what God is all about.  All through the Bible, God's message to sinners was a message of love. Love. Love. Love. It is not our job to point out sin, nor is it our job to judge. Leave that up to God. He deals with it better anyway.

It's time for Christians to change their thinking. Am I still appalled by blatant displays of homosexuality? You bet I am. But I should feel the exact same way about adultery, lying, murder and everything else that does not include living a life of love. You can't go tell a person all their doing wrong and then jump right into, "So, do you want Jesus in your life?" If all a person knows of Jesus is that he doesn't like their sin, where's the attraction in that?

I want to live a life that attracts people to the Jesus in me. I want sinners to find me attractive because I have something they don't. My actions should be shouting out the love of God while my voice cries of His love and glory.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Choir of Infinite Voices

My mother got into my car the other day.  I turned it on and immediately music blared from the speakers.

"You were listening to it that loud?"  My mother asked once I'd turned it off.


This incident got me thinking this morning.  I got in my car to drive to work and, again, music pumped out of the speakers rattling the air freshener hanging from my rearview.  The song was "In Your City" by Phil Wickham.   If you haven't heard it yet, google it.

Oh the glorious day when we arrive
And Heaven's gates are opened wide
All our fear and pain will fade away
When we see You
Face to face

Our Great and Awesome King
You will reign in brilliant light
Forever glorified
In Your city
And we
Your daughters and Your sons
Will see the kingdom come
In Your city

Love will rain and joy will have no end
When the saints go marching in
God we pray that You come soon
'Cause we were made
To be with You

Our Great and Awesome King
You will reign in brilliant light
Forever glorified
In Your city
And we
Your daughters and Your sons
Will see the kingdom come
In Your city

When we've been there for ten thousand years
Our song will be the same
Praise to the One who has brought us here
Jesus is His name
Jesus is His name 

In a perfect moment made in heaven, I sang along and, as I looked to the west, a broad rainbow arched the expanse of the grey sky background.  In that instant, I imagined the choir of infinite voices gathered in the throne room of heaven singing Holy, Holy, Holy.

The sound of my car radio is no match for the sound of heaven.  Oh the glorious day when we arrive...  Oh to hear the angelic choir singing God's praises and to be invited to join in.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Trouble With A Captial "T"

Yes, there's trouble!  Right here in Surrey City.  Trouble with a capital "T" and that rhymes with "P" and that stands for... Police?

Yep, police, right here in Surrey City.  Not that police in Surrey are anything new.  Neither are police in my area of Surrey.  But it still gets the neighbours talking when the fuzz are out there chatting with the residents across the street.

After noticing some uniforms, I did what anyone would do.  I called my mother.  After informing her of the situation brewing across the street, she let me know that there had been a similar incident to the house next door to that just weeks ago with police and even fire trucks!

The question now is, what's with all the sudden influx of law enforcement in our neigbourhood? If I were to base my assumptions purely on past experience, I'd say it has something to do with drugs and the growing of. But this one I'm not so sure about.

These are relatively new neighbours and they keep to themselves. Kind of a strange sort of folk. There's a young woman who likes to sit in a white plastic chair just outside the door while still in her plaid pyjama pants. There she smokes cigarettes in the morning.  There is an older woman who wanders around the yard in her housecoat at 3:00 on Saturday afternoons. There is often a big, barking dog on the upstairs patio and cars of all makes and models coming and going at all times of day and night. I couldn't tell you what kind of car any of the residents own (or even how many residents reside there), but there was a PT cruiser in the driveway this afternoon.

The man I saw talking to the police today was a middle-aged white man with a bluetooth in his ear.  Though I couldn't hear anything while he was speaking with a female officer, he was gesturing wildly and pointing toward the open garage.  It seems that no matter who is living in that house, that giant garage is always seemingly full of junk.  When the previous residents vacated the abode, they were forced to rent a dumpster to dispose of the refuse.

Now that I think about it, I don't think this is the first time I've observed the police at the residence across the street.  Would these people be daring enough to try a growing operation?  Is there a foul odour of domestic violence permeating the house?  Perhaps there is a decaying body among the trash in the garage.

Even I, in my infinite wisdom cannot settle on a reason for the recent happenings at my neighbour's dwelling.  Perhaps understanding will come at a later date, or perhaps not at all.  For now, though, I will sit and wonder and create in my head glorious stories with infinite possibilities.