Sunday, 21 February 2016

Praying! Two "different" ways?

 A few weeks ago I had a discussion with someone on prayer, and based on Matthew 18:19 which says, "Again, truly i tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven." While I don't like to put labels on certain bible verses I remember from more than 25 years ago someone referring to this as "name it claim it prayer". I am not saying I disagree with the idea of ask for it and it shall be given to you, but I would add, "if it is God's will for me", then he will give it to me. I do believe that God gives us the desires of our heart, but I also believe that what we desire is not necessarily what God wants for us, simply because our desires are not always God based, but selfish based. Maybe I lack the faith to pray the "Name it, Claim it" prayer. I tend to be more like the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8 which says, " And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart.  He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’  For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man,  yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says.  And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?  I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
To me I see two quite different ways to pray. Neither one wrong, but more of where my prayer life fits in. I would love to hear comments from anyone on what they see in the New Testament regarding prayer."

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Do you remember when you first became a Christian? I remember being "on fire" when it came to reading the Bible. I would read it on the bus on my way to work. Then as time went on there was a mere flicker of a flame left of that fire, and over time it burned out. It would occasionally flare up a little but not to the extent it was more than 30 years ago. We do not need to look beyond anything other than Jesus... there is nothing else out there. It is Christ alone. Let's get back to preaching the word of God rather than implementing new programs in the church (the idea behind these seems to be, "Let's see if this will work?"). We are so worried about offending people, and yet they need to know the Gospel. I am the first to admit, that evangelism is my weakest gift...but I do have other gifts that I can use in the church, and so do all the other Christians in the pews as well as those on the stage. As a leadership, it is important to know the gifts of the people and to let them be used in building up and edifying the church.

Another thing that has been on my mind is the older I get the more I think about death. When I see others much older than me (people in their 70's and 80's) who do not know the Lord, I often wonder if they think about the after life...what happens when I die...where do I go? There is one couple who comes to mind every morning in my prayers and I know they are not living for the Lord. When I talk to them and ask them what is new, the reply is always the same, " Nothing is new, it is the same old every day, eat sleep and once in awhile coffee with the gang". What a sad life. It makes me wonder what they are living for, and holding on to. I guess the only way to know is to ask them next time we get together. Pray for me that I would have the courage and boldness to speak to them about the Lord.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Family and Friends Without God.

I often think as you get older, say 75 plus, and don't know the Lord. What do you think about? When you are 40 you might be thinking about buying a new home or car and even a change in career, but at 75, 80, 90 what is going through the mind of the non christian? For most, there is nothing material they need anymore, physically you would be in the declining years of life, mentally you would also be declining. Think about spiritually? What have you believed all these years? What has kept you from the creator? A dispute with the church? Pride? Something else? Luke 12:20 says, "God said to him, You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you". These same words apply to any one of any age.
That should be the scariest phrase for any non christian. Therefore, for us as Christians, we should be telling people the Gospel, especially family. We can't make them believe, that is up to God. We can only share it with them and pray that what we have said sinks in and they respond. Lifestyle evangelism is not enough. I have seen people who live very upright and moral lives, but without God in that it is nothing.I think of my son and others like him who made a decision to accept Christ into their heart at a young age, but now no longer believes that. I have a list of people I pray for to come to know the Lord in my family and friends. I am amazed at how many people there are who do not know the Lord. Certainly more in this list than in the list of those who do know Him. That should be more than enough reason for us to share the Gospel with them.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Obituary, Funeral and Humour

Now that I have your attention, I do not plan on dying anytime soon, but I know full well that it certainly could happen at anytime.I have talked about writing my own obituary, but still have not done so yet. I think a good reason to write one is so that others will not have to when I am gone...not that they would not be accurate about what they say. However, I have been to enough funerals and read many obituaries that I know what I do and do not want to say or have said either at my funeral or in my obituary. I do not want written in my obit that I liked to travel, or play golf, or loved going to work (this one is really not true at all (Just seeing if you are paying attention) - I would love to be retired and not go at all). It is always good to add humour (with 2 U's) in spite of all the sadness that takes place at the time of a passing of a loved one. What I would rather have written is I prayed for family and friends that they would experience Jesus Christ to the fullest as their Lord and Saviour. I also hope that if people speak at my funeral that they would simply say He loved the Lord and lived a life that backed it up. (I am not there yet, but I am working on it). I do want my funeral to be mostly upbeat. I should record a video and it can be shown at a certain time during the service and I can take roll call and see who is present....just to break the ice. I suppose at some point then I could call out my name, and just to see if people are paying attention, and then answer for me. I could tell a couple of jokes after all I always wished I had enough talent to be a comedian. Then I would conclude with a real upbeat song,... don't worry I won't be singing it.

I will admit that death is on my mind a lot as I think of the family who have died before me and think that there is little time to do what God wants of me, so I need to be available and obedient all the time even unto death.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Hell is forever!

As I watched this video it made me think just how short life is. For many of us, life is that red line on the rope. For some, however it is not even that full length (if we think in terms of the average life span of about 80 years). Many of us know people who have lived only half or even a quarter of that time, and some who have never even made it to the first strand of red, having died at birth, never getting the opportunity to make their mark for Christ.
Think of someone you know now who does not know Jesus Christ as savior and Lord, someone who is say 80, and then think of someone who is maybe 25. For me, more of my prayers tend to go toward that person who is 80, because there is not much time left for them on earth. We believe there will be so much more time for that person who is 25 to turn their life around. Life does not work that way. We are not promised tomorrow, let alone tonight. That goes equally for the 80 year old as well as the 25 year old. My prayer for myself is to be bold with my faith and share the Gospel with them. I may be the only one they hear it from. I think of Matthew 28:19 that says "Go and make disciples of all nations". Unfortunately. with my personality I read it and say Go (and think about) making disciples of all nations". I need to overcome the fear of rejection (which is difficult for this people pleaser personality in me), and share my faith in any circumstance. While evangelism is at the bottom of my gift list, it does not mean I can leave it for someone else. God, give me boldness!!!

Thursday, 14 January 2016

What's next?

Like I said earlier, we are so far removed from what the church should be.

Can you imagine going to church on Sunday and your pastor gets up in the pulpit and says I don't believe in God, by the way, I am still going to keep preaching. My first thoughts of course would be to tell them to get off the stage, well maybe that would be my second thought!
How someone can go from believing in God to all of a sudden being an atheist is one thing, but to have your pastor do that and then want to continue as the pastor is beyond ludicrous.

In the article Vosper (I will not dignify her title with Rev.) says she does not believe in a deity, but has faith in a different concept than the traditional view of God. Her understanding of God is relationships of trust, love and forgiveness between people. Without God, there is no Love or Forgiveness, at least not true love. There might be a worldly love or forgiveness that can exist, but without God it is meaningless. You can live as "good" of a life as you know how, but without God it is for nothing.

That church might as well have Ellen or Oprah preaching or even Dr. Phil, if nothing else we will be entertained. As I blogged earlier about the above three and listening to the wisdom of fools, how much more foolish to listen to an atheist from the pulpit.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Are we doing church all wrong?

The more I listen to Francis Chan the more I see we are so far removed from where the early church was. We have lost the gift of evangelism. Instead of sharing our faith with others we hope that people will get involved in our church through our programs and ministries because it is easier than talking to them personally about the fact they are lost without Jesus.