Tuesday, September 30, 2008
I would not ask Thee why
My path should be
Through strange and stony ways -
Thou leadest me!
I would not ask Thee how
Loss worketh gain,
Knowing that some day soon -
All shall be plain.
My heart would never doubt
Thy love and care,
However heavy seems
The cross I bear.
Nor would I, Father, ask
My lot to choose,
Lest seeking selfish ease
Thy best I lose.
~ Grace E. Troy
This morning I read this in Paul Heil's Gospel Greats weekly newsletter:
YOU MIGHT BE A PASTOR IF...
- You hesitate to tell people what you do for a living.
- You've ever dreamed you were preaching only to awaken and discover you were.
- You've ever wondered why people couldn't die at more appropriate times.
- You find yourself counting people at a sporting event.
- You're leading the church into the 21st century, but you don't know what you're preaching on Sunday.
- A church picnic is no picnic.
- You jiggle all the commode handles at the church before you leave.
- You've ever spoken for free and were worth every penny of it.
- People sleep while you're talking.
- Instead of getting "ticked off," you get "grieved in your spirit."
- You've ever been tempted to take an offering at a family reunion.
- You read sermons to your kids at night instead of bedtime stories.
- You'd rather talk to people with every head bowed and every eye closed.
- You've ever wanted to "lay hands" around a deacon's neck.
- You often feel like you're herding cats rather than shepherding sheep.
- Your greatest joys have been in the church.
Monday, September 29, 2008
It's amazing how quickly the colours have changed.
We often wish that our lives and circumstances could change even half that fast. They don't.
God works in our hearts and lives at His pace. Often we question why He seemingly takes Him time.
But, as for God, His way is perfect. - Psalm 18:30
"He was Christ-exalting; God-glorifying; and Spirit-empowering. He preached not as one consumed with self-promotion or trying to appeal to an audience. But he preached to an Audience of One as a man who trembled at God's Word and as a tried and tested servant of the Lord Jesus Christ from behind the sacred desk.
Friday, September 26, 2008
I wrote this last night as a reminder and self encouragement. I wasn’t going to post it, but it may serve as a reminder and encouragement for another brother or sister in Christ. - Jenn
Though the darkness is thick and heavy
Though it suffocates me so
Truth shall hold my hand tightly
And lead me wherever I shall go (Psalm 43:3)
Though brokenness knows me well
And pain be far from me not
I shall press to speak to my soul (Ps. 42:5)
And take captive every thought (2 Cor. 10:5)
Though sleep evades me nightly
And tears flow with no end in sight (Ps 22:2)
I shall pour out my heart to God
Whose song is with me in the night (Ps 42:8)
Though it seems no end’s in view
And the doldrums my daily path
I shall take comfort in the reality
That eternally it won’t last (Rev. 21:4)
Though the darkness is thick and heavy
Though it suffocates me so
Truth shall hold my hand tightly
And lead me wherever I shall go (Ps. 43:3)
Thanks so much for posting this, Jenn. I was certainly encouraged!
Here's reason # 4:
By not trying to be cool . . . he’s cool.
"I cannot confirm it, but I think Dr. Piper may only have one jacket. I see him preach in it all the time and it’s a tweed coat with more than a few years of faithful service. I also think he may own one belt because I’ve only ever seen one. He drives a simple car, lives a simple life, does not have a tattoo (at least that I’ve seen), does not skateboard, and likes to read stuff by dead guys a lot. But by trying to just be himself rather than being cool, he has curiously become cool because he’s about Christ and that’s always cool."
What constitutes "cool" to you?
As Driscoll says, and I confer, "by not trying to be cool...he's cool".
Nobody will ever think that I'm cool. I don't "try" to be cool. I'm just NOT cool although many people think that ministering to the needs of athletes is "cool".
So, friends, just be yourself and that'll be "cool" to me.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
It struck a chord because I have often shrunk from God's calling on my life as I have realized the "awfulness" of the task.
When the calling is so overwhelming it can be equally intimidating. We are serving the Lord Christ and there's no greater vocation.
Father, may I serve You well for Your name's sake. AMEN.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
i was feeling restless yesterday ... the fall weather always brings that out in me ... so i decided to take a drive to our old neighbourhood ...
it is only 10 minutes from our town, yet when i drove over the narrow bridge - it felt like a different world ...
i had plans of visiting old neighbours ... we do keep in touch with them and enjoy their sweet friendship ... but no one was at home ... nor was anyone home at our former cottage (they live in the city and just come out on the occasional weekend) ...
so i parked the car on the road, and did a little walk about on that piece of land that had once been so familiar to us ... one which we had lovingly called home for over a decade ...
the trees we had planted were huge, making the yard feel quite private ... a secluded, mature property ...
and it truly felt odd to be in such a familiar spot - because it felt unfamiliar too ... it had once been a well loved spot, with much of our hard work still on display ... yet - it was definitely NOT home anymore ...
maybe when we get to heaven ... our real destination and our forever home, we will look back at our life on earth and feel the same way ... it was once a place we called home - but not anymore!
just sharing and thinking outloud ...
"Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in.Aim at earth and you get neither." ~ C. S. Lewis
He truly cares for you! Click here to enjoy this powerful song.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Sometimes we wonder if anyone else on the face of the earth could comprehend the complexities of our battles. Then, out of the blue, we discover that someone has actually written about the exact thing we're dealing with. Keeping those thoughts to ourselves for fear of being misrepresented or misunderstood can lead to dangerous introspection but at times we just can't get them out there.
A book I refer to time and time again is Bright Days, Dark Nights by Elizabeth Skoglund. I've mentioned it here in Pilgrim Scribblings several times. She skillfully uses the writings of the Prince of Preachers, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, attempting to bring light to the dark subjects of depression, anxiety and loneliness among other things.
Skoglund quotes J. B. Phillips whose book Your God Is Too Small is a classic. Phillips uttered these words of confession, "The hardest thing of all to bear is what I can only describe as a nameless mental pain, which is, as far as I know, beyond the reach of any drug, and which I have tried in vain to describe to anyone."
He continues, "It would have been of inestimable comfort and encouragement to me in some of my darkest hours if I could have come across even one book written by someone who had experienced and survived the hellish torments of mind which can be produced. And, alas, I know very, very few clergy or ministers who would even know what the sufferer was talking about."
So we carry on, alone to a degree, but we know that God DOES understand the pain we bear. And so, again, we are forced (why does it have to come to that?) to cast our burden on the Lord knowing that He will sustain us and bring us out of that dark, hideous place. Rejoice that we know One who was there. He was the Man of Sorrows and he's very much acquainted with grief.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I thought you might be interested in our latest update:
UPDATE ON MY MOM...
My plan was to leave this morning for the Hockey Ministries International Fall Conference in Stowe, Vermont. I was going to meet several others on the HMI Ontario staff in Port Hope and ride with them. I'd been looking forward to this for months. But, as I said, plans change.
Yesterday I discovered that the dreaded plague, cellulitis, had returned for the 6th time in 3 years. My left ear is badly infected and it's really swollen. Each time cellulitis hits it levels me for several days. Extreme fatigue always accompanies cellulitis.
Carol took me to Scarborough Grace Hospital in Toronto where the Infectious Disease Specialist that worked with me practices. We were given two different medications and arrived home (75 mile drive each way) at 1:50 this morning.
The cellulitis along with the heart problems I've been battling prevented me from going to the conference. Talk about disappointment! So, I won't be sleeping in this bed (pictured) at the Stowehof Inn.
Thanks for your prayers, dear friends.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
"If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified."
"Your doctrine can be as straight as a gun barrel—and just as empty!"
"You can have all of your doctrines right—yet still not have the presence of God."
"The Church used to be a lifeboat rescuing the perishing. Now she is a cruise ship recruiting the promising."
"God isn’t looking for organizing. He is looking for agonizing."
"The question isn't were you challenged. The question is were you changed?"
“Why do we expect to be better treated in this world than Jesus was?”
"One of these days some simple soul will pick up the Book of God, read it, and believe it. Then the rest of us will be embarrassed."
"When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude." ~ G.K. Chesterton
Note: Chesterton's photos all make him appear to be gruff and stern but apparently he was just the opposite.
Mom has been a real trooper through this whole scenario and her attitude has been so very positive.
Thanks to all who have visited mom and lifted her up before the Lord in prayer.
Monday, September 08, 2008
There's no chance involved in true, biblical prayer!
There's chance involved in this prayer card though. The young man who is requesting prayer is named Chance...Chance Faulkner to be exact.
Chance is one of the young men from our church who went on the recent Missions Trip to Belize, Central America with our granddaughter Victoria. He's pictured here on the stairs with some of the kids.
I wish you could hear his powerful testimony. He's got quite a story to tell, a story of God's power to save and transform a life.
Chance's prayer card was so unique that I wanted to share it with a wider audience. It's hand-lettered and pasted to a piece of corrugated cardboard. As you read this post, please pray that God would use Chance in a wonderful way. His heart is tender towards the Lord and spiritual things.
THANKS SO MUCH!
Sunday, September 07, 2008
On Friday evening Matthew celebrated his 13th birthday with some of his good friends from his "last year's class" at Rhema Christian School. Matthew's birthday was a week earlier but we waited 'til school was back to invite friends. We had a great pool party and the weather co-operated fairly well. It was overcast and it rained a wee bit but overall it was pretty good. Yesterday Nathan celebrated his 12th birthday by taking two friends with us to the Toronto Blue Jays' game against the Tampa Bay Rays. My good friend Gabe Gross, right-fielder for the Rays, was an invited guest who joined us following the game for a delicious birthday meal at Jack Astor's. The game went 13 innings before the Jays finally put it away with a walk-off grand slam home run. To be honest, I was hoping the Rays would prevail. They have so much more to play for as they are leading the Eastern Division and are likely headed to the post-season.
What would Carol and I have ever done this weekend if we hadn't adopted these two fine boys, complete with all their challenges? Maybe we could have taken our first holiday...alone...in recent memory. Please continue to pray for us as we seek to provide these two young men with all the love and help they need. THANKS!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MATTHEW & NATHAN! We love you a lot!
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Here's another "choice gleaning" from Ann Voskamp's "Holy Experience" blog. What must it be like to be one of her beautiful children being home schooled by a mom like this? I met another of Ann's sons at Elim Lodge two weeks ago. Joshua was such a quiet, kind, polite boy who, most of all, loves Jesus.
And so begins another year, carefully writing out our two theme verses on the inside covers of our day planners:
"I want to know Christ (more than anything we learn in a living book, a textbook, or a notebook. Knowing Him is our goal)
and the power of his resurrection (oh, in me, in this dead body of sin, I want to know Your power to resurrect me, us broken ones)
and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings (this year will mean sufferings, and in them, remind us, Lord, we have fellowship with Christ, intimate communion),
becoming like him in his death (this is what we seek: to daily die to self, and rise to love.)
~ Phil. 3:10
The Lord is, astonishingly, (even) here.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
"Behold, we count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord's dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful." James 5:11
How has your 2008 been so far? We are often poised on the brink of a new year and with great optimism, expect God's blessing in the form of ease. We can be taken back when crushing times hit and we are called to endure. Have you fallen to your knees this year in anguish? Have you said to a trusted friend, "I can't take anymore! This is too hard? I don't see where God is working at all." I have.
Finding the strength to endure would have been impossible without God granting it, one day at a time. I am confident that if you or I had been able to speak with Job in the middle of his darkest hours, he would not have been able to see any blessing ahead. The nature of loss and grief is that it is all consuming. Pain fills your range of vision completely. Yet, there was an ending to his story that he couldn't possibly have written. He learned that God is a Redeemer.
He gives, takes away, and gives back more than he took because the gift of Himself is in the equation. Where would our theology of pain be if Job's story were not part of Scripture?
I don't know where you are on the continuum of suffering. Perhaps you see storm clouds brewing and you are intuitive enough to know that dark times are ahead. Panic is in your soul. Or perhaps you are already in the battle of your life. You looked in the mirror this morning and thought, "Who is this old woman?" These days have taken their toll and there are no signs that things are going to change. Or finally, perhaps you are beginning to see God's deliverance. By God's grace and the power of His Word in you, the storm is abating.
The last few months are a blur but you have lived long enough to awaken with palpable hope in your soul. It's no longer just faith-talk; you can feel it. What would be my words to each of you? Make up your mind to be the tree planted by springs of living water. That means fighting for your life to stay in the Word of God when your trust in Him could very easily be shaken off its foundation. "Living Water" must be washing over your doubt constantly. Your thoughts must constantly be sifted. Throw out ALL that don't align with the life of faith.
Job had some serious crisis moments during his journey through the valley of suffering. He was encouraged to curse God when all the evidence was stacked against his faith. He didn't. He could have resented the poor compassion of his friends and refused to forgive. He didn't. He could have taken his life. He didn't. He took up his issues with God and heard God speak back, personally and powerfully. That was his turning point. It has always been the personal Word of God that clarifies, strengthens and sustains.
“May nothing else satisfy me today. You not only get me through what seem like impossible days but you promise to make them productive in my life. I trust You. Amen.”
Living in the glory of Jesus,
Monday, September 01, 2008
"Lord, there are so many today who are running away from the truth. Oh, that You would be pleased to speak by Your Spirit that Your word may be known. Lord, hold us fast to the truth of Your word, bind us to it. May we not be ashamed of the truth of Your word but proclaim it boldly without compromise. May we not wish to be thought cultured, nor aim to keep in step with the times. May we be side by side with You, O bleeding Savior; and be content to be rejected, be willing to take up unpopular truth, and to hold fast despised teachings of sacred Scripture to the end.Oh make us faithful unto death."
I'll relate more concerning her trip later.
This morning I arrived back home from Elim Lodge. What a great summer it was out there! Now I have to re-adjust to life in the "real" world.
God is good!