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In pursuit of a purposeful life



What gains and sustains your attention will ultimately change your life.



Updated: 2016-10-17T06:21:08.111-04:00

 



A Godly Influence

2008-11-12T23:19:59.001-05:00

When I think back over my life, there is one person who stands out in my mind as having exerted the greatest influence. Her name was Debbie Foster, and she was my piano teacher, Sundayschool teacher, Pastor's wife, and role model.
As my piano teacher she opened up the world of music to me and taught me to appreciate the great composers of the past, such as Chopin or Beethoven. She taught me not just to play notes on a sheet, but to put expression into it - to make my music an extension of who I am.
As my Sundayschool teacher she taught me values and principles that have stayed with me through the years. By maturity I have come to realize more and more just how full of wisdom her instruction was.
As my Pastor's wife she was an example of a Godly help-mate in ministry. She did not hide the harder aspects of the ministry, but gave herself wholeheartedly to the work. I was greatly inspired by her example, and was encouraged in my own desire to go into ministry.
As a role model, she was someone I admired and looked up to in all the roles she filled - wife, mother, pastor's wife, teacher, and musician. I saw in her marriage a love and commitment that I desired for my own future marriage. In her mothering, I saw the frustrations and grief of motherhood, yet also its' joys and rewards.
She was in many respects, someone I wanted to copy as I grew older, and that desire has affected me as I have gone through all the changes and events of life. Debbie was someone who drew out my talents and inspired my dreams and for that I will always consider her to be one of the most influential people in my life.



Object Lesson on Pride

2008-10-13T13:30:18.119-04:00

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

You will need a simple house or barn made out of construction paper.

When you begin your lesson, hold the house up and ask them what it is. Set it down where they can see it and describe how nice it looks, how it is strong and not falling apart. Tell them that today you are going to talk about pride and how destructive it is.

Destruction is a big word so I'm going to illustrate it for you.Lets pretend this house is on a farm somewhere and one day a tornado comes along and with it's powerful winds destroys it! Pick the house up and smash it with your hands. Put it down for them to see. Now, that is destruction and that is what the Bible says pride will do to you.

Pride is a problem that all of us have, it is part of being a sinful human being. Pride causes you to want your own way, to put yourself first, to be selfish and unkind to others. How do you know if you are prideful? Well, do you listen when someone tells you what to do? Do you like to boast about the things you have done? Those are both things we do when we are being prideful.

Now, the reason God warns us not to be proud is because He knows just how dangerous it is to be that way. You see, pride is actually going against God in our heart. When we are proud we are saying to God " I want to do what I want, I don't want to obey You or listen to You." That is bad news kids, you can only get in a mess when you don't follow God.

The Bible tells us that we as humans are in serious trouble because we have broken God's laws and refused to listen to Him. Each of us deserves to be punished for sinning against God. "But," you say, " I haven't disobeyed God." Are you sure about that? Have you ever lied? Have you ever taken a cookie when mom said no, or taken a quarter from the counter? Have you ever disobeyed something your parents said to do? If you have, you have broken laws God has about lying, stealing, and disobeying parents. Now we are in big trouble and what will we do?

Well, we know that we can't save ourselves. Only Jesus' blood can wash away your sin and my sin and make us clean. God loves you and He has made a way through Christ for you to be cleansed of your sins. Isn't that just an amazing gift?

Now we know that we have sinned against God and the only way to have those sins washed away is through Jesus Christ. But wait. We have a second problem. If we are prideful we will think to ourselves, " oh I'm not a very bad person. I mean, everyone lies or steals sometime. I guess I'm good enough on my own. I don't need to be sorry for what I did!." You see, pride is very sneaky. It tells you that you really aren't so bad and you can do it on your own without God. Pride can keep you from trusting in Christ. It can keep you from repenting for your sin and believing that only Jesus Christ can make you right with God again.

Do you see why pride is so destructive? It will not only make you unhappy and unkind on earth, but it will keep you from believing in Christ. This is why God warns us against it in this verse. What should we do when we feel prideful? We should see it for how dangerous and sinful it is, and repent of it - that means to feel sorry for it and turn away from it. Then we can know that through God's love and grace, Jesus can pay for our sins and make us clean again.



Psalm 107:1

2008-10-12T20:15:34.661-04:00

The following is adapted from a short lesson I gave on the memory verse for this month in Junior Church.

O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is so good, for His mercy endureth forever.

The first thing I noticed in looking at this verse is the reason we are told to give thanks is because God is good. Not because of the food we have, the warm house we sleep in, the job that provides income, the freedom we live in - no none of these things are listed. Instead the Psalmist points to the character of God and says, give thanks for who He is.
Then he adds just one trait that makes God so good, and that is His unending mercy. I phrased it for the kids this way : give thanks to God because He is so good, because His mercy endures. God is good because He is merciful.
Now, mercy is not getting what you deserve. To illustrate what mercy is let me give you an example.
Suppose one day as a child you decide to build a house for your pet. You need wood, nails, a hammer, and a saw but since you don't own any you borrow your father's without asking first. You build the house but as you are finishing, mom calls you for dinner and the tools get left out overnight in the rain. By the time you remember them after school the next day, they are starting to show the result of being constantly wet. You can't return them that way! So the solution is to hide them under a bush and hope he doesn't ask you for them.
Well a few days later dad discovers them and finds out that you are the culprit. However when he talks to you about it, he tells you that he forgives you and will not punish you this time. You deserve punishment but he decides not to give it to you, because he is being merciful. Remember, mercy is not getting what you deserve.
So in applying that definition to our verse today, we are taught to thank God not just for the things He gives us materially, but for the attributes He displays toward us. If it was not for His great goodness and mercy we would not know forgiveness of our sins. We deserve full punishment for our sin but as Christians we have been redeemed through the shed blood of Christ and brought near to Himself through His great love, grace, and mercy. Even more, we have assurance that this display of love and mercy will never end! Our verse says His mercy endures forever. Forever and ever, in the countless ages to come God will continue to show us increasing depths of His rich love and mercy.
Doesn't that just wow you? When was the last time you thanked God just for being Himself?



God's Call on Our Lives

2008-08-07T01:53:15.689-04:00

If you ask me the question, "What is God's will for your life?," one of the first things I will ask you is, "What has God burdened you with in your life? What has God put on your heart?"
- Dr Michael A. Milton Discerning God's Call For Your Life Reformed Theological Seminary
available free to download on iTunes



The sad state of our society

2008-05-02T22:04:00.631-04:00

These days a newspaper is a sad commentary on the state of our society; and its articles reveal in many ways the depravity of the human heart. Stories of murder and rape, suing or exhortion, supposed discrimination defeating religious freedom, young children committing terrible acts, senseless accidents, and attacks against Christianity fill it's pages.
Yet a recent article I read revealed the terrible condition of our society in a slightly more obscure way. The report was about a tragic accident. A group of young people had stolen a vehicle, and in running from police struck a taxi and killed the driver. Later, police interviewed a 16 year old passenger and were shocked at her cold and callous view of what happened. Her comments were so heartless and shocking that the newspaper included a quote. In so doing they carefully edited a foul word yet saw no reason to edit the profaning of the name of God.
When I saw this I was deeply saddened. The story itself was grievious enough, to think that a young girl could be so hard-hearted. How infinitely more shameful though that a writer would be more concerned about using a foul word, than about taking the name of God in vain. Have we sunk so low as a nation?
The name of God is to be revered and respected, for He is holy and our Creator. I fear for the future of a nation that has lost that reverence and has failed to teach their children the same.



The World Race

2008-03-30T18:23:51.674-04:00

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2007-11-08T00:13:38.762-05:00


Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

- Matthew 5:10-12

http://www.worthynews.com/christian/iran-authorities-whipping-christian-couple-for-apostasy-investigators-report/




God is faithful

2007-11-06T22:41:48.707-05:00

God is faithful. Yes all of you who are believers are nodding your head and saying, " Yah I know that already." But no I mean really, God is faithful.
He has a plan, a purpose, and a direction that He is faithfully and intentionally pursuing. In my life this plan is to make me more like Jesus Christ, and He is using every circumstance in my life to accomplish this.
I am learning to trust that His hand is on my life no matter what I may be going through. These past few months especially have been a time of seeing first hand that He does care and always provides.
I had been reading and studying a lot about living a simplier life, of not getting caught up in the materalism that surrounds us, and instead using the wealth of this land to further His kingdom. This was impressed on me more as I spent a few weeks living with a missionary family in NYC and observed how they lived by faith and trusted Him to always provide.
My plans for the summer had been made in early spring. I would go to NYC and come back to spend the summer working to save money and pay bills. But God had other plans, and I spent the summer looking under rocks and in dusty corners for jobs that never panned out. It was frustrating and stressful, and I wanted it to end. After all this is North America - its very easy for a young, healthy person to get a job - any job - right?
Yet God wanted to teach me that my security isn't in the income I can generate, or in a good economy. He was also putting to the test the ideas I had in my head about forsaking materialism and living simply. You see it is one thing to like an idea and another to actually live it.
I am still learning these lessons and I suspect it shall take an entire lifetime, but I am grateful for the learning curve the past few months have been. There have been many times God provided in direct answer to prayer, and even times He fulfilled a need that I had failed to take to Him. He is so good to His children! When we are busy running around trying to provide for ourselves, He is still gently but firmly in control; always there to restrain us in our foolishness.
Yes He is faithful, faithful to conform us to the image of His Son, and faithful always to show exceeding abundantly beyond what we think, how much He tenderly loves His children.



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2007-10-06T02:49:03.459-04:00

Rise up women of the truth

Stand and sing to broken hearts

Who can know the healing power

Of our glorious King of love

- Shout to the North

Cause me to hear thy lovingkindness in the morning; for in thee do I trust: cause me to know the way wherein I should walk; for I lift up my soul unto thee.. Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God.
Psalm 143



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2007-10-02T03:03:36.292-04:00

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Clear the Stage - Ross King




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2007-09-30T00:45:16.932-04:00

(image) A cute and friendly Canada Jay who willingly posed for a picture.




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2007-09-28T03:38:40.804-04:00

In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me. Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book? Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
- Psalm 120:1; 56:8; 103:13; 139:17



Shades of Falling Leaves

2007-09-27T03:26:27.810-04:00

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The national symbol of Canada is at it's best in brilliant fall colours. Although fall forewarns of the cold winter ahead, it more than makes up for it in the beauty of contrasting colour that is seen across the Ontario landscape. If you were ever to question if God loves beauty, it would find a clear answer in the radiance of autumn in Canada.



Defining Trust

2007-09-27T03:28:17.896-04:00

Trust is: That childlike faith and rest in the loving care of a Father who is ever working all things for His child's good.



Salvation - by Grace Alone

2007-09-23T00:11:02.311-04:00

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This is My Body

That salvation is all of grace and none of works is one of the basic and most fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith, and it is well taught in this sermon. The Christian's comfort and assurance of perseverance in salvation and a right standing before God is based in the finished work of Christ and His grace, not on their individual performance.



What would you do?

2007-09-14T23:09:59.803-04:00

This is a great DVD which follows eight Christian teens who travel to Vietnam and witness first-hand the persecution of their fellow brothers and sisters. It will confront you head-on with the reality of persecution today; and make you face the question of, " What would you do?"

http://www.ur-video.com/main_page.html

Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body. ~ Hebrews 13:3



Follow Him

2007-09-13T03:15:58.613-04:00

Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it."
~ Luke 9:23,24

Come to Me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
~ Matthew 11:28-30

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.
~ John 10:27,28



God chooses the weak

2007-09-12T23:58:43.876-04:00

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:26-31

Weak, pitiful vessels we are, and through that there will be no doubt that it is God Himself who transforms us into His likeness and produces much fruit in us. God chooses to show through our lives the greatness, the depth, and the breadth of His mercy, His grace, and His overflowing love.

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. ~ Ephesians 3:14-21



Suffering for His name

2007-09-09T01:19:11.592-04:00

And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? - Mark 8:34-37

Eritrea Christians Tortured

" We need to keep up our prayer vigil for the Christians in Eritrea," says Open Doors USA President Dr.Carl Moeller. "..The government keeps denying that persecution is taking place. But that is not the truth. There are at least 2,000 reasons for praying for our imprisoned brothers and sisters in Christ."

Fear none of those things which you will suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that you may be tried; and you shall have tribulation ten days; be faithful unto death, and I will give you a crown of life. - Revelation 2:10




The True Treasure

2007-09-07T02:20:16.186-04:00

If you could be granted one wish, what would you wish for? Would it be a full bank account? A house on the ocean? A new body? Or would you set your sights on something more worthy, more lasting, and much more valuable?
What we desire and seek after reveals the true nature of our heart; for Jesus Christ said in Matthew 6 that "where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." If you focus only on temporal things such as money, possessions or education you are revealing that you are trying to find satisfaction and happiness in things which are worthless in the light of eternity. You are making a treasure of that which will be destroyed.
So what is a lasting treasure? What is something you could put a value on, prize, and know that it would last for eternity? Ah, Jesus has the answer for that as well in Matthew 13, " Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."
Christ is comparing the gospel to a great treasure over which a man rejoices exceedingly, and nothing is too much to give to obtain it. The Gospel is a treasure because it is the message of how Christ has paid the price to redeem you from hell and give you access to the Father.
We as fallen humans are under the righteous judgment of God for our willful disobedience of His laws and stubborn refusal to submit to Him. But God who is rich in mercy sacrificed His own Son as an atonement for sin and now bids you repent and believe in Him for salvation. Turn from your sin and cling to Christ as your only hope to be saved from the wrath of the God you have rebelled against. Hebrews says, " For it is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgment." The time of reckoning is drawing near, and you will be judged for your sin if you do not turn to Christ as the only way to God. In His great love He bids you to come, extends a full and free forgiveness and cleansing of sin through the shed blood of His Son. This is a treasure worth having!
Full pardon of sin, a deep and personal relationship with a God who delights in doing good to those He has redeemed, a home being prepared in heaven by Christ...
Is not this treasure infinitely better than things of earth? Yes, it is a priceless treasure and so much so that all those other things seem but vain and empty in comparision. Things of earth are gladly exchanged so that we might share the good news of the Gospel in all the corners of the earth.
God is our true treasure and ought to be our true delight, all other things which we attempt to put in His place will but fall by the wayside, useless.



No More Night

2007-09-06T04:20:40.577-04:00

No more night. No more pain.
No more tears. Never crying again.
And praises to the great " I Am."
We will live in the light of the risen
Lamb.

All praises to the great " I Am."
We're gonna live in the light of the
risen Lamb.

~ No More Night ~


For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

~ 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 ~



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2007-09-03T20:09:15.228-04:00

Missions is the overflow of our delight in God because missions is the overflow of God's delight in being God.

Go. Send. Or Disobey.

John Piper



Romans 8:28

2007-08-27T23:40:49.880-04:00

All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

God's definition of good is that which works to transform us into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Therefore it is possible for a Christian to suffer - such as persecution- and still call it good because God promises that it IS good. If we only look at one point, there are thousands of God-honouring testimonies from Christians who were imprisoned, beaten, or martyred for their faith; of how their trust and love for Christ thrived under the pressure of suffering.



Speak, oh Lord

2007-08-28T00:08:57.657-04:00

Speak, oh Lord, as we come to You to receive the food of Your Holy Word. Take Your truth, plant it deep in us; shape and fashion us in Your likeness, that the light of Christ might be seen today in our acts of love and our deeds of faith. Speak, oh Lord, and fulfill in us all Your purposes for Your glory. ~ Keith Getty and Stuart Townend

" That the light of Christ might be seen today" ... indeed this is what I desire this morning, that as I go about my duties at work, Christ might shine through. I fall so short of what I should be, but desire to be a reflection of His character to the eyes of my unbelieving co-workers. To share and live out the gospel to them is my commission, yet knowing my weakness and failings, I hesitate. God is gracious though, and provides all I need to live for Him; and it is the Holy Spirit who brings forth Christlikeness in me. I need only lean on Him, seeking wisdom and grace, to find the help and courage I need in any situation.



The mind of Christ

2007-08-28T00:10:35.765-04:00

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:5-11