Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions: we all make them, but do we keep them? Almost every year I have vowed to lose weight and by January 7th, I am knee deep in Doritos again. In 2011, I am swearing by it  for medical reasons. At the stroke of midnight, new resolutions begin with the new year. Other years I have tried to "lose weight" or "work out more" or "spend less money". But why do we make New Years Resolutions? Part of me thinks it's simply superstition or kind of like checking your horoscope (which don't do, research it and you'll see why). However, new years bring new promises. We're not guaranteed tomorrow but every new day allows for opportunity to change. I know I've changed this year, there's been some dark times and good times, but God is always faithful and worth being faithful to.

I believe that self-motivated resolutions belong on the bottom of the list, for those who love the Lord. Read His word more, get involved.
Reese Roper of Five Iron Frenzy said it best in his song New Year's Eve, from their final album apporpriately titled The End is Near/Here. I leave you with his lyrics, Happy New Year and God Bless
J

It's New Years Eve and I'm full of empty promises, I half pretend to keep this time, just like last year. The band is loud and I'm wandering the shadows, wishing I was never here. I persevere. A crowded room, these whitewashed tombs, they raise their glasses high, they kiss the past goodbye.
This New Years Eve, I'm waiting for tomorrow. My heart is on my sleeve, and yes I still believe, this New Years Eve, will turn out better than before, I'm holding on, still holding out, until they close the door... on me.
It's New Years Eve and I feel my insecurities, are haunting me like ghosts, this sinking quicksand. And then with thunderous praise and lofty adoration, a second passes by, yet nothing changes. I hate my skin, this grave I'm standing in. Another change of years, and I wish I wasn't here.
A year goes by and I'm staring at my watch again, and I dig deep this time, for something greater than I've ever been, life to ancient wineskins. And I was blind but now I see.
This New Years Eve, something must change me inside, I'm crooked and misguided, and tired of being tired. This New Years Eve, I'm waiting for tomorrow. My heart is on my sleeve, and yes I still believe, in You.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas back in the day

Hello my friends, I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas! I have a couple more blogs to put up around the New Year continuing my series in Kings and then into Job and others. Also: JTI begins a teaching series on the book of Psalms in the new year, notes to be blogged.

2000 years ago God became a man in order to redeem humanity from the curse sin. We celebrate the birth and the arrival of the Messiah on December 25th. This time of year had always exited me ever since I was a kid. Although, now as an adult I can almost feel the pressure of a shopper even though I finished weeks ago. It breaks my heart to see grown ups acting like kids to fight over whatever big toy is selling. Despite the Christmas happiness, this is also a very sad time of the year for some people. Especially those who have lost loved ones. It has been 3 years since my Grandmother passed away. Four years since there was a big family deal at the house. Some family still gathers and visits but it's never the same without Grandma. She had over 25 grandchildren and great grandchildren and knew all their names, birthdays and interests. Truly an amazing woman. But life moves on. As a child, Christmas Eve was a big deal at the Hubbert house. Just about every child and grandchild got to Grandpa and Grandma's house for a huge dinner, gifts and some fun. My grandpa used to own a farm a few minutes outside of town and going to do chores with him became a nice tradition. We used to secret santa among the cousins and buy gifts accordingly. One year my baby cousin (at the time) got me Goofy Movie!! How awesome is that?

Someday I really want to have a family of my own to have similar traditions with. God willing that is not far down the road. Cheers to you this Christmas. Have fun and PLEASE be safe! I celebrate the day where you (Jesus) were born to die so I could one day pray for you to save my life.

PS. If you ever get the chance, go see Handel's Messiah at Center in the Square in downtown Kitchener (or any theatre for that matter). It is a remarkable interpretation of the Messiah. Here is a sneak preview done by the London Symphony Orchestra: Click Here to listen (fyi it is NOT the Hallejuah chorus)
Feliz Navidad!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Social Network Christmas

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sghwe4TYY18

This is a social network Christmas, imagine Jesus being born in our texting/tweeting/facebook-ing generation. It's worth a watch, so good.
Feliz Navidad

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

David vs Goliath: Remix

Early in his life, King David had an encounter that's been told by many people, on the green felt board in countless Sunday School classes. 1 Samuel 17 tells the common story of a young shepherd teenager and a 9 and a half foot giant.  Now, when researching this to teach in my Sunday School class some very interesting things.

1. I realized David was READY for Goliath: we're often told that David was this little, lowly, almost cowardly shepherd. However, 1 Samuel 17:32-37 tells us otherwise: But David said to Saul, "Your servant was tending his father's sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock, he took care of it!

35    I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him.
36    "Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God."
37    And David said, "The LORD who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul said to David, "Go, and may the LORD be with you."


Think about it: David, as a shepherd was already laying the smackdown on lions and bears (Dwight Schrute would be proud). He showed no fear towards this giant. Seriosuly, knowing God is on your side and protecting you from someone that huge, wouldn't you be the least bit scared?

2. David understood the power of faith: Verses 45-50 give us the conclusion to the climactic story:


45      Then David said to the Philistine, "You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted.
46    "This day the LORD will deliver you up into my hands, and I will strike you down and remove your head from you. And I will give the dead bodies of the army of the Philistines this day to the birds of the sky and the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel,
47    and that all this assembly may know that the LORD does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the LORD's and He will give you into our hands."
48    Then it happened when the Philistine rose and came and drew near to meet David, that David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine.
49    And David put his hand into his bag and took from it a stone and slung it, and struck the Philistine on his forehead. And the stone sank into his forehead, so that he fell on his face to the ground.
50    Thus David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and he struck the Philistine and killed him; but there was no sword in David's hand.


Say Whaaaaaaat? Yup! David killed the giant! wow! Jesus said in Luke and Matthew that if we have mustard seed sized faith NOTHING is impossible with God.
Goliath made the mistake of underestimating God and David and met his demise.

All of us carry a Goliath in our lives. It can be subtle and it can be obvious. Whatever it is, you can slay it and God will make all things possible. Trust him!!





Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Wisdom of Solomon

King Solomon was considered the wisest man who ever lived, although he had a downfall God was able to use him for great things. Solmon was married to 700 wives and had 300 concubines (basically prostitutes).  That alone can spell trouble. First, being married to THAT many women means you have 700 mother-in-laws (snap) also, poligamy although common back then is just... so wrong and also disputes God's design for marriage. Let'ts look at the dictionary meaning for wisdom:
a deep understanding and realizing of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to choose or act to consistently produce the optimum results with a minimum of time and energy

Many compare being smart to being wise, but both are very different. Being smart means that you have alot of knowledge, you can be smart and unintelligent.
Wisdom takes action, if we are smart/intelligent then we must prove it. In Iron Man 2, Tony Stark,  believing he is going to die decided to celebrate his potentially last birthday in style. He gets drunk in his Iron Man suit, abusing the powers he created. He also endangered lives by using his rocket launcher to impress the ladies (come on guys, would you do the same thing? :P) So, this called for Luitenant James Rhodes don the War Machine suit to battle him. Stark refused help because he was convinced he was dead and had to learn thr hard way after he and War Machine had an epic battle, and later apologized for releasing military drones. Tony had to learn wisdom the hard way.

Solomon ASKED for wisdom in 1 Kings 3, God answered his prayer for it, as long as he did things God's way. There are a few things that is seen in Solomon's wisdom:
1. Wisdom before God enables us to handle the everyday: to understand that life changes. Ecclesiates 3 (written by Solomon)  goes over the various emotions we go through in life.Verses 4-6 tell us that it is actually healthy to let out our emotions (yes guys, it is good to cry contrary to popular belief). When stress enters our lives a chemical called cortisol is released in our bodies in short bursts going to the muscles so we can act and think faster. Nowadays, stress levels are so high that cortisol pumps constantly. One problem: cortisol eats our insides. So... how do we cope with stress? Prayer, finding ways to calm down etc.


2. Wisdom gives us a choice: Proverbs 25 and 26 have little... well.. "proverbs" contrasting life choices.

When God gives us things like wisdom and patience, we are also given opportunites to be wise and patient. So, think of ways we can be loving and patient when we are on the bus, or the person infront of you cuts you off. Think before acting.

Finally (yes, it's been a long blog.... long time since I have been on haha) When it is all said and done, one thing matters to Solomon: Although life and it's pain is temporary, God's love is ETERNAL. We have been put on earth to glorify him and encourage others in the process. I leave you with this:

.Hebrews 12:
1    Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
2    fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3    For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Pain

Pain. We all go through it at some point or another. Different people react to it differently. I know there has been a LOT of pain in my life, even recently. Emotional pain has usually always got the best and worst of me, Ecclesiastes 7:2 tells us that "we can learn more at a funeral than at a feast" (The Message). Although this seems harsh, it is very true. God gives us painful times (check Ecclesiastes 3, there is a time for everything!). Some people chose to cry out their pain, some get violent and some self-injure or cut. Some also keep it in, and that's what I have done for most of my life. Although I really want to cry it out (or somehow let my pain out) I have gone that way. A prime example of this was 3 years ago, June 2007. My Grandmother passed and due to her illness I knew it was inevitable, I was pretty upset, stunned actually. I could not react at all. One of my cousins on the other hand, pounded walls and maybe even the coffin (I cannot remember) in angry sorrow. Verse 3 mentions that "crying is better than laughing" and I see elements of truth in it because pain teaches us lessons: how do deal with pain in a healthy manner and strengthens us in the long run when more comes in life.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Coming Home

I have had the Prodigal Son on my mind lately. It's truly a great parable of Jesus and it speaks directly into my life. Like, going away from the father (God) only to have him like waiting for you upon return? Wow! how great is God's love eh? No matter what happens God the father is waiting!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Do Christians have to go to church?

The other day I was having a conversation with my brother about church. He owns a grocery store and asked me a question. Do (you) Christians HAVE to go to church? (My brother is not a believer). He asks this because as a boss and employer he has the right to schedule people shifts for a Sunday. One of his employees asked for Sunday off and said "I HAVE to go to church Sunday, I cannot work". For so long religion (mostly Christianity) has controlled a lot of government related things including store hours. In recent years, Christiaity has had less and less to do with it. And in this bloggers opinion, rightfully so. As solid a beliver as I think I might be, I am also a big beliver in equal rights. My bro then followed with "If Christians can be fired over refusing to work Sunday, then why can't a Muslim take their turban or burka off when being inspected at the border?" Wow. that's tough and it's odd to see that Islam have such a stranglehold on the world? Must be threats of exteremists. It's also tragic that all Muslims are pegged as dangerous, when in reality the extermists are misinterpreting their relgions' scripture. The few Muslims that I know personally are very gentle and dare I say Christ like.  The Lords Day Act, which controlled store hours until the 90's was the excuse I have heard many use. Jesus Christ died for such things. We do not need to be bound to the law, Jesus did not change the law he fulfilled it.

On the surface, it looks petty and I told my bro that no, we dont have do, we chose to go to a building to worship God, sing praise songs and hear a preacher teach us about God so our faith becomes more solid and we grow in it. This particular person is either really chained to the law, an avid Christian or wanting their rights.

Now this is quite a hard question to ask, and even harder to answer. But the short answer is no. Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus say "Go to church or temple, etc".  However, being part of a body of believers is helpful in the edification of the believer. The bible does teach the importance of fellowship with other believers. But, you can perhaps do such a thing outside of church. Why not the apartment? Home? College dorm? I am not saying don't go to church, it is rather important. But rather try and expand your horizons.  EBC has weekly PJ's and Praise nights where we sing and hear a message from a student

Yes, going to church is important and I believe Christians should, but if a job gets in the way of the weekly feed of the word, do not fret. We live in a technological age filled with youtube, iTunes and Podcasts that give us preachers, teachers and alike. We need a job to live, but more importantly we also need to grow in our faith.

I encourage you to share your thoughts. Do YOU think it's vital for Christians to go to church every Sunday? And what of jobs that demand Sunday shifts. Would you take them? Would you risk losing money and even worse your way of living (home/apartment/water/electricity).  ? Such things would totally teach us more faith in God.
But please, share your thoughts and lets debate.

I leave you with this verse about fellowship:  "That their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself."
Colossians 2:2

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Be a Hero

What comes to mind when we think of the word Hero? Maybe fictional characters like Peter Parker, Clark Kent or Bruce Banner who's superpowers turn them into Spiderman, Superman and the Incredible Hulk respectively to rid the world of evil. The television show Heroes, with characters like Peter Petrelli and Hiro Nakamura
Or perhaps we see them as soldiers, police officers and fire fighters who risk their lives every day for the good of society. However, every person can potentially be a hero by the choices we make, the people we inspire or the situations we see people go through. Such situations are depicted in the song Hero by Superchick. Now...my buddy at Selah will rant me endlessly for talkling about a superchick song but hear me out. The song opens with a young boy who cannot fit in a crowd. He's suicidal, and there's a chance little or none is known about it. People refuse to let the boy in. The first verse ends with "or he goes back to school with a gun at his side, any kindness from you may of saved his life." The next verse talkes about a young woman who cuts, then on to a boy who does what we wants and his brother idolizes him. Finally, I must share the last part which is rapped by Matt Daily:

Little Mikey-Dee was the one in class
Who everyday got brutally harassed
This went on for years
Till he decided that never again would he shed another tear
So he walked through the door
And grabbed the .44 out of his father's dresser drawer
He said 'I can't take life no more'
And like that a life can be lost
But this ain't even about that
All of us just sat back and watched it happen
Thinking its not our responsibility
To solve a problem that isn't even about me
This is our problem.
This is just one of the daily scenarios
In which we choose to close our eyes
Instead of doing the right thing
If we make a choice and be the voice
For those who won't speak up for themselves
How many lives would be saved, changed, rearranged?
Now it's our time to pick a side.
So don't keep walking by not wanting to intervene,
Cause you just want to exist and never be seen.
So lets wake up, change the world
Our time is now.


how many times have we walked away and ignored these issues? How many times do we just diagnose these hurt people as outcasts, mentally ill, suicidal, depressed etc. They get labelled and let them take care of themselves. This IS our problem, we cannot ignore these situations. Heroes are those who do what is right! They fight for the weak, they make them believe in themselves and eventually in the healing power of God.

Suidical people do not need to be forced the gospel because it will "make life better" no! They need someone to care, a hero is someone who is always there for someone in need. To love and support and at times, yes fight evil. The evils of drug abuse, violence, broken homes, alcoholism and demonic forces than can attack them. Be a mentor to a young person, or find the broken person described above.

Be a hero. save a life, do whats right. Influence.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

What is lust?

The difference between love and lust is pretty easy right? Usually when someone talks about lust in Christian circles, it usually pertains to sexual things (pornography, nudity, gratuity etc.). But what really is lusting? Surely is has more meaning that simply sexual things. Lets look at the dictionary meaning:

1. Intense or unrestrained sexual craving.
2. a. An overwhelming desire or craving: a lust for power.
b. Intense eagerness or enthusiasm: a lust for life.
3. Obsolete Pleasure; relish.
intr.v. lust·ed, lust·ing, lusts
To have an intense or obsessive desire, especially one that is sexual.

Lust for power: now, let's look at some of the kings of the Old Testament. Like Manasseh, the most wicked of all kings. His father Hezekiah was one of the best, but Manasseh did not follow suit. Tragically he killed several God followers and prophets. He wanted power over Jerusalem. Queen Athaliah wanted all in David's kingdom dead, in order to get power. And several more.

lust for life: now, this is usually not very frowned upon, as most lust is. Perhaps it could be someone who lives each day like it was their last. (cliff jumping, bungee, dangerous things etc.) Or someone just enthusiastic and glad to be alive (ever meet these people? Ever notice many think they are on some kind of drugs or are usually ski instructors?)

Intense sexual drive: well, there's a difference between liking a potential mate and lusting after them. When you like a girl, you think she's attractive, has a nice smile and a good body. Usually nothing more. When you lust, it goes a little far: describing in detail their bodily attributes and what you want to do with them in a sexual way. Strongly desiring something like that is lust. Or having a strong desire for ANYTHING can be lust. "I really want the iPad by any means." ( I really dont, the iPad looks LAME, but my point being).

Look at your desires, ask God if they are lust.

Lust comes in many forms: pornography, shopping (yes! addictive shopping can be. If you want more "stuff") and many others. Look at your life. Lust is a dangerous slope to be walking on.

Get on the straight and narrow

JTI over and out.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Psalm 51: Remix.

I was journaling today in my Message Solo Devotional Bible and todays entry was about Psalm 51. Now, often we think of this Psalm as David crying out to God for forgiveness after having intercourse with Bathsheeba. The reader (including me) seems to make sin the bigger issue than the love one has for God. It's like I love God too much to fall into certain sins. The sin itself becomes a big issue because we disobey God. Sin likely affects God more than it does us because we created it and God is holy, perfect and pure. Although we are affected because of the consequences that follow. Lets look at God and not the sin itself (like: oh! I did this again. Woe is me!). We make sin the bigger issue because of the heavy guilt involved. It's tough to hang on to and I tend to do the same. My past sucked and I have alot of baggage. I seem to hang onto it, but an amazing friend has been telling me otherwise. That I am moving forward! I encourage you all to do the same. Move far from your past, it's already forgiven!

Anyways. The rest of this devo called for me to rewrite or paraphrase Psalm 51:1-13 here it goes:

Loving God. Give me grace and love. Clean my slate and erase my guilt. I know how terrible I have been because I have angered only you. and am paying dearly for it. I deserve death, punishment, suffering and eternal damnation for the way I have treated others and you. God, you are just and I do deserve my punishments. Abba Father, restart my life and help me move forward; far away from my troubled past. Wash me clean and pure, cleaner than a new car. More pure than an untouched virgin. Put joyful worship songs in my heart and never forget me. Love me and move forward with me. Never let me go
Amen

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Venting

It's been a while. A hard month, but God is growing in me. Speaking some awesome things to my heart and using some amazing friends to pull my face out of the dirt. I have needed a place to vent, via journal or texting and even sharing some laughs with friends. It all helps. So does my devotionals. Finally I get back into a good devo routine.

This week was an emotional struggle for many reasons, and I found this poem in my journal from the 27th.

Jesus Christ: collector of my tears, eraser of my fears
In the light, you are there. In the dark you are there.
In sin, sadness, gladness and sadness. Even when life seems unfair.
Take me as I am, to a place where I cannot be damned.
Heavyhearted, I seek your face. To drop my burdens at the cross.
To that on high place.

I am praising and trusting God no matter what. Sometimes we gotta walk the dark valleys to reach the light. I'm chasing it Lord! and I know you are there. My heart will sing how great you are!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Untitled Blog

To forewarn the reader: this is an area I have talked little about, it might be delicate or hard to read. I would appreciate prayer about this.







Depression: The word alone kinda puts my head down. For several years I've wondered what is was and if I actually have it. The dictionary meaning of it is: a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.

Late into my teens (actually between 18-20). I experienced what I thought was a form of depression. I have told many people of my former alcohol problem leading to my "dark period". At this time I strongly contemplated suicide and even had a note memorized. The only thing I needed was something to end it with. I felt worthless and helpless. Around this time I was meeting with a friend who was disciplng me. After giving my life to Christ, I thought my bought with depression was over. Some nights of sad came back several times. Including as recent as tonight, as I blog I am not feeling the greatest. I know people who have real diagnosed depression and is likely different than me. It's tough, but I know that God will get me past them. As I speak, I am praying and getting some text support too.

God is at the forefront of the healing process, even if I feel He's not there. He is the reason I live. Through depressive episodes I am reminded of a few things: that I must find joy in suffering. I admit I cannot do it sometimes, but thinking of it helps. Second: Pray without ceasing. It sounds cliche' to some, but constant communion with My Lord helps any bad day. No matter what.

If you feel depressed, seek God's face. Seek His word, pray. It does help. Keep God first.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Winter/Spring Semester

Now, as I sit at home in Cannington, thinking of another semester flown by faster than the speed of sound; I am reminded of many things. This was a period of rebuilding. Shortly before I began the semester, I kind of felt like the Six Million Dollar Man. God was kind of like the team of doctors working on Stephen Austin (not to be confused with the wrestler) saying "we can rebuild him, we have the technology."

As the semester began, so did my new internship at Benton Street Baptist. Those who know me well know I've said I'd likely not do church ministry because of what happened at my home church. But I did not let that try to bring me down. BSBC immediately became home for me. The first time I walked into the sanctuary I was welcomed and even directed to where other college students sit. Bonus: there was a college lunch that day ( free lunch + broke college student + meeting new peeps= great church. As the semester wore on, I was challenged and stretched in many different ways. For years I have struggled with confidence and self-esteem and through some coaching and opportunities given, I have made slight improvements in both. I told Jaye I wanted opportunities to teach devotionals and Sunday School. I think most of my lessons went well. I was also given leadership opportunities to run game nights and a special theme night. The theme night was Aloha-Mazing Race. After a lot of prep and work, the night was on. I manned the coconut bowling station, fun. The night ended with Iron Gut and two powerful videos. Overall, I loved running a theme night. So much fun. After Aloha was Montreal which I already blogged about.

Some of my favorite youth nights were the Ekklesia Worship nights. God was moving through everyone in several special ways. One night in particular was the last one in March. Earlier in the week I had a very intense spiritual attack. I was broken, stressed and over tired. Almost immediately into the service God collided with me with the force of a dropkick to the chest. The songs nearly brought me to tears, especially How He Loves Us. All of my stress was gone.

The rest of the semester flew by, my last essays were approaching and managed to get them done just in time. The last few youth nights went well, especially when we served breakfast on Easter Sunday. Just a lot of fun, washing dishes, serving burnt bacon (haha jokes) and yummy pancakes to the Benton family. My final youth night consisted of a famine party. Closing out the 30 hours with 3 kinds of cake and freshly shipped Montreal Bagels. I totally enjoyed working with Jaye, Marcel and the other leadership staff and look forward to once again being back in the fall. The youth there are fantastic, some of which are fellow bloggers. JTI loves all of you!

Overall, this semester was enjoyable. I had some emotionally and spiritually exhausting times, but God was working awesomely through them. New friendships formed both at church and school that mean a lot to me. You know who you are! Sending love. Now I eagerly await the fall, when I see my epic friends again and continue my internship.

God is great!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Lord's Calling

Over the past few years, I have been trying to find my calling in life. It dates way back to 2003: high school graduation was on the horizon and I was looking at some college options. I was going to graduate the previous year and work with my father, but I decided to stick around for a 5th year of Brock High. I was in an interesting graduating class, being in the last grade to get OAC's I had to take up the opportunity. OAC (Ontario Academic Credit) was formerly known as grade 13 before being canceled in 2003. This meant I was graduating with all of the grade 12's under me. It was cool, but their cirriculum was so different. And it was only a one year difference.

So, with all of the options in my mind I began looking at various colleges. I toured Durham in Oshawa, where I wanted to take Sports Management. I once had a dream to run an arena, or heck! Work for the Leafs but no go. I also wanted to do Crime Scene Photography at Flemming in Peterborough after a year of work, but needed stupid credits that the new curriculum called for. Despite the fact I graduated under the old one. Looking back, I am glad those fell through the cracks. I don't think God wanted me to do those things.

It took re-dedicating my life to Chirst in fall 2004 to find my true calling. God got my attention and guided me into youth ministry at my home church. This is where I felt God telling me to go to college and here I am. It took some praying and searching but I found an area of ministry that fits. Now I serve at an awesome church with an incredible pastoral staff and great youth. Now, I hear God calling me to Africa, which I explained in an earlier blog. It's so great to get opportunities that potentially allow me to grow in my relationship with Christ and in my abilities and confidence (that comes from Jesus!)

So, what is your calling? Are you really sure?

I leave you with some verses to meditate on:

"Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass ... Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him." (Psalm 37:4,7)

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5)

Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left' Isaiah 30:21

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach.
James 1:5

Dandelions

In a field of yellow flowers underneath the sun,
bluest eyes that spark with lightning,
boy with shoes undone.
He is young,
so full of hope,
reveling in tiny dreams,
filling up his arms with flowers,
right for giving any queen.
Running to her beaming bright,
cradling his prize.
a flickering of yellow light,
within his mother's eyes.
She holds them to her heart,
keeping them where they'll be safe,
clasped within her very marrow,
dandelions in a vase.

She sees love where anyone else would see
weeds,
all hope is found, here is everything he needs.

Fathomless your endless mercy,
weight I could not lift.
Where do I fit in this puzzle,
what good are these gifts?
Not a martyr,
or a saint.
Scarcely can I struggle through,
all that I have ever wanted,
was to give my best to you.

Lord, search my heart,
create in me something clean,
dandelions,
you see flowers in these weeds.

Gently lifting hands to heaven,
softened by the sweetest hush,
a Father sings over his children,
loving them so very much.
More than words could warrant,
deeper than the darkest blue,
all that I have ever wanted,
was to give my heart to you.

written by Reese Roper: Five Iron Frenzy

(c) 1997 Five Minute Walk Records


Friday, April 2, 2010

Africa

I am not sure why but my heart lately has been going to one place: Africa. Pastor Jaye made me aware of a village in Kenya called Metaganwe (Met-ang-way). An organization called Caring Partners Global has some ties with Benton Street Baptist. CPG helps get health insurance to people. It costs $35/ year and many people cannot afford it. I've supported some of my friends who are going this year to get electricity to the village and help build some things there. Next year, the necessary buildings will be complete and will need workers. This is where I could come in. I just do not know, part of me wants to go to experience another culture. To see how the love of Christ affects the poor. I hear that despite the fact they have nothing, they are way more happy than North Americans. This is something I need to pray for and need hardcore prayer for.
Does God really want me to go? Those who know me well know that I said I'd never go on missions trips but I kinda hear God leading me here. I've also downloaded some worship songs by The Daraja Children Choir. They have songs with renowned worship singers like Mac Powell, Aaron Shust and Steve Fee. Hearing them sing to Jesus tugs at my heart. Also feels like a call. Lord! Send me to world, to the poor and hungry. This is an opportunity to do something with my faith. Please pray. This could be a huge turning point.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Finding Jesus in Montreal



During March Break, I traveled to Montreal with some of the youth I work with at Benton Street Baptist. Pastor Jaye, who is originally from there toured us around various parts of the city. March 14-18 were the days. First, the drive was fun. 7 People crammed into a van, and it was a tight space despite the fact a baby was with us. Jaye's daughter made our trip fun. 6 Hours is a long time to spend in a van. Ouch. We arrived at Montreal just in time for supper and after some good food we settled in for the night.

Monday was fantastic: We met Ron, a missionary in the city. He works with homeless people in the biggest gay village in North America. Talk about a mission field! What hit home for me was that he called all these people his friends. He knows of many people who died from murder, OD, suicide etc. His challenge was simple: Dont cast someone aside cuz they're different. He told a story about a youth pastor who was fired after some event flopping or something... then, she was told: "take 3 months off, quit smoking and get rid of your tattoos.. such a thing have no place in Christians." It ticks me off that senseless rules have become attached to our faith that have no scriptural merit. Example: tattoos, hats and wearing suits to church. It saddens me to see people making big deals about pastors wearing jeans. Grow up and take the log out of your eye.
Ron's talk reminded me of the Parable of the Good Samaritan: I have seen homeless people cast aside by many so-called believers. Our love should be boundless like Gods. We had general tao chicken this night (Craig). I know God's protection because, this day I walked all over Montreal from Ste Catherine to who knows where with Leafs apparrel on. And I did not get jumped, I got one comment about being in enemy territory in a store. Thats it! wow!

Had real smoked meat too...... oooohhhhh.

Tuesday was a bit more of a serious day. We saw St.Joseph's oratory. Quite a sight to see, beautiful but so idolatrous. They set the father of Jesus to be some kind of saint.. or Christ. By saying Joseph is the healer, terror of demons and junk. I have to disagree. We then followed it with a trip to the Holocaust Museum. Wow. That place was so depressing it's conjuring up tears thinking about it. The evil of some people is beyond me. A whole nation supported the crazy ramblings of one man, and because of it almost an entire race was destroyed. Seeing this almost made me feel guilty to be German. I mean, I do not support Hitler obviously, but my lineage. Possibly even some in my bloodline went through this, and fought for Adolf. I read a book called Night, about a man who survived the death camps in Auschwitz. Totally made me cry. I dared to ask "Why would God allow this to his chosen race?"

Wednesday was filled with sight seeing and food. Montreal bagels... mmmmmmm. The Bio-dome was pretty cool, 4 different climates in one building. Nice diversity in God's creation. That night, we went to the youth center Jaye built and did some rock climbing. I HATE heights...HATE them. But I tried anyways, got about 10 feet up and down. The teens were doing very well, even going many times. One of them, was having difficulty. Jaye stopped what he was doing and gave the young lady sound help. "You WILL do this, put your foot there, push up" and so on. He then challenged us on lining our values with the bible, taking constructive criticism and encouragement. It's one thing to say "you can do it" but to mean it is different.

Thursday was home and traveling. Overall, I experienced a lot in Montreal. It's a culturally different city, not christian at all. There are cathedrals everywhere, but the whole province has about a 0.1% Christians!! How can you find Jesus there? You gotta look hard. You can find Him in the homeless and in some people there. The museum changed me forever. It was so hard to be there but glad I know what I know about it. I would love to go the city again! Theres so much more to say.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Listener

Since I have been an intern at a local church I have learned the importance of listening. It is tough when I have the attention span of the dog from Up... SQUIRREL !!
but when they begin talking about tough issues, I must listen. There was an instance last night and I wont go into details. It was the first time I had such an experience with youth, there is a trust factor involved. Trust for confidentiality. As well as encouragement. I enjoy the conversations I have with youth, learning the difficulties they face and as a leader I can direct them gradually to a Christ-centered focused. For those who don't know Christ as their Savior, exposure to a Christian atmosphere would enable them to make a choice. Forcing the gospel down their throat would not likely go over well. Ministry is relational, and is how Jesus did it. Does not mean we should not challenge people to change. That's where my teaching comes in. I want to challenge the youth but not be so intense and forceful.

I am totally enjoying the ministry I am doing. Perhaps I shall work in a church after all.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Legacy

Last week, I recieved news that my best friend Matt's mother passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer. Legacy is one word I use to describe Donna Gallant. Matthew (Selah) has been a very positive influence in my life. His brother Micah has brought me laughter and heart attacks (back when he drove for our youth group... he was crazy :P)
She planted seeds of the gospel into my heart at an early age. I think I was about maybe 6 or 7 and my mother got a phone call inviting me to a VBS at her house. I vaguely remember going there, playing in the field that overlooked Cannington and learning about Creation, singing a few old school Jesus songs. The Gallant's old house was right near the top of the hill on Park Street, just near the Water Tower with Zachy's Hill just a stone's throw away. Anywho, back on track: Mrs. Gallant was also a substitute teacher while I was in Elementary at old CPS and I remember having her frequently coming in subbing for whoever was sick or away. As a kid, I (and the other classmates... I am not alone here) would likely drive her nuts, but still saw a loving twinkle in her eye as she served the kids in various classes.

Perhaps my favorite memory of Mrs. Gallant is at hockey games. Matthew spent several years as a goalie for my brother's hockey teams, through bad weather and strange new towns like Manvers and northern towns of Haliburton and Minden she took her son (and others who needed rides) with dedication. She was also a very enthusiastic audience member, with literal bells and whistles. Every time I return home for KBHL Hockey, I hear a ringing in my ears. I miss that. I miss the community that came with our hockey. Donna was a strong woman, with a passion for evangelism, Sunday School and Creation. Her attitude was always positive. Always.

Legacy is what she left, her great qualities were passed down to 3 great children to pass on to their future generations. Matt, Micah, Megan: May God bless you as you pass on this legacy.

Donna, thank you for the Godly example you left.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Overpaid

The NHL, MLB, NFL, NBA, CFL... etc. Although I am a fan of most, is bleeding the economy dry. Look at how much some of the athletes make:

See that? Terrible. Shows awful greed. Sure when your famous you get fan revenue, sponsorship deals and such but $100 in one year, Tiger Woods? No. To be honest, I'd hate to be rich, having so much money not knowing what to do with would suck and lead to temptation in the world of drugs, alcohol and other vices.

Actors are overpaid as well. For what? entertaining us (except if your name is Seth Rogen... he sucks).

I often ask why these people are paid do dang much? and people who work way harder than any combination of them combined gets barely enough... it's stupid.

ATTENTION ATHLETES AND ACTORS: YOU DO NOT DESERVE YOUR INSANELY HIGH WAGES!!! ASK FOR A HUGE PAY CUT!

Here's a suggstion: they should either make minimum wage, or have a MANDATORY clause in their contract stating they must give at least 1/2 of their money away to a good charity (clean water in Africa, AIDS, Tsunami relief, Haiti etc).

Perhaps this kind of pay cut would help poverty. Perhaps I am bitter... perhaps we cold start a revolution?