“Being confident of this.”
Philippians 1:6 – “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
The sad evidence of an unfinished project or an abandoned dream can be seen in practically every aspect of life.
A small diner/motel on the side of a country road all boarded up and listed for sale. A partially finished mansion surrounded by ‘no trespassing’ signs with its future stalled in the courtroom. A lot filled with old cars and trucks at various states of repair or more accurately disrepair. An incomplete manuscript or song, an exercise room collecting dust, a New Year’s resolution pasted on the fridge but ignored daily.
My spiritual life would probably be quite similar, unfinished in some areas and abandoned fully in others, if it were not for the amazing promise that He who began this good work in me will see it through to completion.
The One who has rescued me will continue to restore me. The One who calls me by name and gives me hope will never leave or forsake me. The One who loves me beyond reason will work all things together in my life for His good purpose. The One who started this transformation of my character into His likeness will not stop until it is complete.
Father in Heaven,
Thank You for beginning and continuing your good work in me until it is finished and I stand before You face to face.
You Are Passing Germs!
Every so often a fresh thought startles you much like a pheasant flushing from the underbrush as you hike through the woods. The pheasant has been there the whole time and would have remained unnoticed had you not stepped too close. The experience is at first frightening, but as seconds pass, fear shifts quickly to admiration for such a beautiful bird.
Some of life’s most unique insights are much like that. One day you stumble upon an insight and wonder, “How many times have I walked right by it, unaware?”
As you might suspect, I have had such an experience recently. I was re-reading some ancient history from the Older Testament of the Bible. The Israelite people were preparing to go to war and their preparation was at the stage where the commanding officers were to stand before them, give them a pep talk and dismiss those who would be excused from battle. It was the reasons for exclusion that first startled and later amazed me, in particular, the final reason.
The commanders said, “If any of you has built a new house but not yet had a chance to live in it, you’re excused.” What they were saying was that it would be a horrible shame if you got killed in battle and didn’t get to enjoy your new house, so you can go home. The second reason for exclusion was for those who had planted new vineyards but had not yet tasted any of the wine. The third reason was for those who were recently engaged to be married but hadn’t had the privilege of married life. Can you imagine if modern military operations observed that level of sensitivity? Then comes the final exclusion and it is shocking. Deuteronomy 20:8 says, “Then the officers shall add, ‘Is anyone afraid or fainthearted? Let him go home so that his fellow soldiers will not become disheartened too.’”
We don’t want anyone who’s scared in our army because fear is contagious!
As I read those words it was like a pheasant flushed right from where I was about to step. My heart beat wildly and my mind raced. I am contagious. My attitude, my outlook, my fear or optimism is not mine alone, it impacts everyone around me! In fact, I have such an impact that if I’m scared, they don’t even want me in the battle.
I’m not sure how many times I’ve walked by that insight without noticing it. I am contagious! Each room I enter, I bring something with me that influences the room for better or worse. The group I have coffee with, sit next to at a hockey game, worship beside, work with or live with are all significantly touched by my attitude.
The good news in this sobering thought is that impact does not need to be accidental. We can be focussed and intentional about the germs we carry. We can spread germs of hope and encouragement. We can infect people with optimism and joy. We can be carriers of gratitude. Or, we can drag people down in a variety of ways.
Within hours of reading this you will enter a room. It may be your family room or your office. It might be a Tim Horton’s or your bedroom. As you walk through the door remember: you are contagious. But you get to choose what germs you’ll spread.
Pastor Tim Schroeder
Reprinted with permission: http://www.kelownadailycourier.ca
“Live a life worthy.”
Ephesians 4:1 – “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”
After three jam-packed chapters reviewing the countless blessings we have received in Christ by grace alone, how we have been made alive and reconciled to others through Christ, and the incredible plans God has for us beyond anything we might think or imagine; Paul turns a very sharp corner.
Paul now pointedly challenges any who name Christ as their King to live out this holy calling in a worthy manner! And he doesn’t leave us guessing about what a worthy life looks like.
For the remaining three chapters of this powerful letter to the church in Ephesus we will be given clear instruction as to what this new life looks like in the Church, in our families, in our extended relationships, and in our day to day battles with the Enemy.
Beginning with this sobering and unpopular thought: I am to relate to Christ like a prisoner who is under the complete and absolute authority of another. Or like one who is fully submitted and surrendered, perhaps even bound, to a higher ruling and sovereign power. I’m reminded here, of the truth that I am not my own. I have been purchased at a great price. I’ve checked all of my personal belongings at the door and have entered a whole new reality.
And as a result of this amazing grace received and truth believed, I am now urged to live a life worthy of this calling. Christ commands my destiny.
Father in Heaven,
Being a prisoner to Christ brings freedom not bondage. Help me to live my life in a worthy manner reflecting Your glory and grace.
For God’s Sake (and yours) Take Care Of Yourself
Over the course of the last two weeks, I had the privilege of seeing the south east region of our province up close. When you tour the region by bicycle you see things typically missed at high speed. All I can say is that I am at a loss for words. There simply are not enough superlatives to describe the beauty of nature that surrounds us. Most days all I could say was, “Wow!”
The experience, although amazing, was also convicting. Often we look at sunsets and mountains, lakes and rivers, animals and birds, flowers and trees and marvel – and it’s right that we do. Many of us also take time to remember the Creator Who made it all and give thanks for blessing us so richly. Somewhere along the way, however, we have lost our fascination with the one part of God’s creation that crowns it all: the human body. Let me clarify that the human body I’m talking about does not belong to some super model or highly tuned athlete, it belongs to you.
As the ancient writer put it, “We are fearfully and wonderfully made.” As St. Paul put it, “Our bodies really are temples.” Yet somehow we have lost the sense of awe and respect our bodies deserve. Most of us have a heightened awareness of caring for creation. We are careful to avoid polluting our environment, contributing to climate change, mismanaging natural resources such as water or disposing of toxic materials irresponsibly. We are conscious of protecting endangered species. But, and you knew there was a but coming, many of us do not exercise the same level of respect for our own bodies. We pollute, neglect and abuse our bodies with regularity. Read More
3 BIG WORDS – Yes, Help, Wow!
Our Fall kick-off series concludes this weekend with WOW! What is that you are amazed and Wowed with that God is doing in your life?We have a very special weekend planned, so DON’T MISS IT! Join us this weekend – Saturday evening at 5:30 PM, Sunday morning at 9:00 AM and 11:00 AM.
If you can’t make it to the church – catch us on our LIVE STREAM – same days and times! www.trinitychurchkelowna.ca/livestream
“One thing I do.”
Philippians 3:13 – “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
‘Focus’ is such a tight and concise word. Easy to pronounce and popular to say and yet in my own life ‘focus’ is much harder to actually do. I think focus is difficult because there are so many opportunities and urgencies vying for my attention. Of course it doesn’t help matters when one loves to say ‘yes’ and finds it a challenge to say ‘no’. Or when my regrets about yesterday and my anxieties about tomorrow prevent me from truly focussing on today.
Regardless of my love/hate relationship with this whole concept of being able to focus I must continue in the battle for it is a worthy struggle.
Worthy because being able to focus will help me live fully in the present. Worthy because focus will assist me in prioritizing what matters most. Worthy because focus keeps my eyes on the prize and helps me to run the race set before me to win it.
When my last few breaths in this life approach I hope that I am able to whisper with complete confidence and genuine humility that if there was ‘one thing I did’ it was that I lived each day forgetting what was behind and straining to what lay ahead; namely the goal of loving, knowing and following my King.
Father in Heaven,
If there is one thing I do today may it be Your will for Your Kingdom in the name of Your Son.
Lately, I have caught myself thinking a lot about final moves. In July, my 92 year old mother decided it was time to give up her two level town home on the coast and move to supportive housing in Kelowna. While I am pleased that she has made that decision, my mind has been rather overactive as of late, trying to put all of the necessary pieces together. Her condo was listed and quickly sold, the movers have come and given their estimate for the move, and the process of going through a lifetime of treasures and memories is almost complete. Last month, we spent a weekend diving into closets, crawl spaces, the pantry, cupboards and storage areas identifying items and preparing for her move. Some of them I am sure had not seen the light of day for decades! Even though the decision to move was hers, it is up to us as her family to get her physically moved. I mentioned to Eve on our return from the coast, that it must be very sobering to see your life’s goods reduced to a number of boxes that have different destinations; either her new place, our place, friends places, the thrift store or the dump. Although mom has been good-natured about it, I know that it has been an emotionally exhausting process. Once she moves, she will be close to us and I can help her more adequately navigate through the final season of her life. It does, however, cause me to think about the stuff we own, and where much of it will ultimately end up. My prayer is that my mom will make the big move with grace and peace and that her final season will be one of reasonable health, new friends and happiness, with us close by. If you are in a similar situation and have elderly loved ones, you understand. If you are not there yet, you will be someday, when your parent really needs you. May God Bless you and your loved ones, with grace and peace, as you prepare for any final moves.
Pastor Brian Carlson for TRINITY CARE.
Stand In The Wind
A friend once gave a stirring talk in which he compared life to the building of a windmill. He said much time and technology is invested in the design of every aspect of a windmill from propeller blades to support structures. “However,” he added with a grin, “when all is said and done, nothing matters as much as placing the windmill in a windy place.”
I’ve never given much thought as to how much effort I expend sheltering myself from some of the harsher realities of life. Like complex filters put in place to keep harmful or annoying material from entering my computer, I’ve placed shields all around my life.
Something has happened this week that is causing me to question my sheltered lifestyle and consider lowering my guard. I am writing this from the Kootenays in the middle of the Cops For Kids Ride. Cops For Kids is a charitable foundation involving primarily members of the RCMP family dedicated to coming alongside children who have suffered a medical, physical or traumatic crisis in their young lives. It’s amazing how many innocent little ones, who through no fault of their own are forced to address harsh realities in their early years. Often they don’t fit any of societies systems and fall between the cracks. Read More