The Weekend Funnies – What’s Our Purpose?

Throughout history, mankind has wrestled with deep questions, like:

What is the meaning of life? What’s our purpose? Why are we here?

In this week’s comic strip, theologian Hobbes offers… um… a distinctly feline perspective to Calvin…?!?

Calvin & Hobbes - why are we here

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14).

Calvin & Hobbes (c) 2014 Bill Waterson.

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One of our Annual Family #Christmas Traditions – #OperationChristmasChild

One of our annual family Christmas traditions includes packing some shoeboxes for Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child. My wife Liza and I take our kids to the local dollar store to choose items to pack their own shoeboxes for needy children around the world. We want to teach them that the true spirit of Christmas isn’t about getting – it’s about giving.

Operation Christmas Child (1)Operation Christmas Child (5)

Operation Christmas Child (3)Operation Christmas Child (2)

If you’re not familiar with O.C.C. here are some facts from their website. If you’ve never packed a shoebox before, I encourage you to get involved – there are still three more days left, and there’s a drop-off centre near you!

Operation Christmas Child provides an opportunity for people of all ages to be involved in a simple, hands-on project of Samaritan’s Purse that focuses on the true meaning of Christmas – Jesus Christ – God’s greatest gift.

How it works: Each shoebox is filled by Canadians with hygiene items, school supplies, toys, and candy, and is given to children regardless of gender, race, or religion.

History: Operation Christmas Child was started in 1990. In 1993, Operation Christmas Child grew and was adopted by Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian organization run by Franklin Graham. To date, Operation Christmas Child has collected and distributed over 100 million shoebox gifts worldwide. In 2013, Canadians donated more than 664,000 Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes for hurting children around the world.

For more info, visit: Operation Christmas Child

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Life is a Highway – #Sermon of the Week

TRANSFORMATION #6: LIFE IS A HIGHWAY

(Beausejour Church – Pastor Chris Jordan)

To listen to or download the audio MP3, click HERE.

life is a highway

REVIEW THE TRANSFORMATION SERIES:

For the past two months, we have been going through the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7.  We have learned that when we put God’s Word into practice in our lives, we can be transformed.

INTRO TO TOPIC: Many people have used roads as imagery or symbolism for our lives:

A. THE ROAD NOT TAKEN: Robert Frost

“I shall be telling this with a sigh, Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

B. LIFE IS A HIGHWAY: Rascal Flatts

“Life’s like a road that you travel on, there’s one day here and the next day gone” 

THE BIG IDEA: Jesus teaches us that life is like a highway and we can choose a road that leads to death and destruction, or a road that leads to life and blessing.

1.  THE BOOMERANG BLESSING:

1 Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. 6 Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.” (Matt. 7:1-6).

  • The first verse in this chapter is one of the most quoted by non-Christians.
  • One of our foundational values in this church is love, acceptance and forgiveness.
  • “If you come around here, we’re going to love you: unconditionally, always, and under every circumstance.” (Quote Jerry Cook. Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness).

PARALLEL PASSAGE:

“Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:36-38).

ILLUSTRATE: This is the boomerang blessing! You will receive what you give!

  • Do you know how a boomerang works? You throw it and it returns to you.
  • JOKE: What do you call a boomerang that doesn’t come back? A stick!
  • Throw different balls back & forth to show how what I throw is what comes back to me.
  • If you give mercy, you will receive mercy. If you give forgiveness, you will be forgiven.
  • If you give judgment, you will receive judgment back. What you give, you will receive.

KEY VERSE: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (v.12).

  • Why did Jesus say this? Because He knew the law of sowing and reaping: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” (Gal. 6:7)
  • If you plant carrot seeds, what will you grow? Carrots!

2.  PRAYER AND THE GOODNESS OF GOD:

7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 9 Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matt. 7:7-11).

  • Here Jesus reminds us of the Goodness of God – He wants to bless His children!
  • God is a good God! He loves to give good gifts and blessings to His children.

3.  THE HIGHWAY TO HEAVEN AND HELL:

13 Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the road which leads to life, and there are few who find it. 15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. 21 Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (v.13-23).

  • Jesus uses a word picture here to tell us that life is a highway:
  • There are two roads we can travel on in life – the road to Heaven or hell.
  • The wide gate leads to destruction, but the narrow gate leads to life and blessing.
  • Being a Christian isn’t just about being religious; it’s about knowing Jesus personally.

 

TRANSFORMATION – CONCLUSION:

24 Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” 28 And so it was, when Jesus had ended these sayings, that the people were astonished at His teaching, 29 for He taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.” (v.24-29).

  • Life is a highway – you can walk on the wide road that leads to death and destruction, or you can walk on the narrow road that leads to life. The choice is yours!
  • Do you want to experience life and transformation? Build your life on God’s Word!

 

Beausejour Community Church Website: www.beausejourchurch.ca

Pastor Chris Jordan’s Blog: http://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/

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The Weeknd Funnies – on #TV and Passive #Entertainment

One of the themes Bill Waterson visited repeatedly in his Calvin and Hobbes comic strips was the influence of the media – and especially television – on people. Although TV is not necessarily bad or evil (we have cable, Netflix, and a BlueRayTM player in our home), it can definitely become a time-waster, distraction, or even an idol if we let it.

Do you watch too much TV in your house??

Calvin & Hobbes - TV 6

Here are some of my other blogs with Calvin and Hobbes strips about TV or the media:

Calvin and Hobbes (c) 2014 Bill Waterson.

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On the #Bookshelf – Just Finished Reading #BeforeAmen by #MaxLucado (Post #600)

before amen bookI love to read – it is one of my favourite past-times. Sometimes I just like to read a good old fashioned fantasy or fiction novel, but other times I like to read deep spiritual or inspirational books that challenge my thinking, teach me new things, or help me grow.

One of my favourite topics of study is prayer, and I would daresay that I have well over a whole shelf dedicated to books on this topic.

This past week, I picked up Max Lucado’s latest book Before Amen: The Power of a Simple Prayer. I was very much challenged and encouraged by this book, and wanted to share with you some of my favourite quotes from the book:

“We have our doubts about prayer. And we have our checkered history with prayer: unmet expectations, unanswered requests. We can barely genuflect for the scar tissue on our knees. God, to some, is the ultimate heartbreaker. Why keep tossing the coins of our longings into a silent pool?”

“Jesus ascended the mountain (of prayer) depleted. He reappeared invigorated… Do you think the disciples make the prayer-power connection? “Lord, teach us to pray like that. Teach us to find strength in prayer. To defy storms in prayer. To come off the mountain of prayer with the authority of a prince.”

“It seems to me that the prayers of the Bible can be distilled into one. The result is a simple, easy-to-remember, pocked-size prayer:

  • Father,
  • you are good.
  • I need help. Heal me and forgive me.
  • They need help.
  • Thank you.
  • In Jesus’ name, amen.”

“Jesus waits on the porch. He stands on the threshold. He taps… and calls. He waits for you to open the door. To pray is to open it. Prayer is the hand of faith on the door handle of your heart. The willing pull. The happy welcome to Jesus: “Come in, O King. Come in.”

Jesus taught us to being our prayers by saying, “Our Father in heaven” (Matt. 6:9). More specifically, our “Abba in heaven.” Abba is an intimate, tender, folksy, pedestrian term, the warmest of the Aramaic words for “father.” Formality stripped away. Proximity promised. Jesus invites us to approach God the way a child approaches his or her daddy… Become as little children. Carefree. Joy filled. Playful. Curious. Excited… Come to God the way a child comes to Daddy.”

“Friend, it’s a stormy world out there. Every day brings turbulence. Moody economy. Aging bodies. Declining job market. Increasing street violence. The question during these troubling times is this: Do we have a good pilot? The resounding response of the Bible is yes!”

“Question: If your unresolved guilt manifested itself in tattoos, how marked up would you be? … Dig around in the basement of our souls, and what do we find? Wasted years. Perversions. Destructive diversions. Anger at parents or exes. Selfishness. Arrogance. Racial slurs. We’ve cheated on exams, cheated on friends. The consequences can be ugly.”

“We live in a guilt-laden world. But there is a population of people who have discovered the grace of God. They don’t drink their guilt away, work it away, or chase it away. They give it away. God wants you to be among them. The time has come for a clean start, a fresh slate.”

“This is intercessory prayer at its purest, a confluence of paucity and audacity. Father, you are good. They need help. I can’t, but you can… How much more will God do? He never sleeps. He’s never irritated. When you knock on his door, he responds quickly and fairly.”

“Nothing pleases Jesus as much as being audaciously trusted.”

  • I encourage you to join Max Lucado on a journey to the very heart of biblical prayer in this book Before Amen.

 

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Seeking First God’s Kingdom – #Sermon of the Week

TRANSFORMATION #5: SEEKING FIRST GOD’S KINGDOM

(Beausejour Church – Pastor Chris Jordan)

  • To listen to or download the audio MP3, click HERE.

Seek First the Kingdom of God

CONTINUED FROM LAST WEEK:

GOD REWARDS: Generous Giving, Powerful Praying, and: FAITHFUL FASTING:

“Moreover, when you fast, do not be like the hypocrites, with a sad countenance. For they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But you, when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, so that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” (Matthew 6:16-18, NKJV).

WHAT IS FASTING? Richard Foster defined fasting as “the voluntary denial of a normal function for the sake of intense spiritual activity.”

  • You can fast food, but you can also fast TV, movies, computer or social media for extended periods of time.
  • “A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” (Proverbs 27:7).

QUOTE: “If we don’t feel strong desires for God, it is not because we have drunk deeply and are satisfied. It is because we have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Our soul is stuffed with small things and there is no room for the great.” (John Piper, Hunger for God).

  • STORY: Of a man who brought his son to Jesus’ disciples but they couldn’t heal him.
  • “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” (Matt. 17:21, NKJV). Sometimes we need to add fasting to our prayers for a breakthrough!

INTRO TO TODAY’S TOPIC:

We are living in a world where people worry about everything from the economy to the threat of terrorism and war. The world’s solutions to worry: Take pills!

A LOOK AT WORRIES:

  • A.J. Cronin, author-physician, analyzed patients’ worries this way:
  • Things that never happen (40%), things in the past which can’t be changed (30%), health issues (12%), miscellaneous, petty problems (10%), Real, legitimate troubles (8%).

THE BIG IDEA: Jesus gives us three keys to overcoming worry in our lives: Refuse to worry, meditate on God’s love, and put first things first – seek God’s kingdom.

1.  REFUSE TO WORRY:

 

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?” (Matt. 6:25, NKJV).

“If you decide for God, living a life of God-worship, it follows that you don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or whether the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body.” (v. 25, The Message).

  • Jesus commands us: “Do not worry.” Therefore worry is a choice.
  • In our society today, we’ve bought into the lie that life IS all about food, fashion & stuff!
  • To decide “I will not worry” does not mean you don’t care. It doesn’t mean you don’t make dinner for the kids. “No worries!”
  • It’s not a Hakuna Matata philosophy that grabs a surf board and a latte!
  • WORRY: to be anxious; to be troubled; to torment oneself with disturbing thoughts; to seize with the teeth and shake or mangle. Why would you do that to yourself?
  • Worry has physical consequences: headaches, neck pains, ulcers, and even back pains.

2.  MEDITATE ON GOD’S LOVE:

 

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” (Matt. 6:26-30).

  • v. 26 – Jesus says, “Look at the birds of the air, and the flowers of the field.” Why?
  • He is saying: “You are more valuable to God than the birds and flowers!”
  • God loves you and cares for you. The more we know how much our Heavenly Father loves us, the more we will trust Him. Faith trusts God, worry doubts God.
  • v. 27 – Jesus said, “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life?” In other words, worry doesn’t help you at all! In fact, worry makes things worse!

3.  PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST – SEEK GOD’S KINGDOM:

 

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” (Matt. 6:31-32).

“What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works.” (v. 31-32, The Message).

  • When you worry, Jesus says you are like the Gentiles – people who don’t know God.
  • God, your Good, Loving Heavenly Father, knows what you need!

“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matt. 6:33-34).

  • The cure for worry is to seek first God’s Kingdom and His righteousness.
  • When we do this, we are trusting God, and as we trust Him, He meets our needs.
  • My first pastor preached a message once, “Why borrow sorrow from tomorrow?”

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” (v. 34, The Message).

HOW DO WE SEEK GOD’S KINGDOM FIRST?

  1. The Daily Disciplines: Prayer, Worship and Bible Reading. Use a schedule!
  2. Church Attendance: Commit to regular involvement on Sundays and a small group.
  3. Serving: In the church and in your community (being salt and light).

BIBLE STORY:

“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”” (Luke 10:38-42).

CLOSING TEXT: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matt. 6:19-21).

CHALLENGE: Is Jesus first in your life? He is calling you to surrender to Him today!

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The Weekend Funnies – on parenting and getting old

Am I getting old? My wife and I have four children ages 12-18 and I wonder – when did we start going to bed before they do??

Calvin & Hobbes - parenting getting old

Calvin and Hobbes (c) 2014 Bill Waterson.

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