Reflections with Calvin and Hobbes – on being exhausted

It’s been a while since I’ve posted regularly to this blog, but I hope to remedy that in the weeks to come this summer! So here are some deep thoughts with Calvin and Hobbes:

Calvin & Hobbes - Miller Time

What do you do when you have a bad day, a hard day, a long day, or an exhausting day? It’s easy in today’s fast-paced world to get overwhelmed, stressed out, frustrated, even to the point of depression and discouragement! The answer is not to go grab a ‘cold one’ from the fridge. No, there is a better place you can go to find joy, peace and hope.

His name is JESUS.

The Bible says, “But those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31).

Isaiah 40-31

So if you’re getting weary and feel like giving up, chances are you’ve neglected waiting on the Lord. Spending time with Jesus in the secret place of prayer. Meditating on His Word. Being in His presence.

So hear the gentle voice of Jesus calling you to come back to Him, to get alone in your prayer closet until you’re not alone any more, and abide in His love. In His presence there is fullness of joy and a peace that passes all understanding. Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28).

Take a moment and listen to the words to this song by Chris Tomlin and may they encourage you to rise…

 

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The Twelve Steps – a Spiritual Journey: Step Six: Readiness

The Twelve Steps – a Spiritual Journey: Step Six: Readiness

Written by Chris Jordan, the President of Overcomers Outreach of Canada.

Step 6

We have finally reached the halfway point of our spiritual journey through the Twelve Steps. Before we look at Step #6, let’s review the first five:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over our sin or addiction – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

So far we have said, “I can’t, but God can, so I will – surrender my life to Him!” We then made an inventory (a list of all of our wrongs), then confessed them to God, ourselves, and someone else. Now we come to step #6:

“Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.”

It’s one thing to become aware of all of our sins, mistakes and failures. And it’s another thing still to share that with another human being. But now we must also be ready and willing to allow God to get rid of all that junk that’s inside of us. The Biblical basis for this step is found in James 4:10: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

Notice however that we’re not talking about trying to lift ourselves up. We are humbling ourselves before the Lord, and as we take that small step, He will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. “To expect action in Step Six is a mistake. Step Six purposely calls for no action on our part. It is a time for an internal change of heart and mind.” (Meditations for the Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey).

This truth is so clearly laid out in this Scripture: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.” (Romans 12:2, NLT). Step Six is such a great example of this Bible verse in action! It is about recognizing that I can’t change myself, but God can transform me as I allow Him to change my thinking.

One of the best ways of doing this is by reading the Bible. God’s Word will help us to renew our minds. It will help us to discover how much God loves us, and teach us more about the good plans and purposes that He has for our lives! If you haven’t started reading the Bible for yourself, I want to encourage you to begin to do so today.

Sixth Step Prayer:

“Dear God, I am ready for your help in removing from me the defects of character that I now realize are an obstacle to my recovery. Help me to continue being honest with myself and guide me toward spiritual and mental health.” Amen! (Prayers for the Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey).

Visit www.overcomersoutreach.ca for more information.

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When Jesus Stopped – #SermonNotes

WHEN JESUS STOPPED: FOR ZACCHAEUS   

(Pastor Chris Jordan – Horizon Church)

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

When Jesus Stopped Title

INTRO TO TOPIC:

QUOTE: Leonard Ravenhill: “There was a time when people came to church to meet with God. Now they come to church to sing songs and hear stories about Him.”

Do we believe that Jesus is the same yesterday today and forever? (Hebrews 13:8).

“1 A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. 2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory. 3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, My lips shall praise You. 4 Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name. 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.” (Psalm 63:1-5).

  • One of the most amazing things from the life of the story is the time He took to stop and encounter people. Whenever Jesus met someone, their lives were transformed.
  • Today we’re going to see how Jesus responded to an outcast who was far from Him.

1. ZACCHAEUS SOUGHT TO SEE JESUS:

“1Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2 Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3 And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature.” (Luke 19:1-3, NKJV).

  • Who was Zacchaeus? He was a rich tax collector, a thief, and a sinner.
  • Zacchaeus had heard how wonderful Jesus was, and sought to see Him. That’s great!
  • Sought = zeteo which means to search with a passion, a craving and an intense desire.
    • Then the Greeks came to Philip, and asked him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” (John 12:21). I want to stir up your appetite to seek after Him today!
  • There are many precious promises in the Bible:
    • “And you will seek me and find me, when you search for me with all of your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13).
    • “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” (James 4:8),
    • But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6).
  • HOWEVER – there was an obstacle: The crowd. He wanted to, but he couldn’t.
  • Sometimes there are things in our lives that can hinder us from seeking and seeing Jesus.
  • What are some roadblocks in your life? The Crowd (people’s opinions or unbelief), Busyness (too distracted to hear God’s voice), Sin (will keep you from the Bible).
  • We need to overcome those roadblocks and do whatever it takes to see Jesus.

2. JESUS STOPPED FOR ZACCHAEUS:

“4 So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. 5 And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6 So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully.” (Luke 19:4-6, NKJV).

  • There’s so much we can learn about Jesus from His encounter with Zacchaeus!
    • Jesus sees YOU. He knows what you’re going through! If you’re going through a storm, battling a sickness, depression, He wants to bring you His peace.
    • Jesus loves YOU. It was His love that motivated Him to stop for Zacchaeus.
    • Jesus knows YOUR NAME. He created you! He knows everything about you.
    • Jesus calls us too to MAKE HASTE. Don’t delay! Seek Jesus today.
  • How did Zach respond to Jesus? He made haste and came down.
  • What was the result of His encounter with Jesus? JOY!
    • In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11).
  • Jesus wants to come to YOUR house today – will you open your heart and let Him in?

3. HE CROWD COMPLAINED:

“But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.” (Luke 19:7).

  • Jesus was called a friend of sinners (Luke 7:34). The religious leaders didn’t like that.
  • “9 As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose and followed Him. 10 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” (Matthew 9:9-12).
  • “The church is not a museum for saints, but a hospital for sinners.”
  • Are you a sinner? Then know that Jesus has come for you!

4. ZACCHAEUS’ LIFE WAS TRANSFORMED:

“8 Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” 9 And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10 for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:8-10, NKJV).

  • The fruit of salvation in Zacchaeus’ life = good works.
    • We are not saved by our works, but faith without works is dead.
    • Two things in Zach’s life: generosity and willingness to make restitution.
  • See how much Jesus cares about family: “Salvation has come to this HOUSE.”
    • Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31).
    • If you’re the only one in your family who is saved, pray for your parents / kids!
  • What is this salvation? Sozo = more than just going to heaven when you die. Psalm 103!
  • At the beginning of this story, we saw Zacchaeus seeking Jesus. But long before that, Jesus had already been seeking Zacchaeus! Jesus came to seek and save the lost.

CLOSING CHALLENGE: JESUS IS SEEKING YOU TODAY:

  • Are you like the crowd, hindering others from finding Jesus? Repent.
  • Are you like Zacchaeus? Overwhelmed by your sins? Seek Jesus today.
  • Have you been running from Jesus? Make haste and run TO Jesus today.

Blog: https://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/

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The Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey: Step Five: Confession

The Twelve Steps – a Spiritual Journey: Step Five: Confession

Written by Chris Jordan, the President of Overcomers Outreach of Canada.

step five

In the previous step, we made a searching and fearless moral inventory of our lives, which has helped us to more clearly see the darkness inside of us. But now we must take the next step of confessing those wrongs if we want to truly experience freedom, healing and wholeness in Christ. Step #5 says:

“Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.”

Someone said once that you cannot heal or change what you don’t acknowledge. If you’re not willing to admit your character defects first to God, secondly to yourself, and finally to another person, then you will never be able to free from the trap of that sin.

“Step Five directs us to share the exact nature of our wrongs with another human being. This action requires courage because of our fear of rejection and disapproval, but if we trust the program’s wisdom here, this act of confession promises new release and healing. In telling another soul, we release the power of hidden sin and we remove the power of self-condemnation.” (Meditations for the Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey).

So what’s involved in step five?*

The first thing you must do is choose a person that you are going to share your inventory with. You need to choose this person very carefully! When I went through this step, I looked for someone who I trusted to keep confidential what I shared, someone who I knew was loving, accepting and forgiving.

The second thing you must do is to set up a time and a place to meet with that person. Take a written copy of your list with you, and don’t hold anything back. It’s those mistakes and failures that you are most ashamed of that will bring the most healing if you bring them to the light. And then finally, listen to any feedback from your listener. As this person shares their love and acceptance of you, it can be a real boost for your self-acceptance and a new beginning for you.

The Biblical basis for this step is found in James 5:16: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” (NLT). As we confess our sins to God, ourselves, and another person, there is an amazing joy, peace and freedom that we can experience.

Fifth Step Prayer:

“Higher Power, My inventory has shown me who I am, yet I ask for your help in admitting my wrongs to another person and to you. Assure me, and be with me in this step, for without this step I cannot progress in my recovery. With your help, I can do this, and I will do it.” Amen! (Prayers for the Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey).

*Note: A Hunger for Healing by J. Keith Miller is an excellent resource with a practical section in his book about “Choosing the Human Being to Hear Step Five.” This book can be ordered online from Overcomers Outreach Canada at www.overcomersoutreach.ca.

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13 Reasons Why: Warnings for Parents and Help for Students

I am a guidance counselor in a high school, and perhaps that’s part of what inspired me to watch the new Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. This show has captured the attention of teenagers, which is ironic because the show carries a TV-MA rating – TV Parental Guidelines’ warning that the content may be unsuitable for children under 17. Parents of teens need to be aware of what their students are watching!

Although I don’t have the time to personally write a deep and thought provoking response to this TV series, I felt it was important to share some links here that I hope will be helpful. For parents who want to know what the show is all about, this can help you make an informed decision about whether or not this is something that you will watch &/or allow your children to watch. (If you do decide to allow your students to watch it, there are further suggested action steps for you as well). For students who may be struggling with thoughts of depression or suicide, know that there is hope and help.

Suicide is NOT the answer!

Call the Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868.

https://www.kidshelpphone.ca

katherine-langford-13-reasons-why

Netflix 13 Reasons Why: What Viewers Should Consider:

The Jed Foundation: Recently, Netflix released Thirteen Reasons Why… a fictional story that is meant to be a cautionary tale. It tells the story of a high school student who experiences a series of terrible events-many of which are perpetrated by her classmates and friends. Hannah has died by suicide but before she died she made a series of tapes explaining what each person in her circle has done to hurt her…

Because the show takes up issues related to suicide and sexual assault, there have been strong reactions from many viewers along with several professional and advocacy groups… the depiction and circumstances of the suicide have raised concerns because there are several elements in the story that are inconsistent with safe messaging guidelines around handling portrayals of suicide in media and works of fiction.

To read the rest of this article, click HERE.

Schools Warning Parents About Netflix’s Series 13 Reasons Why:

People.com: Schools across the country are issuing warnings to parents about Netflix’s latest original series, 13 Reasons Why, over concern that the breakout teen drama could glamorize teen suicide. So where does the concern lie with the critically well-received show – and why are schools getting involved?

To read the rest of this article, click HERE.

  • See also: How to Talk to Your Child About Suicide and Bullying After Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why: To read this article, click HERE.

13 Reasons Why TV Series Review:

Focus on the Family’s Plugged In: Is it a well-intended show? Yes, I think it’s fair to say that it is, as far as that sentiment goes. 13 Reasons Why encourages viewers to really examine their own lives and how they treat people. That said, shows like this can also have unintended consequences.

Those familiar with the issue of suicide know that the act itself can be strangely and sadly contagious. If someone commits suicide in a given school, the odds go up that someone else will attempt it, too. Why? There are lots of potential factors… But in the emotionally charged world of adolescence, suicide can feel romantic. It can be a shout for attention. It can be revenge.

13 Reasons Why may, unintentionally, romanticize suicide for some students, even though that’s certainly not the show’s intent. The tricky thing about stories like this one is that, for some, it might be just the right message at the right time. But for someone else, the intended message could also be received in a tragically different way.

To read the rest of the article, click HERE.

The JED Foundation, a non-profit that aims to prevent suicide in teens and young adults, has developed a series of talking points for children and adults here (and below) and has a hotline number 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

13 Reasons Why

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education: https://www.save.org/13-reasons-why/

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The Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey: Step Four: The Inventory

The Twelve Steps – a Spiritual Journey: Step Four: The Inventory

Step 4

In the twelve-step journey of healing, there are four sub-groups with three steps in each of them. The first three steps could be summed up with one word: Surrender. Here we said, “I can’t, but God can, so I will let him.” And now we move onto perhaps the hardest step of the entire process – Step Four. This is where we look within:

“Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.”

For many years while I was pastoring a church, we saw dozens of people start attending our Overcomers Outreach programs. Not all of them finished. Most of those that didn’t usually stopped when they reached step four. Why? Because it’s hard work! To sit down and do a searching (examining closely or thoroughly) moral (having to do with right and wrong in our conduct) inventory (an evaluation or a survey, as of abilities, assets or resources) can be overwhelming! But we can be encouraged by this truth:

“We don’t begin or finish this moral inventory on our own. God goes with us every step of the way. He uncovers the defects and flaws so that we can see them and grow beyond their influence.” (Meditations for the Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey).

The Biblical basis for this step is found in Lamentations 3:40-41: “Instead, let us test and examine our ways. Let us turn back to the LORD. Let us lift our hearts and hands to God in heaven.” (NLT). God wants us to search our hearts and our lives, and repent of our sins.

When I first went through the twelve steps and did my inventory several years ago, it was a daunting, almost overwhelming task. To look back at all of my sins, failures and defects of character: From lying and selfishness, to lust, pornography, alcohol, pride, rebellion and more, I could relate well to the words of the Apostle Paul: “Oh what a wretched man I am!” However, I knew that if I wanted to find true and lasting freedom from everything in the past that had me bound, then this was an important step in that journey. But not only must this inventory include the bad and the ugly, it should also include the good as well. For some people, this part of the inventory is even harder than listing all the bad things they have done.

There are two keys that are essential to doing this step well: One is a sponsor, and the other is a pen and a piece of paper. We need the help of a trusted friend, someone who is further along on their journey of freedom than we are, to help us as we work through our inventory. And secondly, we need to write the inventory down. This will help us to truly and accurately see what we have done, and help us to move forward from the place where we have been stuck.

Fourth Step Prayer:

“Dear God, It is I who have made my life a mess. I have done it, but I cannot undo it. My mistakes are mine, and I will begin a searching and fearless moral inventory. I will write down my wrongs, but I will also include that which is good. I pray for the strength to complete the task.” Amen! (Prayers for the Twelve Steps – A Spiritual Journey).

Chris Jordan, President of Overcomers Outreach of Canada.

Overcomers Outreach Canada Website: www.overcomersoutreach.ca

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Reflections with Calvin and Hobbes – Every Man Dies (#Braveheart Quote)

One of my favourite quotes is from the movie Braveheart, spoken by Mel Gibson’s character William Wallace: “Every man dies. Not every man really lives.”

Braveheart Quote Every Man Dies

Life and death.

Living and dying.

One day, every one of us will die.

But what is the purpose of living?

What is the purpose of dying?

Today’s series of Calvin and Hobbes comic strips offer some thoughts on the topic of death…

Calvin & Hobbes - squirrel die 1

Calvin & Hobbes - squirrel die 2

Calvin & Hobbes - squirrel die 3

Calvin & Hobbes - squirrel die 4

Calvin & Hobbes - squirrel die 5

Calvin & Hobbes - squirrel die 6

Every man (or woman) dies.

But not every man really lives.

What are you doing to really live today??

Calvin & Hobbes (c) 2017 Bill Waterson.

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