On the Bookshelf – The Contemplative Pastor – Eugene Peterson

the contemplative pastorThe Bible, The Message, and Eugene Peterson:

Anyone who knows me knows that I love the Bible. It is my favourite book, one I have read dozens of times and in many different translations. One of the most fun and interesting Bibles I ever read through was The Message Bible by Eugene Peterson. And although technically, this is a paraphrase and not an actual translation, it helped me to look at the Bible in new ways, especially the Old Testament prophets. Here’s an example of one of my favourite New Testament passages – Matthew 11:28-30 – first in the New King James Version of the Bible, and secondly from The Message Bible:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (NKJV).

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (The Message).

Pastor Chris at the riverLiza at Kerith Retreats

This past week, my wife Liza and I were blessed by a week long pastoral couple’s sabbatical-type retreat at Kerith Pines, a ministry of Focus on the Family. While we were there, I had a chance to read through another great book by Eugene Peterson, The Contemplative Pastor: Returning to the Art of Spiritual Direction. Pastor Eugene is a fantastic, skilled author, and I was blessed and challenged by this deep book. And therefore, I wanted to share with you some of the most impacting quotes from this book, and want to encourage you to pick it up and check it out…

The Contemplative Pastor – Eugene Peterson:

“A healthy noun doesn’t need adjectives. Adjectives clutter a noun that is robust. But if the noun is culture-damaged or culture-diseased, adjectives are necessary. “Pastor” used to be that kind of noun – energetic and virile. I have always loved the sound of that word. From an early age, the word called to mind a person who was passionate for God and compassionate with people… In general usage (today), the noun is weak, defined by parody and diluted by opportunism. The need for strengthening adjectives is critical…”

“The Unbusy Pastor: The adjective busy set as a modifier to pastor should sound to our ears like adulterous to characterize a wife or embezzling to describe a banker. It is an outrageous scandal… I (and most pastors, I believe) become busy for two reasons; both are ignoble. I am busy because I am vain. I want to appear important… (or) I am busy because I am lazy. I indolently let others decide what I will do instead of resolutely deciding myself.”

“How can I lead people into the quiet place beside the still waters if I am in perpetual motion?”

“What does it mean to be a pastor? … Three things. I can be a pastor who prays. I want to cultivate my relationship with God. I want all of life to be intimate… with the God who made, directs and loves me. I can be a pastor who preaches. I want to speak the Word of God that is Scripture in the language and rhythms of the people I live with. I am given an honored and protected time each week to do that. The pulpit is a great gift, and I want to use it well. I can be a pastor who listens. A lot of people approach me through the week to tell me what’s going on in their lives. I want to have the energy and time to really listen to them so that when they’re through, they know at least one other person has some inkling of what they’re feeling and thinking.”

“If there is no time to nurture these essentials, I become a busy pastor, harassed and anxious, a whining, compulsive Martha instead of a contemplative Mary.”

“Our most important work… is directing worship in the traffic, discovering the presence of eth cross in the paradoxes and chaos between Sundays, calling attention to the “splendor in the ordinary,” and most of all, teaching a life of prayer to our friends and companions in the pilgrimage.”

  • You can purchase a copy of The Contemplative Pastor HERE.
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The Weekend Funnies – Good Good Father

Do you ever wonder what God is like?

Calvin & Hobbes - God & Plea Bargain

One of my favourite worship songs right now is one by Chris Tomlin called “Good Good Father.” In the song, he says:

Oh, I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think you’re like
But I’ve heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night
And you tell me that you’re pleased,  And that I’m never alone

Oh, and I’ve seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we’re all searching,  For answers only you provide
Cause you know just what we need, Before we say a word

And what is the answer to the question of what God is like?

You’re a Good, Good Father
It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are
And I’m loved by you
It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am

Today, may you be encouraged with a revelation of the truth that God is a Good Father, and He loves you – yes, even you!

Calvin & Hobbes (c) 2016 Bill Waterson.

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The Story of Jesus and His Church #1: New Beginnings

THE STORY OF JESUS AND HIS CHURCH: NEW BEGINNINGS

(Pastor Chris Jordan – Beausejour Church)

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

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INTRO TO THE BOOK OF ACTS: The Book of Acts is the Story of the Church

  • QUESTION: What is the church? (Discuss)

INTRO TO THE HOLY SPIRIT:

  • One day, Jesus made the most shocking statement to His disciples:
  • “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away…” (John 16:7a).
  • Why would He say that? He healed broken hearts, forgave sinners, transformed lives!
  • “…for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7b, NKJV). That Helper is the Holy Spirit.
  • “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.” (2 Cor. 4:7, NKJV). Earthen vessels = jars of clay!
  • “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8).
  • Notice Jesus said you would receive power, not become weird. Too much weirdness!
  • What kind of power? Power to be different. To be more loving, joyful, peaceful. To resist temptation and say no to sin and addictions. To pray and see miracles happen in others.
  • To learn more about the church and the Holy Spirit, we’re going to turn to Acts:

THE BIG IDEA: God’s desire is that His church would walk in the Spirit, living the Spirit-filled life, and bearing the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

INTRO TO THE BOOK OF ACTS:

1 The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, 3 to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. 4 And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; 5 for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:1-5, NKJV).

  • Acts is the 5th book of the New Testament, and was written by the doctor Luke.
  • It is both a HISTORY (of what happened in the first century) and a BLUEPRINT (for what God wants to see happen in the church today).
  • CHALLENGE: Read through the Book of Acts over the next couple of months!

GOD’S BLUEPRINT FOR THE CHURCH: Luke’s description of the church:

“Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” (Acts 2:41-47, NKJV).

    1. Teaching (apostle’s doctrine – reading and studying the Bible together)
    2. Fellowship (breaking of bread – sharing meals and lives together – home groups!)
    3. Prayer (praying together and believing God for supernatural miracles)
    4. Sense of Awe (people respected the church because of God’s favour on it)
    5. Signs and Wonders (sign = points to Jesus, wonder = causes people to wonder)
    6. Sharing & generosity (had all things common and divided as anyone had need)
    7. Unity (one accord – they walked in love, acceptance and forgiveness)
    8. Gladness (joy – a supernatural fruit of the Spirit filled life!)
    9. Simplicity of Heart (our lives are too busy and complicated!)
    10. Praising God (people of praise and worship – glorified God with their lives)
    11. Favour with the People (they were a supernatural force for God)
    12. Daily Salvations (lots of people were getting saved every day)
  • How does our church compare to that picture? We’re not there yet!
  1. THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT:

“But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives, he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Here there is no conflict with the law.” (Gal. 5:22-23, NLT).

  • Love                   – agape – unconditional love, acceptance and forgiveness
  • Joy                      – Not happiness based on circumstances, but an inner satisfaction
  • Peace                  – peace of heart (no worries or fears, not tense)
  • Patience              – (longsuffering – KJV) – endurance, steadfastness (not hurried)
  • Kindness            – moral goodness or integrity; thoughtful or generous (not selfish)
  • Goodness           – uprightness of heart and life (not bitter, angry or aggressive)
  • Faithfulness        – the character of one who can be relied on – faithful to friends, church
  • Gentleness          – mildness, meekness – not harsh
  • Self-control        – one who masters his desires and passions – doesn’t give into the flesh

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

What are three things a plant needs to survive and thrive? Sunlight, water and food.

  • How can we have more fruit of the Spirit in our lives? We are like a TREE:
  1. Water: Abide in Jesus: “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5, NKJV).
  2. Food: Abide in the Word: “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:7, NKJV).
  3. Sunlight: Abide in God’s love: “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love.” (John 15:9, NKJV).
  • If we do these things, we won’t have to try to be more loving, we will be.
  • CHALLENGE: Let’s abide in Jesus, His Word, and His love, and be the church today!

Church Website: www.beausejourchurch.ca

Pastor’s Blog: https://pastorchrisjordan.wordpress.com/

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The Weekend Funnies – Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Chris & Mom 

(me and my mom)

Wishing a Happy Mother’s Day to the most amazing, loving, caring, supportive, self-sacrificing, put-others-first, compassionate, gentle and awesome mothers a son could ever ask for. I am so blessed to call you mom today, Sylvia! You have helped to shape me into the person that I am today, and for that I am very grateful. Words can’t express enough how much I love you. May you have the best day ever, even though I can’t be there to celebrate with you in person!! Hugs & kisses… xo

IMG_6275 (Liza and I and our family)

Also wishing a happy mother’s day to my beautiful wife Liza, the mother of my four children. Liza, we have had the joy, privilege and responsibility of raising our four amazing children together for the past almost-20-years, and I’m so thankful that you are a fantastic mom to our kids. I love you! Happy mother’s day…

calvin and hobbes Mother's day

For Better For Worse Comic - moody mom

Calvin & Hobbes (c) 2016 Bill Waterson.

For Better For Worse (c) 2016 Lynn Johnston

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The Story of Jesus #5 – The Greater Love of Jesus

THE STORY OF JESUS #5: THE GREATER LOVE OF JESUS

(Pastor Chris Jordan – Beausejour Church)

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

INTRO TO TOPIC: For the past four weeks, we have been looking at The Story of Jesus. Today, we are going to wrap up that series by looking at His greatest expression of love: His death on the Cross!

OPENING TEXT: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1).

  • God wants us to take a close look at His love – as revealed in the person of Jesus!

KEY TEXT: “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down His life for His friends.” (John 15:13).

QUOTE: “It is fitting that every word of our Lord upon the cross should be gathered up and preserved.  (They) have frequently been the subject of devout meditation.” (Charles Spurgeon).

BIG IDEA: As we meditate upon Christ’s Words from the Cross, we will discover more about the amazing grace and greater love of Jesus towards us.

  1. THE FIRST WORD: FORGIVENESS:

“Then Jesus said, Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34).

  • The first word speaks FORGIVENESS to us. Amazing grace!
  • The Good News of the Gospel – through Jesus death on the Cross, we are forgiven!
  • Have you sinned? Pray and ask Jesus to forgive you and wash your guilt away:
  • “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9).
  1. THE SECOND WORD: SALVATION & HOPE:

“Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.” (Luke 23:39-44).

  • This second word speaks HOPE – it’s never too late, and no one is ever too far gone!
  • If you’re believing God for the salvation of a family member, never give up.
  • Who are you praying for? Let’s pray right now!
  1. THE THIRD WORD: FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS:

“Standing near the cross were Jesus’ mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary (the wife of Clopas), and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Woman, he is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “She is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.” (John 19:25-27).

  • This third word speaks about the importance of FAMILY RELATIONSHIPS.
  • God wants us to have good strong healthy family relationships: Parents, love your children and train them in God’s ways, and children, obey your parents in the Lord!
  1. THE FOURTH WORD: SUBSTITUTION:

“Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. At about three o’clock, Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46).

  • This fourth word speaks of SUBSTITUTION.
  • On the Cross, Jesus became our substitute, and took our sin upon Him, and gave us His righteousness. (2 Cor. 5:21).
  • Because God forsook Jesus on the Cross, God will never leave or forsake us!
  1. THE FIFTH WORD: HUMANITY AND SUFFERING:

“Jesus knew that everything was now finished, and to fulfill the Scriptures he said, “I thirst.” (John 19:28-29).

  • This fifth word is a picture of the HUMANITY OF JESUS.
  • Because God became a man in the person of Jesus, He got hungry, tired, and thirsty
  • “For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:15-16).
  1. THE SIXTH WORD: VICTORY AND GRACE:

“Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” (John 19:29-30).

  • This sixth word is a picture of God’s GRACE.
  • When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He had paid the price for our salvation!
  • We are going to heaven only because Jesus has taken our punishment for us.

Charles SpurgeonQUOTE: “This shout of triumph rings with all the freshness and force of when He spoke it. The satisfaction He rendered to the justice of God was finished. The debt was now, to the last penny, all discharged. The atonement and propitiation were made once and for all and forever—by the one offering made in Jesus’ body on the Tree. There was the cup, Hell was in it, the Savior drank it—not a sip and then a pause—not a draught and then a ceasing. He drained it till there is not a dreg left for any of His people.” (Charles Spurgeon).

  1. THE SEVENTH WORD: CONFIDENCE:

“And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this, He breathed His last. So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!” (Luke 23:46-48).

  • This last word is the CONFIDENCE that all of God’s children have when they die.
  • If you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you WILL be saved!

ALTAR CALL FOR SALVATION: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved!”

What does the death that Jesus died on the Cross mean for us today?

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The (After the) Weekend Funnies and a Newsboys Video – What I Believe

First of all, a nod to my fellow blogger and pastor Anthony Baker who first shared this great Newsboys video on his blog TheRecoveringLegalist.com – it’s good to give credit where credit is due! This video We Believe by one of my favourite contemporary Christian groups shares what we as Christians believe about who God is – check it out:

And here also is your weekly Calvin and Hobbes strip… enjoy!

Calvin & Hobbes God

Calvin & Hobbes (c) 2016 Bill Waterson.

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The Story of Jesus #4 – The Love of Jesus Makes us Whole and Holy

THE STORY OF JESUS #4: THE LOVE OF JESUS MAKES US WHOLE AND HOLY

(Pastor Chris Jordan – Beausejour Church)

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

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INTRO TO SPEAKER:

  • My new role as Executive Coordinator of the Overcomers Outreach:
  • My trip to Toronto to do an addictions workshop at the Promise Keepers Legacy event.
  • The ‘colour’ of Toronto – police, fire, biker gang. My experience at the conference.
  • Share God encounter experience at the PK conference – renewed passion for His presence!
  • This morning’s message came out of this experience and was written on my flight home.

OPENING TEXT: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1).

  • God wants us to take a close look at His love – as revealed in the person of Jesus!

QUOTES: From Free to Live by John Eldredge.

“The hope of Christianity is that we get to live the life of Jesus. His beautiful goodness can be ours. God makes us whole by making us holy, he makes us holy by making us whole.” (pg. 179).

PREACH THROUGH THE KEY TEXT! (Eph. 1:3-10, The Message).

3 How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. 4 Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. 5 Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) 6 He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. 7 Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people – free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free!”

THE BIG IDEA: Jesus pours out His love upon us to make us whole and holy, and abundantly free!

A LOOK AT THE GOODNESS OF JESUS:

  • QUOTE: “You can tell a lot about a person by his effect on others. What is he like to be around? What is the aftertaste he leaves in your mouth? (John Eldredge).

1. JESUS SHOWS LOVE TO AN OUTCAST LEPER:

 

1 Jesus came down the mountain with the cheers of the crowd still ringing in his ears. 2 Then a leper appeared and went to his knees before Jesus, praying, “Master, if you want to, you can heal my body.” 3 Jesus reached out and touched him, saying, “I want to. Be clean.” Then and there, all signs of the leprosy were gone. 4 Jesus said, “Don’t talk about this all over town. Just quietly present your healed body to the priest, along with the appropriate expressions of thanks to God. Your cleansed and grateful life, not your words, will bear witness to what I have done.” (Matt. 8:1-4, The Message).

  • Jesus healed this nobody, this outcast that no one else cared for, and made him whole.
  • But he wanted him to be holy too and challenged him to life a life of gratefulness to God.

2. JESUS SHOWED LOVE TO LITTLE CHILDREN:

13 The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. 14 The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. 15 Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” 16 Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.” (Mark 10:13-16, The Message).

  • In the first century Jewish culture, children were insignificant and unimportant.
  • Here Jesus shows His goodness towards all people – regardless of age, sex, etc.

3. JESUS FORGAVE A SINFUL WOMAN:

3 The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone 4 and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. 5 Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” 6 They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him. 7 They kept at him, badgering him. He straightened up and said, “The sinless one among you, go first: Throw the stone.” 8 Bending down again, he wrote some more in the dirt. 9 Hearing that, they walked away, one after another, beginning with the oldest. The woman was left alone. 10 Jesus stood up and spoke to her. “Woman, where are they? Does no one condemn you?” 11 “No one, Master.” “Neither do I,” said Jesus. “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.” (John 8:3-11, The Message).

  • Jesus offered this woman love, acceptance and forgiveness. She was made whole.
  • But He also wanted her to be holy. He said, “Go and sin no more.”

CHALLENGE: God cares about our heart. He wants our hearts to be renewed, whole and holy!

  • QUOTE: “God went for the jugular when he set about our transformation in Jesus Christ. He knows the human heart is the source of our iniquities; he knows that to leave the heart untouched would sabotage his redemptive mission.” (John Eldredge).

PRAYER: For God to touch hearts today, draw you unto Himself, and make you whole and holy.

CLOSING BENEDICTION:

“May God Himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, put you together – spirit, soul and body – and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. The one who called you is completely dependable. If He said it, He’ll do it!” (1 Thess. 5:23-24, The Message).

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