Well Done, Billy Graham! #billygraham

When I woke up this morning, I took my usual spot in my oversized comfy chair in the living room, where I start each day doing my devotions from God’s Word. After that, I as I often do, I went on my computer to scan the latest news headlines to see if anything would catch my eye. And this morning, something did. It was a simple, short headline:

“Billy Graham Dies at 99.”

The opening sentence of this article on MSN.com read: “Evangelist Billy Graham — a confidant to presidents, a guiding light to generations of American evangelicals and a globe-trotting preacher who converted millions to Christianity — died Wednesday at the age of 99, his spokesman confirmed to CNN.

When I read the news, my first thought was, “Well done, good and faithful servant… Enter into the joy of your lord!” (Matthew 25:21). Here is an amazing man of God who was humble and godly, who lived a life of integrity that was above reproach. He was shining example to people all over the world of what a sincere servant of Jesus should look like. I don’t know if I could express what I’m feeling any better than what my pastor posted on his Instagram account this morning:

Billy Graham - instagram post

Literally millions of people around the world have surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ and found salvation through Billy Graham and his preaching ministry. One of those people was my father-in-law, Norman, and because he turned his life over to Jesus, so did his wife and his children, including my wife, Liza!

And so today I wanted to pay a simple tribute to Billy Graham by sharing with you some of his quotes, and a tribute video. So if you don’t know Jesus today, my prayer is that you would call upon the name of the Lord, and be saved. Amen!

BILLY GRAHAM QUOTES:

  • “My home is in Heaven.I’m just traveling through this world.”
  • “The moment we take our last breath on earth, we take our first in heaven.”
  • God proved his love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’”
  • The will of God will not take us where the grace of God cannot sustain us.”
  • “Knowing we will be with Christ forever far outweighs our burdens today! Keep your eyes on eternity!”
  • “It is the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, God’s job to judge and my job to love.”
  • “I’ve read the last page of the Bible, it’s all going to turn out all right.”

Billy Graham Quote

 

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Living Healthy – Two Weeks Later

So two weeks ago, I wrote about how after listening to a message at church, I was convicted of the need to take better care of my body.  I gave myself a 40 day challenge to begin a journey towards a more healthy lifestyle, giving up Coke, chocolate, sweet treats (ice cream, candy, etc), and junk food. I made the commitment to start eating more healthy, and exercising by jogging daily (you can read that whole story HERE). 

saladI’m happy to report that I have been eating healthier every day. Instead of drinking Coke, I have chosen orange juice, and to be honest, I’m not even missing the soda pop at all! (For the sake of being wholly transparent, I must confess that while on a road trip to a youth conference – Generation Unleashed – in Portland, Oregon this past weekend, I did cheat once and have a Coke, but it really didn’t taste as good as I remember it!). For snacks, instead of eating a bag of chips, I have chosen to eat apples or other fruit.

And I’m feeling so much better because of these changes! If you can believe it, I even had a salad for lunch one day, made by my wonderful wife, Liza.

However, on that first night of jogging, I pushed myself too far and really overdid it, and messed up my knee really good. I kept running for the rest of the week (which I probably shouldn’t have done), but by Friday, I was in so much pain I couldn’t run anymore. It’s been a week now since then and I’m still in pain, so I plan on going to my doctor this week to check it out. I’ll keep you posted and let you know how it goes, and when I get back to running again.

In the meantime, allow me to share with you the advice I got from WebMD.com:

While you get better, you need to take it easy on your knee. That doesn’t mean you have to give up exercise. Just try something new that won’t hurt your joint. If you’re a jogger, swim laps in a pool instead. Whatever you do, don’t rush things. If you try to get back to your workouts before you’re healed, you could damage the joint for good.

So who knows, maybe I will give swimming a try!

 

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Seriously, You Mean TODAY?

So yesterday I was walking through the hallways of the school where I teach, and what did I see? Sitting on a little table right outside of our school library… were several old books that they were giving away! Of course, being a book lover, I had to explore the little gems that were there, and walked away with several new treasures!

Max Lucado Book DayOne of them was a book from over ten years ago by author Max Lucado called Every Day Deserves a Chance, and so when I woke up this morning, I started reading it.

Max’s key Bible verse in this book was one of my personal favourites – Psalm 118:24: “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it!” I remember when our kids were younger and we would drive them to school, I would always ask them the question, “Does anyone know what day it is today?” And they would respond by quoting that Scripture.

Do YOU know what day it is today?

And so, on this rainy Saturday morning, I wanted to share with you a few encouraging thoughts from the first chapter of Max’s book, with the hope that it would encourage you to choose joy today, too! I know that’s not always easy (trust me on that one!), but I also know that it’s worth the fight.

EVERY DAY DESERVES A CHANCE: By Max Lucado

“This is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). The first word in the verse leaves us scratching our heads. “This is the day the Lord has made.” Perhaps holidays are the days the Lord had made. Wedding days are the days the Lord has made. Easter Sundays… super-sale Saturdays… these are the days the Lord has made. But “this is the day”?

God made this day, ordained this hard hour, designed the details of this wrenching moment. He isn’t on holiday. He still holds the conductor’s baton, sits in the cockpit, and occupies the universe’s only throne. Each day emerges from God’s drawing room. Including this one.

So I decided to give the day a chance, change my view, and imitate the resolve of the psalmist, “I will rejoice and be glad in it.”

Oops, another word we’d like to edit: in. Perhaps we could swap it for after? We’ll be glad after the day. Or through. We’ll be glad to get through the day. Over would suffice. I’ll rejoice when this day is over. But rejoice in it? God invites us to…

Imagine the difference if we could.

Suppose neck deep in a “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day,” you resolve to give it a chance. You choose not to drink or work or worry it away but give it a fair shake. You trust more. Stress less. Amplify gratitude. Mute grumbling. And what do you know? Before long the day is done and surprisingly decent.

* * *

I personally know what it’s like to be overwhelmed by stress, busyness, frustration and even depression. But today, I want you to know that I’m praying for you to experience God’s peace, joy and hope in a new and a fresh way. Whatever you’re going through, choose to rejoice in today, and let the joy of the Lord give you strength!

– Chris Jordan

 

 

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Can One Sermon Really Radically Transform Your Life? #livehealthy

As a pastor and teacher of God’s Word, I have preached and taught over 2,500 sermons, Bible messages and Bible studies in the past 25 years. I have done this with the belief that as I communicate God’s Word, and as people apply it to their lives, that their minds can be renewed, and their lives can be transformed. But is it possible that one sermon can really transform someone’s life? My answer to that question is an emphatic YES!

Shalom

This past Sunday morning, our pastor Craig Millar preached the third message in his series called “Shalom: A Journey to Wholeness.” He emphasized that as human beings, we are a spirit, we have a soul, and we live in a body. Of course that revelation itself wasn’t new or novel to me – it’s a concept that most Biblically literate people are aware of. But for the majority of my journey with Jesus, although I have worked on building my spirit and strengthening my soul, to be honest, I have greatly neglected taking care of my body.

There’s a verse in the Bible that says, “For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come. ” (1 Timothy 4:8). This has always been one of my favourite verses to take out of context and say, “See, bodily exercise only profits a little, so let’s not bother exercising or eating right!” However, that’s not what Paul meant in that verse at all; he was merely saying that spiritual exercise was more important than physical exercise.

And so the Bible verse that came alive to me during this Sunday’s message was this one:

“May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thess. 5:23).

The Message Bible’s paraphrase of that verse words it this way: “May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together – spirit, soul, and body – and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ.”

I believe that God’s desire for us is to experience His shalom – His peace – which means completeness, wholeness; a state of the fullest flourishing in every dimension. But because we are three dimensional beings (spirit, soul and body), the only way we can experience the fullness of God’s peace is when we take care of all three areas of our lives – including our bodies.

So after hearing my pastor’s message on Sunday morning, I was convicted in my heart of the need to take better care of my body. First of all, to honour and obey God (our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit after all), but secondly, as I begin to live more healthy, exercise, and eat right, I believe that those things will contribute to my being able to experience more of God’s peace in my life.

Those who know me know that I have never been a very healthy person. Since I graduated from high school (and that was several years ago!), I haven’t been physically active, and I definitely haven’t been eating right. I have been drinking one or more cans of Coke a day, enjoy chips and dip for a late night snack, eat way too much chocolate, and avoid veggies like the plague. But three days ago, I made a decision that all of that would change.

So, starting on Sunday, I gave myself a 40 day challenge to begin a journey towards a more healthy lifestyle. For the next 40 days, I am giving up Coke, chocolate, sweet treats (ice cream, candy, etc), and junk food. I am going to eat more healthy. On Sunday, I also started jogging, and plan to do that every day (so far, so good!). After the 40 days, I may not be so strict about some of the things I have given up – I may have a Coke as a special treat here or there, but who knows, as I begin to change my eating habits, I may find that my body no longer desires the junk any more!

Chris and Caleb joggingI’m not telling you what you should do with your body. It’s not my place to tell you how to live. I’m just sharing with you my story and telling you about the changes I’m making in my life, and you know what? I’ve been feeling great!

* * *

PHOTO: This is my oldest son Caleb and I jogging at 6:00 am this morning!

*  * *

If you’re interested in listening to the sermon that inspired and motivated me to begin living a more healthy lifestyle, visit Horizon Church’s website HERE.

* * *

On a side note, I came across this informative article in my newsfeed tonight:

What Happens to Your Body When You Start Exercising Regularly

 

 

 

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Wisdom for Daily Living – Devotionals

Wisdom For Daily Living

Imagine that God appeared to you in a dream one night and said to you, “What do you want? Ask, and I will give it to you!” How would you respond? Some people might ask for riches. Others might request power or fame or some other worldly possession or status. But when the Lord appeared to a king named Solomon in this way, Solomon didn’t ask for any of those things.

Solomon said, “You have shown great mercy to Your servant David my father, because he walked before You… in uprightness of heart with You; You have continued this great kindness for him, and You have given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day. Now, O Lord my God, You have made Your servant king instead of my father David, but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in… Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” (1 Kings 3:6-9).

In response to this request, “God gave Solomon great wisdom and understanding, and knowledge too vast to be measured. In fact, his wisdom exceeded that of all the wise men of the East and the wise men of Egypt… He composed some 3,000 proverbs and wrote 1,005 songs.” (1 Kings 4:29-32).

I’m so thankful that God inspired Solomon to write down some of his wisdom, so we could benefit from it today! Three of the books of the Bible – Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs – were all written by this wise king. Someone described the Bible in terms of the acrostic B.I.B.L.E. = Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. That statement is definitely true of the Book of Proverbs. This book is all about God’s Wisdom for Daily Living!

There are 31 chapters in the Book of Proverbs, which makes it a great subject for a month long daily devotional. I want to challenge you to take the next 31 days to come along on a journey through this book of wisdom with me. Each day, read one chapter from the Book of Proverbs, and then read through my devotional comments on a portion of that day’s reading. Proverbs 4:7 says, “Getting wisdom is the most important thing you can do! And whatever else you do, get good judgment.”

Let’s pray: Father God, as we begin this month long journey through the Book of Proverbs, I pray that you would give us wisdom and understanding. As we meditate daily on your word, help us to observe to do according to all that is written in it, for when we do this, we know that we will make our way prosperous, and find good success (Joshua 1:8). Give us a spirit of wisdom, and revelation in the knowledge of you, in Jesus’ mighty name, amen!

 

This is a sample chapter from The Beausejour Pulpit.

Contact the author of this blog for your free copy of this e-book.

Visit The Beausejour Pulpit Blog to sign up received these daily devotionals in your email box all month long.

THE FIRST FOUR DEVOTIONALS:

 

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The Christmas Story – As Told By Children

Dear friends,

This is one of my favourite retellings of the Christmas story – as told by children. After watching the video, you can find the original text to the story from the Gospel of Luke, Chapter Two, from the Bible. Merry Christmas!

The Original Christmas Story:

1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.

Merry Christmas!

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Merry Christmas! Celebrating the Joy of Jesus (a sermon)

MERRY CHRISTMAS: EXPERIENCING THE JOY OF CELEBRATING JESUS

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

Christ in Christmas

HUMOUR: A politically correct holiday greeting

Best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral, winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most joyous traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, but with respect for the religious persuasion of others who choose to practice their own religion as well as those who choose not to practice a religion at all.

THE BIG IDEA: The traditional expression “Merry Christmas” reminds us that there is a joy that comes from experiencing the Christ of Christmas.

  • Merry – full of cheerfulness; joyous in disposition or spirit: laughingly happy; mirthful; festively joyous; hilarious.
  • Christmas – Mass = a celebration; A celebration of Jesus!

OPENING: I love Christmas. To me, it really is, “The most wonderful time of the year!”

Share personal stories of being a child growing up in Saskatchewan, driving with my family to go spend Christmas with my grandparents. My desire to make Christmas special for my kids.

JOKE: I heard the story of a dad who wanted to try to be creative at disguising obvious gifts when wrapping Christmas presents. As he told the story, he said: One year I bought a video for my four-year-old son, and not wanting him to guess what it was, I put it in a cereal box, wrapped it and put it under the tree. Christmas morning he tore off the paper, let out a whoop and exclaimed, “Look, Mom, I got breakfast!”

THE TRUE STORY OF CHRISTMAS VIDEO:

CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT MIRACLES:

Background to the story –a young couple named Mary and Joseph who were engaged.

26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” 29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” 35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.” 38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.” (Luke 1:26-38, NKJV).

  • There is a joy that comes from knowing the Lord is with you.
  • Because God’s favour is upon us, we don’t have to be afraid.
  • Some of you are worried, fearful or depressed. Come to Jesus and receive His joy!
  • Our response to God? “We are your servants – do to us according to your word!”

CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT JESUS THE SAVIOUR:

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” 22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” 24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. e And he called His name Jesus.” (Matt. 1:18-25).

  • What joy there is to know that Jesus came to save us from our sins!
  • Jesus is called Immanuel – God with us. He is for us, not against us!

STORY: “Puppies for Sale” (Chicken Soup for the Soul).

A little boy appeared under the store owner’s sign, “Puppies for sale.”  “How much are you going to sell the puppies for?” he asked. The store owner replied, “Anywhere from $30 to $50.”  “I have $2.37,” the little boy said, “Can I please look at them?” The store owner smiled and whistled, and out of the kennel came five teeny, tiny balls of fur. One puppy was lagging considerably behind. Immediately, the little boy singled out the lagging, limping puppy and said, “What’s wrong with that little dog?” The owner explained that it had no hip socket; it would always be lame. The little boy became excited. “That is the little puppy that I want to buy.” The store owner said, “No, you don’t want to buy that little dog. If you really want him, I’ll just give him to you.” The little boy got quite upset. He looked straight into the store owner’s eyes, pointing his finger, and said, “I don’t want you to give him to me. That little dog is worth every bit as much as all the other dogs and I’ll pay the full price. In fact, I’ll give you $2.37 now, and 50 cents a month until I have him paid for.” The store owner countered, “You really don’t want to buy this little dog. He is never going to be able to run and jump and play with you like the other puppies.” To this, the little boy reached down and rolled up his pant leg to reveal a badly twisted, crippled left leg supported by a big metal brace. He looked up at the store owner and replied, “Well, I don’t run so well myself, and the little puppy will need someone who understands!”

  • What a great picture of what Jesus did for us by becoming a human!

CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT JOY AND PEACE:

1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.

6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

15 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. 17 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.

18 And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.” (Luke 2:1-20).

  • The first thing the angel said Jesus came for was to bring good tidings of great joy.
  • Secondly, the angels declared peace on earth and goodwill toward men.
  • Because of Jesus, we can experience God’s peace and joy!
  • Our response to experiencing this should be to glorify and praise God, too.

CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT SEEKING AND WORSHIPPING THE KING:

1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ”

7 Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.” 9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.” (Matt. 2:1-11).

  • Wise men still seek the King and worship Jesus today!
  • We too should be generous in the giving of gifts – to God and one another.

CLOSING TEXT: “For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6).

Chris Jordan

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