A Giant’s Depression

Do you struggle with depression? If so, you’re not alone. Even Charles Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers, battled this giant. There is hope!

The Recovering Legalist

Not long ago I did a couple of posts dealing with depression. As best I can tell, the posts were well-received.

One of the main points I wanted to make in those posts was that depression isn’t always something we can help, but something that accosts us no matter our will to be positive.

The following article, “11 Reasons Spurgeon Was Depressed,” was published by the The Spurgeon Center for Biblical Preaching at Midwestern Seminary, and I want to thank a friend of mine, Kevin Woodruff (Bryan College Librarian) for posting it on Facebook.

If you have found yourself depressed, and wonder if it’s only a spiritual matter, the following look at the great Charles H. Spurgeon, a giant among godly men, should give you hope.

“11 Reasons Spurgeon Was Depressed”

View original post

Advertisements
Posted in blog | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How’s Your Soul… Really?

How's Your SoulHow’s Your Soul?

When was the last time someone asked you that question, and wanted an honest answer for you… really? I think too often in the world today we go through life scrolling through our social media accounts with very little deep and meaningful interaction with those in the real world around us. That needs to change!

In his latest book, How’s Your Soul, Pastor Judah Smith contends that “everything that matters starts with the inside you.” As the back cover blurb states, “How’s Your Soul? is a relatable, refreshing call to anyone searching for lasting emotional stability, fulfillment, and satisfaction, inviting them to stop living from day to day and instead to start living intentionally with the end in mind.” On that note, I want to share with you a few of my favourite quotes from this book…

The “Are you okay?” question is scary, because it has to do with the real you – not with our achievements or activities, but with your emotions, your thoughts, your decisions, your values and your desires.”

“Each of us has a soul. And that soul should be healthy… But is it well with our souls? Is the inside of us really steady and stable and secure? Do we ever stop to think about that? … God wants our souls to be well… But we rarely, if ever, focus on our souls. We don’t go around asking each other, “So, how’s your soul?” But maybe we should.”

“I think the phrase “the inside you” does a good job communicating the biblical meaning of the soul… My soul is the center of who I am. It is the inner me, the real me, the invisible me that transcends the physical me, the part of me that in some sense will live eternally in heaven… Our souls came from, depend on, and long for God. He gave us life, so his presence is essential to our ongoing health.”

Our souls are home when they return to God… We were created by God and for God, and we will find ourselves most fully when we find ourselves in him and turn our attention toward him… Your soul is healthiest when it comes back frequently and wholeheartedly to God.” 

“The Creator has given us a handbook for a healthy soul: the Bible.”

Our souls need rest. They need relaxation, enjoyment, peace and pleasure.” 

“Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest… and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28-29). He couldn’t have been any clearer. Our souls need rest, and he is our ultimate source of rest.”

“We are, by nature, relational beings. We were meant for community. Even the most introverted, solitary personality types need at least some level of human interaction in order to maintain healthy, thriving, vibrant souls. It is unhealthy for our souls to be isolated or without relationship.”

“I wonder, even in a fast and furious world, can we cultivate quiet souls? Can we be calm and peaceful and at rest on the inside, even when all around us are chaos and noise?”

And finally, a challenge to church leaders:

“Just because you lead people and help people doesn’t mean you are always going to be healthy on the inside. If anything, the pressure of public influence increases the unhealthy tendencies of our souls. If we aren’t careful, it can make us defensive and isolated. Instead of looking for help when we need it, we pretend to have it all together.”

And so I want to close this post and ask you a genuine, personal question:

How’s YOUR soul… really?

 

Posted in Book, book review | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Costa Rica Explore Mission Trip 2018

I love being a teacher at Regent Christian Academy, and being able to participate in our school’s mission program. At RCA, “our students are taught to care for those who are less fortunate, and they are provided a variety of opportunities to share the love of Jesus in tangible and meaningful ways, including both local and international missions.” (www.regent.bc.ca).

From our school’s website, here’s a description of the second step in our school’s mission program, Explore: “Explore is the ‘next step’ in missions. You have been on a mission trip, and God has stirred your heart for people in a whole new way. Stepping out with this team means you more closely examine how God may be using missions to lead you towards life as a missionary, whether that takes you to the other side of the world or right in your own backyard. The responsibility falls more on you and your team to make this trip all you want it to be. Sharing your faith and testimony, interacting more one-on-one with the people you meet and minister to are all part of this team’s goals. Serving in a local church in a foreign country, people are among some of the opportunities given.”

Every spring break, Regent sends out 2-3 teams to different parts of the world, and this year was no exception. We sent teams to Mexico, Uganda, and Costa Rica, the latter trip being led by my wife Liza and me. This was our fifth trip to Costa Rica that the two of us have led, and we were excited to be taking seven students from our school, including our daughter, Hannah.

On this trip, we worked together with Pastor John Overholt, who had served as a missionary in Costa Rica with his wife Debbie, planting churches for many years. We went to several remote locations including Jabilla, San Jorge, Jicaral, Montana Grande, Lepanto and Belen. There we and came alongside of local churches there to share the Gospel door to door in the community, feed the poor, lead worship services, share testimonies, minister to and pray for people, and host several children’s ministry events.

Here’s a report from just one of our day’s of ministry from Pastor John:

Today our team worked together in Jicaral with Pastor Manfred and some of his church members as we reached out to one of the neediest neighborhoods in his area. Knowing who needed the most help, he selected 25 homes for us to visit. We were able to bless each family with three full bags of groceries as a practical token of God’s love but most importantly we were also able to leave them with food that is able to fill their spiritual emptiness. It was very encouraging to see twelve people respond to the good news message and then have the pastors of the church continuing the conversation with the people and being able to follow up. This is where short term missions can make a long term impact.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are just a few thousand words from our March 2018 mission trip to Costa Rica:

Door to Door 2

One of the highlights for me was being able to go door to door in poor communities and being able to bless needy families with food hampers.

Broken Down Car

Of course, what mission trip would be complete without a breakdown on the side of the road at least once?

Kids Fair Hannah

My daughter Hannah with some of the kids at a children’s fair we hosted.

Joanna and GIrl

One of our team members hugging one of the beautiful Costa Rican children.

Have you ever gone on a mission trip before? If not, I would strongly encourage you to do so. This cross-cultural ministry experience has the potential to change your life!

Posted in mission trip | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Bone Spurs and Reckless Love

On one day five weeks ago, I made the decision to start living healthier. I would eat better, cut out the junk, and incorporate more healthy foods into my diet including fruits and vegetables. And that’s been going great! I have been feeling better and have no desire to go back to the junk. Orange juice has replaced Coke, and apples and other fruits have replaced the chips and dip for snacking items.

However, on that day, I also decided that I would also start exercising, and began getting up early to jog in the mornings. It was going well for the first week or so, but somewhere along the way, I felt like I must have overdone it, because I started getting a sharp pain in my knee that has persisted for the past 3-4 weeks.

I finally went to my doctor abChris Knee X-Rayout it, and he sent me for X-rays. When I got the results, it turns out that I have bone spurs on my patella (my knee cap). A bone spur is an abnormal bone growth that develops on the surface of bones that causes pain when they rub against the nerves and press on surrounding tissue. So, the condition may not have even have been caused by the jogging! (And here I was hoping to tout this ‘sports injury’ as a badge of honour. No such luck!).

So, what method of treatment was prescribed? Well, the doctor said there’s not really much that can be done. Rest the knee and not do anything to aggravate the symptoms (i.e. no more jogging). Take pain meds. And if it gets worse – surgery is an option. Well that sucks! I try to get all healthy and then this happens?

Yes I would have to say I was a little discouraged by this! But not overwhelmed. I am praying (and asking for others to join with me in praying) for a total and complete healing of my knee. I believe that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, and that He is the Lord our Healer. But until that happens, no more jogging. Just being on my feet all day in the classroom causes enough pain. I will have to come up with other creative ways to be physically active, and am seriously thinking about giving swimming a try.

reckless love

So during this season, I came across a new worship song out of Bethel Church that has really blessed me. I first heard it when we took the members of our Costa Rica mission team to the Generation Unleashed youth conference in Portland, Oregon. It has become a new favourite of mine – it is called Reckless Love, written by Cory Asbury. The chorus says:

  • Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
  • Oh, it chases me down, fights ‘til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
  • I couldn’t earn it, I don’t deserve it, still You give Yourself away
  • Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God

I’m reading a book right now called How’s Your Soul? by Pastor Judah Smith. In it he quotes Hebrews chapter six, a Bible passage that talks about how we have a sure and steadfast anchor for our souls. He talks about how “the author used the familiar imagery of a boat and an anchor to remind these ancient Jesus followers that when they felt overwhelmed, they needed to hang on to Jesus. Jesus was enough for them… We want out. We want an escape. We want someone to remove us from the storm, but Jesus wants to be our strength and stability in the storm.” 

And where does that leave me today? I know that my knee pain is a relatively minor issue in light of the trials, troubles, struggles and challenges that other people are facing in the world today. But whether your storm is a physical one, or a relational, financial or emotional one, this I believe: Jesus is passionately in love with you, and will do whatever it takes to get to you to be the peace and anchor in the midst of your storm!

  • There’s no shadow You won’t light up, Mountain You won’t climb up
  • Coming after me
  • There’s no wall You won’t kick down, Lie You won’t tear down
  • Coming after me

 

 

Posted in blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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

 

Posted in blog | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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!

 

Posted in blog | 2 Comments

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

 

 

Posted in Book, book review | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment