Monthly Archives: February 2017

Lights, Camera, Action…

picture1Do you know what a clapperboard is? It’s a tool used in the process of filmmaking, it’s that black and white board that contains some sort of scribbled handwriting that means something to someone and makes the “clap” sound when the clapstick is struck down. This device assists in the synchronizing of the motion picture and sound. During post filming production, the audio and video tracks can be precisely matched to create a seamless film experience. The director calls “action”, the person holding the clapperboard “claps” or cue’s the scene and the filming begins.

The apostle Paul calls us to action repeatedly in his writing. In many ways Paul gives us cue’s to living a life holy and pleasing to the Lord, a kind of “syncing” to His will. Paul often opens his letters to the church with statements like, “Grace and peace to you from God our Father” and “Grace and peace to you” and he often finishes in the same fashion. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians closes his letter with what I would call a serious call to action. “Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.” (6:24). An undying love can also be translated as everlasting, indestructible, inextinguishable, constant, deathless or perpetual love. Notice that the text reads “all those who love our Lord”, often we describe God’s love for us in these terms but here we as believers are called to reciprocate that love in the same way.

An unmerited, undeserved gift that is freely given to us as believers by God, that is what grace is. Paul, speaking to God’s holy people reminds them (and us) of the kind of love we must have for our Heavenly Father. Out of our passion for God flows compassion for others. This is a compassion that draws others into seeing the incredible power of grace, forgiveness, love and mercy. Paul’s instructions for Christian living include a picture of how we as God’s people need to show grace to others; be kind and compassionate to one another (grace), forgiving each other (grace), just as in Christ God forgave you (grace).(Eph. 4:32). God’s word is our clapperboard in life, it is a call to action. It holds the important information that helps us live our lives in accordance to His will (synchronizing). Because of His forgiveness and grace, we have been given many more “takes” on life than we deserve.

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The Law Says What?

law1In Vancouver it was illegal to sell a stove on a Wednesday from 1947 to 1986. In Alberta it’s illegal to set fire to the leg of a wooden-legged man. Purple garage doors are against the law in Kanata, Ontario. In Canada it is illegal to challenge someone to a duel or accept an invitation to a duel. It is illegal to remove a band aid in public in Canada”. As crazy as this sounds, these laws at one time were written in our nations law books. In some ways, this is reminiscent of the laws we read about centuries ago during the time of Moses, the law given to God’s chosen people, Israel.

 In the book of Romans, Paul has some very thought provoking and enlightening words to explain the relationship between law and grace. “… we have been released from the law (by the grace of God given to us through the death and resurrection of Jesus) so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code (the law of Moses). Paul does not dismiss the law all together in this narrative, “I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law… So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good.” (7:12). The law continues to call us as believers to be obedient to the commands of the Lord, it calls us to a moral and ethical purity that we can only stand true in through His grace and forgiveness. It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that these things can be accomplished.

 Sin has a heavy grip on all our lives and relentlessly battles to pull us away from what is holy and true. We like Paul might have the desire to do what is good but because of sin, we do not do what we want. Romans 7:25 reminds us of the mindset that keeps us “on track”. Paul writes, “So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.” It is only by God’s grace, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the forgiveness of sins through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we can overcome death (sin). Sin separates us from God; grace breaks the hold that sin has on our lives, offering forgiveness (something the law could not do) and draws us back to Him. The law cannot set us free from sin and death, it is only through the power of the Holy Spirit and the grace of our Father in heaven that he pours out on us that we will be free to spend eternity with Him.

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___ ___ ___ ___ ___ . What is it?

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There are many things around us that we often take for granted, and in many ways don’t even recognize as an incredible blessing. For example, the clean air we breathe, a home, freedom, an abundance of food, family, advanced technology, running water, education… the list could go on. Living where I do, I have easy and unlimited access to all these things.  This is not the case for everyone around this great planet. There is one thing that each and every one of us have access to, it makes all the above things pale in comparison. It is GRACE, God’s grace to be exact.

What is it?  GRACE that is. The book of Romans gives us a great look into GRACE. Paul, a man who personally experienced the GRACE of God in his life helps us understand what GRACE is through his letter to the Romans. Let me break it down for you; “G”, GRACE is a gift that we receive through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (1:5). “R”, GRACE releases us from the law and binds us to Christ. (Romans 7). “A”, We have been given access to God’s GRACE through Christ, both now and forever as faithful and obedient believers (5:2). “C”, we have been chosen (11:5) and called (1:7) to live in the GRACE that is freely given through Christ, chosen not because of what we have done but because of the love that He has for us. “E”, everyone, Jew and Gentiles (you and I) as Paul describes are included in God’s plan of salvation, we as believers are called to obedience that comes through faith in Him.

Mercy, love, compassion, kindness, favour, goodwill. These words all in some way stand under the “umbrella” of GRACE. Do we take these things for granted? We may not realize it at times but we can become complacent in our faith, we can lose sight of the incredible gift of GRACE from God that He continually pours out into us. Our daily lives and interactions with others are filled with good days and hard days. One day we may feel loved by those around us, other days we may feel invisible or hurt. The great thing about God’s love and GRACE is that it never fails, it is the same day in and day out. There is so much goodness flowing through the GRACE of our Heavenly Father, for this we are greatly blessed.

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Restoring a Classic.

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I am not much of a car guy when it comes to mechanics but I do appreciate seeing a classic car restored to its original condition. I know a few guys who have poured countless hours into the restoration of a car. Often they will have a picture of the original car hanging nearby for inspiration as they painstakingly remove and repair the rust and dents of the “old beater”. Restoring a car is not for everyone, you must have a ton of patience, an eye for detail, and a passion for cars if you want the job done right. Each dent, scratch, and driven mile has a story to tell, a story that has a beginning from factory floor to its newly restored beauty.

From beginning to end, the world we live in has a rich history and makes for an incredible story. It tells a tale that has yet to be completed and according to scripture has a hope and promise of a beautiful restoration. The book of Revelation gives us a glimpse into what John calls a new heaven and a new earth, he describes the Holy City, the new Jerusalem coming down from heaven. Before the fall of man, prior to sin entering this world, God was pleased with his creation, it was “very good”. I don’t have to describe what has happened since that time, but if you haven’t noticed things are a far cry from very good anymore. This new heaven and earth is described like this: “There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain… It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal…The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone… The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.” WOW, can you imagine it?

John continues to write about the beauty of this anticipated restoration for those who believe and live in obedience to God’s will. Until then, we are called to be good stewards and care takers of this earth. God’s charge to Adam in the beginning was to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” That charge follows through to us today; we have been given a great responsibility until the time comes when Jesus comes back to begin his great restoration project.

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What is Good?

thumbsupThe aroma of fresh bread being baked in the oven, that is good. The first few sips of coffee that awaken your taste buds in the morning, that is good. Chocolate, no question, is good. Watching an early morning sunrise while fly-fishing on a river in the great outdoors, that is good. The comfort and warmth you feel when you stand with your back close to a fire on a cold winters day, that is good. Watching your child perform in their first play or concert, that is good. My mom’s homemade strawberry cream pie, well, that is very good.

Seven times in Genesis chapter 1 God calls his handiwork (creation) good (v.4,10,12,18,21,25,31). The word translated “good” here in chapter 1 is associated with other words like desirable, beautiful or right. This account of creation has a particular order and function that displays the sovereignty God has over all created things. Packed into 31 verses we read about the vast array of everything good before the fall of man. Not one created thing was without God’s touch of goodness, the sun and moon, stars, oceans and rivers, birds of the air, animals, mountains and valleys, and then at the climax of this great event, He created mankind in His own image.  An image that holds true, pure goodness.  In conclusion to His masterful plan “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”(Gen 1:31) Like an artist stepping back from the canvas, He was pleased with what He had created.

Everyday I am reminded of the good that was established through the creation in the very beginning. I have the privilege of living in a place where my morning commute can bring me to the foot of the mountain that towers over our city to the open road near the shores of the deep ocean waters. God continues to reveal his goodness through His creation, even in a world that has been marred by sin. We are His creation; we are called to reflect his goodness and love. When we put our hope and trust in God, we share in the confidence with other believers that His goodness will shine through in all our circumstances. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28). This is good.

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