Monthly Archives: March 2017

Truth or Dare?

truthdareTruth or Dare is the classic party game of embarrassment. A group of people take turns asking each other “truth or dare”? When someone chooses “truth”, they must answer the question truthfully regardless of how embarrassing it is. When someone chooses “dare”, they are given a task to complete. One example might be: Truth, “What is your deepest darkest fear” or dare, “lick the floor”. You must choose one, what would it be?

Let’s play another game – “Dare to live the Truth”. It is a game of life, real life. The object of the game is to live and walk in the truth. What is truth? When speaking to believers, John in his second letter defines truth as living in the knowledge and acceptance of the good news of the Gospel. He talks about living in the assurance of everlasting life through the death, resurrection and forgiveness of our sins through Jesus Christ. Truth is found in love and God is love. In 2 John verse 4 we read “It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us.” We are reminded of this joy in walking (living) in obedience to God’s commands because in the world (those “existing” outside of the body of Christ) individuals define truth in their own terms. In this letter, they are labeled as deceivers, “any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist”. (v7)

Sometimes the truth is hard to face, there are real consequences and hard decisions to make in life when we walk in the truth as John describes. Truth requires discernment, it requires courage, it demands obedience and gives us something to hold on to. When we look past the hard realities of living and walking in the truth, we can experience the same great joy and freedom that John sees in the community of believers whom he is writing to. Contrary to Colonel Nathan R. Jesseps’ (Jack Nicholson) statement in the movie “A Few Good Men”, “You can’t handle the truth”, know that you can handle the truth. God’s word tells us that “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32)

So let’s play the game:
Truth: Do you believe that Christ died for the forgiveness of your sins?
Dare: (Yes) Live out that truth in your life so others will see Christ in you.
Dare: (No) Put your hope and trust in God today, pray and accept Christ into your life.

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Right Under Your Nose.

Search

Have you ever been looking for something and it was right there in front of you?  Whether it is the Ketchup bottle in the fridge, the invoice on the top of the pile or solution to a simple question. Often these things are “right under our nose” and for some reason we cannot see it, most often what we are looking for is in a place it can be clearly seen. This is an interesting phenomenon and I am sure it happens to most of us.

There is a message in the book of 1 John that should jump right off the page and hit us in the nose. This is a message that is so important and relevant to our lives that we may at times not see it. John writes, “I am writing to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name.” (That is the name of Jesus Christ). In other words, on account of his love for us, we have been saved from the consequences of sin and death. Twice John explains this in his writing, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” (3:16). “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (4:9-10).

God’s love for us is revealed throughout scripture and it is important to understand that He calls us into a relationship of love and obedience. “We love because he first loved us” (4:19). “This is love for God: to keep his commands.” (5:3). When we focus on these verses it seems so simple, but life in this world has a way of clouding the purity and goodness of God’s love for us. One of the difficult things we live with are the temptations and desires of this world, John reminds us that “The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” (2:17) God’s love is everlasting, this might be hard for us to comprehend when we go through the trials and temptations of life, and it is easy to say when life is going well. God gives us his word so that we can be reminded of his love, it is a word of truth and we must always remember like John says “God is Love.” (4:16) The answers to life, to knowing and understanding God’s love for us and the love we are to have for one another are right under our nose, in His word.

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Breaking Down Barriers

wreckingballI enjoy a good demolition project, tearing down walls, smashing things with a sledge hammer, prying, pulling and incinerating the consequent debris. Sometimes I like to dream big, on a much larger demolition scale I was thinking about a wrecking ball. I would love to sit in the operator’s seat of one of these wrecking machines, my hands controlling the swinging action of the massive ball of forged steel as it smashes through concrete, steel, and any other obstacles in its path. A ten-thousand-pound ball of steel has the potential to bring even the strongest barrier to the ground.

Paul’s letter to Philemon describes a different process of breaking down barriers, barriers that rise up in our personal relationships. Much like in Paul’s time, these barriers might include social or economic status, heritage, or even geographic location. Paul writes a very personal letter to Philemon in respect to a mutual acquaintance, a man named Onesimus who was a run-away slave from the house of Philemon. The barriers I am talking about in relationships are broken down by love, a love that is found through the power and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in our relationship with Christ. There is a “bond among brothers” in this letter. Paul calls for the barriers of social status (Philemon as master and Onesimus as slave) to be disbanded, “welcome him as you would welcome me… no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother”, brothers in Christ. If you read through this short letter you will find some great insight into what a God honouring relationship looks like, you will see love, trust, respect, confidence and most importantly, Christ.

Brothers and sisters in Christ loving one another without judgement and without fear, that is a beautiful picture that I hope to see one day. The foundations of the barriers that get in the way of authentic Christ centred relationships are made up of the things of this world, things that focus on us. Exemplified through the life and death of Jesus Christ, the foundations of all our relationships need to be built with one key ingredient, love. Our first love should be for Christ and in the knowledge of Christ’s love for us, when that shines through so then will our love for others. Lives are transformed by love, we don’t need wrecking balls to remove barriers, we need the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome them.

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Terms of Endearment 


A term of endearment is a word or phrase used to address or describe a person for which the speaker feels love or affection. There are some fairly creative terms that couples have crafted for each other over the years but there are a few classics that we might all know. “Baby”, “Honey, Hon or Hun”, “Sweetheart”, “Sugar”, “Beautiful”, “Angel”, the list could go on. Maybe you’re a little more adventurous and you describe your significant other with phrases like “a tall drink of water”, “my heart and soul”, my better half” or “my soul mate”. If your looking for something fresh here are some ideas from the book of Love, Song of Solomon”.

“I liken you, my darling, to a mare among pharaoh’s chariot horses”. “Your eyes are doves”. “Like a Lilly among thorns”. “My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag”. “Your hair is like a flock of goats”. “Your temples like the halves of pomegranate”.“You are a garden fountain”. “Your navel is a rounded goblet”. “Your nose is like the tower of Lebanon”.  

The words found in the book of Songs of Solomon are the exchange of terms of endearment between that of a man and a women, a young couple, a husband and wife who are clearly in love with each other. There is passion, excitement, romance, emotion, and joy found in these words as the characters playfully banter back and forth. Although these terms may not cross cultures and time we can still learn from them today, we can be inspired by the level of passion and commitment that is being expressed in their relationship. Why are these songs or poems included in the Bible? What purpose do they play? To me they are words of inspiration. They are examples and reminders of the passion and excitement that should be a part of our intimate marriage relationships. These words reflect God’s passion and design for a vibrant marriage relationship and in many ways mirrors the love that he has for us. We were created in His image, an image of beauty and excellence that should shine through each and every one of our lives. I’m not an expert in relationships but I have enough experience that I would suggest you stay away from references to mare’s, goats and pomegranates in your next romantic interlude with your spouse.  

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Infinity +1

infinityOne of the things that I love about listening to kids is the simplicity in which they communicate. It has been a long time since I used the statement “infinity plus one”, I’m sure you have heard it before, it is the classic line used to “one up” your friend. Infinity +1, if you look it up you will find that it is actually a complex mathematical concept that can confound some of the brightest minds. I prefer to define it like a six-year-old might, as a “whole bunch”.

Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians uses a similar line to describe the love of God for his people, “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” (3:18b) This is a part of Paul’s prayer for the people who are rooted in Christ’s love to grasp or understand the infinite love that God has for us. When I consider the width, length, height and depth of His love I think of a “whole lot”, like that of a six-year-old. Under this umbrella of love, we experience the gift of grace that is poured out continuously in our lives. In terms of measurement (because as humans we need to measure everything) in respect to God’s love, grace and mercy in our lives I like to think like this: Width describes the breadth of love that God has for every person in every place on this big earth. Length, this is an everlasting (never ending) love that began in that divine moment when He created mankind and follows through into eternity with him. Height measures the distance that puts God’s love so high, (out of reach) that no one person or being can take it away. Depth, even our deepest thoughts and finite wisdom cannot comprehend the incredible measure of love that our God has for us.

One thing that I can tell you with confidence and without a doubt in my mind is that God loves you. His love, grace and mercy is there for all of us to live in, he calls us to be in a relationship with Him through his Son, Jesus Christ. In response to God’s love for us Paul calls us to this action, “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”(5:1-2). In other words, take what the Lord has given to you (love, grace and mercy) and let it overflow, beyond measure to those around you because this is what’s he does for you.

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