Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Help and Equal Opportunities

I just read a blog post from a man in the Gaza strip area of Palestine as he shared about a family rebuilding their home after it had been hit by a bomb. (Click here for the story) The writer shares some vivid details as well as photographing the damaged sustained by the bomb. He further states that international aid is coming via The American Friends Service Committee. Sadly, the help they are receiving only covers a small piece of the renovations needed. The family’s financial need is still beyond their reach.

Maybe it’s just me and the lack of news watching I do, but where is the media coverage on this issue? Ever since the earthquake in Haiti happened, the media has done a great job of bombarding people with the Haitian president's plea for international aid. Shortly after the devastation in Haiti happened, a fundraising telethon was organized in hopes that the Canadian people will donate whatever funds time and energy they were willing. Canadians didn’t disappoint either as the Canada for Haiti website reports their donations that night exceeded $13.5 million, and with the Government matching every dollar, puts the total well over $27 million.

My intent in sharing this is not to be derogatory toward the Haitian people, their situation, or the aid they are receiving. After all I would want as much help as I could get if I were in an earthquake. I would even applaud my countries government for appealing to the rest of the living world for help. My intention is to question the bias of the attention. Why not do the same thing for those trying to rebuild their lives after being victimized by war? To me, it seems a little unfair that the attention given by the media is a little one sided. Why? What’s the problem with unbiased and fair media coverage? Is it because the word of mouth technique news seems to naturally incur is null and void? Or is there something else?

Put yourself in the shoes of someone who HAS had their house blown up by a bomb. Wouldn’t you want as much help as you can get? How would you feel if NUMEROUS humanitarian agencies headed to your town or village because they cared that much? Strangers helping strangers, sounds like a wonderful and totally capable plan for a country that can willingly donate $27 million to an earthquake ravaged country. So why not give equal attention to all those in need of humanitarian aid? Am I alone in feeling this way?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Third Time's A Charm Canada!

Today is an especially prideful day across Canada as less then 24 hours ago, the Canadian Olympic team captured their first Gold medal at the Vancouver 2010 games. Alexandre Bilodeau, a native of Montréal Québec Canada made history as he rose to the top of his sport last night at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics. Alexandre Bilodeau has also become a history maker in another way.

Until last night, Canada has never claimed the top of the podium while hosting the world's finest athletes. Making the young confederate country a target for mockery on the Olympic stage.  Canada has hosted the Olympics on two other occasions. Their first crack as host was at the 1976 Summer Olympics as the Olympiads ascended on Montreal's soil. In 1988 the Olympic torch run ended in Calgary Alberta Canada, and of course this years games in Vancouver British Columbia. Therefore Bilodeau cementing himself as an Olympic Gold medal winner last night, is cause for admiration and thanks. Our hats are off to you Mr. Bilodeau!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

what does it all mean basil?

In 1999 comedian Mike Myers reprised his role as Austin Powers international man of mystery in the second film to the Austin Powers franchise. in a dialogue with his commanding officer for the British intelligence named Basil, Austin asks the question ... "what does it all mean basil?" and this question I wish to prose here today.

I read a something recently (either in Rick McKinley’s Beautiful Mess or William Paul Young’s The Shack... quite frankly I have been doing so much reading these days I cant remember where I read it, anyways enough of my digression). It was  regarding the amount of time we comb through theological statements. too much time is wasted either trying to figure out everything there is to know about God, or someone will take a certain stance on a theological point (like the grace vs. works argument for example) and spend all their time and energy building an irrefutable claim regarding their take on the issue.

Time is wasted in debate centers and the arenas of argument when they could make better uses of their time by sharing a meal with a starving 40 year old mother to be wondering if she’s going to spend yet another night in the pee stained corner she slept in last night. Or in the middle of the Mohave Desert trying to produce clean drinking water to stave off dehydration, sickness and water borne diseases.

With that said I wonder the purposes of blogs. Now you’re probably thinking of the irony of the statement as I have my own blog that you are reading right now. Let me just say I realize the irony and just because it is ironic doesn’t mean I still wonder... on that note last night I mentioned my most recent posts about Jonah to a friend and advised them to read the two entries. They then expressed their joy and thankfulness in my sharing of Jonah as it resonated with them and I guess was a form of ministry

I guess to that I say there may be a purpose to blogging and a place for debate ... exactly what that purpose may be is beyond me but that’s okay because His ways are higher them mine. I don’t know, what do you think? Do I have a point or is this entry just mindless babble?


Modern Day Jonah Part Deux: The Shack

I started reading another book recently. William Paul Young’s The Shack. The books main character, Mack, experiences a great sadness that ruins the seminary graduates faith in God. At one point the book does a flashback where we learn of Mack’s great sadness. Not only is his great sadness the root of his distrust in God, but its something he’s been hanging onto for years if not decades.

In the last few weeks a friend revealed their great sadness to me. Upon this revelation I lashed out at the person advising them they need to let it go. Drop it and move on. The other day I couldn’t help thinking about what they shared and found a private corner and vented my frustrations. After having what some call a biblical turrets fit, I spent some time in prayer about my fit and listened to the last of the Jonah series I mentioned in my last post.

What’s interesting is what the pastor talked about. He focused on Jonah hanging out at the top of a cliff hoping God would wipe out the Ninevites after Jonah delivered the message of repentance. But to Jonah's surprise, God didn’t wipe them out.

Instead he spared them because they listened to the message Jonah delivered.
In shock Jonah himself throws a hissy fit and God teaches him yet another lesson (as if being fish vomit wasn’t enough). This time God uses a tree and a worm as teaching aids for Jonah. The pastor then spends some time here as he wonders with the audience just exactly what Jonahs problem is. Rick (<--- the name of the pastor) emphasizes the joy it is to be a part of someone’s repentance story. Instead of having a biblical turrets moment, take joy in the fact that God may be using you in someone’s salvation story.

Then I began to wonder about my turrets moment, maybe there was a message in there for me BUT I am at a COMPLETE loss to help my friends through their great sadness beyond what’s already been done.

Video Blitz

i have lots of energy and lots to be thankful for today so below are just some videos expressing how i feel today :) i hope you enjoy them as well, Tim Bits

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Modern Day Jonah

So recently I’ve been listening to a sermon series on Jonah. And it’s surprisingly relative to me today. Not that I should be surprised as all scripture is useful for the teaching and correcting of all. <-- My slight paraphrase of 2 Tim 3:16. Anyways… the basic premise of Jonah’s story is he’s a prophet whom God gives a message to deliver to one of Israel’s feuding nations. Unlike some of his Old Testament counterparts, delivering this prophecy was simple and not life threatening at all. Jonah’s message was this: Change your ways and stop sinning. This time his job was like that of an oil change at Mr. Lube. Get-in do your job and get out… so fast, you could go get a coffee and muffin from Tim Horton’s and by the time you return you’re done.

However, Jonah doesn’t accept this job with ease is hesitant and runs in the opposite direction. Although scripture doesn’t really say why he ran, it does say he didn’t want to do it. As he runs, God chases after him by sending a mighty wind to literally rock his boat which sends him into a time of isolation as he spends time with the digestive juices of a big fish. After becoming fish food, Jonah admits defeat and like a deer caught in the headlights has a one on one with God confessing to his selfish ways and not wanting to deliver the message of repentance to the Ninevites.

As I said earlier, I see a relation between myself and Jonah. What’s the relationship you ask? Well it’s quite simple. Jonah ran and ended up looking like a fugitive on the run from the HAWCS helicopter. And that’s how I feel at the moment when it comes to my neighbors. I could be doing more then I currently am. And the reason I’m slacking in my relationship with my neighbors is that I’m being selfish in doing so.

At the moment I have yet to finish the series so I may have more in common with Jonah. Consequently, my relationship with God may need more of a chiropractic adjustment. It’s tough to say what the next days hold. But I’m willing to listen and learn.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Overcoming Temptation

today i thought i would post an old sermon i once preached in college. i hope you enjoy... Tim Bits :)

Promise Of A Lifetime
By Kutless

I have fallen to my knees
As I sing a lullaby of pain
I'm feeling broken in my melody
As I sing to help the tears go away
Then I remember the pledge you made to me
I know you're always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I'm clinging to the promise of a lifetime
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime

Will you help me fall apart
Pick me up, take me in your arms
Find my way back from the storm
And you show me how to grow
Through the change

I still remember the pledge you made to me

I am holding on to the hope I have inside
With you I will stay through every day
Putting my understanding aside
And I am comforted

Our text today comes from Luke 4:1-13. It is here that we find Jesus fasting, and after Jesus’ spiritual retreat he has an altercation with Satan, where Jesus faces some pretty powerful temptations. Satan first tempts Jesus with his most obvious physical need, food. One commentator I read from says the type of fasting Jesus did probably only limited him to consuming nothing but liquids for 40 days. Hence the gospel writers remark; “he ate nothing during those 40 days and was hungry. The second temptation Jesus is faced with is abandoning God and joining forces with Satan. By doing so, Jesus will still be handed over all authority on the earth, which will be given to him at the end of his life anyways.

But if Jesus chooses to join Satan, he can gain all this authority and avoid all the pain and suffering of doing it God’s way. Did you ever see Mel Gibson’s The Passion? That movie just gives us a taste of the suffering Jesus went through. I don’t know about you, but to hear that I can achieve the same results without being beaten and killed the way Mel Gibson depicts; chances are I would have jumped ship right away.

Jesus’ 3rd temptation is perhaps the most difficult. I say this because Satan challenges Jesus to test God by getting him to jump off a cliff. Then Satan quotes scripture himself citing psalm 91:11-2

For he will command his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

These 2 verses show that God promises to protect his own. Satan’s premise is, if God protects his own and you are his son, then you can jump and not worry. You can run over the edge and not be crushed. Satan suggests this kind of protection will enhance Jesus’ dependency on God as he flings himself into his caring arms.

As we look at the temptations Jesus faced when confronted by Satan we can see that each one has become increasingly difficult. But the story doesn’t end there. I invite you to join me as together, we not only look at the temptations Jesus faced, but this story is filled with hope. As Jesus overcomes each one of these temptations, he shows us, his church, a body of believers gathered together one thing. Overcoming the desires and lures of temptation is difficult but possible.

The first time we see Satan tempting Jesus after the 40 days of fasting, Satan tempts him by saying: “you have all the powers and abilities that God has and you could take that rock over there and turn it into some bread, then you wont be so hungry. And do you know what? Satan was right!! Jesus does have all the powers that God has and yes Jesus could use those powers to turn a pile of rocks into some food. But Jesus understands that this is a challenge to do things his way, and to neglect what his heavenly father would have him do. Instead he takes a stand and refuses to ignore God. Jesus acknowledges the Heavenly Father’s plan for his life and successfully fights off the temptation as hungry as He is. Jesus’ successful bout with the devil reveals how dedicated he is to God’s will and plan for his life. Jesus will only take the road God asks of him to follow. Jesus will not take short cuts. He knows a successful walk with God only goes where the father leads.

When Satan challenges Jesus a second time, he purposes an allegiance. Satan concocts a deal between him and Jesus. “Pledge allegiance to me and no other. In return, I will give you all the kingdoms of the world and authority over them.” The temptation is not only to join Satan but to take the lazy man’s way out. The temptation is for Jesus to excuse himself from all that lies ahead in his ministry… including all the suffering and rejection involved in his crucifixion.

The bible tells us that Satan does have some authority on the earth. John’s Gospel refers to Satan as the prince of this world and 2 Cor 4:4 calls him god of this world. Even though Satan does have some authority on the earth, he doesn’t have the power to hand over the kingdoms of the world to Jesus. Jesus reply makes it clear he knows Satan is lying. Going Satan’s way is not the way to gain power. That’s exactly how to lose a position of power. The quick and easy way might work in achieving the goal, or completing the task. However this doesn’t always bring glory to God.

By Jesus’ third temptation, Satan got smart and tried to use scripture to manipulate Jesus into a sinful trap. Satan tries to get Jesus to jump off a cliff. While quoting psalm 91:11-12, Satan reminds Jesus that God sends angels to protect the ones he loves. Satan is correct in saying this. Unfortunately, Satan takes that verse way out of context. According to Michael J. Wilkins, the original context in which this scripture is used, it does not imply that God will send protective care for every harmful thing situation. Realizing this, Jesus counteracts with the following scripture:

Do not test the LORD your God.

After this Luke’s Gospel tells us that Satan left him for an opportune time; so what? What difference does that make? How does this apply to us, a group of believers gathered here, today in 2006 AD? I think its: when temptation comes our way, it is POSSIBLE to overcome temptation. notice what I didn’t say. I DIDN’T say it was going to be easy, I said it was possible. Overcoming temptation is never easy, but then again sometimes the quick and easy way out steals the glory from God.

So what can we do when temptation comes our way? One thing we could do is to pick up our bible and start reading and don’t stop until the desire to sin is gone. I have to admit I’m not the best example at doing this, but the times I do it, it does help. Another thing we can do is stay away from whatever avenue there is to feed those desires. For example, if you’re trying to lose weight and you have a craving for something sweet, stay away from bakeries; or if you’re trying to quit smoking, throw your cigarettes into a rose bush. This way every time you crave a cigarette you’ll want to stay away from the cigarette because you eventually you won’t want to get pricked by the thorns every time you want to smoke. 1 cor 10: 13 says:

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Another thing we could do to over come temptation is cling to this promise and ask God to show us the way out of the risky situation, whatever that may be. Pray asking God to help us stand under tempting moments they arrive.

I’d like to close by reading Psalm 91 from the New Living Translation.


Those who live in the shelter of the Most High
will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the Lord:
He alone is my refuge, my place of safety;
he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap
and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers.
He will shelter you with his wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are punished.

If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your shelter,
no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your home.
For he will order his angels
to protect you wherever you go.
They will hold you up with their hands
so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
You will trample upon lions and cobras;
you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!

The Lord says, “I will rescue those who love me.
I will protect those who trust in my name.
When they call on me, I will answer;
I will be with them in trouble.
I will rescue and honor them.
I will reward them with a long life
and give them my salvation.”