Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Breathe On These Dry Bones!

The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, "Son of man, can these bones live?"

I said, "O Sovereign LORD, you alone know."

Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones and say to them, 'Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.' "

So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.' " So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

Then he said to me: "Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, 'Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.' Therefore prophesy and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: O my people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel. Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open your graves and bring you up from them. I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD.' "

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Bay of Pigs

The gospel of Luke tells the story of Jesus exorcising a demon-possessed man. (Luke 8:26-35) The man Jesus encounters refers to himself as Legion and is indicative of the severity to his possession. “Legion” is symbolic of thousands of demons controlling this man’s every thought, word, and deed. Upon approaching Jesus, Legion blurts out Jesus true identity as Son of the Most High God. He further claims Jesus' ministry is interfering with the demon’s rule on earth. After healing the man, instead of sending the demons into the underworld, he sends them into a heard of pigs. The three little pigs then take a dive off a cliff and drown in the nearby lake

Plenty could be said about this showdown between Jesus and the demons. The demon's reference to Jesus as Son of the Most High God; show they have a supernatural knowledge of who Jesus is, ask favors of, and obey him. It’s been said that Jesus’ ability to heal the man possessed by many demons demonstrates His dominion over Satan and the other demons (click here). Ink has even been spilled over the Hellenization of the Jews resulting in the presence of pig farms on Jewish land, despite their forbiddance of pork consumption. Something that strikes my curiosity is why Jesus sent this legion of demons into the herd, before they went swimming with the fishes. Maybe Jesus embraced his Jewish roots and was reacting to the presence of the “other white meat”? I don’t know what to think about it, but I welcome your thoughts comments and suggestions. Much love, Tim bits

Friday, March 19, 2010

How Great Thou Art: In Opposition of Bill C-384

With 3 weeks left before Easter, my church has taken to honoring the season of Lent. Traditionally seen as 40 days of preparation for the death and resurrection of Messiah Jesus, the Church (by and large) spends each subsequent week focusing on the death and resurrection of God’s only begotten. Consequently, I have spent the last few days focusing on the hope we find in the midst of life’s greatest Challenge: Death.

I find it an oddity that while the church is focused on celebrating joy found in the death and resurrection, of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, an attempt to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide is being brought forth in Canada’s parliament. Bill C-384 – otherwise known as the “Right to Die with Dignity Bill,” legally qualifies a person for doctor assisted suicide, under the following conditions: the patient must be at least 18 years old, they must continue to experience physical or mental pain while under treatment, but can choose to opt out of the treatment. The person can be terminally ill. They can also appear to be lucid. They can make 2 written requests to die inside a 10 day period, and finally they can appoint someone to act on their behalf if they are no longer lucid. This appointment must be submitted in writing.

At 19 years of age I was faced with the reality of death. After taking 48 Tylenol I was rushed to the hospital in the back of an ambulance. It was there that my life was intervened not just by human hands, but God’s hand was clearly on me in that hospital room. A Gideon came to visit me the first morning I was admitted. A complete stranger to me, we talked in the waking hours of that day. Recalling the events that led to my being in hospital, she first sat as a sounding board to the reasons I attempted suicide. Later on, she told me she was a Christian and offered me a New Testament. I reluctantly accepted her gift; afterward we parted ways never crossing paths again.

Sitting in a hospital room bored out of my mind, I decide to ask God a question,

“God, why am I in this hospital bed instead of dying somewhere?”

I opened my New Testament to a random page, pointed the first thing I saw and read,

“At my first defense, no one came to my support, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them. But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was delivered from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (2 Tim 4:16-18 NIV).

A few months later I asked Jesus to be a part of my life, always remembering the day I found hope in the midst of my greatest challenge.

After my 18th birthday I could carry an intelligent conversation. I had also experienced a mental pain to which I saw no end. More then once, I hinted at suicide, but as the scripture says, no one paid attention to my cries. Then, in my darkest hour, God stepped in and saved me from imminent death. Offering me hope unimaginable; accompanied by peace and rest from my mental anguish.

Then sings my soul, My Savior God, to Thee, How great Thou art! When Christ shall come, With shouts of acclamation, And take me home, What joy shall fill my heart! Then I shall bow In humble adoration And there proclaim, "My God, how great Thou art!"

Sunday, March 14, 2010

On The Discovery Channel

If you read any portion of my blog, it doesn’t take much to see that I’ve been on a journey of discovery as of late. Although I shudder at the thought, its definitely true that its been almost a full calendar year of asking, poking and prodding God to find out what He wants me to so with this next leg of my life. I must say so far it feels like I’ve been on a rollercoaster with plenty of dead ends/locked doors, u-turns and loop da loops. Parts of the journey have felt like dragging my legs through mud. Why can change be such a drag? This change isn’t wholly a stick in the mud though, for I have seen many grow ops (that’s my "word" for growth opportunities). I’ve experienced freedom from things that have kept me disabled, rediscovered that the kingdom of God is not only tangible but it is something that I can actually take part in. I also have a newfound joy for worship.

However, it still feels like life (for me at least) is still on the discovery channel. My good friends Erik and Bonnie popped by for a visit this week in response to an email I sent them a few weeks ago. I had asked them a question about leadership as it pertains to my involvement with the Expressions Community. In addition to vision casting about things ahead for expressions, they encouraged me to put feet to the new mission God seems to have called me to: encouraging people with disabilities. I felt deeply encouraged as we dreamed about the possibilities and wrestled with what my new mission looks like.

Together, the three of us figured that encouraging people with disabilities would need to include investing in them somehow. What does that look like? I don’t know, maybe I could buy them all some stock with their maturity date being April 1st. To what extent do invest in these people? No comprende mi amigo, but I do know I want it to be a long lasting one. So if you come across this and feel the urge to pray, feel free to do so. Until next time, this is Tim bits saying over and out!

Monday, March 8, 2010

To No End

Where can I go from your Spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?
Psalm 139:1

After beginning my relationship with God, like a stereotypical Christian I was reading my New Testament at least once a day if not more. (It wasn’t until I entered Bible College that I had a full bible). Around this time, I also became a heavily obsessed fan of the band Creed. The band had just come out with their Human Clay CD and it spent a lot of time in my stereo on repeat. One of the singles off the CD, Higher, was my new favorite. Scouring the lyrics page, the thing that struck me was the likeness Higher had with Revelation’s description of heaven (click here for the lyrics). In my excitement of the co-relation the band had with scripture and biblical themes, I shared my discovery with one of the youth leaders at church.

They agreed with everything I had said but they were still hesitant in endorsing the group. Although the lead singer was a pastor’s son, Creed was not an openly Christian band, and therefore garnered no support from my spiritual mentor. She cautioned me that the devil is a great manipulator, and can make anything sound Christian by twisting the truth or telling a half lie to seduce people into believing something is Christian, but in fact is not. I can’t remember what I thought after the conversation but I do remember walking away disappointed that my excitement hadn’t been reciprocated. Nearly 10 years later, I understand her concern and still heed the warning, but sometimes disagree with that line of thinking.

William Paul Young says the Holy Spirit’s power to communicate is limitless, living and transforming. This is the reason evidences of the Holy Spirit could be seen in anything. A piece of art, music, silence, the people around you, creation and/or nature are all vehicles which God’s Holy Spirit may reveal himself to us. At times the Holy Spirit has even shown up in our pain and sorrow. Whichever vehicle the Holy Spirit uses, it’s always done in conjunction with God’s goodness and love.

As I look at the world around me, I see truth in Young’s declaration. I saw the movie Avatar about 6 weeks ago and like the rest of the world, I sat with my jaw open for at least half the movie. Afterward, I had a lengthy discussion with a married couple about what life might be like in heaven, and much like the main character, we will be given new and fully working bodies. Impervious to the pain and suffering life seems to incur. I don’t know if James Cameron or the countless others involved in that movie intended to convey a Christian message – but it is there. The Book of Eli, The Dark Knight, Superman Returns, Seven Pounds, are other places Christian overtones can be found. Subsequently, these are all tools the Holy Spirit could use to direct one to the famed Jewish carpenter. The Holy Spirit's means to communicate are indeed limitless.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Freedom's Avenue

In the last 6 months I’m finding I’ve become the occasional fan of the television ministry 100 Huntley Street. This is surprising to me as I’ve been quite bitter about any sort of television ministry. Maybe it’s because of questionable televangelists like Benny Hinn Jim Baker or Jerry Faliwell. Regardless of who or how it started, I’ve always been a tad bitter toward these types of ministries. Still there are times I find myself interested in what shows up on my TV through 100 Huntley Street.

Capitalizing on Canada's hosting of the 2010 Olympics, those behind 100 Huntley’s cameras decided to send one of their reporters to the Olympics to highlight the church’s involvement in the games. In a piece called buying sex is not a sport, they profiled a ministry standing outside a strip club in Vancouver in a picket line on protest.

The people behind the protest represent REED (Resist Exploitation, Embrace Dignity). It exists as an avenue to eradicate prostitution and help victims of the sex trade. In the beginning of the video, REED’s founder says the reason for the ministry is to help the marginalized people of society. Doing so emulates Jesus’ actions and attitudes toward the marginalized of his day; which is a charge to Christ’s followers of 2010. I agree with what REED stands for and applaud them in their efforts to reach the lost and forgotten of our world. But I question the medium used to communicate their stance. Something similar happened a few years ago in Calgary.

Approximately every 6 months those hungry for anything spiritual across Canada’s prairies flock to Calgary in anticipation of the next Body Soul Spirit Expo. A few years ago, some of Calgary’s church community mimicked REED’s actions and led a protest outside the walls of the event. It resulted in anything but something positive as the protest lead to burned bridges with the expo organizers, leaving them with a bad taste of the local church in Calgary.

In September 2008, the church community once again made itself known to the expo; this time with a more astute approach. A joint effort of two worship communities, Canyon Creek Christian Fellowship and Expressions Community, offered the expo’s attendees a place to sit relax and pray, if they so desired. This had a far better impact then the previous group standing outside protesting the event. In the aftermath of the sit relax and pray booth at the expo, it’s been mentioned that some healing began between the Expo’s organizers and their view of the church.

A few days after REED was profiled at the Olympics, Moira Brown interviewed Sandra McIntosh as she shared about her efforts in Thailand rescuing women out of the sex industry. Carrying the same mandate as REED, NightLight seeks to help women leave the sex trade. Instead of standing outside buildings in a picket line, NightLight’s volunteers go into strip clubs befriending the women who work there. After establishing a rapport with these women, the NightLight volunteer offers a way out.

For those that want it, an avenue out of prostitution is provided through various classes offered by the ministry. Some of these include computer training, financial management, and the entrepreneurial venture of selling handmade jewelry.
Two separate ministries with the same mandate promoted through differing mediums. One is tarnishing the light and hope the church brings through political protest, while the other is advancing the Kingdom of God through relationship. Which one has more impact? I honestly can’t say, for God may be using both in their own unique ways, but it still leads me to wonder what is the most effective way to minister to the hurting world… by protest and getting in your face about their cause, or through relationships and seeking opportunities to share your heart? For myself, I prefer the latter. What do you think?

Ministries/places mentioned in this blog:

NightLight International
100 Huntley Street
REED (Resist Exploitation, Embrace Dignity).
Canyon Creek Christian Fellowship
Expressions Community
Body Soul Spirit Expo.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Tim bits...this is your life!

In the 1950's NBC ran a popular TV series titled This Is Your Life. The show consisted of its host, surprising someone famous, and providing a spontaneous, unscripted and entirely unrehearsed biography of the famed persona. I couldn’t help but play this game with my own life as I searched for a challenge from my past suitable for my theatre group's performance this past Friday. It was quite the joy to rifle through my many accomplishments, recall the challenges that have helped shape and mold my life thus far. Most of the challenges that came to mind were childhood dreams now in fruition. some of these were being part of a band, working as a hired chef, following in the footsteps of local celebrity Gerry Forbes and being the voice behind the mic at a radio station, or working as a DJ...something I’ve gotten to do twice =)

In a recounting of my life, such countenance would be incomplete if you do not talk about the extreme side of Tim bits (and no I’m not talking about a franks red hot donut hole loll). To talk about my extreme side, you'd have to talk about my daring nature and how at one point I would do almost anything on a dare. Such things in this category would include eating salad off a floor or meat out of someone’s mouth (don’t ask). To get a laugh you could mention my fabled stint as a UFC welter weight champion. If the host is still running short on material they could mention my attempt at the extreme sport of hydro bronc.

All in all I’m quite pleased about my life thus far, and like Frodo Baggins on Middle Earth, there are many more pages and chapters to be added to my life ... and THAT’S a money back guarantee lol