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Thursday, December 8, 2011

SPEECH! SPEECH! SPEECH!

“Hey Tim?”

“Yeah Ed?”

“Thanks for doing this –”

“No problem Ed”

“I was able to breathe a sigh of relief when I read your response to my email…” Ed was expressing his gratitude to me for agreeing to share the workload, of preaching to nearly 200 kids at Camp Chestermere. Heading east on the 1A highway out to Chestermere, Ed continued as we approached 52 street. “When we get to camp, I’ll introduce you to the Camp Director. He’s a close personal friend of mine. Well, more like family. You see, Tim, his uncle married my mother less then a year ago. But that’s neither here nor there; I was thinking of speaking to the 10 o’clock crowd and having you speak to the younger kids at 11. And tomorrow we’ll switch. You speak at 10 and I’ll do the 11 o’clock service.”

Being in front of crowds is familiar territory for me. As far back as I can remember I have graced a stage in one way or another. The very beginning of school – kindergarten – for example, I was part of the school choir. If we weren’t rehearsing for some school assembly, we were practicing for trips to senior centre’s to provide the meal time entertainment. In Grade 5 I was fortunate enough to join a small group of grade sixers for reader’s theatre. While my fellow classmates were trying to earn gold stars for reading through their “choose your own adventure” books; I was whisked away to the grade 6 room, to practice for a reader’s theatre competition at the jubilee auditorium.

In grade 7, I played the trumpet in the school band. In Grades 8 and 9 I took a performing arts class. It was here that we’d put on plays, either for our classmates or performed song and dance numbers at school assemblies.

While kids in high school were either shooting hoops, or hanging out in the smoke pit, I hung out with a group of guys who, with the help of a teacher, formed a cover band. We’d get together over the lunch break and cover Tom Petty tunes.


 or we’d be perfecting our performance of Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Child.


Just in case you’re wondering, due to fire regulations we weren’t allowed to set any guitars on fire.



We were also constantly reminded by teachers that our teeth were NOT ideal guitar picks.


In college, I had grown quite comfortable with speaking, teaching and preaching, and my near decade career as a college student afforded countless opportunities to speak at churches, and take on various teaching roles. This past summer I was even fortunate enough to share pastoring duties at a camp for people with disabilities. But speaking at Camp Chestermere was different.

When I walked on stage I was greeted by the coolest sound EVER!!!... 200 kids, all chanting, “WE WANT TIIIIIM!!!!! WE WANT TIIIIIM!!!!! WE WANT TIIIIIM!!!!!”



Another first for me happened after one of my speaking engagements that week. Two kids asked me to sign their bible. I didn’t know what to say, I’ve never been asked to sign anything other then a check before. I was able to blurt out some sort of “yes” type response and wrote an encouraging remark on a blank page in 2 people’s bibles. I’m not going to lie. I left that camp feeling like a rock star!

My friend and Pastor, Ed, asked me to speak a total of 4 times that week. And although the chanting and 2 person autograph session are top notch in all things cool, I will admit it’s not the greatest thing to happen that week. The best part of the week (as far as I’m concerned) is that my words made a difference. I was used by God to change someone’s life. That’s the point of ministry. To impact peoples lives with the Gospel of Christ. Through word or deed, everyone has a need for the love of Jesus.

A few weeks after camp, I was invited to a leadership meeting with my pastor, friend, and ministry partner, Erik. As Erik, his wife bonnie and I chatted over dinner Erik challenged me to find ways that I could contribute to the leadership of Expressions. This summer proved to be a busy one. In July and august I had taken on leadership roles at 2 different camps. Armed with nothing but my bible and a servant’s heart, I was able to speak to hundreds of people and spur them on in their pursuit of righteousness and holy living. I left that meeting with an attitude of prayer. What was it that God wanted me to do – not only in expressions community, but perhaps with the next stage of my life? As I lay down at night asking God these questions, I find myself in situations where God’s answer is clear.

As the summer ended, I had an interview with an old employer about possibly working with them again. When we got to talking, she encouraged me to get into public speaking; particularly paid speaking engagements. Some of my Facebook friends would post links to various public speaking groups. Whenever people asked me about my dream job, I would tell them stories of being a keynote speaker at some sort of conference where I would not only get a fee but all transportation and accommodations are paid for. But the clincher came just a few weeks ago during a coffee meeting with another pastor friend of mine, Dallas.

Dallas told me I have a way with words. Not only is my writing an apt tool, but my abilities as a public speaker proved to be an effective ministry as well. He then encouraged me to get into the realm of public speaking. In the days leading up to this meeting, I had been thinking again about Erik’s question posed to me in the fall: how do I/can I best contribute to the ministry of expressions community? My thought was some form of public speaking. But I wasn’t sure if that was something God wanted me to do. In fact I remember saying: “God I think I’m hearing you say go do public speaking, but I’m not 100% sure. Could you be more direct? Like someone telling me: Tim you should do this.

The speaking opportunities I had over the summer were tons of fun. I was extremely humbled and thankful for the opportunities to speak. In pursuing this public speaking route, is it my goal to become world famous, selling out the like of the O2 Arena, the Houston Astrodome or speaking to crowds of 50,000 chanting ““WE WANT TIIIIIM!!!!! WE WANT TIIIIIM!!!!! WE WANT TIIIIIM!!!!!” in unison? Absolutely not! If it happens along the way, that’s great! But the reason I’m taking this route is to bring glory and honor to God.

My life makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble and afflicted hear and be glad.
Psalm 34:2

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Bringing Faith to Life

The book of genesis tells us that in the beginning the earth was empty. A formless mass; devoid of anything but God and His spirit. And then He spoke.

Day one, “light.”  

Day two, “sky.”



On day 3, “I command the water to separate,” and this reveals the land. Then God speaks seed bearing plants and trees into existence



On Day four, God sets the stars in the skies. Spoken into existence, they are to be a difference maker. Stars and varying kinds of light are to keep night and day separate. Their second purpose is to mark a change in the seasons. Before standard time, people would look to the skies and determine whether it was time to plant crops or to harvest; to grill steaks outdoors or use their oven for the night’s meal. To toss a ball back and forth with your good buds wearing shorts or to light a fire and snuggle with your sweetheart as the snow falls on a chilly winter’s day. Whatever the activity God set the stars in the sky to help us determine the day’s activities.

The next day God said, “The waters need some life in them. I didn’t create them to be desolate and stagnant, but to teem with living creatures. So I shall fill them with fish and other waterfowl. I’ll set some in a random lake and let them reproduce. That way, they will fill the earth and I can enjoy watching them as they populate this planet.” After filling a lake with fish and watching them for a bit, God smiled. His fun continued as he filled the land with livestock and the sky with birds. Thinking about the next days work, day passed into night and soon day 6 began.

On Day 6, God’s creativity culminates with his greatest creation: mankind.


 Genesis 2 provides some detail on exactly how God did it. Genesis 2:7 paints a picture of God in a sandbox saying he took some dust and formed it into a shape of a man. But it didn’t end there. When God was finished shaping his sand-man, he was lifeless until God breathed life into this sand-man. “Now that this man has been brought to life, he needs a purpose. What shall I have him do?” thought God, “I’ll put him in charge of everything I have created! That way he – and those that come after him – won’t wander around aimlessly.” God’s time of creating ended on day 7 with a time of rest.

What captures my attention in this story is the importance of God breathing life into mankind. Prior to that, the inaugural human being had been just like the earth on day zero. Devoid! Or, if I can use a different word here, lifeless or even dead! Genesis says that God’s greatest creation was otherwise dead and lifeless until God breathed life into it. I wonder if the same could be said of a person’s faith. It is dead, lifeless and devoid until God breathes life into it. At least that’s what I find myself learning these days.



There are things that I say I believe but when rubber meets road, living out what I believe becomes a real challenge. I trust God with my life. I am convinced that His plans for me are far better then mine. Yet His timing can frustrate me. Take for example this publishing contest. In May I discovered a free publishing contest for authors. Having written a book but not published it yet, I decided to take a chance and enter the contest.

As far as I know, the manuscript is still floating around their office climbing the ranks and etching its way ever closer to the finish line. But I find myself getting impatient and growing restless with not knowing what’s going on with my manuscript. Daily I fight the urge to pick up where I left off and continue towards self publishing. It’s so tempting and leads to frustration but I continue to wait. As my patience is being tried I find my confidence in God growing. The feeling of trust and confident assurance that comes when you trust a tangible person is welling up within me. As I think about unknown territory my fears and worries for the general future feel more secure. I’m becoming more optimistic. My pessimism is wading away. For this I am thankful.


Friday, June 24, 2011

Survey Says: Prayer is Like Superglue

I thought this was an interesting article and a good follow-up to my last post, as it compliments and reinforces some of the ideas I previously mentioned. The original article can be found here.

Fourteen days -- 336 hours. That's how long Eddie Murphy's latest marriage lasted to film producer, Tracey Edmonds. David Letterman quipped: "They started to drift apart during the ceremony. The legal question now is who gets custody of the cake."

The star-struck couple entered the New Year with a flourish, exchanging vows on a private island off Bora Bora in French Polynesia on Jan. 1. They were the picture of perfection; dapperly dressed, sunshiny smiles and bodacious bodies honed by exercise and diet. Probing paparazzi captured faces aglow with the radiance of love. Or was it merely the beginning of sunstroke? That at least would explain the insane antics that followed.

The marriage headed south faster than a Canadian snowbird in November and they pulled the plug just days into the adventure. Apparently "till death do us part" is translated differently in French Polynesia. Eddie and Tracey discovered what most people instinctively know: enduring marriages require more than picturesque beginnings, fame or even fortune.

Flourishing relationships grow in the greenhouse of commitment, nourished by copious communication and persistent prayer. Traditional wedding vows are meant to usher in delightful devotion to a spouse. Stubborn commitment is pledged: "For better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, and faithful to you alone, till death do us part."

The Bible calls this a covenant and it was never meant to be broken. To sever such a relationship is the equivalent of ripping our tongue off on the playground slide in the middle of a Canadian winter. Not pleasant and downright bloody. No wonder God says He hates divorce. He is the outstanding Father of all time; watching His children experience such pain is nothing less than heart-wrenching.

Commitment can prevent much of that pain, forming the banks in which the marital river freely flows. If commitment forms the banks, then communication is the current. It ensures the relationship retains freshness and vigour, combating the staleness that grows in quiet waters.

Relational silence is not golden -- it is an eerily accurate forecaster of dark storm clouds gathering on the horizon. Wise couples dispel these clouds in three ways:

- They expose secrets. Alcoholics Anonymous suggests that we are as sick as the secrets we keep. Marital secrets need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the light, where they die of exposure. The heart of marriage is meant to be transparent.

- Healthy couples deal with their disagreements. They follow St. Paul's advice and "do not let the sun go down while (they) are still angry." The right time to humble ourselves and ask forgiveness is always the present. An oft forgotten bonus is that making up can be a whole lot of fun.

Perceptive spouses frequently express their love. Spoken sentiment is a gentle breeze refreshing the soul. It is a spring rain watering seeds of love sown deep within. Couples who excel in the language of love need never fear failure.

A 1997 Gallup Poll unearthed a noteworthy nugget of marital insight. It discovered that when a couple consistently prays together its chances of divorce plunges from one-in-three to one-in-1,152.

Wise couples pay attention to such findings. Fools alone discount a practice that increases the odds of success this dramatically.

The poll issues a clarion, if unconventional challenge to all. According to these findings, marriage counsellors should be clambering to arm clients with prayer manuals, couples should be flocking to churches and enterprising employers wishing to maximize employee emotional health should consider initiating prayer workshops.

You don't have to be religious to pray -- just smart. Don't worry about a formula, God appreciates simple sincerity. Try the "sorry, thank you, please" format. Express what you are sorry for. Thank God for the multitude of received blessings, including your spouse. Then discuss requests with the Divine.

Magazines littering the grocery checkout aisles proclaimed the tragedy of the Eddie and Tracey breakup. But the greatest tragedy is unheralded; that two mature individuals have yet to grasp the keys that will unlock an enduring and fulfilling relationship.

Perhaps the one redeeming factor in the entire sordid affair is the opportunity we have to glean and grow from their marital mishap.We can choose to stay true to commitments made. We can open our hearts and mouths, rejecting the lure of silence when communication is desperately needed. Persistent prayer can bind us to the One who is an artesian well of wisdom and an unending source of love.

When we live in such a way we rise above a myriad of gifted individuals who choose a lesser pathway, including two rich but lonely movie moguls who left their hearts in Bora Bora.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Best Intentions?

My parents just celebrated their 35th anniversary. I joined them this past weekend for a surprise party. It was a great plan my dad had in store for my mother and put together by him and their fellow campers. Saturday was a fun night filled with a potluck dinner a wild party, and if you know my dad at all, very rambunctious. As the night wound down and the crowd dwindled from about 50 people to 4 or 5, someone asked my parents the secret to staying together that long. My mother responded with: GLUE! The key is to stick together no matter what!


But what about single folk like me who want to be married but haven’t found someone suitable yet?

Before she graced the stage of NBC’s The Voice, Raquel Castro took on the role of Ben Affleck’s daughter in the movie Jersey Girl. After walking in on Raquel and her friend playing doctor, we next see Ben sitting the two on a couch as the protective parent asking the boy “what are your intentions with my daughter? Do you plan on marrying her?” later on the role is comically reversed when Raquel catches Ben Affleck in the shower with Liv Tyler. Raquel then asks Liv her intentions toward her dad.

 I can relate to being in that proverbial hot seat getting grilled by either a protective parent or friend looking out for their bestie. Lately I’ve begun to wonder if that’s the best question to be asking. I am a form believer that God has a purpose and a plan for everyone alive. I also believe that God brings people into our lives for particular reasons and specific seasons. With this in mind I wonder if instead of asking someone: “what are your intentions with this relationship?” wouldn’t it be better to seek out God’s intentions for the relationship? If your goal is to have a long lasting and durable marriage; in your relationships beforehand – or even during the marriage – wouldn’t it be wise to ask “what is God’s calling on my spouse’s life, and how can I help fulfill that calling”?

Here’s another thought: What would it hurt to ask a combination of all three?

**** EDIT**** this article became headliner at The Daily Helpers Newspaper!!! =D see the link here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Does Forgiveness Mean Lack of Control?

I heard a story recently about a woman named Charlotte. At the age of 6, her parents followed their cultural norm and pre-arranged her marriage. By age 19 the date was set. A week before her big day, everything was set to go. Charlotte had her dress picked out, the bridesmaids were all flown in, and both the stag and stagette parties were had. The only preparation left were the wedding rehearsals. This would be the first time Charlotte would meet her husband, Dennis.

Her first impression of Dennis was quite pleasing. He seems like decent guy. Holding down a job as an engineer in the petroleum business, Charlotte feels at ease knowing that money will be a less likely concern. Watching Dennis mix and mingle around the room Charlotte notices his people skills are top notch. She imagines her and her husband greeting guests into their home at one of their many dinner parties as part of their married life together. As the two sit down at the dinner table they hold hands for the first time. Charlotte eagerly kisses Dennis on the cheek in front of those at the rehearsal. Dennis accepts the kiss with a smile on his face and a twinkle in the eye. She rests that night knowing things will be alright; that she can trust this man whom she just met to love and cherish her all of her days.

It’s now 11:45PM. Dennis and Charlotte have confessed their love for each other sited their vows, and been blessed by a priest in front of 250 friends and family in attendance at the wedding; and are now in the back of a Lincoln town car en route to their hotel for the night. As soon as the two were alone Charlotte was caught by surprise when Dennis raped her before the day had ended. Sadly, this was just the beginning of 10 years of abuse for Charlotte. Daily the beatings would continue. When Charlotte appealed to family for help, Dennis would turn the argument back on to her. Calling her mentally unstable, Dennis would manipulate Charlotte’s parents to make them think she needed psychiatric treatment. Then one day Charlotte found refuge in an unlikely hero.

One day Dennis decided to beat Charlotte after their three children went to bed. Their eldest son Mason had grown accustomed to hearing his parents shout and fight as they tried to sleep. But this time was different. Mason’s third grade teacher Mrs. Swanson had a special visitor do a presentation to her class during Safety Week at school. Mrs. Swanson brought in Constable Hudson from the local police department to teach the children all about how the police keep people safe. During his presentation, Constable Hudson told them about 911. Mason and his classmates learned about the people who work at 911 and how they are trained to help people in trouble. Hearing his mom crying, Mason used the phone in his parents room to call 911. When 911 answered, Mason listened to the gentleman on the phone as he told him how to keep his brother and sister safe and that help was on the way. The police showed up minutes later and took Dennis away to jail.

Charlotte saw this time as a chance for freedom and sought new life on a different continent with her three children. Now a quartet of Christians, Charlotte and her family enjoy life on the Canadian prairies. Still in touch with her family back home, Charlotte learns that Dennis’ life hangs in the balance as he suffers a coma during a riot in prison. While praying for his safety, she is led to scriptures that speak of forgiveness. Confused, she ignores the scriptures and continues to pray for Dennis’ life. Soon it becomes abundantly clear of God’s asking Charlotte to forgive Dennis of all the abuse he’s given her during their marriage. Charlotte decides on forgiving her husband and makes plans to visit her homeland.

During a vacation back home, she visits Dennis in the hospital. When the two are alone, she contemplates pulling the plug and taking Dennis’ life in return for her years of abuse. Then she quickly remembers why she came – to forgive Dennis for all the abuse Charlotte incurred over the years. In between the beeping and hissing of the machines that keep Dennis alive, Charlotte talks to Dennis for nearly 45 minutes about all the pain and the hurt he is responsible for. Before the conversation ends, Charlotte is able to utter words of forgiveness.

As she leaves the hospital a new sense of freedom encompasses her. Now she can let go of the past and focus on the future without fearing the abusive Dennis will find her, her children and abuse them again. The five years since charlotte and the kids left, charlotte was living in fear that Dennis would go looking for them with nothing but vengeance on his mind. Even though they were continents apart, Charlotte’s fear of Dennis controlled her. But because she was able to forgive Dennis from 10 years of abuse Charlotte no longer has to cower in fear or frantically look over her shoulder at men who even look like Dennis. Because of forgiveness Charlotte is now free from any grip Dennis still had on her and her children five years after the fact.

Maybe this is one reason why God asks us to practice forgiveness. Without it, our abusers – those who have done wrong to us – have some element of control in our lives for years and even decades after the incidences. By forgiving our abusers we release them of that control and we walk in freedom in more was then one. Not only are we free of any reoccurrences, but we no longer walk in fear. Cowering at the mere site of our abuser is not a posture we need to assume because it is gone and perhaps long forgotten. The only action we have from the point of forgiveness is rebuilding the bridge that was once burned. Rebuilding that bridge isn’t always mandatory, but it is an option one could take. I believe God will honor whatever action we take regarding that burned bridge. If we choose to rebuild it and make amends, the Lord will help us. If we choose otherwise, God will respect our decision and continue to direct those involved down different paths.

HHHHHMMMMM.................

Monday, June 6, 2011

Busy Busy Busy

Hey everyone! I know it’s been over a month since I’ve blogged but I have been rather busy this last month.
I attended The Outpouring back in April, and during a “catch up conversation” with my good friend Dallas, he asked about the progress of my book. Telling him I have 1 more devotional to write then I can work on getting it published, he offered to host a book release party for me this fathers day weekend.

Almost immediately after hearing the news about the book release I hit the pavement hard and threw as much energy as I could into having a printed copy in hand in about 2 weeks from now. When the final devotional was finished, I immediately began editing my work. On a side note I HATE editing stuff. Doing so was more tedious then I’m used too, and was way more time consuming then I thought. But doing so turned out to be a good thing as I was able to come up with a title and introduction to the book. I then contacted the Business Development Centre in Ontario regarding the copyright for my book. The money they charged me was nearly unaffordable. But God was good at providing the funds to do so. After a night of praying how I would afford the $160 to get the copyright registered, someone donated the money to me. I now have a silent partner in my venture. Yay for them coming into my life and blessing me with this opportunity.

My book was originally going to be solely an Ebook, but after speaking with a number of people requesting an ACTUAL book – one that they can hold flip pages of and keep on a shelf – it became quite clear that I should look into binding options. My initial meeting with a printing agency didn’t fare too well. They asked me a whole bunch of questions I wasn’t really prepared for. The sales staff hit me with all kinds of questions. I had to choose the kind of paper, its thickness, size, and texture, the font style, etc etc. Whether I wanted a hard or soft cover.

They had various types of binding and a whole list of questions regarding that too. In the end, they did have some books on display that I liked but they couldn’t do it on site. They had a book on demand service they referred me to that can give me a book for a cost of $3-5 each.

Next I had to think of a cover page. I had a few ideas that I initially thought were great but had to scrap. Once I decided on a suitable graphic, I decided the best way to do it would be to design it myself by gathering up the items that would be on the front cover and take a photo. Then I could tinker around with it using Photoshop until I had what I wanted. Amidst preparing to work on the cover page, I ran into an old friend who has a photography studio. I told him what I was doing, and he volunteered to do the cover page photo for me. I was like Praise God because I’m flying by the seat of my pants here.

Then I heard that a publishing company in Winnipeg called Word Alive Press is currently running its annual publishing contest for Christian Authors. The winners get a pretty sweet publishing deal for free. Shortly before this I had been praying about how to get my books onto the bookshelves of stores like Blessings, Chapters and Scott's Parable up near Red Deer Alberta. About this time God had also been teaching me about stepping outside of our comfort zones and the benefits of taking risks. So I decided to postpone my book release party and put everything else on hold to enter this contest. Up until last week I have been running around trying to get things done for my book and/or this publishing contest. I find out in august if I win. But if I don’t, I’ll just pick up where I left off.

Things are finally starting to slow down for me as I’m in the waiting period regarding this contest and I’m glad they have slowed. I’m not quite sure how much longer I could have gone on like that. I also threw my name in the hat to be a bible teacher at a bible camp this July through Rehoboth Christian Ministries. I haven’t heard back from them yet but if you don’t see many posts here in July that may be why. That’s all I wanted to share for now so until next time, be blessed!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Michael Ignatief & The Canadian Liberals

In 2 weeks today Canadians head to their voting stations as we once again decide on who serves another term in office in a federal election. To inject a bit of humor amid the political bantering, I decided to share an email I got regarding Michael Ignatief’s leadership of the Canadian Liberal Party*. I hope you enjoy.

_____________________

While suturing up a cut on the hand of a 75 year old farmer, whose hand had been caught in the gate while working his cattle, the doctor struck up a conversation with the old man. Eventually the topic got around to "Michael Ignatief" and how he got to be the leader of the Liberals.

The old farmer said, "Well, ya know, Ignatief is just a Post Turtle."

Now not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked, What's a "Post Turtle?"

The old farmer said, "When you're driving down a country road and you come across a fence post with a Turtle balanced on top, that's a Post Turtle."



The old farmer saw the puzzled look on the doctor's face so he continued to explain,

"You know he didn't get up there by himself, he doesn't belong up there, he doesn't know what to do while he's up there, he sure as hell isn't goin' anywhere, and you just wonder what kind of dumb bastard put him there in the first place."

*please note that this is not an endorsement for and/or by any political party whatsoever, its just a bit of fun as I make up my own mind on who to vote for. Be blessed, Tim Bitz

Friday, April 15, 2011

Denied

“A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said.” (Mark 1:40) NLT.


As I read this verse a few weeks ago, something struck me. Here the leper asks Jesus to make him clean, but only if He wants to. The following verse tells us that Jesus is willing, so He reaches out His hand touches and heals the man. The Leper is overflowing with joy. He then spreads the word about the great and mighty work that Jesus had done and he’s possibly praising God because of it. But Jesus only healed the man because He was willing to do so. What if the leper asked Jesus to heal him and He said no?

This is a reality I am faced with daily. Born with a disability I find myself echoing the words of the leper. “Jesus, I know that you can heal me, so please take this disability away.” In the face of my plea I wake up each morning with the Lord denying my request; and living life the same as yesterday. Limited in my physical abilities and having to navigate my daily functions with an unwanted challange.

I take comfort knowing that I don’t face this alone. Scripture calms my mood when God refuses to heal my legs; especially these words from the apostle Paul: “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness. ” Here, Paul confesses to having a thorn embedded in his flesh. Not wanting to deal with this ailment, he too gives voice to the plea of the leper. “Jesus, if you are willing you can make me clean.” Yet Jesus withholds His healing touch. The leper praised God and spread the news of his healing, but Paul’s testimony tells a different story.

In 2 Corinthians 12:8, Paul tells us that he cried out to God, pleading three times to make his life easier by removing the thorn from his side. The Lord hears his cry and responds by saying no. Paul doesn’t need to be healed. As the thorn remains, God is shown to be bigger then healings and miracles. By keeping the thorn in his flesh, anything Paul does to advance God’s Kingdom is merely God’s Holy Spirit using Paul’s weakness to His advantage.

In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul wrote:

“…God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.”

Yet in his next letter to the Corinthian church, Paul is boasting about his weaknesses. This is an act of God’s grace. The fact that people are praising God in lieu of Paul’s weaknesses gives testimony to God’s power. No one can say that they are the only reason Paul’s ministry is thriving. Paul’s weakness is so debilitating that the ministry would suffer if he didn’t depend on God to give him his daily needs. This is why he boasts in his weaknesses. For when he is weak, God is strong. Without the thorn, Paul would rely on his own strength to see the ministry to survive. Giving him this thorn keeps Paul humbled. By solely relying on God’s strength, He gets all the credit. When someone praises Paul for his success in ministry, all the apostle can do is thank God for being an instrument of God’s grace.

Every day I wake up and realize that God denied my request to walk on my own. Consequently I’m forced to answer this question: what benefit does today’s challenge bring me? Most often the answer is humility and encouragement to those around me. When people see what I go through in a day they are humbled. Putting on socks is an example of little things that most people take for granted. Because of my disability I struggle with this task. Four or five attempts later, those socks are warming my toes. When people watch me do it with a smile, they are blown away. I’m not frustrated or beating myself up because I can’t do it or is so hard. It puts them in a place of humility.

In this example, all I’m doing is putting on a pair of socks. But some people see God in what I do. People see me struggle yet I’m not depressed or getting sad about it. I have joy! I’ve been told on countless occasions people are inspired by the joy in my heart and the smile on my face. Jesus gave me that smile. As I wake each morning, I receive the grace I need to face my challenges head on. Bringing glory to God in the midst of my weakness; praising God for His grace that is sufficient.

Earlier I shared about answering the question: what benefit does today’s challenge bring me? Think about some of your own challenges for a moment. What might some of them be? How might this approach to the challenges you face change your attitude about it? How does it help you see God in the situation?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Woohoo!

Here is another article from the Inglewood newsletter. This one is simply called Woohoo! It’s about the benefits of another person's company. Have a read below or download the entire newsletter here.
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One of my neighbors likes to fiddle by doing odd jobs around the house. The tasks are minor things like organizing stacks of paper, making grocery lists or cleaning silverware. Whenever I visit her, she like to serve me coffee. Watching her grab the cup, lift the pot, and pour the drink, she squints. Arthritis grips her bones and makes simple movements like this a daily challenge. Seeing her struggle to serve me I offer to help and usually get shunned away. I’m told to stay seated and relax.

Puttering around the house, inviting people over for coffee and tea allows her to keep busy and take her mind off the difficulty arthritis has made her daily life. Doing so lifts her spirits and keeps her mind from travelling down a dark road. No surrender is her attitude. She tells me no matter how bad things get, she’s got to keep a positive attitude. This is best accomplished by keeping busy and getting her mind off how bad things are.

As I work with people with disabilities I have come to learn a big part of what we do is help the person accentuate the things they can do. For example, when working with someone who may be deaf, we don’t ignore them because “they can’t hear us”. Instead we ask their opinions using sign language, because they can still grasp the concepts and participate in the discussion. We may have a poker night with someone who can’t hold cards but they can still play if they lay their cards face down on the table. So in prepping the game table, we would leave extra room for them to lay out their cards. I know for myself there are a number of places I go that don’t have a ramp for my wheelchair, so I leave my chair at home because I can go up and down stairs using crutches.

I have a neighbor who often tells me that I’m often the light of his day – an answer to his prayers! His day is filled with doctor visits, appointments with social workers, and trips too and from the hospital. He delights in any chance to turn on his coffee pot, open his door and invite people in. It’s a change from the some times mundane and predictable routine of his life. It also gives his mind a break from dealing with doctor talk. Ask any mother who deals with screaming toddlers twenty-four hours a day. The highlight of their day is when other adults are around. I hear this from single parents all the time: “There is another grown up around! I get to have an adult conversation! No more baby talk! Woohoo!!!” So never under estimate the power of your own company. You just might be the “Woohoo!!!” of someone’s day.

Pots, Pans & Cutlery

I have been rather silent on this blog recently, but that doesn't mean I haven’t been writing. One of my avenues for writing is the Inglewood Community Newsletter. It has a limited circulation and as such doesn’t get around to ALL Calgarians. I also have a few fans that are outside of Canada. So for their benefit here is a copy of the article I wrote for the March edition. It’s called Pots, Pans, & Cutlery. If you want a PDF version of the newsletter in its entirety, the link is here.

_____________________


In college, I took a class called Building Community. We spent four months looking at the dynamics of a great community and were challenged with what it takes to create a sense of belonging. Every week we were faced with the question: if given the task of creating a placewhere people could feel at home, how would we do it? What might that look like? In other words, our task was to create an environment where people felt like they belonged to something significant.

Years after critiquing the reasons behind the methods of creating community, I never would have guessed a sense of belonging could be found in something as simple as one’s dishes. Pots, pans, cutlery, plates and cups are five simple things one can use to create a sense of belonging.

Moving away from my parents’ home wasn’t something done out of necessity. Moving out is something I had planned to do when I had finished college. So when all my college fees were paid off, I began to get things I would need once I lived on my own. This proved to be a wise move on my part. I didn’t spend a single day crafting a dining table out of cardboard boxes; I had everything I needed. At the end of “move-in” day, I had a fully furnished place to live.

Leading up to the big move, I slowly bought the things I needed. Scouring the weekly fliers, I was on the lookout for great sales. A complete pot-and-pan set for 50 percent off meant I could invest more money into a bedroom set. My birthday and Christmas gifts included things like tea towels and ladles for my kitchen. If people were replacing furniture, I’d barter with them for the old stuff. I distinctly remember working out a deal with my mother regarding cutlery.

She wanted to buy me a set of cutlery that had six of each item. Ideally, I wanted to have 12. The same went for dishes. I wanted to have two sets of plates, cups and bowls. What’s the reason you ask? I like to entertain. I thoroughly enjoy cooking for others. So when people come over to check out my new “pad,” I’d like to have the means to offer everyone a drink. If my friends want to bring their four kids, each person can have their own beverage.

As I built friendships with others at Alice Bisset Place, some of us took turns hosting the other for tea and coffee. When the holidays approached, we would plan dinner parties to commemorate the upcoming occasions. We’d take turns hosting the dinner, but because my kitchen was well stocked with supplies, sometimes the neighbors would ask me to bring a few extra plates as they would only have dishes for two or three, and not 10.

Getting together like this brings back memories of my college days. Sitting in a classroom, mulling over some of the best ways to create authentic community; exploring the what, and why for of each scenario. I look back on those days and think, why are we sitting in the classroom talking about this? It’s as simple as gathering our plates, cups and other utensils, inviting people over and enjoying one another’s company.

Now I want to ask: what are you waiting for. Put down the paper and start making a guest list for your next get together.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Trying

I'm not a perfect girl. My hair doesn’t always stay in place I spill things a lot. My friends & I sometimes fight. I sometimes have a broken heart. But when I take a step back I realize how truly amazing life is & through it all God still loves me ♥

My friend Crystal has this posted on her Facebook page, and I love it to bits – no pun intended. It makes me laugh a bit. But it’s also true of life in general. If I had a chance to re-write it for myself this is what it might say:

My mouth gets me into trouble a lot. I speak before I think. Sometimes this happens in unhealthy doses. It rubs people the wrong way and I find myself in hot water. I make mistakes. Sometimes I do what I think is best and end up regretting it a moment later. I Find myself in vulnerable situations asking the question: how is me being here a good thing? All these lead me to a place of prayer. Knowing that I’ve made a mistake I find myself pleading for God to turn things around and make those mistakes into tent pegs that would expand His kingdom.

You might be reading this and wonder why I ask this of God. Like the apostle Paul, I believe that God can turn things around. In Ephesians 3:20, Paul writes that God can do an infinite amount of things to bring about his glory in a situation. The ways in which God does this is so mind boggling, words don’t do it justice. We are left staring blankly like a deer caught in the headlights. Our jaw hits the ground and our tongues roll out as this work unfolds. Humbled, the only words we can muster as a response is WOW! If not that, then some other form of incoherent mumbling finds its way past our lips.

If we believe God can do immeasurably more then we can ask or imagine, why not ask him to do so?

If you were to re-write something like that about yourself, what might it say? Would it sound something like this:

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thoughts on Pink

Alecia Beth Moore (AKA Pink) is an incredible woman. Though she may not be a Christian, she embodies some things I find incredibly attractive. She is physically appealing, but the type of gal I’m attracted too has more to do with personality then it does with how they look (albeit, I’m not totally discrediting one’s physical appeal). Pink’s personality and what she stands for is what makes her an incredible woman. These come through loud and clear nowhere else then the lyrics in some of her songs. I really appreciate the fact that she takes a stand on true beauty. Not only does she take a stand on women not hiding behind masks or trying to look magazine pretty, but through Alecia’s music she screams from the mountain top as loud as she can “you’re beautiful just the way you are!” this is probably best demonstrated in her songs Stupid Girls and F*cking Perfect.



F*ckin' Perfect

Made a wrong turn, once or twice
Dug my way out, blood and fire
Bad decisions, that's alright
Welcome to my silly life
Mistreated, misplaced, misunderstood
Miss 'No way, it's all good', it didn't slow me down
Mistaken, always second guessing, underestimated
Look, I'm still around

Pretty pretty please, don't you ever ever feel
Like you're less than f*ckin' perfect
Pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel like you're nothing
You're f*ckin' perfect to me!

You're so mean, when you talk about yourself, you were wrong
Change the voices in your head, make them like you instead
So complicated, look happy, you'll make it!
Filled with so much hatred...such a tired game
It's enough! I've done all I can think of
Chased down all my demons, I've seen you do the same

Oh, pretty pretty please, don't you ever ever feel
Like you're less than f*ckin' perfect
Pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel like you're nothing
You're f*ckin' perfect to me

The whole world's scared so I swallow the fear
The only thing I should be drinking is an ice cold beer
So cool in line, and we try try try, but we try too hard and it's a waste of my time
Done looking for the critics, cause they're everywhere
They dont like my jeans, they don't get my hair
Exchange ourselves, and we do it all the time
Why do we do that? Why do I do that?

Why do I do that..?

Yeah, oh, oh baby, pretty baby..!
Pretty pretty please, don't you ever ever feel
Like you're less than f*ckin' perfect
Pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel
Like you're nothing, you're fucking perfect to me
You're perfect, you're perfect!
Pretty pretty please, if you ever ever feel like you're nothing
You're f*ckin' perfect to me...

When some people find out I’m a Christian, Its weird the reaction I get. They’ll invite me out for beer and wings at nearby pub. When I have the time I join them. We’ll shoot some pool or watch the game on the big screen and shoot the breeze. My friends will talk to me using swears and sometimes offer to buy me a drink. If they can afford a pint of Guinness I’ll order one, otherwise I’ll sip on a rum and coke. Our relationship can go on like this for months before they find out I go to church or been to bible college. As soon as they do, my friend’s demeanor changes; If they swear they’ll apologize and Instead of saying “fuck” like they did the week before, they scramble for an alternate word like “darn” or “stupid”. Sometimes my friend won’t even search for a different word, they’ll just stop part way through, have this guilty look on their face and that’s that. When people so this, it frustrates me. Its like, “dude, I didn’t care last week if you swore, so why are you on edge this time? Nothing has changed. I’m still the same person I was the last time we hung out. The only difference is now you know I’m a Christian.”

On that same note, I’ve had people tell me they like me because I’m not like most Christians. If they swear I don’t slam them and demand they use better language. I’m cool, they say, because I have the occasional drink. And as such they feel comfortable around me. They don’t have to put on a mask and pretend to be someone they aren’t. They can be themselves.

That’s what I appreciate about Pink. She’s original. She doesn’t put on a mask and conform to the masses. This is reflected in lyrics like:

I guess I just lost my boyfriend
I don't know where he went
So I'm gonna spend my money
I'm not gonna pay his rent

I got a brand new attitude
And I'm gonna wear it tonight
I'm gonna get in trouble
I wanna start a fight

Na, na, na, na, na, na, na
I wanna start a fight
Na, na, na, na, na, na, na
I wanna start a fight

So, so what, I'm still a rock star
I got my rock moves and I don't need you
And guess what, I'm havin' more fun
And now that we're done I'm gonna show you tonight

Alecia Moore seems like a cool person to hang out with. She’s got a good head on her shoulders, wreaks of originality and is not afraid to show her true colors, and stands up for what she believes in. She brings a voice to issues people seem to ignore, even if it means standing alone. In addition to the things previously mentioned, these are the things I find  myself attracted too. Someone with a REAL personality and isn’t afraid to show it. The character traits of Alecia Beth Moore (AKA Pink).

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Thoughts on Eygpt

When I first heard about the riots happening in Egypt I didn’t know what to think. But as time rolled on I began to learn why. As I understand it, the riots in Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia are a domino effect from what originally happened in the country of Tunisia. After a having a fruit stand – his only source of income – seized by Tunisian government, a man set himself on fire because he could no longer handle the life of oppression and poverty brought on by the government. Shortly after the Tunisian people banned together and revolted against their regime. Through the tools of social media the aforementioned countries soon followed suit.

Knowing that protest has the power to overthrow government and sharing the same economic situation as those in Tunisia, the Egyptians organize and lead a protest to oust their current leader, Hosni Mubarak. Hearing that he was a dictator and held the Egyptian people under oppression, I’m glad the Egyptian people are united against their hatred of the man’s leadership and are doing something about it. I don’t know the full story, just from what I’ve heard through varying media outlets. But based on that, I would have no problem in joining the Egyptians in their protest. In fact, I’ve often toyed with the idea of showing my support by putting something in my twitter account. There’s just one thing stopping me. I’m not sure if rioting is the best way to overthrow a government.

I consider why their rioting and I think “Awesome! Its great to see the Egyptians are letting their voice be heard.” And I’m optimistic that change will come of this. But is rioting the best way to do it? Last I heard, they are now storming the cabinet ministers’ place of business (don’t know the official name for it, but it’s like the House of Commons in Canada). Is this the best way to show your discontent? Maybe it is and I’m just looking at it through my “western civilization glasses”. I mean at this point, other would leaders have stepped in and tried to settle with the famed dictator in a more civilized manner. U.S. president Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and others have asked him to step down. Their efforts were more civilized yet ineffective. Hosni Mubarak is not yielding. In that case right on Egypt! Keep on trucking!

But suppose rioting is the absolute best way to get something done. When is it too much? If the grocery store has outrageous prices and refuses to lower them, does that mean we can smash all the windows and resort to looting and other violence until they lower the prices? Personally that seems a little too much and someone does need to step in and control the masses. In the case of Egypt though, that’s a tad different. The way I see it, they are upset with their government. Hosni Mubarak has had them under dictatorship for roughly 30 years. Three decades is a long time. That’s almost an entire generation. If the Egyptian people have tried other methods to oust Mubarak, and they have failed then maybe rioting is the best way to get rid of a dictator.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hanging With The Savior

Lately, I have been in awe at the power and influence of social networking. While 2011 started out like any other year for me: making plans to ring in the New Year with friends and family, in other parts of the world political unrest was afoot. I’m referring to the recent protests in Tunisia. One man’s protest roused the entire country to mutiny seemingly overnight via social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook. Gaining international acclaim this one event inspired other countries to do the same. Citizens in Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia all share discontent with their leaders; and soon after took to the streets desiring change. Try as they might, the authorities were unable to prevent protesters from using these popular sites to organize their rallies. As I watch these events unfold, I can’t help thinking of the public demand for Jesus’ crucifixion.

Matt 26:2-4 tells us the religious leaders didn’t like Jesus and wanted him dead. After surrounding Him and the other apostles that night the religious leaders had Jesus arrested. The next morning they tried to accuse Jesus of inciting riots and refusing to pay taxes to Caesar. Doing so meant that Jesus would have to face the death penalty. Three times that day He was found innocent and therefore was only sentenced to be flogged. At this point a crowd had gathered. The verdict wasn’t good enough and the public demanded his death.

Matt 27:15 tells us it was customary for the Roman Governor, Pilate, to release one prisoner every year during Passover. And because all of this happened during the Passover celebration, Pilate presented the crowd with a choice: they could either set Jesus free or a notorious murderer named Barabbas. Coerced by other priests and religious leaders the crowd demanded Barabbas be set free; and Jesus take his place. Frustrated with the crowd Pilate did what they asked and assumed no responsibility hereafter.

The beatings began. He was whipped, humiliated and mocked. Then they brought Jesus to the site for all crucifixions, known as Skull Hill. After He was hung on the cross, the soldiers further embarrassed Him by gambling away his clothes, and was left there to die. But He wasn’t alone.

The Gospel of Luke says Jesus was there with two other criminals, one on either side of Him (Luke 23:32-33). One of the criminals challenged Jesus to prove Himself by saving all three of them from death. In Luke 23:40, the other criminal protests by reminding him of Jesus’ innocence. The other two deserve to die. Out of the three of them, Jesus is the only one who didn’t do anything wrong. The criminal then humbly asks Jesus to remember him in heaven when all this is over. Verse 43 says that Jesus the criminal that his request had been granted, and that they would be in heaven together.

As I read the dialogue between Jesus and the criminals – especially the request to be remembered by Jesus, and the assurance of being with Jesus when it’s all over; I wonder: do any of us see ourselves there? How many times have we done something wrong and later find ourselves in hot water over our actions? With good intentions we try to encourage someone facing a trial, only it comes out the wrong way and accused of being co-conspirators with the other party. While babysitting, you leave a child alone the playground, the child runs back to you with a bloody nose and you have no idea what happened. The parent is irate and never trusts you again. Or a person comments on a co-worker’s smashing good looks one day, and before you know it, they’re caught in an adulterous affair. These are examples of how we can make mistakes and end up hanging on a cross paying for our crimes. Though we may think it’s too late, we do have a Savior waiting to hear us call out to Him. Just like the criminal on Skull Hill, we just might hear Jesus assure us that He is in our midst.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Little Green Monsters

When The Hulk gets mad and aggravated he turns into a green monster, smashes a bunch of stuff (usually cars, buildings or a world famous landmark like the Eiffel tower for example) and once he calms down, he’s back to being a “normal” white American scientist dude who needs a new shirt and to tailor his pants … again. I’m proud to say that I let out my little green monster today. I didn’t smash a giant hole in the roof of the Saddledome. I didn’t get to use the tip of the Calgary Tower as a toothpick. I even managed to avoid using Banff’s Gondola as my own person zip line. Instead I got out to the gym and was able to join the rest of my colleagues in lifting weights expelling testosterone.

I have had a hell of a January. I took a late night bus back to Calgary from Regina. Didn’t get any sleep that night because I foolishly drank an XL Tim Horton’s Ice Cappuccino at about 2 am. I went to work one night and slipped while walking home from the mall that night. My one hand absorbed most of the fall and I spent the night awake in the ER waiting to see if I broke the wrist. At 6AM the doctor tells me I just bruised the tendons. Thankfully it WASN’T broken. But being awake all night messed up my sleep schedule...again.

I was awake at night and sleepy during the day. My coaches were telling me not to come to practices because the exercise would make my wrist worse. So it’s been 3 weeks since I’ve been to the gym; and thus cooped up in the house. Once I got my sleep schedule back to normal, I spent the night at a friend’s house watching movies. Unfortunately neither of us was paying attention to the clock, so it wasn’t until 5AM when one of us turned out the lights. At this point we both agreed it was definitely bed time and nodded off to lala land until sometime in the afternoon.

I spent the next 3 days awake when I really should be sleeping and sleeping when I should be awake working on my book. When my wrist FINALLY gets back to feeling normal, I start getting sick – but only for a short time. 2 days tops and then its gone. At first it was diarrhea. I’m only gonna expand on that by saying two words: NOT FUN! AND it threw off my sleep schedule ... again. Awake at night and sleepy during the day. Once that went away, my stomach started sounding like it was a pot of hot soup still cooking on the stove… pause so you can imagine the sound… GREAT! Yet ANOTHER THING to keep me down and out (AKA cooped up indoors) for 2-3 days.

Then the other day – as in this past Thursday – I decide to make an entire pot of coffee for myself. It turns out that drinking the whole pot yourself is too much caffeine. It doesnt matter that you started it at 9 am, you're still awake at 5 am the next day, but I digress. As a pleasent side effect, I start getting jittery and my body is shaking uncontrollably. I was awake the whole night probably high on caffeine from all the coffee I drank during the day.

Aside from all the craziness of having a messed up sleep schedule, nursing my wrist, and being sick I’ve still been working on writing my devotionals. I haven’t been able to pump out as many, but I’m still writing stuff everyday. Writing as a top priority is still something I struggle with. I have been wrestling with doing it at least 5 days a week. I’ve come to learn it’s a discipline that separates the great writers from those that work for the tabloids and porn magazines.

With that said there have been times where I try to sleep but can’t because I have a great ending to a devotional that comes at 2 or 3 in the morning and its all I can think about until I get it written out. So I’m on my computer in the wee hours of the morning working it out; Instead of lying in bed working it out. I’ll pay for it when the alarm goes off at 8 to get up for church or keep a somewhat normal “get up in the morning and go to bed at night” kind of schedule. But at least I won’t spend the first 2 hours of the day staring blankly at the screen trying to pick up where I left off the day before because I’ve forgotten what I was went through my head at 2AM and made perfect sense. Which by the way is an absolute pet peeve of mine – Staring at the screen for an hour or two and have nothing on the page feels extremely unproductive, but I’m rambling.

Today I was hell bent on getting to the gym and decided that no matter what I was going to go. If I was awake at 5AM I would get up when the alarm goes off at 8 and get ready to head out for the day. I went to bed at 3AM last night. Devotional is STILL not done at this point because I’m expending more energy trying to stay awake then finishing it. GRRRR So I went to bed so tired I was sore and frustrated that I didn’t accomplish my goal of getting the devotional done.

8AM rolled around and it took me 2 hours but I was out the door and ready to start my day. I had to do an errand before the gym in the afternoon so at 10:30 this morning I was at the library focused on getting that errand done. Errand is done and I beat the rest of my cycling team to the gym. I was dead tired and much preferred the comfort of my pillow and blanket to propping my eyes open with toothpicks and getting through the day via another Tim Horton’s double-double. But I am out and about instead of putting around my place going “woe is me” or drooling over the keys on my laptop. Ironically, I was sipping on a Tim Horton’s XL double-double.

Thinking about everything I’ve been though this last month – if you don’t know by now what that is then your nuts and need professional help – I break down. I send out a text message to a few closer friends that read: I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I unload all of this to the first person that responds and take off to the bathroom like a stereotypical girl in a teenage high school drama queen you see in movies like mean girls. I spend 15 minutes in the bathroom stall crying, then I wipe away the tears, soak my face in a paper towel and off I head to meet the cycling team.

Apprehensive about getting me on the track due to my wrist (which by the way feels 100% at this point in time – even after my workout) my coach puts me through a routine lifting weight. THE BEST THING EVER!!! It feels AMAZING AND I let out all the frustrations I had crying in the bathroom like a little school girl not 10 minutes prior. I get home have one of the nicest showers in a long LONG time change into something comfy and feel like a new man! So now that I’ve let out my little green monster and can go back to being a normal gibbled up little Tim bit, just like Bruce Banner! (I mean The Hulk) LOL!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again!




Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Counting The Cost Pays Dividends

A number of weeks ago, I was watching a program called Rock Star Wives. In it they interview the wives of rock stars and ask them about how they handle being the “other half” (and in some cases the better half ha ha) of a music superstar. Included in the list of rock families is Twisted Sister’s lead singer Dee Snider and his wife Suzette. Approaching 35 years of marriage, they were asked if Dee ever cheated on his wife while touring with the band. Candid in his response, Snider admitted he’s never shared his bed with another woman. When asked about the driving force behind his commitment, he simply shared that he considered the cost. Fifteen minutes of pleasure is not worth the pain that comes with divorce and separation.

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus speaks of counting the cost. Luke 14 says “…who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you.” I wonder if this is why many of us fall short of God’s glory. Romans 3:23 says we fall short because each of us has sinned. But that’s not necessarily what I’m talking about. I get that we are all guilty of sin and thus need the grace and mercy of Jesus so we may approach God uninhibited and without shame. I’m referring to those who have already realized they need Jesus and asked him to be Lord of their life cleansing them of the sin and wrongdoing that God frowns upon.

The Christian life has ups and downs. There are many benefits to living the Christian life, but there are also times of struggle. Galatians 5 encourages us to live lives guided by the Holy Spirit. But it also tells us that our body craves the exact opposite. Nonetheless, it is here that the Apostle Paul encourages us to live pure and holy lives. But that’s easier said then done. I find there are things I deal with on a daily basis, which I am continually seeking God’s help with. When I don’t, I fall short and find myself at the foot of the cross asking Jesus to take away my shame.

However, there are times I feel overwhelmed with temptation and I do consider the cost. Doing so helps. It builds my stamina against those “other cravings”. Sometimes I pray through it. Other times I find myself singing an old fashioned hymn. Listening to a sermon, enlisting prayer support from friends, or even delving into one of my devotionals are any number of ways I push through it and come out the other side with my head held high. Don’t forget to count the cost because fifteen minutes of pleasure isn’t worth the lifetime of pain.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Woman's Worth

The last relationship I had I think was in was 2006. Since then I’ve been single; but not for a lack of trying. While having coffee with one lady, I find out she has connections to Calgary’s sex trade. Others have been driven by their hormones more then anything, which can be an unreliable gauge. If a person is not careful, their hormones can lead them to a few regrets. One of my best friends shared a bit of jealousy recently asking why he doesn’t get the same reaction from a woman as I do. For those that know me, it’s no surprise that I have a knack for finding myself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Although some of the women I’ve attracted are less then stellar, it’s still comforting to know that people find me attractive. Then I know my singleness has nothing to do with being ugly.
It has more to do with value. When people ask what I look for in a woman, I usually respond with a question: who are you? The inquisitor is usually taken aback by my response. They are most likely asking if I like blondes or brunettes. Tall or short gals, what dress and bra size I think looks better on a woman. If a person is looking for my opinion I’d be more then willing to share my thoughts. but if you’re trying to set me up on a blind date, then none of those things matter; because I’ve been attracted to varying shapes of women. Some were blonde, others were redheads. I even recall a few potential suitors sporting black hair, or being brunette.

These are all good things to know I’m sure, but it doesn’t instill the fact that a woman is a valuable person who has other traits that ought to be fostered by her peers.

When it comes to dating, I’ve always believed if your not with someone who you can see yourself marrying then what the point? I’ve been told I’m not like most guys out there, and to some extent it’s true. I’m not out to objectify women nor am I looking for a concubine – someone who will always be barefoot and pregnant because “that’s their role”. That’s a stack of cow patties if you ask me!

So how a woman answers questions like, what breaks your heart? What’s the point of humanity? What do they like to do for fun? Get them to share their best childhood moment. What would other people say are her best trait? Get her to answer that question. What does she think her best trait is? Bad habits, we all have them. I’d like to know what a few of them are. It would also be helpful to know some of the things she struggles with. The last thing I want is to hinder her. Perhaps her greatest difficulty is a task or responsibility I enjoy. In that case, she would find benefit in our relationship.

These are the things I value most in a dating relationship. Tough to find I know, it’s almost like trying to find needles in a haystack. Diamonds, rubies, and other jewels aren’t easily found either. But it does give them intrinsic value. Just like a woman!

Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life. She brings him good, not harm all the days of her life…She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Proverbs 31:10-12, 25-30.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Extolling The New Year

While researching an article that has been stewing in my head for a few weeks, it occurred to me that I have yet to pay homage to the beginning of 2011. As the New Year etches its way into our lives, for many of us a new calendar year also means a new season or phase of life. So I leave you with a New Year’s prayer and poem. May it richly bless and lead you to new depths in your faith and breathtaking heights in the adventure of living with God! Tim Bits!




A New Year’s Prayer

Holy Father,

God of our yesterdays, our today, and our tomorrows. We praise You for Your unequaled greatness. Thank You for the year behind us and for the year ahead. Help us in Your new year, Father, to fret less and laugh more. To teach our children to laugh by laughing with them. To teach others to love by loving them. Knowing, when Love came to the stable in Bethlehem, He came for us. So that Love could be with us, and we could know You. That we could share Love with others. Help us, Father, to hear Your love song in every sunrise, in the chriping of sparrows in our backyards, in the stories of our old folks, and the fantasies of our children. Help us to stop and listen to Your love songs, so that we may know You better and better. We rejoice in the world You loved into being. Thank You for another new year and for new chances every day. We pray for peace, for light, and for hope, that we might spread them to others. Forgive us for falling short this past year. We leave the irreparable past in your hands, and step out into the unknown new year knowing You will go with us. We accept Your gift of a new year and we rejoice in what's ahead, depending on You to help us do exactly what You want… I say it again, we rejoice!

In Jesus name, Amen.


A New Year's Poem

Instead of making a New Year's resolution
Consider committing to a biblical solution
Your promises are easily broken
Empty words, though earnestly spoken
But God's Word transforms the soul
By His Holy Spirit making you whole
As you spend time alone with Him
He will change you from within

-- Mary Fairchild