Archive

Archive for the ‘Holy Spirit’ Category

Fasting: Why and How

I’ve had a few fasts in my life. Sometimes I fasted from food, other times I fasted from TV or pop or some other thing. Can’t say that fasting is a sure thing to spiritual breakthrough, but it positively is a biblical discipline that I would venture to guess is under practiced in the church today. I could, however, be completely wrong about this because fasting is usually an intensely personal practice. The elders at Mars Hill Church in Seattle are planning a day of fasting and they have posted some Scriptures and thoughts on fasting here.

From the above linked blog….

John Calvin said in his fourth Institutes book that fasting has three objectives: “We use it to weaken or subdue the flesh that it may not act wantonly [lacking restraint], that we may be better prepared for prayers and holy meditations and that it may be a testimony of our self-abasement [humiliation] before God when we wish to confess our guilt before him.”

Advertisements

The Righteousness of Noah

January 8, 2008 Leave a comment

I heard something about Noah the other day that has had me thinking for quite awhile. Most preachers, when they talk about Noah, like to bring up the fact that the Bible says Noah was a righteous man. They then talk about how, because Noah was righteous, he found favor with God and was used to build the ark and keep the human race in existence. Here’s the problem: the Bible says Noah was a righteous man after it says he found favor with God, not before.

In fact, in Genesis 6:6 we learn that God saw ‘that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.’ This includes Noah! Noah was wicked and the intention of his heart was as evil as anyone else’s. It WAS NOT because of Noah’s righteousness that God choose him to preserve humanity. It was because of God’s undeserved, unearned, unmerited favor that Noah was considered righteous.

You and I are desperately in need of God’s favor, and we were given that favor through the gift of his Son Jesus Christ and the gift of his Holy Spirit indwelling our souls. The intention of my heart (and yours) apart from the work of Jesus is just as intent on evil as the hearts of the men in Noah’s day. Praise be to God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ.

Categories: Holy Spirit, Theology

Day Off Thoughts

October 31, 2007 1 comment

Today is the first day I have had off in 9 days. I’ve enjoyed laying around, wrestling with the kids, drinking coffee, doing some reading, and napping a bit. Stephanie is harassing me because it is 3 pm and I’m still wearing my sleeping clothes, but you know what, I think I deserve a slob day. Anyway, this piece of Scripture has gotten me thinking today,

14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

As many of you know I have gone trough a theological shifting of sorts in the last 18 months. Part of this change is my understanding of the condition of man and the role of God in the saving of individuals. I am definitely not ‘arrived’ (and I hope I never think I completely have because people who are too sure usually end up being jerks) but I am spending more time wondering how someone who is sinful and anti-God from the womb, could in anyway on their own, make a choice to follow Jesus.

This verse from Corinthians seems to imply a similar conclusion. A person who is far from God cannot even understand their own sinfulness and need for a Saviour without some illumination of the mind and soul done by the Spirit of God. In my experience my free will choice will always be a selfish one, moving me further from God not closer to him.

Thoughts?

Blessed To Be a Blessing

September 14, 2007 1 comment

One of my core beliefs is that Christians are blessed to be a blessing. This comes from Genesis 12. Sadly I don’t always live up to this ideal, but God has given me a wonderful wife with a huge heart who is constantly showing me how to love others more than myself.

God has really been gracious to our family this month as we have tried to bless others despite our own tight financial situation. One example of this was when Stephanie gave my sister $100 as a thank you for babysitting and so that my sister could buy a new cell phone. A couple weeks later someone randomly gave us $100 so that we could take the kids and have a fun family day.

Another example happened on Monday. I was given the opportunity to buy a TV from a friend for a really good deal. We don’t need another TV but I knew that my parents did. With all the money they spent raising my siblings and I things like new TV’s always got pushed to the back burner. So I called my brother and we decided we’d buy the TV as a surprise gift for our parents. We don’t have much disposable income but I felt God prompt me to contribute a certain amount towards the purchase. Amazingly, the next day I was offered the exact same amount to teach two Sunday school sessions at the church where a friend of mine pastors.

God is amazing! His plans are wonderful and his resources are endless. He will always provide as much as we need and sometimes even more when we are willing to be a blessing in others lives.

Idiot Drivers

February 16, 2007 Leave a comment

To be honest, frequently I am an idiot driver.

It happened today. As I was driving through the parking lot at work an older woman walked across the road in front of my truck. Trying to be polite I took my foot of the gas and slowed down until she was out of the way. Then, as I proceeded by her, she turned and yelled at me to slow down. My instant reaction was to rev the engine a couple times and then drive off.

As soon as I did that I was ashamed. How stupid. That lady is a potential customer of my store and if she sees me walk into the restaurant she’s not ever coming in to eat. More importantly than that, doing what I did takes away from my ability to ever share Jesus with her. By acting like a jerk I am closing myself off from relationship with her.

A couple weeks ago a similar thing occurred. I was on the freeway near work and I changed lanes to pass some slower cars. When I went past a woman in an SUV she used her finger (a specific one actually) to show me her true feelings about the situation. So, when she tried to move over herself, I slowed was down just enough so that she wouldn’t be able move over. Unfortunately, she ended up following me almost all the way to my store. Again, another potential customer and convert could have been lost because of my ridiculous behavior.

Man I am dumb, and I am more immature than I would like to admit. Thankfully the Holy Spirit uses these instances to show me just how far I have to go in becoming more like Jesus.

Just be careful when you’re on the road near me.

Categories: Holy Spirit, Life

Reflections on Learning to Skate

February 13, 2007 Leave a comment


After church on Sunday the family and I made a quick stop at home to grab some equipment and then we headed to the local outdoor hockey rink to give Jacob a try at ice skating. Our only attempt of 2006 ended after 15 minutes, leaving me with a sore back and seeing Jacob make very little progress. But now it is a year later and I thought the young Gretzky would be more up to the challenge.

After spending 10 minutes getting on his snow pants, jacket, stocking hat, and nearly too small skates we finally made it onto the ice (you can see some pics here). For some foolish reason I was subconsciously expecting Jacob to pick up skating almost instantly. I quickly realized this was not the case and started getting visibly frustrated with him. The longer it took him to meet my expectations the more short and angry I became. My response to his inability was to act out my frustration by jerking his body around and speaking harshly to him. The result of my childish behaviour was that Jacob was crying and wanting to quit, and I was mad and ready to storm home.

I praise God that he showed me, through the words of my wife and the convicting presence of His Spirit inside of me, that I was sinning. My behaviour was no where close to where it should have been. In no way was I demonstrating for my son the loving patience of his heavenly father or living out the Christlike characteristics I desire. Plus I was in danger of passing on sinful patterns of behaviour to Jacob.

Looking back I can see how ludicrous it was to expect my 3 year old to be skating unassisted after just 5 minutes of trying. How sad would it have been for me to ruin my child’s budding affection for hockey just because I lack patience? And how tragic if the primary voice he hears in his head as he gets older is me speaking sternly into his ears, “Come on. Hurry up. Why can’t you do this?”

I can only thank God for rescuing me on Sunday.

By a simple moment of self reflection (caused by the Holy Spirit working through my amazing wife and my conscience) I was able to turn a disastrous situation into a delightful one. I took some deep breathes and determined to help Jacob no matter how long it took. I stopped scolding him for his failures and started praising him for his accomplishments. Rather than get angry I tried to find ways that I could better support his efforts and create winning situations for the both of us. I started whispering encouragement and satisfaction into his ears rather than commands and disappointment. And now do you know what the result was?

Jacob and I had fun. And we BOTH want to do it again. No he doesn’t have skating down yet, but he is eager to try it again. Beyond that, Sunday was a moment for Jacob to hear deep in his heart that his daddy is proud of him. It was an opportunity for feelings of security and accomplishment and love to be seared into Jacob’s soul. In a great short post on his blog Casey Ross writes, “Your child needs to know and feel, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that you believe in them. If no one else believes in them, you do.” Taking Jacob skating was a time for me to show Jacob that I believed in him and that I would cheer him on no matter what.

I am deeply grateful that despite my sinfulness God intervened to protect the delicate psyche of my three year old. I look forward to spending many more days on the hockey rink with Jacob and Andrew and Izzy. And I pray that God would continue to send his Spirit into my life to bring forth more and more patience (Gal 5:22-23) because I cannot do it in my own.

My Statement of Dedication,
I believe in you Jacob from the bottom of my being. I love you beyond words and you make me smile with deep satisfaction. I thank God everyday that He made me your daddy and I promise to work my hardest at become a whole and holy daddy who can point you towards One infinitely more loving and patient than me.

Categories: Holy Spirit, Jacob, Parenting

Nap Time is for Sanctification

February 4, 2007 Leave a comment

This is a list of some of the excuses and behaviors my kids have used to avoid taking their nap today (and almost every other time they lay down in their beds)…

1. I need a drink of water
2. I want my clothes off
3. I have a booger (both my kids pick out a booger almost every night before they fall asleep)
4. I need my ‘Elmo’ or ‘Doll’
5. I am not tired
6. Leave the door open
7. I don’t know how to go to sleep
8. Turn on the radio
9. I want a different blankey
10. It is hard to go to sleep

I have no idea how Stephanie gets through this everyday. It makes me so upset when they won’t just lay down and sleep. And then I feel guilty about over reacting or getting too angry. Plus, I remember being a kid myself and how much I hated having to go to sleep; I still hate going to sleep.

It all makes me wonder how Jesus would handle the situation. Because that is truly how I want to do it. I thank God for using my kids to show me my own sinfulness and also for using them to make me a more loving and patient person. I believe that the Spirit of God has something to say to us in all situations if we will be open to him and listen for his voice.

Categories: Family, Holy Spirit