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A Piper/Keller Discussion on Sanctification

10 Oct

Have you ever listened to a conversation between two people and thought, “Wow, I wish I could come up with ideas like that so effortlessly.” That’s exactly what I thought when I watched this 15-minute video of Tim Keller and John Piper discussing the process of sanctification. The conversation began by both men addressing sanctification from two different perspectives. When they realized they were coming from different angles, they ended up using both the “push and pull factors” as motivation for working out our salvation – as Paul puts it in his letter to the Philippians. We are pushed towards sanctification by the truth of the Gospel, which is that Christ died for us, and pulled by the promise that the pure in heart shall see God. They are such familiar ideas, but so profound and true in their daily application. Okay, one more thought before I let you watch the video. When discussing the battle against sin and the flesh, Tim Keller says the best defense is a good offence. “When you’re enjoying God you don’t want to let anything come in between that enjoyment.” Again, how basic is that idea!? When we’re really enjoying something why would we allow anything disrupt that enjoyment? I guess the trouble is when we become “too familiar” with the Gospel and rush in and out of our communion with The Lord, the author of true and lasting enjoyment. This video reminded me to really take the time and enjoy fellowship with my Father throughout the day, and fight against the tendency to view my time with him as just a part of my daily routine. Simple concepts, and yet so often forgotten.

Back to the Routine

3 Oct

It’s been months since I’ve written and I wanted to come back with something important and insightful. To be honest, for the past few weeks I’d start writing something, but end up either unable to finish it or finishing it and deciding it’s not worth posting. So I decided that it’d be best to just come back with something that’s important to me, but likely not important to mostly everyone else (especially on Presidential Debate night).

Every year around this time, I begin my new year with the new NHL hockey season. I set my goals and my New Year’s resolutions, have a countdown, celebrate, and engage in all the typical New Year’s festivities (not really). This year, as you can all imagine, it’s been a real struggle so far. It feels much like a large portion of life is on hold and there isn’t anything I can do about it. After all of the unnecessary cries I heard from NBA fans last year over their lockout, I promised myself I would not complain about this year’s NHL lockout, but who are we kidding! This is ridiculous. With looking forward to this season beginning very soon (I hope), I’ve been watching old games and highlights and thanks to a good friend, I came across this video. It’s pretty sad, but very well done. As we all wait with anticipation, I hope we can offer support to one another during this difficult time. Hang in there friends.


13 Jun

It’s been something like a month since I’ve written here. I should admit that I have been pretty distracted by a number of different things; one of them being the NHL playoffs. This year’s playoffs can be described in many different ways, but one thing’s for sure, outcomes were unexpected from beginning to end – starting with the Leafs not making it (I’m partially joking) and ending with the Kings taking the Cup home.  I know I usually focus on the Leafs but this year’s win is one that I want to remember for a long time, so let’s talk about the Kings.

LA ended off the regular season in 8th place. I’m no expert, but I definitely did not expect them to knock out the top three teams in their conference – completely unexpected. I can say a lot about their speed, talent, chemistry, fantastic offence, nearly flawless defence, and top notch goaltending, but all that is obvious. The team is talented. I’d rather focus on their GM, Dean Lombardi. The guy basically put together this unstoppable army of dedicated, skilled players who ultimately went out there and did exactly what they were supposed to do, and exactly what nobody believed they could do. Lombardi was hired by the Kings to create a winning team, the impossible task, just ask Burke (obviously still a little sad about the Leafs but I’m sure they’ll make it next year). A first place hockey team coming from Los Angeles, California? Nope. Maybe baseball, maybe basketball, maybe some type of football, but not hockey. Lombardi made it happen, and when it came time to finally accepting recognition for the work he put into this team, he gave credit to just about everyone else. After seeing the way he literally built this team up into the best in the league and proved everyone wrong, I admired his leadership. After reading about his interview on Monday night, I admired his humility.

I wasn’t planning on writing about more than hockey in this post, but as I write I’m reminded of the leadership in my life. We all need good leadership, and I’m thankful for a pastor who is humble, loves the Lord, and is faithful to the word of God. Every team is a reflection of their leadership, and every congregation is too. Thank God for faithful pastors who stay true to the word.

Count It All Joy

9 May

This week, I thought I’d share one of the many valuable lessons I learned from my mom over the years. My mother is one of the weakest, strongest people I know. It makes no sense right? Allow me to explain. I have seen my mother go through many trials and she always seems to face them with such strength and wisdom. I know my mother is not some kind of super hero, and one of the greatest things she did for us was that she allowed us to see her weaknesses so that we may see God’s strength reflected in her life.

A few years back my mother was diagnosed with cancer. I remember being there with her when she found out and her eyes glazed over with what appeared to be fear, confusion, and uncertainty. She was never afraid to speak her mind and say how she was feeling, and in that, I saw God transform my mother’s life through this very difficult experience. People often question why, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” “If God exists, then why would he allow good people to get sick with cancer?” What we know about God, through his Word, is that he uses trials to test, strengthen, and shape the lives of His children.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

I can look back and easily remember opportunities I threw away because of the way I viewed certain trials I experienced. My mother on the other hand, allowed herself to be moulded, strengthened, and renewed through what the world would call “an unfair experience”. Despite struggling through the effects of a difficult surgery, weekly chemo sessions, and radiation, she still managed to count it all joy, even when the surrounding circumstances were the exact opposite of joyful. I remember our weekly wig dance sessions, where we would put all her wigs on and dance around the house. Sometimes she wouldn’t have the energy to dance but she always had the energy to laugh. When we were kids, my mother was always teaching us God’s Word, but more than just teach us, she lives it and we see that through every trial and celebration she goes through. So as I reflect on my mom, and what she has been to our family, I’m thankful to God for his grace in her life and for blessing me with a mother who loves His Word and walks in it daily, no matter what the circumstance may be.  Happy Mother’s Day!

Island Living

2 May

This week I was reminded that I don’t live on island; every decision made will have a direct impact on different people in my life. When I’m faithfully spending time in the Word and in prayer, I am a better church member, family member, friend, and employee. I know for a fact that when I let other things take precedent in my life  I tend to be less patient, more loose with my words, less likely to think about how I should be serving others, and more likely to think about how others should be serving me. In other words, I’m not exactly the kind of person you want to be around. I read a post on Tim Challies’ blog where he quotes from D.A. Carson’s, The Cross and the Christian Ministry. The post is called Many and Colorful. He writes about the different ways in which we unknowingly cause harm to our church family. Every day I’m reminded of how difficult it is to take up my cross and follow Him, but anything short of that, will have a lasting impact on much more than just myself. This week’s lesson relearned: for Christians, island living is not an option.

The Three Little Pigs

25 Apr

A while back I saw this video on The Blazing Center website. It’s supposed to be what the story of the Three Little Pigs would look like if it was covered in the media today. I thought it was hilarious and very relevant. So, on a day where I don’t have much of anything to say, I thought I’d share this video instead of blabbing on about how excited I am about the Blue Jays this season. Maybe I’ll save the baseball talk for another week. Enjoy the video!

Where is Your Allegiance?

18 Apr

I’ve been struggling with evangelizing at work for a while now, and more recently the struggle has been intensifying. Every day I find myself battling the fear of losing my job versus the fear of missing out on opportunities to share the Gospel with people I meet, and I shamefully admit that the fear of losing my job often wins the battle. The other day I heard a sermon preached by Paul McDonald titled, Fear and Heart Allegiances in Evangelism. I was challenged to think about where my allegiances lie. Paul preached from Matthew 10:24-39, and the message was both convicting and encouraging. I know I’m not the only one battling this fear regularly, whether at work, with friends, with family or strangers, we all fear what people may think of us or the loses we may face if we share the Gospel. In the sermon, Paul says it exactly how it is, “We fear pain because we value comfort.”  I personally fear losing my job because I enjoy the work I do and it provides me with financial security; two things I find comfort in. How foolish of me to forfeit opportunities to obey my Lord and Saviour for fear of losing something that He provided. Whether I keep my job or lose it, will be up to Him just the same way it was when I got hired. Of course when I put it as plainly as that, it seems completely irrational, but in the moment I have a million ‘justifiable’ reasons as to why I should stay silent. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be thoughtful and wise about when and how we witness, but sometimes I know I can be so thoughtful that before I know it, the opportunity is gone. I’m working on finding a balance.

Paul also says, “Fear exposes allegiances, and that’s why we should listen very closely to our fears.” If I am aware enough to see that I’m making decisions based on my fear of loss and suffering at the expense of obeying the command to share the Gospel, that means I need to change the things/people I’ve aligned my heart with. I’m thankful to God for providing not only the awareness, but also the grace to do something about it. If I could, I would quote Paul’s entire sermon, but you should probably just click on the link and give it a listen yourself. He is clear in presenting the Scripture as it applies not only to the disciples in Jesus’ time, but to us as well, as followers of Christ.

I’ll end off  by sharing a prayer from The Valley of Vision (Maja wrote a bit about this awesome book of prayers last week, if you want to know more about it click on “What I’m Reading”).

Divine Support

Thou Art The Blessed God,
Happy in thyself,
Source of happiness in thy creatures,
My Maker, Benefactor, Proprietor, Upholder.
Thou hast produced and sustained me,
Supported and indulged me,
Saved and kept me;
Thou art in every situation able to meet my needs and miseries.
May I live by thee,
Live for thee,
Never be satisfied with my Christian progress
But as I resemble Christ;
And may conformity to his principles, temper,
And conduct grow hourly in my life.
Let thy unexampled love constrain me into holy obedience,
And render my duty my delight.
If others deem my faith folly,
My meekness infirmity,
My zeal madness,
My hope delusion,
My actions hypocrisy,
May I rejoice to suffer for thy name.
Keep me walking steadfastly towards the country
Of everlasting delights,
That paradise-land which is my true inheritance.
Support me by strength of heaven
That I may never turn back,
Or desire false pleasures
That wilt and disappear into nothing.
As I pursue my heavenly journey by thy grace
Let me be known as a man with no aim
But that of a burning desire for thee,
And the good and salvation of my fellow men.

“Our hope is beyond this life” – Paul McDonald

This Made Me Laugh

11 Apr

Here is a video that made me laugh really hard. Hope you guys enjoy it.

Chasing Birds

4 Apr

I should’ve included my dog in my intro post because I think I’ll refer to him in a few posts. He is a Golden Retriever/Lab mix and he’s almost 5 months old now. He’s full of energy, and he’s the best.

My dog and I go for walks every day, and in the midst of those walks he manages to incorporate sudden bursts of sprinting. Our sprints usually last a few seconds until herealises that he is not going to catch the bird he’s chasing. You’d think he’d learn his lesson and just stop chasing birds, but with every bird he sees it’s as if it’s a brand new experience for him, and maybe this time he’ll bring home the prize. Together, he and I have chased countless birds and have never even come close to one of them. Every time he loses one, he looks back at me with disappointment in his eyes as if to blame me for slowing him down. Maybe he’s right, maybe it’s me, or maybe it’s simply the fact that birds have wings and we don’t. I look forward to the day that the little guy learns to stop chasing the birds and just enjoy the walk.

We do that sometimes too, don’t we? We live our lives chasing after pointless things that will never truly satisfy us. God has blessed us with so many things for our enjoyment, but we have a tendency to get distracted and start chasing after one or a few of these things and forget to focus on the things that really matter. 1 John 2:15-17 explains the exact point I’m trying to make,

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions – is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.”

I pray that we would not give in to our urge to chase after things that are passing away, and instead, stay focused on our journey home.

A Tiny Taste of Wisdom

28 Mar

This week I thought I’d share sections from one of my favourite chapters in one of my favourite books. The book is called Knowing God, by J.I. Packer and the chapter is titled, God’s Wisdom and Ours. If you’re ever looking for a challenging book that is jam-packed with sound doctrine and sound direction for Christian living, this is a must read. Every now and then life throws something at me that reminds me of the ideas presented in this chapter; it’s usually a conversation with someone, a circumstance, or just some of my own thoughts.  This reminder is the exact kind of wake-up call we probably all need at times. I think you’ll see what I mean as you read on.

“Not till we have become humble and teachable, standing in awe of God’s holiness and sovereignty, acknowledging our own littleness, distrusting our own thoughts and willing to have our minds turned upside down, can divine wisdom become ours. 

It is to be feared that many Christians spend all their lives in too unhumbled and conceited a frame of mind ever to gain wisdom from God at all. Not for nothing does Scripture say, ‘with the lowly is wisdom’ (Proverbs 11:2).”

“To live wisely, you have to be clear-sighted and realistic – ruthlessly so – in looking at life as it is. Wisdom will not go with comforting illusions, false sentiment, or the use of rose-colored glasses. Most of us live in a dream world, with our heads in the clouds and our feet off the ground; we never see the world, and our lives in it, as they really are. This deep-seated, sin-bred unrealism is one reason why there is so little wisdom among us – even the soundest and most orthodox of us.”

Packer paints a pretty bleak and scary picture for us, and basically says that none of us are exempt from this faulty thinking. Imagine he ended the chapter there? Thankfully, he goes on to dig into the book of Ecclesiastes to draw out some basic principles for us to live by. He advises us to,

“Live in the present, and enjoy it thoroughly (Ecclesiastes 7:14; 9:7-10; 11:9-10); present pleasures are God’s good gifts. Though Ecclesiastes condemns flippancy (7:4-6), he clearly has no time for the superspirituality which is too proud or too pious ever to laugh and have fun.” 

I love that! Wisdom doesn’t mean men walking around in robes, stroking their long beards, and slowly nodding at all of life’s experiences. We don’t need to walk around with serious faces on, almost in tears about life and its difficult existence, but for some reason many of us associate wisdom with a pattern of solemn living. Having fun and enjoying all of God’s current blessings such as, our families, friends, jobs, all of your pinterests (without striving to become Jack ;)), sports, the Leafs (except last night), it is all a part of living wisely.

We do not have to know it all, in fact we can’t, and there is trouble in thinking that we’re even close. I’ll end off with my favourite quote in this chapter, and I hope you find it as encouraging as I did.

“…it is not a sharing in all his knowledge, but a disposition to confess that he is wise, and to cleave to him and live for him in the light of his Word through thick and thin.”