Monday, January 14, 2013

Nothing written in one year.

This has got to change. Hah!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

the ME church.

If you haven't seen this one minute video on YouTube, it's definitely worth a look. You can see it by clicking the image above. Another version can be found here.

ME church. Where it's all about YOU. This video was made as a comical way of discouraging the idea of "shopping for churches." However, there are many aspects of this video that speak to the meaning of church. What is the purpose of church? Why do we go to church?

Church is not about any one person in particular. I think most Christians are aware of this. Numerous passages in Scripture speak about the various anatomical parts that make up a church and how each part is equally important to the health and functional ability of the church as a whole. Here's one for example:

Romans 12:3-8
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Even though we aware of this supposed unity within the body, many churches struggle today because of this Me Only or Me First attitude that has become so prominent. As a result, many people don't see the harm in skipping church or the youth group that they regularly attend.

ME: "I don't feel like attending Bible Study tonight. I won't be able to learn so it will be my loss. Right?"

There are several aspects of this statement that reflect a narcissistic mindset. What happens if no one feels like attending Bible Study? If Bible Study was meant for people to attend just to learn, then why do we regularly sit around a table? Why don't we have Bible Study in the sanctuary with the leader standing behind the pulpit? A successful Bible Study hinges on the contributions of the participants and not just the leader. How can you contribute if you're not present? Now it's no longer just your loss, but every person in the group loses your potential to contribute. Even the most random questions or remarks can spark a meaningful discussion. You never know. Is fellowship about you only?

ME: "I can never seem to wake up on time for church. I always end up missing the singing portion, but at least I'm there for the sermon."

It appears that the importance of punctuality is dwindling at an alarming rate. However, being late isn't my biggest concern. Tardiness happens. Sometimes it's inevitable. Most (if not all) of us have been late before so we are certainly in no position to judge the person who walks in 30 minutes late. Consistent lateness, however, in my mind, is inexcusable. Is it because we don't take church seriously? Do we take God seriously? Or is it simply because Sunday mornings are for ME and not for God? What does Sunday morning mean to you? If your presence during worship was not required, then why do we bother to worship as a group? We could all sing to God on our own time - at our own convenience. If a sermon was all that you came to church for, then why not stay at home and watch one online? Church is NOT for you to just come and receive. Rather than asking yourself what you got out of church today, why not ask yourself what you gave at church today? Chris Siliard puts it well in his sermon on servanthood: God has divine opportunities for you every time you come to church...Opportunities to encourage, greet, care for, pray for, or serve somebody.

Is Sunday about you only?

The author of Hebrews begs to differ.

Hebrews 10:25
Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

The importance of church and fellowship was well-documented by the author of Hebrews. Living the life of a devout Christian is becoming more and more difficult. And as our daily walks with God become more and more challenging, fellowship, edification, and accountability are necessities to keep us grounded in our faith. This takes active participation by all members of the body.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

the one who inspires.

Following the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and the 82nd Academy Awards, one word has really stuck out to me these past two months. The word that has been on my mind and on my heart is: inspiration.

Watching the heart-warming clip of Alexandre Bilodeau’s Olympic journey for the very first time was certainly one of the moments I remember most from this year’s Winter Games. The gold medal winner got his inspiration from his older brother, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at a young age. Even though doctors told him that he’d lose his ability to walk before he reached his teens, Frederic Bilodeau continues to walk at the age of 28. That, my friends, is inspiring. And then you have characters like Jon Montgomery who openly encourages mothers across the nation to allow their children to pick up the sport of skeleton. Perhaps he will be the inspiration of future athletes. At the Academy Awards, as Sandra Bullock gripped the first golden statue of her career, she applauded fellow nominee Meryl Streep for being the actress she looked up to all these years. In the same hour, we witnessed for the very first time, a female winner for the category of best director. Kathryn Bigelow has now put into place the launching pad for up and coming female directors.

It seems like wherever you find accomplishment, there you will also find inspiration. Whether you’re an Olympic athlete, movie star, or simply a student, we always remember the person or people that helped us “get there.”

Who is your inspiration?

I’m quite sure that I’m not the only who has ever stood in front of the bathroom mirror with a toothbrush or comb and tried to recite my very own acceptance speech. I think that sometimes it’s a good idea to really take the time and recall the people in your life that have inspired you.

I think it’s a funny thing how a lot of individuals thank God in their acceptance speeches. In no way am I saying that I wouldn’t thank God. It just seems that whenever people thank God, it’s almost as if it was to satisfy some form of hidden religious agenda. Being the cynical person that I am, I will now choose not to judge. Instead, I will now get to the core of this post.

There are numerous people that we look up to, numerous people that we aspire to be. Maybe it’s a favourite actor or athlete, an accomplished family member, or a devoted Christian. But as Christians, I wonder how often we look to Christ as our inspiration – as someone who has paved the way for us to be successful. How often do we desire to be just like him? How often do we look at his life, the way he lived it, and truly have the desire to live just like he did – flawlessly, excellently, lovingly, sacrificially, humbly?

[Philippians 2:5-11]
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I believe that this passage provides a very accurate description of the life that Jesus lived. It also provides the necessary blueprints for us as Christians to follow in His footsteps. How many of us can truly “make ourselves nothing?” Perhaps this is a challenge that we should consider taking up.

Who are you inspiring?

I’m guessing that Frederic Bilodeau didn’t inspire his brother at one specific moment, but rather he inspired his brother throughout the course of his life. He inspires him every day. And that’s what inspiration is all about. It’s not about one flashy moment, but about consistency.

Matthew 5:14 remarks that “we are the light of the world.” As Christians, part of our role is to bring the light of Christ to the areas of darkness in this word. And this is not for us. We’re not seeking to bring glory to ourselves, but to Christ. When others look at us, what do they see? Do we, as Christians, live like we’re inspired by our Creator, by our King, by our Lord and Saviour? Or do they simply see Dan, the kinesiology student at Waterloo? As Christians, we have the ability to inspire the world. We have the ability to inspire a generation of young Christians. But this process cannot merely be accomplished within a moment of glory and fame. It cannot simply be remarked during some acceptance speech. We must live it. 24 hours a day. 7 days a week.

Focus your gaze heavenward. Seek Christ and you will find Him. And then live a life inspired by Jesus.