Thursday, December 28, 2006


"I call on you not to hate, because hate does not leave space for a person to be fair, and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking,"

This quote accurately describes the effects of hatred. Hatred is a poison to our souls. It causes us to become the very thing that we hate. Most people hate because they (or someone else) has been wronged - that wrong can be real or imagined. A person who hates believes that they have not been treated fairly. This hate blinds us and causes us to treat the person that we hate unfairly - so we become that which we hate.
Now I want to state that I have never hated anyone passionately. However that may not be true. In fact it would be just a denial of the truth (and I would really like to deny this truth because good Christians do not hate). I can think of a person in my who I really loathed, I would like to say that it was not hate (more denial?) My feelings toward this person did exactly what the quote said it would do. It made me treat them unfairly - always expecting the worst and always seeing the worst. It made me blind to possibility that they could change. It truly closed all the doors of thinking. Yahweh took me on long journey to forgive this person and to learn to love them.

An interesting note about this quote. It comes from Saddam Hussein. You know that evil dictator who is sentenced to hang. In light of his execution he wrote a letter. In the letter he stated the above quote and also said "I also call on you not to hate the people of the other countries that attacked us". I was a little bit shocked to hear Saddam say these things. But then I realized that I really know very little about him and everything that I do know comes from the media.
You can read about it at cbc. (By the way I found it some what interesting that this story is already off the front page of their website)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Making Disciples

In my past couple of posts I have been exploring what I think are the three foundational things about Christianity: Loving God, loving others and making disciples. I have been asking the quesiton what would this look like. To be totally honest I think that the first two questions are actually easier to answer. This is often what our church talks about - loving God and loving others. And I want to say that this is a good thing. However we sometimes leave out the whole making disciples thing. Or prehaps it would be better to say that we leave the making disciples to the some of the minstries in our churches and do not feel responsible to do it ourselves.
Well if we are going to explore what does it mean to make disciples than we should know what a disciple is. So what is a disciple of Jesus Christ. A disciple is a person who loves Jesus and wants to follow him (which means that they will love people). Now a lot more couple be said on this whole issue but I am not going to do that right.
So what does it mean to make disciples?
  • This is everyone's responsibilty not just the pastors or the leaders
  • A willingness to challenge people
  • A willingness to encourage people when you see good things
  • Praying for people
  • A willingness to share our stories about how God has worked in our lives
  • Sharing with people what we are learning from the bible
  • Studing the bible together
  • Praying with each other
  • Helping others know and follow Jesus
  • Being intentional in our families
  • Willingness to talk about our whole lives (not just the safe things)
Well these are a couple of the things that I can think of. Any other thoughts?

Monday, December 11, 2006

Loving others

In my last blog I listed some things that I think would be evident if we loved Yahweh more and more. Today I am going to explore what would it look like if we truly loved each other. Once again I am going to just ramble (which means I am going to post things in the order that they come to my mind and not in the order of importance).
What would it look like if we truly loved each other:
  • We would be praying for each other
  • We would work for the best of the other person
  • We would serve the other person
  • We would see the good in the person and not just the bad
  • We would build them up and not tear them down
  • We would let other people know that we love them
  • We would be honest with each other
  • We would confess our sins to each other
  • We would bless others and not gossip about them
  • We would spend time together
  • We would laugh and cry together
  • We would help each other
  • We would welcome the stranger in
  • We would care about the poor and the outcast
  • We would see Jesus in other people
  • We would challenge each other
I believe that the essence of it is that we would live in real community with each other, a community that is open and loving, supporting and challenging.
To live like this will take God in us.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The future

So in my last post I mentioned that the church's foundation is loving Yahweh, loving others and making disciples. I said that this really needs to get fleshed out. Perhaps a way to flesh this out is by asking what would it look like if we were doing this?
Now by asking that question I feel like I am beginning by stating that we are not doing this. I am not sure that is the case. I believe that programs in our church are built out of the conviction that we need to be doing these things. My intent in asking this question is not to challenge what we are doing but to look into the future.
So what would it look like if we loved Yahweh more and more? Now I am just going to start to ramble out some thoughts that I have (feel free to state what you think and to challenge what I am writing down).
  • We would have a desire to learn more about who he is
  • We would not get caught up in our little wish list but rather get caught up in Yahweh's wish list
  • We would be engaged with the people on the edges (just like Jesus was)
  • Our worship would be full of life (regardless of the style)
  • We would have a longing and desire for the Bible
  • Our service would be characterized by dedication and commitment
  • We would tell other people about him
  • We would want to experience him in real relationship
  • Our creativity would be unleashed
  • We would be more confident because we will know that Yahweh loves us
  • We would be willing to take risks for him
  • We would seek to hear his voice and obey him
  • We would pray
  • We would pray in groups and with others
  • We would do whatever it takes to get closer to him (this includes things like fasting)
  • We would begin to see Yahweh everywhere (in the news, in our friends, in our enemies)
  • We would be more critical of our culture
  • We would be more gracious and loving
Looking over this list I see that I am no where near to where I should be. The next question is how do we get to where we do love Yahweh more and more?
But I think before I even begin to explore that question I will explore what would it look like to love others? And what would it look like to make disciples? For I believe that all three of these are very inter-related.
What are your thoughts?

Monday, December 04, 2006

The DNA of a church

I have been doing some thinking about why I am a pastor? And what is the church? And what does it mean that I am a leader within the church? Why am I doing what I am doing?
Fall has been a very busy time for me. It has left me feeling like I am doing many things to just stay afloat. Instead of energizing and being a catyalst for the church to move into future I feel like I have been kind of maintaining the status quo. Don't get me wrong. I think that there are many good things happening within the church - assisiting the new comer families, working in prison ministry, children's ministry, youth ministry, ect. Wonderful things are happening within the church. I just want to become more intentional in my role within the church. With Pastor Gary leaving I can see that there are going to many things that need and should be done. Which means I need to know why I am here and what I am suppose to be accomplishing. Right now I do not have the answers.
However I heard Robert Logan describe the church and state that the DNA (the building blocks, the essentials of life) for the church are three things: Loving God, loving others and as we go making disciples. I believe he is totally right. So when I think about extending the Kingdom of God it means loving him and others and making disciples. This is the basics that I have often been taught. But it is good to come back to this and build upong these things. They are going to have to be fleshed out for me. But they give a place to start.

Friday, December 01, 2006


This Sunday is going to be the first Sunday of Advent. It is hard to believe that the fall has gone by so quickly. I personally feel like it should still be September (though the snow and cold weather bring me back to reality). Advent is a season of expectation. We wait with expectation for the coming Christmas. In fact in my house my girls did a count down to when they got to begin to open their advent calenders (which was this morning. They were up at 6:30 - I don't want to image what time they will be up on Christmas morning).
However advent is not just about waiting for Christmas it is celebrating that God came into the world, that God is in the world, and that he is coming into the world. Advent is about expecting God - finding him in the past, finding him the present and waiting for him to come again. The question that I am going to try and ask my self this advent season is where is God right now? Where is he working right now?