Sunday, September 28, 2008

making a difference with your life

With all that has happened in my life in this past month, I've done a lot of thinking about making a difference with your life. As I've seen the "fallout" from my friend's husband being killed tragically, it's been something that has come up as something I've been thinking about a lot.

The stories I've heard about how he lived and the glimpses of it that I saw, he lived to serve God and others and that was all that he wanted to do. His life was one that inspires me to live differently. I know my friend (his wife) was the kind of person who couldn't just drive past another driver in need and ignore it - her husband was the same way, as was evidenced by what he was doing when he was killed.

Then I was sitting in church last night and the pastor was talking about evangelism. At the end of the message he asked a question that was something like this: What will it take for you to get off your "spiritual butt" and start sharing the message with people? What is holding you back from doing so?

After he asked that question I started thinking. I've been one of those people who has sat back and left the sharing of anything to do with the Gospel to other people. I even often claim that I'm letting the way I live my life speak for it instead. But as I was challenged last night that's not the way it should be done. And I thought about my friend's husband and who he lived, I was motivated to move beyond that more passive thinking about how I share the Gospel.

I'm not an upfront kind of person, so I know that I'm not called to be preaching to others and all that. But, I need to be more willing to talk about it in the interactions I have with people.

I want my life to make a difference fro eternity. I think that's something that most people want. But I think it's also easy to become content with life the way it is and to stop doing anything that we've been called to do, because it's not comfortable or easy.

Really, my challenge that I've taken up and want to challenge others to get involved with is to not sit back and be content with the way things are. We can't just decide that we're doing to live our lives and do nothing else. If we want to make a difference, we have to get out there and do something about it . . . and maybe that something is as simple as just stopping to help someone in need when you're driving.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

limitations to understanding

So, I just started taking this "course" through my church that's about leadership development and spiritual formation. I'm excited about it. It's looking at the biblical foundations of leadership and at how what has happened in your life to-date has shaped you to be the person you are today and how that influences your leadership. So, yeah, at least to me, a very interesting course.

Anyways, as I was getting started on the reading last night I was drawn in by something on like the second page. (I love it when things I read just jump right into the good stuff.) One of the points made really got me thinking.

"Many of those who think they are dissatisfied with Christianity are really dissatisfied with something else - their own grasp of Christianity. For most of us, we have scraped the surface and nothing more, yet we mistakenly believe our superficial encounter represents the gospel in its totality." (by Alister McGrath)

I've been thinking about it since I read that last night. And it's been making a lot of sense as I do that. I mean, really, who hasn't been dissatisfied with what they understand about Christianity? When things happen that just don't seem fair or right, it's very easy to begin to question. (I know, I've been there in the last few weeks.) But, yet, as I've thought about it I've come to see a lot of truth in the statement.

I think if we really began to understand - really understand - the depths of it all we would never cease to be amazed or have those doubting questions. But, we so easily get caught up in our own little world and think that we know it all and understand it all, when in reality we don't. When we begin to think we know it all and then have questions that our knowledge cannot answer or make sense of, it's very easy to become dissatisfied.

Yet, all of the understanding we could possibly have can never even begin to grasp all the truth about the gospel. It is so much more than we understand with our human limitations. We really have only scratched the surface of it! Therefore, we must be careful that we don't get caught up in assuming that we know all and that our understanding is everything there is to know.

Not only does realizing we have barely scratched the surface help when we're wrestling with the hard questions in trials, it can also help to keep us from growing bored with Christianity in the rest of our lives. When we acknowledge that we have only scratched the surface, we always have more to learn and understand. This leaves us with no reason to become bored with Christianity!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

God's workmanship

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Ephesians 2:10

The Greek word that workmanship here is translated from means a work of art or masterpiece! That's something pretty incredible to think about! We are God's masterpieces! We're not just something that God created and just sort of did and okay job at. We are His masterpiece! That means we have incredible value and worth in God's eyes.

When I read that and found that definition the other day, it really got me thinking. If I'm God's masterpiece than I need to be treating myself as such. I started thinking about how we treat the incredible works of art created by human artists. They are given a high value and are placed in museums where they are protected or they are given places of honour in people's homes. If that's the way we treat a picture on a canvas, then how much more carefully should we treat our bodies since they are God's masterpiece?

This knowledge should change how we treat our bodies. We need to look after ourselves. This means we need to be paying attention to what we put into our bodies and what we do. We shouldn't become so consumed with our appearance and what we eat that it takes precedence over anything else. But we do need to pay attention to it.

when your world is shaken

So . . . for those of you that have heard anything about what has been going on in my life in the past while you would know this . . . but the title of this blog really does describe what has happened so far in the month of September for me. My nice comfy, safe world has been shaken through a series of events, some not small and some big. Needless to say it's been a challenge. (My last two posts refer to the biggest and most world-shaking, for me, of these events. You can read those posts here and here.)

When your world is shaken, it's easy to start to wonder where God is in all that is happening. It's definitely a question I've asked a lot in the last few weeks. There are so many times when things just don't seem fair. I mean, is it really fair that my mom was in another accident? Or that a friend of mine lost her husband and their children will now never know who their father was except from pictures and stories? I wouldn't say that this is the first time I've ever wondered about the apparent unfairness of life, but it's the first time those questions have hit home quite like they have this time.

I've come through this with an even greater appreciation for many of the Psalms that David wrote. Many of them were written in times of great distress and trouble and they tell God that, but they also end with a declaration of his trust in God no matter what. It was obviously a choice that David made to trust God and it's a choice that I've had to make too. As these things have happened it would have been very easy to turn the other way and decide that God wasn't there or that He didn't care.

The words to a song that Jeremy Camp wrote really hit me the other day as I was driving home from work. I was singing along with the CD like usual, when I was struck by the words to the song. And I realized that those words described exactly what God had been doing for me recently.

Carried Me (by Jeremy Camp)
Jesus You have carried me
When I could not stand
Jesus You have carried me
It's all been part of Your plan
Jesus You have carried me
It's Your footprints in the sand
Jesus You ave carried me
It was always in Your hands.

As I look back over the past few weeks, that's definitely something I see now. The only way I made it through is because Jesus was carrying me.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

prayer request

OK, so, a break of the silence to post prayer request . . .

Last night I got a phone call asking me to be praying for my friend Tara. She and her husband, Preston, and their two year old son had been driving from Oregon, where they lived, to the Okanagan to spend a week visiting her family. On the way, they stopped to help another motorist who had hit a moose. A car that was swerving around the moose and the other car on the higway hit Preston as he was phoning for help. Preston was killed by this car that night - leaving behind his two year old son and Tara, who is pregnant with their second child.

Right now, Tara needs prayer. Even though, as she has said, she knows that Preston is in the place he has always wanted to be - with his Savior - it is hard for her. She has lost an amazing man.

I was privileged to meet Preston only a couple of times, and other than that just to observe their relationship from a distance at Bible college, but what I know of Preston is that he was a great guy who loved his wife and his son and God with everything he had. From my observations of this man, I know that he died doing exactly what he always did - helping someone else in need.

So, please remember Tara in your prayers in this time; as well as, both Tara and Preston's families as they have also lost a loved one.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

no new posts for a while

To all faithful readers:

I will not be posting anything for the next week or so. My mom and sister were in a car accident last night and much of my writing time will be spent helping them out in the next while. They are OK, in spite of what could have been a very serious crash. Nonetheless, they are sore and not completely able to do things on their own, so my time will be spent with family for the next while.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


A few things that I've read lately have made me think a lot about the people who have had the greatest influence on my life so far. For the most part, they're not well known people . . . they're family, and youth leaders, and summer camp counsellors . . . people who took an interest in my life. They're the people who cared about how I was really doing and took the time to answer my questions, and listen to my struggles, and encourage and pray for me. Honestly, I don't know where I would be today without them.

When I think about these people, I realize that I want to be someone like that in other people's lives. I don't want to just pass though my life and not take the time to really care about someone. I want it to be my priority to take the time to really listen and encourage those I meet.

Really, this post is just to say thanks to those people cuz I know some of them read this blog.

Thanks to my incredible family . . . my parents and my grandparents in particular. I've always known that you were there and that I could come to you with anything. Thank you for being there and for showing me the way to go by how you live, not just by what you say.

To the amazing youth leaders that I had during high school . . . my youth pastor and my small group leaders. You probably knew more about my struggles with things in high school than my family did and you were always encouraging when I needed to talk. And you weren't afraid to challenge me when I needed it. Especially one small group leader who came back year after year . . . when my world in high school began to fall apart cuz I was no longer able to play sports I didn't really tell anyone, but so often it seemed like you knew exactly what to say when I needed to hear it.

To my summer camp counsellors . . . I think all of you had some kind of an impact, but one in particular . . . I was privileged to spend a lot of time with you - first with you as the junior cabin leader for a cabin I was in, then with you as my cabin counsellor, then with you in charge of the junior staff program when I was junior staff, and then working with you as summer camp staff for two summers. I consider it a privilege to have been able to learn from you and to have been able to work with you. Your love for the kids and for God inspired me in so many ways.

And then of course there are many friends who have come and gone in my life . . . some for short periods of time and others for many years . . . you have all played a huge role in who I am today whether you knew it or not. Your encouragement and the time that I could just enjoy spending with you has also helped to shape me.

And my Bible college profs . . . after going to university for two years I was amazed by how much all of you cared individually about each student in your classes. And to one in particular . . . in your Spiritual Formation class . . . your heart, your love for God, and your desire to see each student grow was so obvious in everything you did - from the discussions in class to the comments you wrote on my assignments. You weren't afraid to push me in my walk with God and you were willing to share yourself too.

I'm sure I could list more people if I spent more time. None of these people are well-known authors or speakers . . . but all of them has played a huge role in who I am today just by their presence in my life. I think I need to be more intentional about letting these people know how much I appreciate them and the role they have played in my life. I so often take them for granted. Yet, I know that I have been hugely blessed to have them in my life.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

beauty of God's creation

I went camping this weekend and it was an amazing weekend. It was a VERY COLD weekend! But it was so good to just be out in creation and see the incredible beauty of all that God has created.

A few of my freinds and I headed up to Revelstoke - just a few hours north of Kelowna. I live in a place surrounded by mountains and forests and yet I don't even notice most of the time. But then I head up a little higher into the mountains and I'm once again struck by the beauty of what surrounds me everyday. Here in Kelowna, I don't even go and explore the beauty in the mountains that surround me. It seems strange to me that I so often ignore what surrounds me.

One evening as we were standing along the edge of the Columbia River where it ran through our campground just looking up at the starts in the sky, I was just really struck by the incredible power of God. I mean, there is no way that a God who didn't have any power could have created anything like what I was looking at that night. It was exactly the reminder I needed this weekend. We serve an amazing and incredible God!