Monday, 15 February 2016

A Whole Lot of Hurtin'

The following is edited from:
“Nourishment For Life” (Soul Food Served Here)

Just to kick things off ;-)

But on a more serious note...You don’t have to look very far or very hard to find hurting people.  There is a whole lot of hurting out there.  Believers are not immune to this pain.  Many have wounded spirits.  It is sad to realize that there are so many hurting Christians today.  There is plenty of pain caused at work, in the church, among friends and even by those who are closest to us in our own family.  So how do we respond to this?  What does God expect?  Does he really expect us to love those destructive people who have hurt us?

God doesn’t expect you to ignore the hurt and pain.  He’s not asking you to gloss over it or deny it or 
repress it or even make excuses for the people who have hurt you.  God doesn’t want you to fake it but He does want you to face it.  We need to “face the music” as they say.  If we are going to become the kind of loving man or woman that God wants us to be, we are going to have to deal with the pain and hurt someone has caused us in the past.  If we are still angry with the person (s) who has hurt us, we are allowing that person to have control over us.  Hurt people often hurt other people and are easily hurt themselves.

Don’t allow that person to have control over you any more.  We’ve got to deal with the anger, bitterness and resentment that has built up over the weeks, months even years.  I don’t know who you need to forgive but I know that today is the today to forgive.  Love lets it go.  Love forgives.  It is the only way to be truly free!

Friday, 12 February 2016

Can we ever be "too independent"?

We live in a society that values independence.  In fact, 'independence' is valued so highly, 'dependence' is seen almost as a dirty word or a fault that someone has.  

"I became dependent on that drug"

"I gained my independence when I moved on from that situation"

But "Dependence" doesn't always equate with "slavery" or "dominance".  In fact, we were never designed to live totally independent either.

We need to help each other out!  If we don't, we really can't grow.

This really is the mission of the Church, and the calling of God. Thanks Pastor Dave Anderson for reminding us of this Truth.

Dave Anderson is the Pastor of the Meadow Lake Alliance Church with services every Sunday morning at 10:30AM at:
805 - 5th St West, Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Olsteen and Colbert?!

Some of you saw this last night - Wow! Wow? Wow...
I'm not sure WHAT to think of this.

Either way, Stephen Colbert interviewed Joel Osteen on The Late Show.  This is in regards to his newest book, "The Power of I AM: Two Words That Will Change Your Life Today" Watch the whole interview below.

Colbert: I AM that I AM...This is a mystery to me.
Osteen: Mine is a different take on it...

That's 1 for Colbert.  He's right, "I AM" - and the use of that phrase, belongs to God.  It's His copyright.  Osteen takes it, twists it, and turns it into Psychology mixed with Theology.

Colbert: The power of yourself...

I like how Colbert stops himself from saying "The power of positive thinking" - pretty much because that phrase probably IS copyrighted by a different author.

Colbert: Are you yourself a Denomination? Is there such a thing as Osteenians?
Osteen: I hope not!

That's 1 for Osteen.  Good for him making it all about HIM, publicly on The Tonight Show.

Colbert: (I'm) a Catholic...Have you tried "the Power of Crippling Guilt"?
Osteen: God is for don't have to live in the guilt and condemnation

Another one for Osteen for sure!  That's a message that people not only resonate with, but also theologically need to hear.

(No, it's not actually Osteen in this pic...)

Colbert: Regardless of whether you ask, do people send you cash anyways?
Osteen: Yes they do!
Colbert: (Wipes his hands, like Pilate did with Jesus)

I'm not sure who to give this one too.  There is this pervading thought that most of the work that Televangelists do is in raising millions of dollars from their followers.  Osteen claims they don't ask for money, but people send it either way.  Is that a bad thing?  I don't think so.  But at the same time, Osteen isn't suffering either (aka book sales).

Colbert: You don't take a salary?! That's a nice suit man!
Osteen: That's why I brought you this book!

Colbert: Is there a Core Message you want people to take from this book?
Osteen: Don't be against yourself.  You're made in the image of God!

I think I've got to give this 1 to Osteen as well.  Although this is Psycho-babble, perhaps it is a way to engage the world and bring it closer to God?  Seeker sensitive idea?  

I like how he's trying to reach outside the 'church walls' he talks about.  I don't like how he takes a theological concept and twists it into something palatable for the masses (aka Oprah).  It was entertaining television last night and it was good to see evangelists break into the world of 'celebrity', but definitely popcorn theology.  Hopefully God will use it to open some people's hearts and minds to His will.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Meadow Lake Alliance Church installs Debit Machine for Donations

On Sunday, January 24th, 2016 the Meadow Lake Alliance church introduced a new way for people to donate money.  A debit machine is now available at the back of the church for patrons to pass on their tithes and offerings.

Issues of convenience and a desire to increase revenue were cited by Associate Pastor Jeremy Zacharias as motivations behind the novel idea.

One question put to Zacharias was in terms of the theological concerns that might be raised by this new way of giving.

Den of Thieves Video

Zacharias concludes that theological concerns are unwarranted.

Another concern might be that by installing a debit machine in the Church the larger community might not be able to distinguish it from a traditional business.

Zacharias points to various steps have been taken to ensure the integrity of giving with this new medium.

Local church-goer Cori Mee reflected on how this might impact her own giving patterns.

Toronto Credit Card Processing does offer the following option:

Mee comments on how the community might respond to this giving medium.

Pastor Mike Ginter from the Compass Church doesn't think his Church will be installing a debit machine in the near future, but doesn't see too much of a problem with the model offered by the Alliance church.

Pastor Jeff Froese from NorthWest Community Church had mixed feelings about the idea of a debit machine being used in a church setting.

Some random Facebook responses were also given to the question "What if you found out a church had installed a debit machine at the back for donations"? (join the discussion)

While this option of giving is new in the Meadow Lake area, it is not the first time the broader Church has grappled with this technology.

Meadow Lake Alliance church continues to invest in local and international charity work while opening their doors to the general public for various religious and non-religious events.

Meadow Lake Alliance church meets every Sunday at 10:30am and no bank card is required.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Digital Media and the Cross

I'm starting to experiment a little with digital media in terms of communicating a message.  In a sense, Christians have a unique but also timeless message.  Perhaps Digital Media can be used to communicate that Message?  Not sure, but this blog is simply an experiment in that.  Thanks

God's Grace - Ustream
Ustream is an online live-streaming service that IBM recently purchased.  I suppose it would be in competition to Periscope.  Fortunately Ustream allows me to embed whereas Periscope is limited to cell phones (I think).  Anyways, I hope this works!

Live streaming video by Ustream

Here I'm going to try to embed a Vine.  Not sure if it will work.  I've seen Vine's embedded within Twitter, but not in a blog yet.

Well, It looks like Vine will embed too!  I like that a lot!  The world we live in makes a 6 sec message work for a lot of people.  In my opinion, I see it as the "comic" section in a classic newspaper.  3 frames - 1 funny story.

I gave a few other things a try, but the sound quality was poor (as it was for the Ustream video).  As a result, I won't be embedding a Youtube video this time, but I did want to try a podcast.  I'm going to try to upload my recording from my iphone QuickVoice app to soundcloud and then embed it here. Hopefully it works.  Again, sorry for the sound quality.

Yep, it seems to work!

Finally, there is an emerging story here that I won't get much into right now.  There was an announcement made in church that you could now use the ATM machine at the back to give your tithe's and offerings to God...I think this is "new" and perhaps could be "news"?  Theologically, it probably has some controversy, and in the larger secular population how do you think people will react to this?  Again, I'm not really trying to stir the pot as I think its an excellent and convenient idea, but perhaps that's because I'm a millennial and this is simply convenient.  Today, because the local restaurant debit machine was down I actually had to stop twice at a bank machine to get cash (which I NEVER try to use) in order to put in the church offering - no more hassles for me to give now which is what I want.  But anyways, here's a few pics and a news story that I'll try to submit to the Northern Pride newspaper will probably follow.


PS - Looks like I was wrong about Periscope - Here's the Link showing people how to do it.  Thanks

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Christians in Politics

This is a re-post from my other Blog, Politics in Canada

I think I can find something I like about every political party in Canada.  Yes, I have to work hard to do it - but there are elements that are good (and sometimes superior) that need to be recognized by those of us who seek to follow Jesus everyday.

Your first question might be "well, what kind of 'Christian' are you"?  That, perhaps, is part of the problem.  To clarify, I come from a Mennonite Brethren, Evangelical, upbringing that emphasized the need to both 'preach and live by the Word of God found in the Bible' and also to 'reach out to the poor, the lost, the broken, the widows, orphans, prisoners, etc'.  So - we'd watch Billy Graham Crusades and support M.C.C. (Mennonite Central Committee), regardless of their politics.

Feed the hungry and tell them about Jesus all at the same time.

So now, how does this relate to politics?
In general, I am biased in the sense that I'm not even sure whether Christians should be involved in any type of government activity because governments are often corrupt (or get that way over time).  Some might argue that churches do the same thing, but that's another blog-post.  For the sake of this post, lets argue that Christians are going to engage with their culture and work to bring 'light into the darkness'.  So, Christians are choosing to be politically active.

When election time comes around then, who should Christians like me vote for?  Over the last number of years the answer has been 'conservative' or 'reform'.  What I like about them is that they stood up to Liberal dominance over Western-Canadian values.  They were a voice that had to be heard when Central Canada banded together and told everyone else the way they should think and act.  Big government (and especially Liberal government) have this idea that they get to decide what "Canadian Values" are, and if the 'minority' (aka evangelical Christians) disagreed then perhaps we could through them in front of "Human Rights Tribunals" and punish them for not being their version of "Canadian".  In this sense, it was more than a relief to get Stephen Harper in power so we could have a break from the moral persecution that came from the Liberals and Centralist/Big Government thinking. 

The Conservatives under Mr. Harper over time showed that they would not advance the Christian moral worldview in certain politically sensitive areas - They compromised with the rest of Canada.  Now we don't even have legislation regarding the details of abortions across the country.  In my opinion, this is justifying in some cases the murder of unborn children.  I believe life begins at conception.  The Conservative party does not.  I use Abortion as an example, but there are others. 

I should also note that the Conservative party DID bring more Conservative (and often Christian) values to our country.  The idea of 'normal' or 'common sense' shifted to the Right in a political sense - and that was a good thing!  Although there are a few things I don't like about the Conservatives, there are many things that I do like.  We got through an economic storm and Western Canada had an over abundance of jobs available for everyday people like me.  The housing market boom brought wealth to me and my neighbours.  Taxes were lowered.  Criminals finally got a better sense of justice, rather than simply a 'slap on the wrist'.  The Conservatives were good managers of our finances and justice departments.

In my heart, the NDP made some great strides.  It wasn't that long ago that I remember "Taliban Jack" running around saying we should sit down and negotiate with the Taliban.  In my view, you might as well negotiate with Satan.  The NDP were a communist, union serving, anti-trade group that morally pretty much supported hedonism (if you like it - do it!).  The only thing they were morally against was anyone telling anyone else that their moral choices are wrong.  So, lets get out our Rainbow flags and embrace every left-wing cause available.  Let's also create an ABC (Anyone But Christians - unless they're left wing and don't really believe everything in the bible anyways, in which case they're welcome in the club) atmosphere and dub outsiders as 'homophobic' or 'sexist' or any other shaming we can in order to choke the life out of the Holiness of God. 

Over the years I've seen some really good thinking come out of the NDP as well.  I've watched some specific MP's take the government to task for how they have treated Aboriginal people.  I really appreciated what seemed like an authentic reaction to Canada's First Nation's chiefs in Northern Alberta when Tom Mulcair came to visit during this last election cycle (although, he came too late in the game).  I like that the NDP supports the 'union' idea.  What I mean is that I like it that the NDP wants workers to get a 'fair' amount for their work.  I think Unions have become ridiculous, but having no union movement at all would just support an atmosphere of Greed.  It's from the NDP thinking that we get this 'fair' notion at all.  Fair education funding.  Fair treatment in terms of healthcare.  I like this notion, and believe it ties in well with the Christian idea of Justice, and treatment of the poor.  Conservative thinking has a tendency to move from a 'holiness' motivation to simply a 'dominance'.  It was despicable how right-wing people have treated people who identify with homosexuality.  It is more than despicable when right-wing people talk about how 'our tax dollars' are being wasted and abused by Aboriginal leaders and people.  That 'disdain' or 'judgment' or 'hatred' or 'racism' is NOT the Christian way.  It is not light in the darkness.  It is power corrupting the human heart and the big guy punishing the little guy.  On earth, we NEED basic human rights.  We cannot let greedy and rich people dominate over the poor and disadvantaged.  Things need to be 'fair'.  The NDP have - at times - done a really good job of promoting this.

So the obvious answer to this is that we as Christians should end up supporting the more 'balanced' and 'centrist' party that embraces the good things that both the Conservatives and NDP espouse.  It would be the best of both worlds...or the worst of both, plus even more garbage that nobody wants unless you're part of the 'elite'.  Welcome to the Liberal Party of Canada.

As a Christian, the Liberal party of Canada is perhaps the worst option or alternative.  They've historically destroyed many 'outside groups' that the Conservatives and NDP have represented by espousing a 'centralized' view of Canada.  What this basically means is that the Liberals tend to view Canada as a marriage between the English settlers of Ontario and the French settlers of Quebec.  All finance and trade is 'supposed' to flow through the center of the universe: Toronto.  I would challenge you to look at how Liberal policy over the last 100 years has benefited central Canadian desires and discriminated against Aboriginal and Western ones.  Over the last number of years, the financial hub of Canada shifted westward and now that the Liberals are in power it is inevitable that "things will go back to normal" as Craig Oliver believes.  Many promises have been made by this new leader to assuage the fears of the 'outsider's', but time will tell if this is true.  Be ye warned - Evangelical Christians with a Compassionate heart will DEFINITELY be considered 'outsiders' to this old and tired Liberal regime.

I did promise though that I would find something good about the Liberal party.  The good part comes in the promises that Justin Trudeau has made.  If he keeps his promises, then there are some good things and bad things coming.  First of all, I like the idea of Proportional Representation.  Although this pretty much guarantees that the Right will rarely ever be in a true position of power again, it does resonate with the idea of 'fair' that I appreciate from the NDP.  I remember how it felt when Chretien won a majority because the Right vote was split between the Alliance and PC parties.  That feeling just pushes people over the edge and we end up hating each other.  Trudeau was kind enough to ask his members to view us on the Right not as 'enemies, but as neighbours'.  I appreciate that.  I also like the idea of...well the other ideas I do like and do not like are pretty much just stolen from the other parties.  I am by far concerned the most with a Liberal dominated country.  Last time they were truly in power, our country just about split up.  I hope Trudeau keeps his word, but if he becomes Liberal in the historical sense - the dominance and divisiveness will destroy us.

This leads into my appreciation for the Bloc Quebecois, and really any 'separation' group in Canada.  When the BNA came into force, it gave (in my opinion) far too much constitutional power to the Federal government and not nearly enough power to the Provincial governments.  One might argue that this more American model would've created a civil war, but our vast geography and small numbers would also have to be taken into consideration.  In today's age, if the provinces were given more power than things like Gun Control wouldn't be an issue.  Toronto and Quebec could have their Gun Control, and the rest of us could keep hunting and fishing like normal people (yes, I'm joking around a bit).  Now this wouldn't solve every problem (re: Kathleen Wynne invoking her value system upon Ontario's children), but the Evangelical Christian voice has a better chance to be heard.

 As for Quebec, I know they've felt things are 'unfair', and in that regard I respect the Bloc's idea of standing up against Ottawa and politically fighting against them.  However if I was living in Quebec, I could never vote for the Bloc.  My conscience would never allow it.  I don't see how their view of morality, or the Church, could be supported.  Yes I know the church acted as oppressor in Quebec to some extent, but rejecting the church in its entirety is another whole level of immorality.  As Augustine said "The Church is a Hore, but she's still my Mother".  As a side note, the more conservative minded PKP might change things as well.

I appreciate the Green party because they stand up for the Environment.  I think their 'solutions' are ridiculous, but I still like what I would refer to as their Christian stand.  I've traveled the roads all around the oil patch and I've seen the environmental devastation.  This is greed running rampant.  This is not God's Will.  As for most of the other Green policies, They're on the Far Left of the political spectrum.  I don't see a lot of other areas where Christians like me could connect.

On the far other side of the spectrum is the Christian Heritage Party.  From my worldview, there's a lot to like from this party.  They're the only political party that I know of that is explicitly Pro-Life.  They make an active effort to follow the bible the way I follow the bible.  I think a number of Conservative MP's could just as easily be a part of the Christian Heritage Party.  On the downside, I'm not convinced they have a compassionate stance towards 'outsiders'.  I'm not sure how they would deal with Aboriginals.  They come across as having a far too American flavour which simply means I think they would be just as overwhelmed with the money and greed that has corrupted the American Church (in general) and especially the GOP.  I could be wrong and this, and could be convinced otherwise, but it doesn't help that the CHP really is irrelevant in Canada.  I suppose I could say I respect the 'fair' notion of the Communist Party of Canada as well - but they'll never see the light of day politically either.  Until then, Christians like me only have 3 or 4 choices to choose from.

Perhaps I'm just a politically lost soul looking for a home.  I see hope with the Conservative party because Mr. Harper has resigned.  I'd like to see more of a Reform flair rise up again.  If the NDP made more concessions to people like me, I could see a LOT of Christians flocking over their way.  Christians want to reach out to the 'outsider' in our country.  They want justice and mercy.  The NDP could deliver this, but they'd have to embrace Tommy Douglas thinking, rather than Taliban Jack thinking.

Those are a few of my musings from my heart.  I understand that I come from a political minority, but it doesn't matter to me.  Wide is the road that leads to destruction and many go through it, but narrow is the path that leads to eternal life and only a few find it.  One day, I'll be judged for the decisions I make and I hope to make ones based on my faith in God, tempered with the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ that comes through the shedding of his blood and expresses itself daily through the Power of the Holy Ghost.  I've got 4 more years to think this over.  Hopefully I'll have some better answers by then.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Live Video Streaming =)

I think I've found a good, free, live video streaming app for my iphone. What that means is from time to time I'll be able to "broadcast live" various events (like say, a pastor preaching? maybe a monologue? a live band? a sporting event?).  Either way, I see myself using this service off of this Blog.  I will include a link to my ustream page where you can watch live TV when I notify you (probably by FB).  I hope it can be useful =)  Thanks!