When You Splay Like a Baby

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 Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”  ––Romans 8:15 As a father of four, I’ve clocked my fair share of hours walking around with a baby in my arms: some of them bouncing hours, early in the morning with the smell of toast in the air; some of them tired hours, pacing in the dark, wondering how to administer the Vulcan nerve pinch to…

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Your Interests vs Your Purpose

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This is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” ––John 1:19-20 Sometimes, in order to fulfill your purpose, you have to act against your interests. Just look at the life of John: born with a calling to “go before the Lord and prepare his ways,” when he came of age…

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Sensitization

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So I was sitting at my favourite table in the coffee shop this morning, nestled right up against the big front window, head down, hat low, earphones on, working away on this Sunday’s sermon, when a shadow darkened the glass. I didn’t even have to look up; I knew who it was, or at least what kind of who it was––a vagrant, looking for handouts.  The thing is, I was right in the middle of…

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What is God’s will for me?

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Have you ever found yourself wondering just what it is that God has for you in this moment? What does he want you to do, where does he want you to go, who does he want you to meet? As though life were a tangled forest filled with hidden treasures and unseen pitfalls that only those who know the secret paths ever navigate with success. But what if it’s simpler than that? What if there’s…

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Sheer Encouragement

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The unpayable debt that I owe to him was not influence but sheer encouragement. He was for long my only audience. ––J.R.R. Tolkien on the impact of C.S. Lewis on The Lord of the Rings When I was ten years old, my mom and dad signed me up in this program at church called Crusaders. So every Wednesday, they would drop me off in the evening for an hour and half of games, skills instruction, and Bible…

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…if…

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God has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation––if… ––Colossians 1:22 Today is about the if: that one little word that makes all the difference between those who take hold of the life that God offers in His Son, and those who let it slip through their fingers. …if…  …if… …if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from…

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God’s Word on Gay Marriage

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The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?” “Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You…

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Cedarwood in the City

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Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunities.––Colossians 4:5 This one comes to you from Camp Cedarwood, where I’ve spent this past week giving training sessions to the outstanding staff team assembled by Awaken’s own Brennan & Rhonda Cattani. So outstanding, in fact, that I’ve had to be careful that I don’t idealize the close-knit sense of mission and community that these 40-some young adults seem to have found together in…

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A Powerful Question

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Last Sunday I said that I wanted to give you something I’m excited about: a question to take with you into all the places you walk through in life. The reason I’m so excited about this question is because I’ve experienced its power, and I know that if you will begin to ask it in your everyday life, it’ll mean the difference between living like a factory or living like a fruit tree. Listen to that talk to hear…

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Take the knife

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Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory… Luke 9:26 Are you ever afraid of receiving the knife? Do you fear that if you really open up to a person, if you open your shell and expose your pink inner heart, they will take up a blade and shove it in? To present your true self rather than your…

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To be on God’s side

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Those two images… The first: a man, standing there in front of Joshua with drawn sword (Joshua 5:13) as he approached the city of Jericho. Joshua asks him, “Are you for us or for our adversaries?” The second image, of the king of Israel, Saul. He stands near the sacrifice as it burns, and he watches the prophet approach him (1 Samuel 13). Samuel the prophet, asks the King, “What have you done?” Isn’t this…

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The Time is Now!

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Let us throw off everything that holds us back and the sin that so easily entangles… Hebrews 12:1 In our Awaken talk last Sunday, we watched as George woke up in the wilderness to find a suit of armour, gleaming in the grass, just a few feet from his sleeping bag. When he saw it, he stood up  and hopped over, still holding the bag up under his chin. But when he read the note that was…

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Prepare for Adventure!

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In the morning the three companions prepared themselves for adventure––polished their armor, saw to the sharpness of their swords, and chose their spears with care that the grain of the ash was straight and balanced, for on these things life and victory depend. And when they mounted and rode toward the Forest of Arrow, which stood up darkly in the distance, Sir Gawain asked,  “Sir, do you know the forest? What adventures may we hope…

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Fun is good!

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From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere. ––Dr. Seuss I remember tree-planting in the mountains of B.C., being lifted with my crew by helicopter to these remote plateaus, whistling and working our way through alpine meadows, so crisp in their contrasts between the white of the snow and the green of the saplings we planted along those glittering slopes. And I remember spotting purple. “What are you doing there?” I whispered. Then…

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Jeans of Different Colours

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I am genuinely frustrated. How can something as simple as telling people about Jesus be so hard? How can I hold onto the greatest news the world will ever know, and not share it? I don’t think I’m alone in this struggle. I also don’t think the solution is as simple as I would like. If it were, a lot more people would be talking about Jesus. If being more bold in evangelism just meant wearing…

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It’s SUNDAY!

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Either way, Christ’s love controls us.  Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life.  He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.  So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come…

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A dangerous pleasure.

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In our teaching time this past Sunday, we heard the demon-possessed man growl, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?” Even if we aren’t quite that inhospitable to the Lord, sometimes, the way we treat Him, it’s as though he has a guest room that we’ve locked from the outside. Sure, we’ll let Him out for meals with the family, or maybe even prayers at bed time, but aside from that,…

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Why can’t church feel more like that?

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“What are we missing, God, what are we missing?” I was all by myself. The kids were in bed, and I’d stepped out for a night time walk along my favourite trail, away from the lights of the city, down into the trees, over the river, under the stars. Here’s hoping I wouldn’t freak anybody out who happened to be jogging. “Who’s that guy talking to?” I continued my pastoral rant.

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What no eye has seen

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Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who…

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RR24

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“You must zealously guard in his (the Christian’s) mind the curious assumption, ‘my time is my own’. Let him have the feeling that he starts each day as the lawful possessor of twenty-four hours. Let him feel as a grievous tax that portion of his property which he has to make over to his employers, and as a generous donation that further portion which he allows to religious duties. But what he must never be permitted to doubt is that…

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Experiencing God

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Do you ever wonder when you’re going to arrive? When whatever that thing is that you’ve been hunting, chasing after in all the different arenas of life will finally just be here, and you won’t have to look to the next thing, because you’ll be in the thing that you’ve been wanting all along?

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Fix that Lock

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Then came the knocking. Loud and insistent, over and over, almost in a panic. Suddenly it stopped, and the door knob started rattling. He was trying to get in. Turning the door knob, trying different keys in the lock, shaking it, wrenching at it, only minutes after she had gotten it fixed.  And then, even as that would-be intruder stood outside, trying to get in, Shirley crept into the nursery, picked up her baby boy,…

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How Do You Feel?

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How do you feel when you lay down at night? When you get up in the morning? Happy? Sad? Resigned to your fate? And do you ever wonder about joy? Like is that a word that even applies to real people, or just something in stories, something to be faked?

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Indulge your Hunger

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“Righteousness. I don’t know about you, but for me, that word has a negative ring. I think of something stale and boring, something condescending, completely empty of freshness and life. But do you know why that is? It’s because I didn’t get the meaning of that word from the source of that word…”

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12 Weeks of Building

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“It was the mid 1800’s, the morning after a church meeting, and a young American found himself in a conversation with a senior British pastor, who looked at him at one point and said the following words… The world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to him…”

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Entroping Entropy

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“Entroping Entropy Where vision is absent, the people decay. But happy is he who attends to the word.  Proverbs 29:18 (Author’s translation) This is about entropy: the tendency of any closed system to drift into disorder. Each new year marks the completion of our little ball’s passage around it’s flaming star, and if you were to remove the energy of the sun from our earth, life would decay, and death would set in. But because…

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Christmas Eve 2014

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“At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with…

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A Deer in the Woods

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“One morning, a couple of days ago, I spotted a deer in the woods, its breath smoking in the cold air, just like mine. It passed on and I followed, through the snow and across the stream until I found myself away from the rushing city, in a world tucked away. Blowing grass, calling birds, the crack of crumbling bark…”

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Thoughts of a People-Watcher

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“An entry from the (completely made-up, and rather far-fetched) research-journal of the author of A People-Watcher’s Almanac… October 26, 2014 There’s a phenomenon that I’ve begun to notice, something which has been impressing itself upon me as I track this Christian through the woods of his life. How to describe it?”

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Perfect Love Casts Out Fear P.1

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“Winter nights. Dark, and cold, covered in ice. What if you were to find yourself out there, alone in one of these nights, and what if “out there” wasn’t a city, dotted with lights, but a blackness with no sign of humanity as far as you could see? Just you, stumbling through the night, watching your frozen breath escape toward the distant stars…”

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Extravagance!

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“He really does want to fill the universe with a lot of loathsome little replicas of Himself––creatures whose life, on its miniature scale, will be qualitatively like His own, not because He has absorbed them but because their wills freely conform to His.”

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