Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Christmas Eve I received one of the best Christmas gifts I've ever gotten (more on that to come) and enjoyed Christmas Eve service at my home church. Afterwards we headed over to my grandfather's house where we visited and watched the Griswold's Christmas Vacation- a favourite in our family.
Christmas Day was packed full of visits with various members of our family, both immediate and extended. Our family started a new tradition this year- a Christmas baking contest. We each anonymously brought in a dessert to my grandfather's house at dinner and nominated two judges to decide which ones were worthy of being called winners. My sister-in-law took first place, followed by my cousin in second and myself in third. I made no-bake chocolate cookie squares and not only are they easy to make, but they are tasty.
I've been very much enjoying the large amount of free time that the Christmas holidays bring. On the weekend I spent one day mostly reading, which is something I love to do, but have rarely spent that much time doing lately. Yesterday a friend and I re-visited our childhoods and went sliding. Other than one really wicked wipe-out, I survived with only a few bruises. Tonight's activities of choice was dinner and bowling, followed by a free skate (thank you Tim Horton's!) at a local arena.
And maybe that's one of the things I love the most about Christmastime- the lack of schedules that were are so ingrained into keeping. Instead we're free to enjoy spontaneous time shared with family and friends.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
You see I've known and believed that Jesus came to die for my sins. And while that is true, there are also quite a few other reasons why He came. Here are some verses I've come across in my studies:
"For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will. And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those he has given me, but that I should raise them up at the last day." (John 6:38-39)
"I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark. " (John 12:46)
"Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose." (Matthew 5:17)
"Jesus responded, 'You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.'" (John 18:37)
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10)
"But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. " (1 John 3:8)
I had read most of these verses many times before, but I never really realized how often Jesus said the words "I came" and proceeded to tell us reasons why He came into our earth on that very first Christmas morning.
As if the forgiveness of sins and redemption of mankind wasn't enough! He also came into the world to: give us abundant life, bring us light in the darkness, provide Truth that casts out lies, fulfil the law, the list goes on and on and on.
It's one thing to imagine how horrible it would be if there was no hope of the afterlife following the here and now. But this Christmas I'm also mindful of the fact that our lives here and now could be much different without the gifts that Christ gives us. I don't know about you, but without peace or hope or the light of Christ, my life would be very different than it is. And the only reason I have these things is because God made the choose to send His Son into our world. What a truly amazing gift that is!
Thursday, November 26, 2009
This thing is incredible. I can watch movies or tv shows on it. I can check my email or surf the internet as long as there's wifi available. I can get details on the weather or play games. I can read the Bible or other books. It even has two built-in apps that let you take voice memos or notes, which comes in very handy.
The best thing about the ipod touch is that you can get most of the apps that are available for the iphone, so the sky is pretty much the limit of what you can add on and do on this thing.
Yesterday I was stuck waiting for tests for a couple of hours and thanks to having my ipod touch with me, I didn't even mind the wait.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
So I was pretty disappointed when for a few years she kind of dropped off the radar. Well, now she's back and in my opinion, is better than ever. She's putting out both stuff on her own, and as part of the duo otherwise known as The Civil Wars.
Tonight I heard their new song "Poison & Wine" for the first time and it's fantastic. It's one that will hit home for anyone who's been through a divorce or break-up.
Here's the video for you to enjoy:
Saturday, November 07, 2009
One of the highlights for me was seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Royal Ontario Museum. There was something about seeing parts of the Bible in the original language that was thrilling, but then also to know that these scrolls were thousands of years old? It was an experience like no other that's for sure.
Another amazing thing they had at the museum was an actual chunk of stone from the temple in Jerusalem. The stone had stayed in tact even with the destruction of the temple and historians believe that the very stone was something that was overtop a door of the temple. Meaning that Jesus would have walked right under this stone during His time on earth!
For that to still be in tact over two thousand years later is amazing. But that they were able to transport it to Canada where I was able to stand next to it in a museum was just incredible. I have to imagine the feeling I had looking at the stone and the scrolls is a small comparison of what it would feel like to walk in the footsteps of Jesus in the actual Holy Land.
Unfortunately to preserve the artifacts, no cameras were allowed in that part of the museum, so I don't have any pictures. But I do highly recommend checking out the exhibit if you have the chance!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
With 24/7 news networks blaring and sites like twitter and facebook bringing us real time information and speculation about this illness, it's very easy for us to get caught up in a cycle of obsession and fear. And just when we think we're getting over our fear, we turn on the TV to see another newsflash and we're back to square one.
As believers in Christ, we shouldn't be placing our faith in CNN or the WHO or even a friend on facebook. We should be placing our faith in Christ and trusting in His sovereignty.
The truth of the matter is, not one of us knows exactly how long we're going to be on this earth for. We might live to 100 or we might die unexpectedly tomorrow. But in the meantime, we can't live our lives so caught up in fear that we're not really living at all.
Even with this flu, all we can do is take reasonable precautions such as wash our hands, eat right, get our sleep, and avoid contact with people we know are sick. After that, it's up to us to trust God with the rest. Walking around like the world is about to explode isn't a way to live.
Things change at a very fast pace here on this earth. Illness come and go. Disasters take on many forms. And no one is given any guarantee over what is coming their way tomorrow. But we can know this- we follow a God who is worth trusting. A God who never allows us to walk through life alone. And a God who knows the number of our days. Isn't that alone enough that we can rest in?
"I lift my eyes to the mountains- does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth! He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber. Indeed, He who watches over Israel never slumbers or sleeps." (Psalm 121:1-4)
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Well now she has recorded a demo of Redemption and put it online, along with another song called "Someday" that we wrote together.
You can check out the lyrics to both songs below and visit www.myspace.com/juliejbouchard to give both songs a listen!
If is a very hard word to live with
Something you wish you didn't
Ever have to think about.
Those mistakes that keep you tossing & turning
Praying, hoping, yearning
To be freed from.
But you've gotta believe,
That redemption is more than just a word
It's the story that God is writing
In our lives
The brush is still in His hands
And the picture He's painting
Just so beautiful.
All those things that you've done
The scars, every single one
Have been washed away.
Each tear, everytime you've cried
He's been there by your side
And He promises to never leave.
But you've gotta believe,
Everytime you fall,
Everytime you hide
Everytime you feel
He's there, oh yeah
Everytime you doubt
Everytime you question
Everytime you pray
He's singing redemption
He's singing redemption
If is a very hard word to live with
Something you wish you didn't
Ever have to think about.
Sometimes my heart grows weary
Sometimes my heart grows faint
Waiting for that special day
When You call my name
Sometimes it's so hard to see
Sometimes I just don't wanna believe
But I've been given a promise
And that promise carries me
Oh yes, that promise carries me
Someday it's all going to fade away
And the Word that became flesh
Will stand right before me.
Someday it's all going to pass away
The old will be gone, the new will stay
I'll be standing there, singing Your praise.
Sometimes I can't help but wonder
Sometimes I just seem to question why
Still I'm holding onto hope
That You will redeem my life
Sometimes my vision is cloudy
Sometimes I don't seem to hear so well
But again You whisper my name
And I'm just so ovewhelmed
Someday, it's a day that I'm waiting for
Somehow, I know that it's coming Lord
Monday, October 05, 2009
I've found lots of good oldies, some beautiful slow songs, and some great fast songs, like the one below. However, I somehow doubt that any of us will be that co-ordinated on the dance floor ;)
Monday, September 28, 2009
We had a great weekend in the midst of God's creation. It's the perfect time of year to be out at the cottage, with all the leaves changing colour and falling off the trees (as you can see to the left). And besides having lots of fun, it was very recharging for me. Just being in the outdoors does something magical for the soul.
On Sunday we came back into town in time so that I could attend my brothers wedding shower. It's crazy to think that in less than two weeks my little brother will be getting married- the wedding has snuck up on us so quickly. But it was a fun evening and was very interesting to hear them answer everyone's questions and see them fair out in the games that tested how well they really know each other.
Today threw an interesting curve ball my way when the power went out for a couple hours this evening. I had lost some time this afternoon because of a doctors appointment and I was hoping to use the evening hours to catch up, but alas, it was not so.
However as much as the day today brought its moments of inconvenience, all was redeemed (literally) at around 10:00 when the power went back on. About a month ago I had written some song lyrics and waiting in my inbox when the power went on was said lyrics put to music by my super-talented friend. And while I may be really biased, I think it sounds just incredible! The song is called Redemption and who knows, you might just be hearing it someday soon!
Thursday, September 24, 2009
For my part of the "open mic" portion of the evening, I shared something I wrote called "Rising From The Ashes" and since I shared it with them, I thought it would only be fitting to share it with you all as well. So here it is:
Rising From The Ashes
In the summer of 2008 I had the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream I had of visiting the city of Chicago. Chicago was always a place that fascinated me. I'd seen its landscape in movies, read about its attractive qualities in books, and it fueled in me a desire to want to see the city.
While I was there touring the sites the thing that impressed me most about Chicago was something I hadn't know a lot about previously. That is the rebuilding of Chicago. You see in 1871, a great fire spread throughout a good part of the city and burned everything in its path. As a result, many of the landmarks of the city were destroyed and over 100,000 people were left homeless. Instead of moving away or scaling back the city, the people and officials came up with a plan for a bigger and better Chicago. They took the ashes and debris from the fire and dumped it along the waterfront, creating room for wonders like Grant Park and Soldier Field. Architects from around the world flocked to the city in order to help rebuild.
Where Chicago could have turned into a desolate city as a result of the fire, it instead turned into something stronger and something greater. Chicago literally rose out of the ashes with character and purpose.
As I listened to the tour guide tell this story, I couldn't help but think about the refining fires that we face in our lives. Do we, like Chicago, rise from the ashes when the flames flicker out? Or do we let the ashes settle on our lives and remain there, forever buried in darkness?
Much of the answers to those questions depend on the shape of our hearts before the fire starts. If we wait until the smoke starts rising to think about our character, chances are once things heat up we will be found wanting. But if we are already living our lives striving after the good things in life, the flames will only serve to refine and bring out the best of what is already there.
This was the message that God gave the prophet Jeremiah. God said to him:
"Jeremiah, I have made you a tester of metals, that you may determine the quality of my people. Are they the worst of rebels, full of slander? They are as insolent as bronze, as hard and cruel as iron. All of them lead others into corruption. The bellows blow fiercely. The refining fire grows hotter. But it will never purify and cleanse them because there is no purity in them to refine. I will label them 'Rejected Silver because I, the LORD, am discarding them." (Jeremiah 6:27-30)
Just as a rock can only be refined into gold if there was gold in it to begin with, so is it with you and I. If our lives are lacking in purity and character then when the refining fires sweep into our lives, instead of bringing the beauty in us to the surface, they will only leave us feeling burned.
There aren't a lot of guarantees in our lives, but we do know that no one is exempt from facing tough times. Therefore, we shouldn't wait until the smoke starts clouding our vision before we get serious about being a people of character, passion, and purity.
Instead we need to live our lives in such a way that when the fire comes, not only do we have a strong foundation to stand on because of our relationship with Christ, but we have a heart that is ready to come out of the flames stronger and brighter, not burned, or worse, lifeless.
Let’s make it our mission in life to be people who are refined and not defined by the things we go through.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
This will be my 7th year with the group and it never ceases to amaze me how God seems to have something different for us up His sleeve every year.
I'm really looking forward to seeing what He has in store for us this year. We'll be starting off with a "Worship & Open Mic Night" on Thursday before transitioning into the "Becoming A Contagious Christian" course, which will take us to our Christmas break.
If you live in the Timmins area and are between the ages of 18-30, please feel free to join us! All the details can be found at collegeandcareers.ca.
Friday, September 18, 2009
I know that's been my story many times. Life gets dark and it looks like the lights are never going to go on again, but then suddenly a sliver of light comes in the most unexpected places. A phone call. A letter. A verse that shines. Or just a deep down feeling that everything is going to be okay.
It Might Be Hope by Sara Groves
(click here to listen on youtube)
You do your work the best that you can
You put one foot in front of the other
Life comes in waves and makes it's demands
You hold on as well as your able
You've been here for a long long time
Hope has a way of turning it's face to you
Just when you least expect it
You walk in a room
You look out a window
And something there leaves you breathless
You say to yourself
It's been a while since I felt this
But it feels like it might be hope
It's hard to recall what blew out the flame
It's been dark since you can remember
You talk it all through to find it a name
As days go on by without number
You've been here for a long long time
Saturday, September 12, 2009
I thought I'd share a few of my favourite verses on hope:
Psalms 31:24- "Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD."
Romans 5:3-5- "We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love."
Romans 15:4- "For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope."
1 Peter 1:3- "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."
Colossians 1:27- "To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
How often is it that we stop and think about where we are heading and what's going to happen if we take another step in that direction?
If you keep stepping in one direction at work, what will your life look like in a year or two down the path?
If you keep walking down a winding road in a relationship, is it going to lead to the destination you had in mind?
If you keep taking one step in the direction of a new beginning, a new job, a new ministry, are you going to wake up one day and regret where the road took you?
Pondering the path of our feet.
I'm convinced that if we truly took the time to think a head of where our steps are leading us to, we'd often make some very different decisions. Saying yes to some things while saying no to others. All while keeping in mind that every step we take leads somewhere. Every choice, every decision, all lead us a step further from one thing and a step closer to something else.
That's why living a complacent life is so dangerous. We can fool ourselves into thinking that if we are complacent we aren't heading in any direction so we can't be heading towards anything difficult or wrong either. That's one of the biggest lies the enemy spins. We all are like bottles tossed in the ocean- we're going to move a little with the current of life even if we are just treading water.
I don't know about you, but I don't want to wake up one day miles away from where I'm supposed to be. So once again I'm making a conscious effort to ponder the path of my feet, knowing that if I do so, I won't just be drifting with the tides in life.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
It was a great week and a half and it seemed like everyday was filled with something very different. Some highlights of my time:
The LIFE 10th Anniversary Party
I was so grateful for the opportunity to be able to head down to Barrie for the 10th Anniversary of LIFE 100.3, the place that I have been blessed to work for since January 2007 (albeit from quite the distance).
I really enjoyed my time in Barrie and especially the evening of the concert. Three local artists opened the show and each one did a great job, then the headliner was Lincoln Brewster. I've always been a fan of his music and it was great to have the opportunity to see him again. It was quite the atmosphere of worship and I was floored with thankfulness for all God has done and continues to do.
After leaving Barrie, I spent a couple of great days with my sister at her home in the Cambridge area. Because she's been on the move quite a bit ever since getting married over a year and a half ago, we haven't had a whole lot of quality time together since she left home, but that changed during my time there. We had a lot of fun together, road tripping around the area, even going up to Sauble Beach for a day. Plus while I was there one of my great-uncles had a barbecue at his place near Lake Ontario and most of my family on my grandfathers side, who I never get to see, were there. It was so nice to catch up with some and meet others for the first time.
Hiking & Biking
While at my sisters place, I borrowed a bike and explored part of the Trans-Canada Trail, which started just over a kilometer from her house. It was a beautiful section of trail and it was fun to explore an unfamiliar area.
Usually one of the worst parts about being away is coming home, knowing that the holiday is over. But this time around I had a very different perspective. First off, because I knew I was coming home only to turn around and go out to my aunts cottage for the rest of my week off.
After spending one evening at home, my friend and I headed out to my aunts cottage where I spent the rest of my week off. We had a great day and night together, then she had to head back home for work and I spent a beautiful day in solitude before my Mom joined me for the weekend.
We spent time biking, walking, playing bocce, and I also got quite a bit of time in for reading and writing. So much so that I added another couple thousand words to my manuscript for my next book. I am so excited to finish it and can't wait to see what God is going to do with it.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I read a great quote today on the Abercrombie & Kent website:
“How many things have you done in your life that you know, with absolute certainty, you will remember for the rest of your life?” (Geoffrey Kent, Chairman & CEO)
I know in my life I've been blessed to have quite a few experiences that I know I'll never forget:
Standing in the middle of Walt Disney World as an 8 year old, being overwhelmed by the magic of it all.
Playing scrabble until late in the night with my mom, brother, sister, and grandparents and laughing until my sides hurt.
Taking in the Atlantic ocean in Fundy National Park in New Brunswick. Feeling so small next to the vastness of the ocean.
Conquering my fear of heights with a trip up to the observation floor on the John Hancock Center, being in awe of the sprawling and beautiful city of Chicago below.
Walking along a bush road with a friend this summer, the wind blowing around us as the sunset reflected off the lake. Talking about heaven and knowing it would feel something like that.
And while I could add many more memories to that list, I know at the same time that there is room for a whole lot more. I want to live my life in a way that is purposeful, not just allowing time to idly slide by. I want to remember every moment, every experience and live every day to the absolute fullest. Whether I'm standing next to the ocean or walking down the street downtown.
Life is a gift. It is precious. And I'm thankful for each moment I get.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
One chapter I've been spending a lot of time on lately is one that addresses the issue of taking responsibility when things go wrong in our lives. This is a very touchy subject for some people and apparently, according to some research that I've done, it's becoming a cultural trend:
"Responsibility is waning. The strong sense of holding people responsible is getting more and more difficult. We still hold people responsible all the time in a legal sense. But in a moral sense, it's as thought no one is responsible anymore." (Joan McGregor, Arizona State University)
It's a terrible thing, but instead of taking responsibility so many of us are caught up in something that's even worse- the blame game.
The blame game is one with no rules other than to cast blame on someone else and it's something we do all the time, "It's not me. It's MTV or my parents or my circumstances or my boss or my financial situation." The list of excuses goes on and on and on.
So who do you blame when things go wrong? And how can we break out of this cycle?
Monday, August 10, 2009
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
In the desert:
When the stream dries up,
When the ground feels chalky,
When you've been begging for just one drop of water.
In the fire:
When the foundation is scorching,
When the flames can't be escaped,
When you've been praying for relief.
In the battle:
When the odds are overwhelming,
When nothing feels secure,
When you've come to the end of yourself.
In the harvest:
When the food is plentiful,
When the blessings are abound,
When you feel completely satisfied.
If you haven't heard the song yet, do yourself a favour and listen to it below. It's definitely an anthem we can all get behind.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I wanted to try out some recipes while our "master chef" was gone, so I did. This is what I attempted today- Pizza Spaghetti Style. It turned out pretty well if I do say so myself:
Here's the recipe: http://busycooks.about.com/od/pastacasserolerecipes/r/pizzaspaggstyle.htm
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
"And what does that text inform us about the content of discipleship? Follow me, run along behind me! That is all. To follow in His steps is something which is void of all content. It gives us no intelligible programme for a way of life, no goal or ideal to strive after. It is not a cause which human calculation might deem worth of our devotion, even the devotion of ourselves. What happens? At the call, Levi leaves all that he has- but not simply because he thinks that he might be doing something worthwhile, but simply for the sake of the call. Otherwise, he cannot follow in the footsteps of Jesus." (The Cost of Discipleship, p. 58)
Do me a favor and read those last two sentences again. Levi (known to many of us as Matthew) left all he had, not for some spiritual promotion or dream destiny, but simply for the sake of the call.
Are you willing to follow for the sake of the call? Big question with far-reaching implications.
Monday, July 06, 2009
Friday, July 03, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
I believe what he was talking about was idols of our own making. You know those things that we appear to be nonchalant about, but secretly dream and pine over? Those very things that could be blessings, but we turn into objects of our devotion and our worship?
We might not be physically bowing down to Ba'al, but how many things are we bowing down to- our jobs? Families? Ministries? Churches? Friends? Interests? The list goes on and on.
The truth of the matter is, anything that we go after more than or hold in desire above God is an idol in our lives. So what do we do with idols that we recognize? Well if we follow the example of the heroes of the faith in the Old Testament, we tear them down. Whatever the cost is, whatever has to be done, we remove them and place God in His rightful spot.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
In many ways I feel like my life lately has become it's own little version of "throw it to see if it'll stick". It's like I've got this bowl of opportunities and of things I worked and dreamed so hard for and all I can do is keep throwing this items out of the bowl in any direction that I can think of to see if it'll stick somewhere, anywhere.
One example of this is my education. For many years I worked so hard on completing my university degree by correspondence. It was something that I loved doing and pushed through a lot of obstacles to do. But then there I was, a little over a year away of being done and my health took a nose dive, closing that opportunity to continue. Leaving me with nothing else to do but throw those courses to see if it'll stick somewhere. Will I be granted another extension to wait and see if I'll be well enough to resume school in a few months, years? Will the university count my credits towards a diploma, certificate, anything just so I have something besides debt to show for my work?
Then there's my book. No, not Walking Through A Fallen World, but book number two. I spent all last summer working on this manuscript and after 8 months of throwing it around everywhere to see if it'll stick, I've got nothing. No publishing deal, no agent, no golden opportunity. Just a message that I really believe in and would love to see it spread to the masses.
And while this period of throwing stuff out to see if it'll stick has been frustrating, I've been reminded of something pretty important tonight- just like noodles only stick to the wall when they are ready to eat, God will only let things in our life stick when those things are ready to go forth.
Maybe that means that there's another essential chapter my book is needing that I'll only be inspired to write in a month or two or ten. Or maybe that means that my university experience has fully equipped me for what I'm doing now, which I do love and plan on continuing as far as the eye can see, and to take on more courses would just be a waste of time and money. I don't know. But what I do know is that the One I follow is worth trusting.
So today I'll keep throwing my things against the wall, but instead of shaking my head in frustration as the fall, I'll trust. And when the day does come when one of those things stick, I'll rejoice in knowing that it's happening in the right time, in the right season, for the right reason.
Saturday, June 06, 2009
So far it's an amazing read and I can see why I've read so many Bonhoeffer quotes in other books over the years- he's one wise writer.
Here's a quote to leave you with. While it's a little long, it does pack a punch:
"Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without cost, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.
Costly grace is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble; it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.
Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must be asked for, the door at which a man must knock. Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ.
It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son; 'ye were bought at a price,' and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us." (Dietrich Bonhoeffer in The Cost of Discipleship)
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I know most of you have heard that verse before, but do you believe it? When satan brings those past sins to mind and oh he does, do you know that those very sins have been separated as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12)?
Do you know that there is nothing in all creation. Not death. Not life. Not angels. Not demons. Nothing in all creation that can separate us from our heavenly father (Romans 8)?
He loves you mistakes and all. Because when He looks at us He doesn't see our shortcomings. No, because of what Jesus did for us and because we accepted His payment for our sins, all He sees is a clean slate.
Those mistakes that keep you tossing and turning- gone. Those let downs you regret- vanished. That one moment you wish you can take back- it's no more.
We can beat ourselves up for years, but it won't change the fact that in God's books there is nothing written about that event. The only thing that God keeps written down is whose name is in the lambs book of life. And if you've accepted Christ as your saviour, your name is there and there is nothing else to worry about.
In fact the only thing you've got left to do with regards to your past sins is to forgive yourself and move on. Satan would love nothing better than for you to live in your past, feeling condemned and guilty. But that's not where you belong.
At the cross Jesus said it is finished. Forgiven. Done. The slate is wiped clean. You need to believe, accept that, and give yourself the freedom to move on.
God doesn't condemn you, so you shouldn't condemn yourself. God doesn't reject you, so you shouldn't reject yourself. God loves you, so you should love yourself.
The Bible tells us in Christ we're a new creation. It's like the old canvas was painted over in bright white paint and now God has the paintbrush in His hands and oh my, is He ever painting a beautiful picture with your life. Believe that. Trust in His forgiveness. And get ready to watch God do amazing things in your life. Because that's exactly what a loving father does for those children that are His!
Friday, May 22, 2009
Saturday, May 09, 2009
This year I've faced some hard times, but also some really good times.
I've questioned and searched and more importantly learned.
My worldview has shifted and my ideas have been challenged.
It's been a growing year and for that I am so thankful. Even though physically I sometimes am so tired that I feel like I'm wasting away, I'm living that Bible verse in the fact that inwardly I'm being renewed everyday. Not just in my mind, but in my heart and soul as well.
I can accredit these changes to a few things, but the three that stand out the most are as follows:
The Word of God
This year, especially over these past few months, I've felt the Bible completely come to life for me once again. Verses are popping out left, right and center, and even with my very poor memory in other areas, I'm remembering lots of what I'm reading and I'm able to apply it to my daily life. It's incredible how loud the Word of God can speak, especially when we are purposeful in listening.
In September I did something that I've never done before- I went away for a weekend alone. Just me, the bush, and some wild animals outside. I was kind of scared of the silence beforehand, but I learned to love and treasure it not long after I arrived. So much so that before cottage season was over, I went back out for another solo weekend. During that time I was able to think, reflect, plan, and dream like I hadn't done in quite some time. As much as I like people, I learned that sometimes it's very healthy just to be alone for an extended period of time. It gives you clarity that an hour or two of solitude just can't always give you. This summer I plan on going back for more.
I know this kind of contradicts what I just wrote about alone time, but I've really learned the value of having quality relationships rather than just quantity. Over this past year I've become really good friends with two new people in my life and these relationships have challenged me in what I believe and have made me a better person. I'm very grateful for their presence in my life and I value my time with these people so very much.
So that's a brief summary of year 25. What lies a head for 26? I'm not sure. But I do know that whatever comes my way, if I continue to renew my mind in Christ, I will be more than prepared for whatever it may be. Because in both the good times and the bad times there's nothing like having Christ in you as a reminder of your hope of Glory.
"People always want to define you by what you do. I started saying, ‘ I’m not too concerned with what I am going to do. I am more interested in who I am becoming. I want to be a lover of God and people.’ I was convinced that what we do is not nearly as important as who we are." (Shane Claiborne)
“I tend to live the way I drive. I want to get from point A to point B in the shortest amount of time and by the easiest route possible. But I’ve come to realize that getting where God wants me to go isn’t nearly as important as becoming who God wants me to be in the process. And God seems to be far less concerned with where I’m going than with who I’m becoming." (Mark Batterson, Wild Goose Chase)
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Those poor people on the ground (and in the buildings) deserve more than just an apology.
Friday, April 17, 2009
It is so refreshing to see someone who hasn't given up on their dreams succeed. It just goes to show you that no matter what our dream is and no matter what obstacles are in our way, we should never stop believing. Because one day that door of opportunity is going to open and when we walk through, our lives could be changed forever.
Friday, April 10, 2009
I've been privileged to know quite a few pretty amazing people in my lifetime. People who look and act like Jesus and make me want to do the same. As I've gotten to know some of these people very well, I've noticed that they all have something besides their faith in common and that they have all faced times of adversity and come out on the other side stronger.
The struggles have come in different forms and in different times but they have all produced the same result. People who have forsaken the worlds definition of success and instead wholeheartedly pursued only after the things that advance the kingdom of God.
I don't think we can ever fully understand how adversity effects character, but what we can know is that it does have a huge effect on a persons life. The way you and I respond to trials and tragedy literally can change the course of our future and the shape of our character.
Knowing that then, shouldn't we change the way we respond to adversity? Instead of viewing adversity as something to get through or get over, maybe we should view it as an opportunity to become the people that God created us to be. The kind of people who love God and love people with a passion and inspire others to do the same.
So how can this be accomplished? By exercising patience in times of waiting. By looking to God for strength when you are at your weakest. By sticking to your morals even when the cost is great. By loving your neighbor when it would be that much easier to hate. And by breathing, living, and walking your faith even when the world is telling you to throw it away.
By doing all of these things we open a door to growth and change in our lives, even when the storms are at their fiercest. And it is in that place that God can truly transform us into the kind of people He wants us to be. As Billy Graham once wisely said, "Comfort and prosperity have never enriched the world as much as adversity has."
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Being so small, Gracie has a different perspective of our household. She can't see what's on the countertops in the kitchen or the end tables in the living room and as much as she'd love to lick our faces, they are more often than not, completely out of reach.
That said, while Gracie loves a good game of fetch or a long walk, nothing gives her more pleasure than a little routine her and I have developed. Nearly every night I get down on the floor and sit there with Gracie. Where once I was out of reach, now I'm down at her level. She'll nuzzle her head on my side. Jump up and try to paw at my hair and her favourite- climb up on my lap and sit there pressed against me. Gracie simply finds pleasure being with me.
The other night as I was down on the floor with her the thought occurred to me of how my experience with Gracie parallels our experience with God. Like Gracie, we've all been created with a need to love and be loved. And as much as we search to find things on this earth to fill that hole in our hearts, we come up empty. But the good news is we weren't left to wander down here alone. Instead God Himself came down. He got down on His hands and knees so to speak and entered our world. What was once inaccessible and unavailable to us all was placed right in front of us through Christ's death on the cross and resurrection- the curtain that separated God from mankind was torn down.
God Himself came down and He waits for us to turn to Him. On days when we're lonely. During times when we're troubled. And even throughout times of great rejoicing. He comes down and He seeks to share these moments with us. Whether we need a shoulder to cry on or a friend to laugh with, God is there. And unlike in human relationships when we only make ourselves available to others at certain times or when we feel like it, God is there 24/7/365.
So will you turn to Him? So often we get so wrapped up in our worlds and our problems that we forget that we've got a friend waiting on us. But He is there and He promises that when we call on His name, He will be there. So will you call on His name? Will you stop going through life alone and instead take this friend with you for the highs and the lows?
He is waiting. His offer of love stands. The question is whether or not you'll accept.
Monday, March 09, 2009
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Sunday, March 01, 2009
Could it be that they've learned a lesson that would serve us all to learn? That strength really does become perfect in weakness. That character is only truly refined in the hottest fire. And that God is close to the broken-hearted.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Saturday, February 07, 2009
1. I love to travel, but I've not yet been outside of North America. My favourite place that I've visited thus far has been Chicago.
2. While I watch quite a bit of movies, I seem to miss out on many of the big ones. I have still not seen all of the Lord of the Rings movies, any of the Chronicles of Narnia, and most of the Star Wars films.
3. I only got my first cavity this year.
4. I have lived in the same town all my life and show no signs of moving anytime soon (for the record, I actually like it here!)
5. I dislike shopping with other people. I want to go in, get what I want and get out.
6. I wrote one book and had it published. I have another one finished that's waiting to be published and ideas for two more.
7. Growing up, I would play hockey with my brother all the time. We had a rink outside, I was on a hockey team that played Saturday mornings, and in the summer we would play with rollerblades on in our unfinished basement. If that wasn't enough we developed our own version of mini-sticks called "hallway hockey" that we would play in the house. Yet with all of this obsession with hockey, I rarely watch it on TV and don't keep track of teams or stats.
8. During the year 2007 I slept only 3 to 4 hours a night and survived, although I wouldn't recommend it!
9. I own a copyright.
10. My nickname as a kid was "the memory elephant" because of my excellent retention skills. Fast forward to the current day and while I can remember useless bits of information, I can barely remember what I did two days ago.
11. I own a cell phone, but I barely use it. I'm "plugged in" when I'm at home, but when I'm out, I want to be disconnected.
12. Not only do I have a huge love of reading, but I adore books. I have three bookshelves that are packed full of books and it's a struggle for me to pass a bookstore and not go in and buy something.
13. I love news, current events, and politics. I visit various news sites multiple times a day and actually subscribe to MacLeans. If we had cable tv or satellite, I'd never get anything done.
14. If I get sick, it's rarely a "normal" sick. I've been told more times than I can count by doctors "I've never seen this before" or "this shouldn't have happened". Yes, I'm unique.
15. I've developed a love for photography and terms like aperture, shutter speed and ISO have become a part of my vocabulary.
16. When I'm tired I have a hard time pronouncing certain words. Not good for someone on the radio.
17. I refuse to eat seafood of any kind.
18. I've worked at a few different places, but I've never been on a job interview.
19. I've set foot in all of the Great Lakes.
20. Although I wouldn't consider myself I poet, I did win a poetry contest once. I got some pretty sweet prizes too.
21. I have 3/4 of a university degree and while I'd love to finish it, that doesn't look like it's going to happen anytime soon.
22. I own both a PC and a mac- let the battles begin!
23. I rarely get surprised. I usually have a sense of how things are going to turn out or what's going to happen before they actually do.
24. My way of unwinding is playing Tiger Woods Golf on my xbox 360.
25. The best thing in my life is hands down my relationship with Jesus. I don't know where I'd be without His strength and grace.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
I'm allowing myself to dream, opening my heart and mind to the possibilities that exist and the God who is the ultimate dream-giver. In Him all things truly are possible and it's only in Him that abundant life is found.
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10)
Too many times in the past I've let the thief steal moments from me, content to just let life take it's own course, but no more. I've been grabbing the reigns and not just letting life happen, but going out there and creating my own life story.
Going to Chicago. Spending time in God's creation on my own- canoeing and reflecting. Seeking out friendships. Buying that Hemingway and actually reading it. Playing hockey and giving all I have until I can barely stand (oh they joys of sleep troubles). And this weekend: travelling to a province that's right next door, yet I've never visited, for a hockey and ski adventure.
Life is a gift and gifts are meant to be opened and used. How have you been living lately?
Sunday, January 25, 2009
"Washed By The Water" was inspired by a situation where the lead singers father, who is a pastor, came under fire by a group at his church. The song is a way of the son remembering how well his father handled the experience and says he felt his dad deserved a tribute for his Christ-like reaction to a hurtful situation.
That lead me to think about the way I respond when other people throw darts in my direction. Do I extend the same grace that has been given to me? Or do I hang onto old hurts and look for ways to even the score? Those are important questions to ask and consider, especially during those times when other people don't necessarily agree with everything that we do. Just some food for thought.
Needtobreathe - Washed By The Water
Daddy was a preacher
She was his wife
Just tryin to make the world a little better
You know, shine a light
People started talking
Trying to hear their own voice
Those people tried to accuse my father
Said he made the wrong choice
Though it might be painful
You know that time will always tell
Those people have long since gone
My father never failed
Even when the rain falls
Even when the flood starts rising
Even when the storm comes
I am washed by the water
Even if the Earth crumbles under my feet
Even if the ones I love turn around and crucify me
I won't never ever let you down
won't fall, won't fall, won't fall as long as you're around me
Friday, January 16, 2009
If you're interested in seeing another side to the man that so many have painted negatively, click here to read the article. It might just surprise you.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
Friday, January 02, 2009
Top 4 Highlights:
1. Trip to the US, with the top four highlights from that being visiting Chicago, golfing the Bull, having a waterpark in our hotel, and visiting Lambeau Field in Green Bay.
2. Visiting Barrie in December, having the chance to work out of the LIFE offices and attend the staff Christmas party.
3. The growth of MAD. In this past year I've seen a lot of new stations sign up for the show and it's been an exciting journey.
4. Spending a Sabbath weekend by myself at my aunts cottage. No TV, no internet, no telephone. I did a lot of thinking, reading, writing, and canoeing.
Top 4 Books I Read in 2008:
1. The Shack (William Young)
2. The Sacred Echo (Margaret Feinberg)
3. Half-life/Die Already (Mark Steele)
4. The Almost True Story Of Ryan Fisher (Rob Stennet)
Top 4 CD's of 2008:
1. The Glass Passenger (Jack's Mannequin)
2. Drive It Home (Paul Alan)
3. Do You Feel (The Rocket Summer)
4. Something To Say (Matthew West)
Looking forward to in 09:
1. Possibly seeing my second book published.
2. Reading through the whole Bible again (yes, that's one of my goals for the year).
3. Traveling somewhere this summer. Not exactly sure where yet, but I'd love to head back out to the East Coast if the rest of the fam is up for the journey.
4. Learning how to take better pictures (another goal for the year).