Saturday, August 26, 2006

Words Worth Reading from Pressing On

Janice VanEck has posted a poem by Anne Steele on the great comfort of the Word and Grace in difficult times. One stanza reads as follows:

Though all the powers of nature fail,
And life’s pale, trembling lamp decline;
Thy grace can bid my faith prevail,
Can give me fortitude divine.

A great encouragement to seek the Lord in times of trouble!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Reaching Out - Reaching Up

This past week we had our Vacation Bible School. One of the great things about VBS is the singing and the children SANG!! They learned that God knows us, God is a friend, God helps us and God forgives us. Everytime one of these phrases was mentioned they would have to shout AWESOME GOD (because he is!). It was great to be in the building and hearing children sporadically shouting AWESOME GOD.

And that is our prayer. That they would see and know that God is an AWESOME GOD - from his life, death and life again. Tonight we have our wrap-up BQ and are expecting around 150 people. We pray that God will do AWESOME things in the hearts of the people.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Dr. Geoff Adams In Glory

Today I attended the funeral of Dr. Geoff Adams at Toronto Baptist Seminary. As I reflect on the events, a number of thoughts come to mind.

First, his son Doug gave an account of the faithful testimony of a father who lived Christ in front of his children. He was a man of God publicly and privately. Doug went on to tell how he observed his father's communion with Jesus through prayer and Scripture reading. As I reflect on my life, I call to God for mercy. How I need to show my children that walking with Christ is not only serving Him in the church but it is also those private moments of communing with God - an enjoyment of God's presence. I pray that God will grant me a greater desire and discipline in the coming days to grow deeper in my communion with Him.

Second, how in his long service as pastor, principal of the seminary, counselor, friend, husband, father and many other roles, he served faithfully. One passage which was read was 2 Timothy 4:7: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. This may sound strange but the funeral was a tremendous encouragement for me to live alone for Christ. It is so easy to fall into temptation or to become sidetracked with secondary issues. Am I living faithfully, striving to fight, finish and keep the faith? I pray that at the end of my life, I will have lived faithfully. Dr. Adams' life and death have encouraged me to finish well - may God be gracious!

Thirdly, the joy of the gospel of Jesus. Our brother is in Glory! The light of Christ shone as time and time again God's grace and glory were magnified in the life of a forgiven sinner and his faithful service. Dr. Adams is now in glory, experiencing unimaginable fellowship and joy in the presence of His Saviour and Friend. What a joy to hear of God's grace - a lost sinner, rebellious and wicked in his heart now, because of the love and faithfulness of Christ, in glory. Praise God for the saints who have gone before us. How we need to hear and see of more men and women who are living faithfully and passionately for God in our watered down, lethargic Christian culture.

My prayer is that the events of this day will not soon leave my heart and mind and when moments of temptation or distraction come, I will seek to live alone for God's glory and be conformed to His image. I pray that for my family, His church at Grace Bible and God's people. May God be gracious.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Psalm 19:1-4: The heavens declare the glory of God,and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. 2 Day to day pours out speech,and night to night reveals knowledge. 3 There is no speech, nor are there words,whose voice is not heard. 4 Their measuring line goes out through all the earth,and their words to the end of the world.In them he has set a tent for the sun, 5 which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy.

We have been on vacation for the last two weeks and this year we did something different. We sold our small 8 foot pop-up trailer and bought a few canoes, paddles, tents, and other camping gear and went "wilderness" or "interior" camping. While we had to work out a few bugs (and keep a few more bugs away), we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

One of the things that struck my wife Eva and I was the amazing creation. We had campsites on rocks, beside the beautiful waters, surrounded by trees and birds and quiet. We said a number of times to one another: Isn't it great being a Christian and knowing who created this magnificent creation? Non Christians are out in all this beauty and giving praise to "chance" or the impersonal "mother nature." We found that part of the enjoyment of our vacation was giving praise to God for the beauty of His creation.

There are many things I will remember: canoeing and fishing early in the misty morning waters; a rain storm that lasted a whole day and part way through Eva and I watch as a river of rain water flows directly underneath our tent; watching the children jump off the jumping rocks; campfires and stories and marshmallows and hotdogs; and many more. But one picture that was really imprinted on my mind was when we were paddling to our sight in Algonquin. Eva was in one canoe with my daughter and our dog and I was in another with the boys. It was a fairly big lake and we were going against the wind so we were both paddling like we were being chased and barely moving. I looked over one time and we were a fair distance apart. When I looked over, I saw my wife paddling against the choppy waves, the magnificent trees standing proud and a big grayish cloud approaching. It was not only beautiful, it was humbling. Eva and the canoe looked so small and God's creation so glorious.

Later on in the week, we experienced the storm that passed through the area, knocking out power for many cottagers. We were huddled under a tarp by a fire reading Harriet the Spy to the children when the clouds rolled in and the rain started to come. We continued to read as the thunder and lightening rolled in and the rain poured down (yes, another river flowed under our tent!) We stood amazed (and fearful) as we witnessed God's power. And again we were humbled by His awesome presence in creation.

Two thoughts: first, our God is an awesome God. We lose a sense of the awesomeness of God as we take refuge in our homes during storms. However, when placed against the backdrop of God's creation, we are insignificant. Second, our God is to be feared. We are going through the book of Revelation in our evening services and I kept thinking about the thunder and lightening and rumblings that surround the throneroom of God. It is a fearful thing to be in a great storm with only a tarp. One day all will stand before the presence of God with no tarp. Fear God and obey Him!