Friday, February 24, 2006

John Piper on missions:

"The reason man was created in the beginning and the reason the church is being recreated in the end is for the worship of God. Missions therefore is neither God's primary end nor the primary end of the church. It is a means to the primary end of worship. Missions exists because worship doesn't. There will be no missions in the age to come. Worship will be our life. Missions is not our ultimate goal. It is a means to our goal.

We cut off the power of the cause of missions when we give it a place in our churches and in our hearts that belongs only to worship. If the pursuit of man's good is not ordered below the pursuit of God's glory in the priorities of the church and the affections of the heart, man will not be well served and God will not be honored."

Your thoughts?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

God's Provisions

So my business cards came in today, take a look:

Normally I wouldn't make such a purchase, but thanks to a very generous gift, this year I will be attending GMA Week in Nashville where I'm told having a business card comes in very handy.

But what does this have to do with anything? Stay with me for a minute.

In Matthew 6:32-33 Jesus gave us an amazing promise when He said:

"Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern."

And I have seen the promise of that verse delivered over and over again.

Even recently. In December I received a phone call telling me that I was being given an all-expense paid trip to GMA Week and the awards ceremony afterwards. Now I know very well that I could never have been able to pay for the trip on my own, but God provided through the generosity of another radio station. And this went way beyond providing for daily needs.

Then just this week I had another experience with God's provisions. I make my income by doing computer consulting and instruction on the side, but because of my illness I have had to turn down a lot of jobs over the past couple of the months, so funds have been really tight.

But then the other day I was going through my mail and found a letter from the university that I attend. Also in the envelope was a check for a couple hundred dollars! It turns out I was the one student picked for an award that I never even applied for- talk about a blessing!

And so on March 31st I will be leaving Timmins for a week in Music City USA where I will meet many of the artists that I play on the radio show and I will have the opportunity to be trained by some of the best broadcasters in the industry. And not only is everything provided for from the plane ticket to the hotel to my admission to the events, but now thanks to another provision, I will even have some spending money in my pocket!

Thank you Lord for the gifts you send our way and forgive me for all the times I question first and trust second.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Dancing With Jesus

This weekend I attended interdenominational ladies retreat held here in Timmins. While I'm now on IV antibiotics to treat my infection, thanks to God's perfect timing, I was still able to attend most of the sessions even if that meant getting lots of questions about "what did you do to your hand?"

On Friday night the speaker (Kathy Mainse from 100 Huntley Street) talked about how God wants to be our lover, not just our master, potter, and shepherd. After her message we spent some time in prayer and while I was sitting there praying, I felt someone standing next to me and suddenly a lady started praying for me. After she finished praying she said: "I see you waltzing with Jesus- Jesus wants to dance with you."

Now I am probably one of the biggest skeptics that there is when it comes to stuff like this, but as soon as she said these words I knew that it was from God. Let me tell you why:

This last summer was an amazing time spiritually for me. My relationship with God was flourishing and I literally felt like most of the time I was dancing with Jesus. He would lead and together we would move through life to the beat of His rhythm. And the more time we spent together "dancing", the closer we got and the deeper our relationship became. But then things changed.

When it happened for sure I don't know, but sometime over the past couple of months, I stopped dancing. It wasn't a sudden thing but as I began to get sicker and sicker, I danced less and less. Then the dancing stopped completely. It wasn't like my relationship with Christ dissolved, in fact my faith was never stronger, but those intimate moments became few and far between.

So when that lady said "I see you waltzing with Jesus- Jesus wants to dance with you" it was like my eyes were opened wide. In that moment I realized that the discontentment I was feeling wasn't from my illness, but from the missing intimacy between Christ and I. Where once we moved spontaneously through life and our relationship was filled with excitement and fire, I had unknowingly fallen back into the religious structure of a forced formula friendship: "take 15 minutes of Bible reading, add ten minutes of prayer, subtract one sin, add three good deeds and God is happy and so are you" kind of thing.

And I'm happy to say that thanks to this weekend, that structure has been removed. I'm "dancing" again and I'm loving every minute of it. And the more time I spend dancing, the more Christ pulls me to Himself and the clearer His voice becomes and then it doesn't really matter if we're dancing all by ourselves in a world filled with chaos and strife. All that matters is that I'm moving to His rhythm through this life and drawing nearer to my King- that's exactly what I want my life to be about.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Satisfying the Soul

Yesterday I re-arranged my room. Well correction: my Mom and brother re-arranged my room while I stood by and directed traffic (lifting is still a no-no). While they were moving things here and there I had the thought "this room would really make a great office", but then reality kicked in and I realized that my bed has to go somewhere and my Mom isn't willing to knock down any walls (trust me, I asked).

I don't know what it is, but I really want an office. Maybe it has something to do with having to study at the kitchen table, record the radio show in my Mom's room, and an answer a slew of emails when fielding everyone else's social calls. Or maybe I just want an office.

Just recently I was promised "anything I wanted". Foolishly I went big and asked for a car. Today no car sits in my driveway and I sit here and stare at four walls and dream of what could have been.

But today I realized that being given an office wouldn't solve the problem. Sure, I would have a consistent place to study, read, record the show, and answer emails, but an office won't solve the real issue of finding satisfaction. True satisfaction is never going to be found in computers, cars, ipods, or even offices. Trying to find satisfaction through chasing wants is always a waste of time because there's always going to be another want (Proverbs 27:20).

I'm learning more and more that true satisfaction can only be found in one place: our relationship with Christ. It can't be found in riches, or perfect health, or other relationships. It can only be found in Him.

As C.S. Lewis once wrote:

"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

So today instead of wishing for a bigger room or a new office, I'm going to take the space I am blessed to have and spend some time alone seeking satisfaction in the right place. In the only place.

"It is a solemn thing, and no small scandal in the Kingdom, to see God's children starving while actually seated at the Father's table." A.W. Tozer