Monday, September 28, 2009

Weekend Adventures & Redemption

It's been a couple of pretty incredible days. I had planned for a routine weekend of playing catch-up on things that had been piling up, but when I got a phone call on Friday afternoon asking if I'd rather take off to head out of town instead, I quickly scrapped my previous plans.

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

Rising From The Ashes

Tonight I had a great time at our College and Careers kick-off. It was an amazing night of worship and sharing what God has done and the things we've been learning lately.

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

College and Careers Start-up

This Thursday brings about the start of College and Careers for another year. The summer must have gone by quicker than usual- I'm having a hard time believing it's already time to start meeting again!

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

Friday, September 18, 2009

It Might Be Hope

This theme of hope has been carrying out throughout the rest of my week. And one thing that has been driving the point home again and again is a song from Sara Groves called "It Might Be Hope" that I recently came across. I love how she portrays hope as something that can be found just when we least expect it (see lyrics below).

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

Some Verses on Hope

I've been thinking a lot about hope lately and what a great thing it is to have in our lives. To know that no matter how dark it gets, we have our hope of glory in Christ.

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

Pondering The Path of Our Feet

In the Psalms, we're instructed to ponder the path of our feet. In a practical sense that involves thinking about where it is we're heading. I know that sounds like such an obvious thing to do, but is it really something that we spend enough time doing?

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

Webster Falls

Another shot from my trip. This one was taken at Webster Falls and I got the opportunity to play with the shutter speed a bit. If you look closely, you can see what appears to be falls behind the falls. It was quite the site to see!