Saturday, March 22, 2008

Self-portrait of a racist - Do we need a "Racebook?" Self-portrait of a racist:

Pasha Malla writes an interesting article on race and prejudice - especially as it is found in Toronto. As a church planter committed to doing all I can to build a multi-cultural, heaven-reflecting church, I found Malla's self-disclosure and suggested cures both refreshing and sad.

"Refreshing," since Malla decries political-correctness that misses the heart of the bigotry problem; "sad," because I don't think he has found the cure. Without wanting to sound triumphalistic, I would suggest the only cure to heart prejudice is found in conversion to Christianity. That statement deserves at least one post of explanation that I cannot give right now, but I think it would profit you to read the article. (Note: The piece does include some offensive language.)

"Toronto, especially, enjoys an international reputation as a mosaic of ethnicities and religions, where immigrants are encouraged to speak their native languages and practice their faiths. And, to be fair, the Torontonian approach to racial multiplicity is based in tenets of which we should be proud. True equality, however, extends beyond merely allowing people into the city and then tolerating their behaviour.

While we denounce other places with institutionalized policies that discriminate against immigrants, or disallow them entirely, in idealistic Toronto a brand of racism is practiced that is much deeper and more systemic."

Friday, March 21, 2008

"What Do You Love About Jesus?"

A re-made soul: Living in a Christ-driven revolution that speaks a mercy-filled message: What we love about Christ

My friend Catherine has a remarkable memory! I will allow her to explain...

We gathered at Grace Church yesterday. As our last song before our prayer time, we sang "My Jesus, I love thee". When I was singing this song, I regretted in my own heart how much I haven't loved Christ in such a way and to such an extent that He deserves.

Before prayer, Pastor Paul asked us to answer this, I would say, timely question—after we sang that song and before Easter. 'What do we love about Jesus?'

The exercise was a great way for us to delight in the Lord Jesus together both in our hearts and as His Church and His body. So I will try to recall as many answers I had heard from my brothers and sister last night as I can remember here.

Click over to her blog to read her list and increase your delight in Jesus!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Relentless Evangelism

Jesus is remarkable.

As you read through John 6, two things stick out. First, Jesus always tells people what they need to hear, not what they think they need to know! I love the way He carefully re-directs conversations to the main thing – Himself. But the other thing you will notice is that Jesus does this with friend and foe alike. While it is true that He sometimes spoke in parables so that His enemies would not understand, in John 6 He speaks plainly so that they will grasp the Gospel message.

I like to think of this as relentless evangelism... and it is an encouragement to my heart. In pluralistic Canada, if you eventually get brave enough to say the name “Jesus” out loud (and not as a cuss word) that is offense enough. But if the one you evangelize asks you to stop, or to not bring up the subject again, then it becomes the equivalent of high treason if you do! “Bad enough you talked to me about Jesus once – don’t do it twice!”

Of course, this is nothing new. And with all the family gatherings and such over the Easter weekend, I think it is good to remember that Jesus was never ashamed of Himself or of His gospel. In fact, as you read John 6 you hear Him preaching His deity, God’s foreordination, election, effectual calling and the resurrection – to His enemies! And in the midst of that theological lesson He looks them in the eye and says, “Believe on Me! Look on Me! Receive Me! Come to Me! Feed on Me! And live!”

So, don’t be afraid to be cordially relentless in your evangelism this weekend. No future saint will scold you for your perseverance!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Age of sexual consent raised to 16

Today's Family News

TFN reported a few days ago on a bit of good news that seemed to be missed by most of the secular press - the age of sexual consent was raised from 14 to 16 years of age.

From a speech by the Honourable Terry Stratton:

"Honourable senators, this was an issue that attracted considerable comment before your committee, so I wish to be very clear about what these reforms do and do not propose. They do propose to protect 14- and 15-year-olds against adult sexual predators. They do not prevent 14- and 15-year-olds from engaging in consensual sexual activity with peers. The reforms put the onus on the adult, the person who is five or more years older than the 14- or 15-year-old, who is seeking to engage in sexual activity with that young person."

One small step in the right direction to protecting our kids.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Liberation of Restraint

The fuel of the sexual liberation movement was the promise of a freedom that would lead to pleasure. Restricting oneself to one sexual partner in a marriage covenant was considered an unnecessary restraint that robbed us of pleasure. True pleasure is found in doing whatever I want with whoever I want – or such the logic went.

The billions of dollars in monthly credit card debt expose the same philosophy in personal economics. Unbridled spending leads to happiness, does it not? I need what is being offered if I am to be truly happy so I will buy now what I do not have money to purchase.

The same principle is evident all over our society – in marriages, computer use, job place ethics, and disasters like the subprime lending crash in the USA.

Most importantly, the principle of throwing off all restraint is evident in our own hearts, when Christians sin and live for the glory of self above all else.

The truth is that restraint leads to freedom. And the abandonment of self-control leads to the worst slavery of all.

Sexually, there is no greater freedom than that enjoyed between a loving husband and wife. No comparisons, shared diseases to mask or false expectations – just a growing freedom to know and be known.

Monetarily, there is no greater freedom than living within one’s means. Rather than the guilt and remorse of owning a garage (or “storage unit”) filled with non-lifegiving toys, the Christian who carefully spends less money than he earns is free indeed.

Spiritually, we know the same. Denying self and putting sin to death by the Spirit leads to spiritual freedom “and that abundantly!”

Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the obvious since our enemy is constantly washing the world with his lies – godly restraint leads to true freedom. Only the Devil will tell you otherwise.