Thursday, March 31, 2011

Truth Matters

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do. (Luke 10:21)

Today it is not hard to recognize the widespread epidemic contemporary Christianity is having in the area of authority. Issues are regularly debated ranging from the very existence of God, to the resurrection, to religious pluralism. Talk to one person and they will tell you the only way to know God is through relationship with Jesus, while someone from the same church might argue they have experienced God while experimenting with New Age practices. At the root of disagreements like this we must recognize the more basic point of difference, the question of religious authority. Where does it stem from? Should we look to what we feel personally or what others experience? Many of us have made prior decisions, maybe even unconsciously about the seat of religious authority. Our diverse opinions on foundational matters of the faith reveal that most of us are only interested in accepting an authority we have self imposed.

Authority is the right or power to make decisions and require obedience. We know this authority lies in God. Join me this Sunday as we seek to bring ourselves under his authority by looking at the source from which God has revealed his will, his mind, and his truth.

See you Sunday!

Joel Cormie

Monday, March 28, 2011

Where Will You Be Standing?

"When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.  (Matthew 25:31-33)

Where will you be standing on that day? Are you one of the sheep or are you a goat? Notice how these two groups are divided; many people miss the fact that the separation takes place before the behavioural identifications.

They are divided because of what they ARE – not because of what they do. The doing follows the being. I want to let you in on a little secret; we are all born goats. Now take a lesson from nature, how does a goat born on the farm become a sheep? It doesn’t, not ever – we are talking sci-fi impossibility realm here.

The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”    (Mark 10:26-27)

In nature no animal born a goat can become a sheep, this includes you and I – born goats we are doomed to be standing on the left when Jesus separates the nations. In natural terms goats do not become sheep, with man this is impossible, but not with God – with God all things are possible. We were born goats but with Jesus comes the opportunity to be born again –this time, you guessed it – as sheep!

Jesus declared, I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”  (John 3:3)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Gospel of His Great Mercy

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus... (Ephesians 2:4-6)

“Then the LORD came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the LORD. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”

Join me this Sunday morning as we seek to more fully understand the gospel of great mercy that our compassionate and gracious God has revealed to us in the Holy Scriptures. He is slow to anger and abounding in love and faithfulness, He is love, and the embodiment of forgiveness, grace, and justice.

Come to worship!

Monday, March 21, 2011

On Hope

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.            (Proverbs 13:12)

As I write this things are not looking good for NHL fans in Winnipeg. The TSN “Return of the Jets” Meter has fallen back three degrees as some political heavyweights throw their significant influence behind keeping the Jets in Phoenix. I am sorry to admit that this little tilt in the wrong direction has me feeling like pulling the covers over my head and retreating into a dark cave of childish self-pity.

It’s a perfect example of my inability to live up to the requirement of God’s law. How can I claim to love God with my whole heart, mind, and strength if such minutia sends me into a tailspin of depression? If I really love my neighbour as myself I wouldn’t want the fans in Phoenix to lose their team, now would I? What a miserable man I am, powerless to meet the standard of a Holy God. If salvation is not offered as a gift by grace through faith in Jesus then there is no hope for me whatsoever.

Speaking of hope... yes I know that my hope is not tied to professional athletics in anyway... I really enjoy the game of hockey; my best memories of growing up involve early morning drives to the freezing cold rink with my Dad who was always there watching, cheering, ready to rub my feet between shifts to stave off frostbite. I want NHL hockey back in my city – where it belongs – but if not I’ll be okay.

My hope is based on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I long for the day when I will see Him face to face and join the heavenly chorus robed in white and singing; “Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty!”. What a great, great day that shall be!

Just once though, before that great day, there is another day I would really like to see. A day when I will join a different chorus, a rowdy chorus not in the heavens, rather on Portage Ave, this chorus also known to be robed in white will be singing as well; “The Boys are Back in Town”. Oh yes – that too will be a good day! Go Jets Go.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

March 20, 2011 at DCC: Grapes II

All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. (Ephesians 2:3)

Join us tomorrow morning at DCC as we conclude our look at the condition of man without Christ based on Ephesians 2:1-4.

The Bible refers to the wrath of God as being “just” or “righteous” and reveals that it would be folly for a Holy God to leave wrongs un-righted or sins unpunished.

This Sunday morning we will look into this idea of “righteous wrath” - can a loving God really punish guilty sinners with everlasting destruction shutting them out of His presence forever? And what about this strange concept referred to in scripture as the “wrath of the lamb”. Lamb (y) wrath? Really - I mean, I didn’t grow up on a farm; but aren’t lambs famous for being gentle even docile creatures? Just what is the Bible getting at here?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Avoiding Dan's Version

I don’t usually use this space for this, but this film has moved me in a way very few ever have. I don’t know if it will hit you the same way it has me; afterward I had a hard time pulling myself together in order to get to my car, as the credits rolled I had to fight seriously to avoid dissolving into a puddle.

A virtuous woman, flawless in beauty and graceful in every imaginable way; is passionately pursued and eventually captured by her unlikely suitor. He has no business being with her, on the surface it is obvious that she is out of his league - scratch that surface just a little and the mismatch glares! His scars and blemishes and sins are to too evident, and too many to number, and yet; there she is, in all her glory, standing by his side ... happily ever after... almost.

In keeping with his track record he destroys his treasure. He destroys his treasure.

Like cold steel the words of Barney’s adult son pierce my side and tear deep into the dark centre of my soul,

“How could you f@*% this up? She deserved better than you; but she loved you anyway.”

God have mercy. I can’t type the sentence without weeping.

If He does not rescue me I am lost without hope. Dear Jesus, hide me in you, and save me. Save me from myself. I find within myself, like Barney, a bent toward self-destruction my sins are different from his but their end is the same.

In the strength of Christ and by his grace alone is there any chance of me finishing strong.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matt. 11:28)


Monday, March 07, 2011

Grapes of Wrath

All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.            (Ephesians 2:3)

Like the rest… like the rest we were by nature objects of wrath. I think most Christians, at least most that have not suffered under any sort of horrific tyranny in this life, wish that this entire idea of God’s wrath were not a part of the faith at all. After all how can God command us to forgive even our enemies if He then reserves the right for Himself to deal out eternal punishment on His own? Is there such a thing as “just punishment” and can it really be true that “the rest” mentioned above refers to the rest of humanity outside of Christ - being doomed automatically to suffer eternal separation from God?

Was Jesus mistaken when He said that only a few would find the narrow path to salvation? Did He misspeak when He said, “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”? - If not; what is to be the fate of those who reject the free gift of salvation, of rebirth in Christ?