For many people, Easter has become a time for eggs and chocolate, but Christians claim that there’s more to it than that. At this point, you can’t help but think that they’re just excited about it because it’s THEIR religious holiday. But every religion has its holidays. If it’s not your religion, surely you can just enjoy the long weekend and move on, right? That’s the way I used to feel about Easter. I’ve come to believe that Easter should matter to everyone, regardless of their religious background. Let me explain why.
Seeing tragedy in his childhood challenged his views about life. Facing tragedy as an adult challenged the values that he lived for. And addressing tragedy in his life has given him the satisfaction that his heart longed for. Let me share three things I learned about tragedy from Sujo John’s life.
I’m not a Jew. But I do love the Jewish Scriptures. And I believe they contain a compelling reason to read what Christians call the New Testament, and it’s a reason that’s often overlooked.
Painful feelings of disappointment and hopelessness can force us to re-examine our goals and the basis of our hope. Just doubling down on our hope and trying harder isn’t necessarily the solution.
With one of our church members in palliative care right now, I’ve spent a lot of time there in recent days. The view of life from the palliative care wing changes you. It reorients you to what life is really all about. Stephen Covey became famous for telling people to “begin with the end in mind.” We’re so isolated from opportunities to consider the end of our lives, though, that we seldom let it deeply affect us. It’s a perspective I don’t want to lose, and yet if I don’t pause to reflect on it, I know that I probably will. Let me share a few of the lessons.
On Sunday, the team responsible for our weekly children’s ministries gathered for a BBQ and celebration of God’s goodness over the past year. As part of our time together, we discussed some quotes from Samuel Williamson’s book, “Is Sunday School Destroying Our Kids? How Moralism Suffocates Grace.” For those of you with children at Grace, don’t worry: our Sunday School isn’t destroying them! But Williamson argues that when we get Sunday School wrong – and it’s easy to do – it has the potential to destroy our children’s faith. Let me explain why.
Last week, my vacation started and ended with camping trips but in between I had the privilege of being a part of a birthday party that encouraged my faith and perspective about life.
Remi Adeleke has done it all: scam artist, drug dealer, Navy SEAL, and actor. But it’s not so much his resume that fascinates me as what God has done in his life and what his life teaches me about how I can grow as a person. I’d encourage you to listen to Remi tell his story at the following link:
Let me share some of the things I learned from his story.
Last fall we investigated the possibility of running a multi-sport summer day camp in partnership with Scripture Union in 2018. In the end, we decided to postpone plans this year because of unknowns surrounding completion of the parking lot construction. One of the components of the plan however was to apply to the Canada Summer Jobs Program. Hundreds of churches across the country apply for this grant each year for help in hiring students to run various community outreach programs. This year, the government added a new twist however. Organizations that apply are now required to affirm that the student job and their core mandate respect certain values determined by the federal government – including their position on abortion, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. The application says that it is intended to prevent youth from being exposed to organizations that may promote positions contrary to the government’s values.
I still remember doing a survey of the church building we erected in Japan. The foundation had just been laid and the supervisor walked the perimeter with me and got down on the ground to show me how perfect the angles were. He said, “Get the foundation perfect and you’ll have a stable building. But make a small mistake here, and you’ll always have problems.” Thankfully, they did get the foundation perfect. And we were very happy with the finished product. Over the years, I’ve seen again and again that getting the foundation of Christianity straight is crucial to a healthy relationship with God. The problem is that you can’t get everything straight. There is too much to know in the Bible to know it all equally. So you need to be able to discern what the foundation is and get that straight and then over time do your best to add to it. Do you have the foundation straight? Have you helped your children get the foundation straight? When people ask you about your faith, do you get the foundation straight?