Wednesday, 19 October 2016

There is Something We Can Do

Alpha in Prisons

One of my memories is of running Alpha for about three years at the Fort Saskatchewan (Alberta) jail and seeing wonderful results and lives changed among the inmates there. Did you know that statistically, as I understand it, among prisons in Canada, the average re-offending rate for released inmates is between 70 and 75%?

However, the re-offending rate for those who have attended Alpha in prison and come to a genuine faith in Christ is about 8% (eight percent)! Isn’t that amazing? My friends and colleagues John and Roxana Kreklo are doing a great job of communicating this to prison officials across Canada. For the good of our country, pray that they, and we, make headway and inroads in this.

Friends, the solution to a great number of our society's problems is right in front of us, but do you think anything will be done about it? Do you think those with the power and position to act will do so?

Aside from some kind of divine intervention, probably not, I'm afraid. But divine intervention is what we're all about, so the least we can do is pray.

Take Care

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

No Ideology Can Last Forever

It may seem so when a particular ideology is in place, or on the rise, but no matter how right contemporary opinion might be considered, a future generation will very probably look back and ask, "What were they thinking?" In fact, I believe the current state of sexual morality, of political correctness in matters of race and religion and "victim group" entitlement cannot last . They are rapidly chipping away at the foundations of what we surely once thought was a sound society
There is only one who is the same yesterday, today and forever. that is the unchangeable God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.

Here is where we seem to be today: from here...
Transparently obvious truths cannot be publicly spoken when an ideology is in ascendancy. Questions cannot be asked. Things become unsayable. And the vast mass of people meekly fall into line, sensing the direction of the prevailing wind. Most people find it is altogether safer to capitulate or at least to keep quiet...
And here, perhaps is a possible explanation of how quickly things seemed to change, from sanity to the current insanity, and how completely nonsensical ideas and policies came to considered rational.

And so it will continue for a time. How long? Who knows? Things will in all likelihood get worse for Western Christians before they get any better. It took the better part of three centuries before the extreme persecution of the early Christians was over. We are worried over what has transpired in not much more than a generation, and what some may consider persecution is nothing compared to what they suffered, and some are suffering even in the world today.

But you have heard the expression, "The [Christian] Church is an anvil that has worn out many hammers." Ideologies have come and gone, and the naïve expectation of this privileged generation seems to be that that pattern should now stop; that the season of peace we have enjoyed should never end; that, having once been known as a, "Christian Nation," (I'm speaking now of all of what might be known as, "Western Culture) we Christians should enjoy perfect acceptance and unanimous approval for ever.

The Christian Church is Christ's own Church; founded by him with the promise it would never die.  And it won't, but we in this nation and on this continent should have no expectation that its permanent home and stronghold will forever be North America.

In fact, and I know I've said this before, I see an analogical parallel between God's glory leaving the temple (Ezekiel 10) and what is happening in Western culture today. The torch is being passed, if I may be forgiven for mixing metaphors, and just as the Christian faith spread from Jerusalem, to Europe and across the Atlantic to North America, I can see it now continuing its generally westward path across the Pacific to the great nations of Asia and to the, "ends of the earth."

In the meantime, I do what I do, living what days I have left according to Acts 20:24
...I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
Take Care

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

We Can't Cut Down the Tree and Still Enjoy the Fruit

"... many today ...want a world permeated with Western values such as freedom, justice, and equality that no longer preserves a knowledge of their ideological source."
Theodore Dalrymple

An interesting piece here that I present without comment because in my opinion it needs none. It's another case where it's best for me merely to say,

Just Sayin'

Take Care

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Why Young People Leave the Church

My commenting friend Warren, on a previous post, made me aware of Pete Enns. I haven't read all his material, so cannot either recommend or condemn his views, but I did find this entry interesting and challenging. I agree with much of it.
"The 2011 Barna survey on American Christianity published “Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church.” And here they are. I read through them and I think to myself, “Yup. Yup. Uh huh. That one, too. And that one.” These ring utterly true to me from my experience..."
You can read about the issue more in-depth at the link, but briefly, here are the 6 reasons:
  • Reason #1 - Churches seem overprotective.
  • Reason #2 – Teens’ and twenty-somethings’ experience of Christianity is shallow.
  • Reason #3 – Churches come across as antagonistic to science.
  • Reason #4 – Young Christians’ church experiences related to sexuality are often simplistic, judgmental.
  • Reason #5 – They wrestle with the exclusive nature of Christianity.
  • Reason #6 – The church feels unfriendly to those who doubt. 
A few thoughts of my own:

Regarding #3, I spoke recently to a young man who asked, "If I don't believe the universe was created in six actual days, will I go to hell?"

My answer, aside from just saying a flat, "No!", and paraphrased here, went something like this:
"Some people believe the earth is 6000 years old and everything was created in 6 literal days, but I don't think it's necessary. It's important to read the Bible and ask, 'What does it really say, and what does it not actually say?'
Genesis 1:1 says that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. It doesn't say when the beginning was; just that in the beginning God created everything. And that, in my opinion, doesn't conflict with science. It concurs, to me, with the concept of the, 'Big Bang.'
The next verse, Genesis 1:2 (NIV) says, 'Now the earth was formless and empty...' It doesn't say when, 'Now' is/was. In my opinion, the first two verses in the Bible could represent times millions of years apart. The earth doesn't have to be, 'young,' Biblically speaking."
Same with the six days. Leaving aside the possibility of completely figurative language, I don't think they necessarily have to be literal 24-hour days and I don't think they have to be literally six consecutive days."

Regarding #5, the question often arises, "What about those who have never heard of Jesus?"
there are those in Christendom who will say they are automatically condemned to hell. I believe that is an overly narrow view. I remember discussing this in the context of 'believers' in the Old Testament and the answer given was that the, "Old Testament Saints" were saved by standing on the promises of a coming Saviour.

Well, Biblically speaking, when were the first promises given? In the garden of Eden, to the first humans (Genesis 3). So in essence, every descendent of the first two humans ("Adam and Eve" by name), or more correctly, of Noah's family, can be beneficiaries of those same promises. The Old Testament is a history of a narrow lineage; the Jewish people, and their relationship with God. It says nothing of God's relationship with other people; South Sea Islanders, Native North Americans, people of the Orient. If God could reveal Himself to Abram, and he (Abram) be counted as righteous through his faith, who's to say others could not have been as well. It must be clear that many other events happened in other parts of the world that are not recorded in the Bible.

There is a much greater discussion here, especially in connection with Jesus' exclusive claim in John 14:6, but I have attempted to address that elsewhere and I'll not get into that here.

Regarding #6, this is why I think so highly of the Alpha course, and why I do what I do. Alpha welcomes all, and welcomes any question, without condemnation. Anyone, regardless of background, religion, station in life, sexuality, gender identification or any other factor or characteristic, is welcome to come and hear the Jesus story and the Christian perspective on life, and be introduced to the One who can change their life forever for the better.

My prime desire, and I have been criticized for being too open, for assuming too much generosity in God's grace, is to remove roadblocks that may stand between anyone wanting to know more of God, and the very God who is calling them.

Take Care

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Does Science Argue for or against God?

Here is an interesting and challenging bit by Eric Metaxas. Many people hold out the fine tuning of the universe as a proof of God's existence. I don't. It all could be just an incredibly unlikely coincidence. There's no proof that it isn't. But in my own opinion, the existence of God certainly seems to be the simpler of the two explanations. It certainly is an indication that a belief in God is not unreasonable, simple or naïve. And that double negative (not unreasonable), after all, is the very idea reflected in the title of this blog.

The only reservation I have with Mr Metaxas' presentation is in the blurb below - that chances are less than zero. It is hyperbole, of course, a figure of speech, because odds or chances, no matter how infinitesimally small, cannot be less than zero, (can they?) That just gives the other side one more piece of ammunition, however small, to attack the argument.
"Why are we here? Literally. The latest science says we shouldn't be. It says that the chance life exists at all is less than zero. So, is science the greatest threat to the idea of Intelligent Design or is science its greatest advocate? Best-selling author and lecturer, Eric Metaxas, poses this intriguing question and comes up with a very unexpected and challenging answer."

Take Care

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Party At The End Of The World

I thought this was a particularly poignant phrase to describe the recent massacre at the Orlando gay nightclub. I suppose I should begin with the de rigeur assurance that, "our thoughts and prayers are with... etc, etc." I don't mean to be disrespectful or hard-hearted by saying that, because my prayers really are with those affected by this tragedy. In fact, I sent an email to a local gay-friendly church here in Edmonton whose minister I have met and spoken with. I cannot begin to know or understand what sadness they must feel, and even though we differ in opinion with respect to matters of sexuality, I know their pain is real, and I wish them the peace that can only come from the God of all comfort.

But Check out Mark Steyn's site and listen especially to the first (left's official lie) and third (Party at the end of the world) audio links. Many in the West seem to be partying while the enemies are at the gates.

Meanwhile, things are happening in the Kingdom that don't get so much notice.

I comment only in passing on the events of the day, reminding myself constantly not to pay so much attention to the news and to remember that God is in control. As I say on my other blog...

"...I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. (Acts 20:24)"

That is my passion, my purpose and my mission. I just have to keep coming back to that myself.

Just sayin'

Take Care

Monday, 9 May 2016

Fellowship of Christian Assemblies Convention, Grande Prairie

Here we are, two old hippies, brothers in Christ at FCA convention Grande Prairie. Me along with Harold from Battle River Ranch Camp. One of us is a biker. Guess which.

Delegates came to this assembly from all across, and even outside, Canada. I had a number of interesting conversations. Most knew about Alpha, but a few didn't, and even though my position pertains only to Alberta, I was glad, of course, to help guests from other provinces.

One of the things I found especially poignant was that a number of the delegates were from McMurray Gospel Assembly, in Fort McMurray, which was right in the middle of the complete evacuation of the city due to the massive forest fire that virtually destroyed it. They must have been doubly troubled - not only at the destruction of their city, but at being separated from their families during the evacuation.
Driving through hell - leaving Fort McMurray Alberta

As I am writing this, the situation in Fort McMurray is still desperate. Please continue to pray for those were so suddenly, violently and with so little warning, displaced. Pray for the peace of that city.

Unfortunately, we have decided to cancel an event scheduled for May 14; an Alpha Lab similar to  the one held in Calgary. North Pointe Community Church is deeply involved in helping the evacuees, and adding one more thing to their plate in this time of crisis, we felt, would not have been productive. The next one will be held on June 11 at Beulah Alliance Church, also in Edmonton.



Friday, 29 April 2016

Something's Happening Here, What it is Ain't Exactly Clear

Stop! Hey! What's that sound...

I think it must be the sound of common sense going down the drain.

I was just thinking about the general reaction to the law passed in North Carolina regarding  men's and women's bathroom use, enforcing traditional gender use. Such hypocrisy! Bruce Springsteen cancelled a concert there, even though his home state, New Jersey, has similar legislation on the books. Apparently Apple is condemning the law as hateful toward the LGBTQ community, even though they do business quite happily in Saudi Arabia where they kill gays. Apparently being beheaded or thrown from the top of a building is not as traumatic as not being able to use one's bathroom of choice.

One thing I would like to see asked of all those jumping on the bandwagon of accusing the ones who passed this law of being bigots and haters, "Exactly when did you come to the position you now hold, that one's gender is not established biologically, buy according to feelings?" My sense is that many have arrived at this opinion relatively recently.

So my next question would be, "What were you previous to that; a bigot and a hater?"  

Just sayin'

Take Care

PS: I just noticed in the video there's a shot of a crowd rocking (and perhaps damaging) a 1961 Chev Impala bubble top 2 door hardtop - That's practically sacrilegious!