See you later

IMG_0783Even good, enjoyable, things need to stop every once in a while. So while our pastor is on Sabbatical this summer, the blog will be taking a break.

See you in the fall.




Sunday Follow-Up: Doubt Revisited


By Unknown – illuminator [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

On Sunday we spent time with John 20.19-31. It’s the story where the Resurrected Jesus appears to the disciples who have gathered themselves behind locked doors. It’s also the story of Thomas and his doubts.

Doubts are real. They are part of our human existence. They can also serve a purpose when we hold them humbly and allow God to transform them and shape our faith.

Check out Surviving the Winter of Disbelief.

And we’ve talked about doubt before. Revisit these previous posts:
Challenging Our Ideas About Doubt and Doubting Thomases Populate the World.

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Pathway 2

Go Back to Go Forward.

Everyone has something they drag along with them from their family life. It’s being willing to work through that baggage that allows us to grow into the future with Christ. This week we learned that lesson with Joseph– who grew in maturity as he worked out with Yahweh the pain his brothers had caused him. (see Genesis 50)

This week, you’re invited to spend time reflecting on your family of origin. What were/are the relationships like? How might those dynamics have effected you? Use this free genogram resource from Emotionally Healthy Spirituality to get started.

Or, read this story from Jessica about how to keep boundaries with family members whom you also forgive.

To encourage you to a different way of being with your family, there’s this piece on seeing parenting as “The Season of Sowing.”

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Week 1

Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.jpgWe’re doing a churchwide series using material from Peter & Geri Scazzero called Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. During this first week, we thought about the cost of emotional and spiritual immaturity by looking at Saul’s struggle in 1 Samuel 15. We closed our worship time asking the Holy Spirit to bring to our attention our areas of immaturity.

One of the ‘symptoms’ of emotionally unhealthy spirituality (as outlined by Pete in his book) is “Ignoring the emotions of anger, sadness, and fear.” Our links today provide some ideas on what to do instead of ignoring them.

Learn from David’s approach to fear and anger in “Two Quick Remedies for Anger, Hurt, and Fear.”

The Institute for Faith, Work & Economics helps us think through common fears that workers experience.

Finally, for those of us who carry sadness and regret about the past, there’s “How to Live with Regret” by Bill Lokey.

Sunday Follow-up

On Sunday, one of our missionaries, Caleb Brownhill, shared a message from Romans 12 and Genesis 3 about being transformed from the patterns of this world to the ways of God. You can listen to that message on our current sermons media player.

We’ve provided some further reading on three of the main ideas Caleb helped us understand as we seek to grow in Christian maturity.

First, the shift from the selfish life to the God-centred life requires a hard look within. Read more in “The Antidote for Selfishness is You.”

Second, recognize when you’re shifting the blame. We’ve linked to this article before, but it’s that good: “Blame-Shifting Away our Sin.”

Third, journey towards maturity. What does maturity look like? When it comes to how we see and treat ourselves, St. Bernard has some thoughts: “When Love Grows Up”.  And just in case you think that spiritual maturity is all about seriousness, be encouraged by “God and Laughter.”

Advent Devotionals

We invite you to take the time this season to slow down from the hustle and bustle. There are lots of free devotionals that can help you do just that:

A downloadable weekly family devotional to go along with lighting your Advent Wreath Candles from The High Calling.

A downloadable Advent Paper Chain calendar to do with kids from KidsCorner (ReFrame Media).

A downloadable daily devotional and prayer guide (taken from Seeking God’s Face) for adults.

Sign up to get the short, daily Today devotional emailed to you directly. This year’s theme: “Waiting in Expectation.”

Or, join the CRC’s Office of Social Justice & World Renew for daily emailed devotionals having to do with “Displacement & Belonging.”

Modern Disciples are Humbly Receptive.

We began to explore this week the four of the postures of disciples, as they are laid out in Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered: Growing in Christ through Community by James C. Wilhoit.

Here is more on the discipline of humility, starting with a definition from John Dickson.

The guys over at The Blazing Center have provided two different sets of ways to practice humility. There is a shorter (but not easier) list of seven, and a list of twenty-two. Both are worth at least a quick glance.

How about a book recommendation? Read this review before you buy Tim Keller’s The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness.

See you later!

The blog is taking a break for the summer. We hope that you’ll use this time to enjoy wherever it is you are. Don’t forget that you can search the site and read material that’s been shared over the last three years– and there may be a post here and there over the next couple of months…

May God be with you until we meet again!

The Spirit of the Age(s) and the Spirit of God

1 John Series PromoOn Sunday, we read and learned from 1 John 4.12-5.4. We spent a significant amount of time thinking about the “spirits” that John tells us to test against the Holy Spirit’s testimony to the Gospel by thinking about the cultural forces that have influenced the church in unhealthy ways.

How can we tell whether a spirit is from God or not? By knowing God’s Spirit well. And one of the ways to know God’s Spirit well is to spend time with God. Rowan Williams calls meditation “deeply revolutionary.”

The biblical example of Daniel shows us how to engage culture and the “spirits of the age” while still abiding in the Spirit of God. Richard explains how.

Finally, always remember:

Love is God’s supreme binding agent. Love in any quantity counts. Even if you can’t love a lot, at least love a little, and little by little God will free you from fear and hatred and even death.

The above quote is from “Do You Build Fences or Dig Wells?” which is a short reflection on the sermon text.