Entitlement

Well I’m lying in my camping hammock, looking at the stars, and wondering if I’ve ever been this comfortable in the woods before. The sound of the waves lapping on the shore lull me to sleep. Tomorrow morning I will make a cup of tea then row back to Porteau Cove.
Anvil Island is a foreboding rock in the middle of Howe Sound that has a kids bible camp at the south end but no full time residences . The rest of the island is mountain and cliff, with precious few shallow entry points. I found a tiny rock beach that kayakers have used. A good steak cooked over the camp fire, a glass of wine, a cigar and all’s well. Sometimes we need a break from the hustle of the city, to remind us of how beautiful God made this planet.
Nothing can make you feel as small and vulnerable as being on the ocean in a dinky little 12′ row boat when a storm comes up. I had rowed for about an hour against 1/2 meter chop and a stiff nor’easter when the snow started. “Hey this wasn’t in the forecast!” Anvil had all but disappeared under a thick grey cloud.
Last Sunday at the corner of main and Cordova, I got a break from my usual job with the Salvation Army of handing out hot chocolate and got to serve home made soup to the homeless. One fellow cursed me because I only gave him one serving when we were just about out. If I give you 2, someone in the line will get none, I tried to explain as he continued to curse me. I’m wondering how the feeling of entitlement became so prevalent with these drug addicts.
When I reached the other shore the cloud lifted revealing the top 1/2 of Anvil covered with snow.
How ungrateful we can become when our circumstances run against our will. Another hour and a half rowing and I was back to the truck. I felt ashamed of myself, a little storm and I was ungrateful. The skin is waterproof. I wouldn’t melt. I had proper rain gear but even if I didn’t I would certainly dry out. The scenery was absolutely stunning and yet I missed an opportunity to give God the glory because things didn’t go exactly as I planned. I see that I am just as guilty of “entitlement “as the drug addict.
Lord, give me a spirit of gratefulness, least I become a negative, cynical old man, and miss an opportunity to give you praise.

The Retired Entrepreneur

Suddenly I find myself surrounded by great business opportunities, but I can’t touch them because I’ve committed myself to being retired. Like a retired sea captain who longs for the sea. The challenge, the excitement of making a deal work is all gone. “Go play golf, enjoy your life.” Little do they realize that it was enjoyment, total enjoyment. Most people endure their jobs and look forward to the weekends. I couldn’t wait for Monday morning when I was back doing what I was most comfortable at.
I was privileged to have a free reign to be creative in my businesses for 45 years, and I’ve enjoyed it immensely.
It’s never been about the money. I derived just as much pleasure from a hundred dollar deal as from a million dollar deal. The challenge of seeing the deal, implementing it, then bringing it through to completion, is exciting.
I’ve heard people say “it’s hard to find an idea to start a new business.” Like an artist sitting in a garden with a clean palette. Like a kid in a candy store. Just pick a direction and go! There are so many business opportunities, how could someone not see them? As our economy slows and bankruptcies increase, it becomes an ideal climate for smart businesses to expand and take over new territory.
But it’s all gone now. Like a punch drunk has been boxer, that hangs around the gym, watching the young kids spar. I still hang around the shop and watch my son have all the fun directing the ship. My phone hardly rings anymore. If I’m gone for a week, the business carries on without me.

Gay Rights

Anyone who speaks against Islam, anywhere in the world, is in danger of being a marked man. Marked for a death sentence to be carried out by any Muslim that wants to receive great rewards from alah. Because of this, critics are silenced as this insidious reign of fear infiltrates society.
The gay movement expands in a similar fashion as its critics are silenced. Islamic countries have no problem with condemning gays, as do communist countries and many third world nations.
It’s largely a western idea that we should tolerate deviant sexual activities and be pressured into receiving it as a normal and acceptable behavior.
The term “homophobic” has been invented to describe anyone not completely in favor of the gay lifestyle. It is occupational suicide for anyone in the press to be branded as a homophobic. It’s now considered a hate crime to publicly speak against gays. The mind police have instituted an all out war on dissenters. Fear of reprisal has even gripped Christians, and muted normally outspoken individuals.
Matt. 10:26 “So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.
27 What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops.
28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Romans 1:27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil.
Oh and I didn’t say that, …God did.

Too many fish

Luke 5:7-8. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”
Simon was overwhelmed at the goodness of God. He knew that he was unworthy of The Savior to even be in his presence.
Many years ago I brought one of my workers to church. Elizabeth was a product of the hippy culture and had no concept of morality or personal holiness.
From the moment she stepped into the church until after she left, she wept bitterly. Later I asked her what was going on, but she had no idea what happened to her. It was obvious that the presence of God was powerful in the meeting as her reaction was typical of many who entered the church at that time. It was a soveirn move of God. A visitation of The Holy Spirit at that church that lasted for several years. Hundreds were saved and set free from the enemy. Just as with Simon, His very presence was enough to convict people of their sin.
This morning when I read this scripture, it brought tears to my eyes as I was reminded anew of my unworthiness to even be in His presence, and how grateful I was for His goodness to me. My boat is overfilled with fish as He has blessed me far greater than I could have asked for.
Last week someone told me they wouldn’t mind dying to be with Jesus. I feel like there’s much more work to do here as so many are in need of Him. We were not put here just to squeeze the most fun out of this life. God has a purpose for us that is much higher than our own self gratification. The older I get, the more I am filled with a sense of the urgency of our calling to preach the good news to a fallen world. My hope is that my life would be a sweet aroma to God as I seek to serve him daily.

Life is Hard

“Life is hard then you die.” What a morbid quote but so very true. Have you ever met someone who’s life was without problems? Only when you die do they cease. Actually for those who have chosen to reject God, their problems have just begun. They now have all eternity to look forward to explaining to Him why they rejected His Son’s sacrifice for them.
Back on earth, for Christians that thought they could escape problems, Paul has good news for them in 2Tim.3:12
“Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” At least they have the peace and assurance of knowing they are on the right course.
For half baked Christians, they are resisting their master. Trouble and spankings are sure to ensue.
Non Christians are suffering the the cause an effect of living at odds with their creator. There is no real peace for them.
A key is to embrace the problems of life. They aren’t about to go away so we might as well embrace them. For those who are not in a right relationship with God, it’s not about to get any better without Him, no matter how hard you try. Christian, be thankful that when the storms of life come, you have an ever present place of refuge.
Some might say, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Life’s never been really hard for you. Well you’re wrong. I watched my 19 month old daughter die for no apparent reason. How could a loving God ever allow that to happen? Well He did, and I’ve come to be at peace with His sovereignty of the situation.
I’ll never forget being at the hospital with a friend who had just broken his leg in a soccer match. He was not an emotionally frail person but the intense pain was too much for him to endure. I remembered what I learned in prenatal class with my wife. “Don’t resist the pain, just let it come over you.” Later he thanked me and said my advise was helpful.
Today, I’m looking forward to facing whatever problems that might come my way and dealing with them, knowing that God is at my side.

The hidden treasure

My wife and I help out on the Salvation Army soup line once a week at Main and Cordova street. Occasionally we invite a few of the guys we meet over for dinner. Their lives are such a mess that they can seldomly get it together to actually come. Last week was no exception as we invited 7 and 3 showed up.
Cocaine addicts are always tough to reach as they are under such bondage to the drug.
Of the three that came, one was an occasional user that has serious drug induced mental issues which prevent him from obtaining employment or function socially. The second suffers physically from a potpourri of illnesses from his long time drug lifestyle. He is bitter and twisted.
The third fellow is a Christian, thou barely distinguishable from his non Christian friends. He is depressed, suicidal, and unmotivated.
I thought, such is the kingdom of God ! It’s just like God to show his love and kindness to such a motley crew. What a privelage to be partners with Him in expressing that love and care to His lost sheep. You know I could have easily missed it. My natural tendency would have been to dismiss them as not worth spending the time on. The likelihood of any of them ever overcoming their problems is fairly remote.
Jesus has hidden himself in the lowest of the low.