It’s Hard Here

I remember in high school, our little ISCF group huddling together and talking in hushed tones about our faith. School can be a brutal unforgiving place where non conformity is met with harsh resistance. I recall working on a big Union site and being warned by a fellow Christian worker, not to share my faith here because “it’s hard here.” We started a church with all Chinese people. Because of their communist mindset, we were warned that “it would be hard to penetrate with the gospel.”
Coming to Pender island, I was told by a Christian brother that “it is hard to share the gospel here because there were so many defences that the gospel didn’t work on this island.”
Wait a minute, it’s hard everywhere. There’s nowhere that it’s easy. Ease of passage should never be the determining factor when sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. It will be hard. There will be strong resistance. Get use to it. We were called to endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.
My son Aaron’s often said to me “I didn’t choose farming because I was afraid of work dad.”
This is true of Christianity. There are many nice religions that specialize in making you feel good, that attempt to dull your senses to the harsh reality of life by promising some form of nirvana. True Christianity follows a different path. We are called to identify with the man who’s very name brings conviction of sin. It’s hated so much so that it’s constantly used as a swear word and a reproach. His name polarizes people. That’s why those weak in the faith and not sure where they stand, speak His name in hushed tones. His name will cause division between the closest friends.
There’s always shame in the name to those who reject His judgement. But to those who embrace that judgement, His name brings sweetness to their ears.
As the song says “Just the mention of His name, causes me to worship.”
It’s never easy to share the gospel. It’s never easy to say the name of Jesus in public, or to preach the way of salvation where “it’s hard here.”
For this, I was called and commissioned, and God forbid that I would ever hold back.

Women in Church Leadership

I’m not a big fan of women in leadership of the church. As a matter of fact, neither did all of the apostles, the whole of the old and New Testament, 2,000 years of church orthodoxy, not to mention Jesus Christ himself, find reason to have women in positions of church leadership. But, I’m just an old guy with old fashioned ideas.
The modern church has now evolved past all that patriarchal thinking. A lot of Paul’s teachings need to be discarded because they were relevant to the culture he lived in, but totally inapplicable to today’s culture. If we are to have a positive influence on our society, we need to be conformed to their values. God forbid that we should ever question woman’s rights in the church and not ensure equal female representation on leadership teams. That would send out a clear message that the church was meant to actually follow the sexist patriarchal views of the bible.
A modern church will have adopted one of the new inclusive bible versions that neutralize any sexist references. God knew that the bible would be written by fallible men, and he/she never meant it to be taken literally.
I’m sure that by now god must have changed his/her mind about some of the ridged biblical principles, and would allow us alter them to fit the views of society. It seems like it would be the only right for a loving benevolent god to do.
After all, old guys like me are simply not sufficiently enlightened to any new ideas. We still believe in the sovereignty of God expressed through His holy scriptures.

Clouds of Emotion

I bought an old motorcycle in Victoria and wasn’t paying attention to the time, so I missed my return ferry. That wasn’t the worst thing in the world that could happen to me. It meant I had to spend all afternoon in the hottest day so far this year, cruising around on a Triumph Bonneville. Life can be hard sometimes. Some call it “first world problems.”
So I’m riding along on an ocean front twisty road, without a care in the world, checking out the beach and thinking about how incredibly good I felt. A tiny cloud rolled in and momentarily blocked the sun. My mood changed to “I don’t feel very good.” Before I knew it that little cloud passed, the sun was shining once again, and I couldn’t believe how good I suddenly felt. What just happened to me? A Little cloud altered my entire countenance. How fickle could I get?
Our Christian lives are often like that. A few clouds of adversity in our lives and we act as though God has removed our names from the book of life. We have yet to master our emotions and bring our every thought captive to the word of God. Problems will come. Difficulties are a fact of life. We go to great lengths to avoid them when it would go better for us if we accepted them as part of life and an opportunity to learn something new. …Endurance.