Hope > Optimism

HOPE

Optimism: “a disposition or tendency to look on the more favorable side of events or conditions and to expect the most favorable outcome.” Was the Apostle Paul an optimist? For a guy who taught a lot about the depravity of the human heart, Paul sure seemed to take a pretty rosey view of life sometimes, didn’t he? A ‘Church-is-Half-Full’ Kind of View? Here’s a case in point: The church in Corinth. They were divided and dividing still, they valued fancy speech over sound doctrine, they had cases of publicly known immorality that were not being addressed, they were suing each other, Continue reading

Driving the Churches Away

Challies dot com

I’m very thankful for my friend Tim Challies for many reasons (on personal, church, and global-internet levels). Today I’m thankful for him taking up our cause on his blog. Over the past couple of weeks our church has been thrust into a very difficult situation as the Toronto District School Board has raised our rent in unethical, discriminatory, unwarranted, and unforeseen ways. Since our church meets weekly in the gymnasium of a public school for now — but can no longer afford to go on doing so — we are scrambling to find a place to meet that will accommodate Continue reading

What’s Outside the Cookie Cutter

cookie dough

Imagine for a second that you’re inept in the kitchen (for some of us, that’s not much of a stretch). Picture this: you need to make one cookie. It has to be in a specific shape. Thankfully, you have the right cookie cutter and the right ingredients. But one problem remains: how do you make just one cookie? Of course, since you don’t know how to make just one cookie, you find a recipe that makes a dozen. You make the dough, roll it out, and get ready to use your cookie cutter. But which part of the dough do Continue reading

Sleeping While the Kingdom Grows

Field

My family just returned from a couple weeks of vacation. It was a glorious opportunity to play, to sleep, to relax, to read good books, to spend time together — in short, to rest. What a blessing to be able to experience something of the balance that God intended when he established the rhythm of the universe in creation: day and night, work and rest. It is one thing to preach about this harmony in Genesis 1 (as I did a few months ago) and another thing completely to experience it. God ordered his creation in this way, work and Continue reading

Why Backyards Matter

What would you see if you looked in my backyard? A sandbox, a patio, some trees, a garden, a shed, some room for the kids to run, and a fence to keep them from running too far. At least, that’s what you’d see at first glance. But if you looked closer, you’d see more. Upon closer inspection, you would see that the grass is patchy. The retaining wall is leaning. The tree branches that are hanging precariously over my neighbour’s shed need to be cut back. The shed has a bees’ nest in the top and a chipmunk house in Continue reading

It’s a Strange Thing Being a Pastor

IMG_20120414_210412

Being a pastor is a strange thing. We proclaim a message with the power of God to change people, but we can’t even change ourselves. We call others to perfection, as Jesus did, but our lives are full of imperfection. We must shepherd like the Shepherd though we’re just one of the sheep. We seek to make Christ increase (though he’s invisible to human eyes) as we seek to decrease (though we stand in plain view week-by-week). We say numbers don’t matter, but long for many to be saved. We labour to grow the church, even though we realize each soul Continue reading

Please Pray for Your Pastor

study bible notes desk

Back at the end of February Stephen Altrogge wrote a very helpful post titled, ‘The Best Thing You Can Do for Your Pastor.’ In it he reminded us of the truth of 2 Corinthians 1.11: You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many. If the apostle Paul and his apostolic band needed prayer (and ‘the prayers of many’ at that!), then certainly ordinary pastors like me need prayer. Stephen then offered these practical tips on how to pray for your pastor, which I Continue reading