Christmas Tradition

What’s your Christmas tradition? Was it started by you or handed down the family line?

Sometimes we go to lengths to keep a Christmas tradition as it means a lot to us.

Let me encourage you in that whatever your Christmas tradition is, do it in such a way that God’s light can shine through you so that those around you can see Jesus in what you do.

Remember, without Christ, there is no Christmas, so let’s add ‘giving thanks to God for sending Jesus’ to our Christmas Tradition. 

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”– Luke 2:13-14 (NIV)

Filtering our Thoughts

How are your thoughts these days?

With Christmas around the corner and the increased busyness of stores and roadways, I’m sure that we are getting lots of thoughts.

Also, when we are going through a trial, loss of a loved one or a faith building journey, our thoughts may not be positive, or God focused. How should we filter our thoughts?

I know that not all thoughts we have are good thoughts. How can we change this?

The bible encourages us to take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ- 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

Who are you working for?

Listening to the radio today, the speaker quoted Colossians 3:23-24. His context was that he is a writer and gets to work in his pajamas. However, he was not too keen on some of the deadlines his boss imposes on him. The point: even your dream job would have something you do not like.

This hit home for me. I took it as a timely reminder from God of what I need to do as I place my trust in Him.

Remember that God put us in our current job for a purpose and perhaps, we were placed at our job for a time like this.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)

Our Home

The late Billy Graham said, “My home is in Heaven. I’m just travelling through this world.”
This came to mind on Sunday as we received news of a dear Saint going to be with the Lord.

Her family will see her again, only next time it will be in Heaven. This is the assurance we have as believers and followers of Jesus Christ.

Let me encourage you to live your life intentionally knowing and declaring, “My home is in Heaven.”

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 2 Corinthians 5 (NIV)

Un-Common

The new sermon series we started on uncommon is a timely reminder that sometimes the things we need to do in order to achieve what God is leading us to do would appear to be uncommon in the eyes of the world.

Being uncommon in the eyes of the world is an opportunity to share with others our reason for being uncommon. We get to share Jesus with them.

When things around us are not lining up to what God’s word says, we need to have uncommon faith and hold on to our belief that He who started a good work in us will see it to completion (Philippians 1:6).

What kind of Thoughts are you Feeding?

I’ve learnt that what you don't feed dies.

What I mean here is if I usually have negative or wrong thoughts regarding serving in my ministry, doing something that will be beneficial to me or reading God’s word, I can choose to do something about it. Thus, if I don’t feed these negative or wrong thoughts, over time, they will become less frequent and eventually “die.”

I also learned that replacing negative or wrong thoughts with something positive is very useful and to do this, I go to the Bible for guidance and inspiration. One such bible verse is, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

Here are some more that you can personalize as follows:

-I am a child of God (John 1:12)

-The Holy Spirit lives in me (1 Cor. 3:16)

-I am not condemned by God (Rom. 8:1)

-I am assured that all things are working together for good (Rom. 8:28)

-I cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom. 8:35)

If you keep feeding ‘good thoughts’, they will grow and serve you well.

If you stop feeding ‘negative thoughts’, they will die.

Does your Age Matter?

Do you sometimes talk yourself out of doing something because of your age?

Maybe I am not old enough….

Maybe my time to do that has passed….

After hearing about one of our church members sharing her faith that resulted in her leading that person to Jesus, I celebrated. When I heard that she is 94 years of age, I said WOW!

That was a reminder to me that God can use me to accomplish His will, if I am obedient.

Is there something that God has been or is calling you to do? Let me encourage you to heed His call today, no matter what your age, after all, “age is just a number” as aptly demonstrated here.

That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. - 2 Corinthians 4 (NLT)

Being Willing

It was good to hear in church last Sunday about asking the Holy Spirit to break into our week so that we could break into someone’s week and help them on their journey with Jesus.

As God provides the opportunity, I pray that we will be obedient to do His will.

Being willing and obedient to following God’s will on these promptings and directions are faith builders.

I’m waiting with excitement to see how God will break into my days and hear how He broke into your days.

My HOPE

The word HOPE is still on my mind.

Without hope, we have nothing to hold on to and that is why the words of the song by David Crowder – All my Hope – is reminding me that Jesus is my hope.

The chorus of the song goes like this:

All my hope is in Jesus
Thank God my yesterday's gone
All my sins are forgiven
I've been washed by the blood

Tough times come and go, and we can make the tough times go away easier (and sometimes faster) if we anchor our hope on Jesus.

That’s why I will sing:

All my hope is in Jesus
Thank God my……

Make this one of your default encouragers.

We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone. - Psalm 33:20-22 (NLT)

Give Thanks

As Woodvale continues to be the hands and feet of Jesus as we assist the community post the tornado passing through the city of Ottawa, I would like to encourage you to give thanks.

Give thanks that you are alive, give thanks that you can help clean up, give thanks that you were protected, give thanks that God has blessed you to be a blessing to others specifically at this time.

As the church prepares to serve the traditional Thanksgiving Dinner this Friday to our community and those affected by the tornado, let us continue to pray for those affected.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.– Colossians 3:17 (NIV)

Does your Anchor Hold?

With all that has happened in our city last Friday, I could not help but think of those affected by the storm.

When trying times come, I am reminded of the hymn “My hope is built on nothing less.”

Here are a few versus from that hymn:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness
I dare not trust the sweetest frame
But wholly lean in Jesus' Name

When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil


Does your anchor hold?

Let’s keep those affected by the storm in our prayers.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.Hebrews 6:19 NIV

Walking close with Jesus

I wanted to share something that I heard recently and have been pondering.

The scripture is Mark 2:4 (NIV) - Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on.

The analogy was, the closer the paralyzed man got to Jesus, the further away he was going from his friends.

I am thinking that surely his friends were believers; after all, he could not get to Jesus on his own, he was carried by the four of them to Jesus. When Jesus saw their faith, he healed the paralyzed man (Mark 2:5).

The analogy may or may not be applicable to the story in Mark 2:4 but bears some truth in reality.

Have you ever encountered something like this in your life, in that, the closer you got to Jesus, you started getting further away from some of your friends?

Legacy

Have you thought about what you want your legacy to be?

Psalm 90:11-17 (NIV) provides some input as follows:

11 If only we knew the power of your anger!
Your wrathis as great as the fear that is your due.
12 Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.

13 Relent,Lord! How longwill it be?
Have compassion on your servants.
14 Satisfyus in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joyand be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.
16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,
    your splendor to their children.

17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.

Often times, when we think of legacy, we think of earthly treasures that we can leave behind for our love ones, things like money, jewellery, real estate, etc.

How about serving in the the kingdom of God and see that blessing flow through your generations to come as Man of Faith, Man of Prayer, Man of God! That’s a legacy!

What are you doing now that will outlive you?

Do you Believe the Truth?

Faith comes by hearing … and sometimes we hear things that are not true. For example, you did not believe that you were lazy or dumb ……until you heard someone said that about you.

What someone thinks about you does not have to become who you are, UNLESS you allow it.

Now that someone said that you are DUMB, you believe that you are dumb.

DUMB can be used as an acronym that means Don’t Underestimate Me Because God’s word says:

1)No weapon formed against me shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17)

2)I can do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13)

3)If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:31)

Feed your mind with God’s word. Build your belief system with what the bible says about you.

Did you answer the call?

Some of us need to be called by God more than once.

The Apostle Peter illustrates this point.

Jesus told Peter “Follow me.”

After Jesus was crucified, Peter went back to his comfort zone; being a fisher of fish.

Peter plied his trade all night and caught nothing. That’s when Jesus showed up and told Peter where to cast his net.

When Peter got that net breaking, boat sinking catch of fish, his eyes were opened, and he immediately left it and raced toward Jesus. [See John 21].

Isn’t it funny when God blesses you with the thing you are chasing but that’s not His call for your life?

When life gets tough, we sometimes go back to our comfort zone (as Peter went back to fishing for fish when Jesus called him to be a fisher of men).

What is God calling you to do?

Will you answer His call?

On Being a Leader

John Maxwell said, “The more followers see and hear their leader being consistent in action and word, the greater their consistency and loyalty. What they hear, they understand, what they see, they believe.”

This is what made Jesus such a great leader, he did not just talk the talk, the walk the talk. Many books have been written on Jesus’ leadership style. Jesus was always able to connect with people. His followers still find Him consistent in action and word today.

Whether you are in a leadership position or not today, try modeling His leadership style and ensure that your action and words line up.

Gifts

God gave us the perfect gift, His son Jesus.

I am sure that I speak for a lot of people when I say, “I like receiving gifts.”

Taking it a bit deeper, God has given each one of us at least one gift. Are you using yours? Are you operating in your gifting?

Some gifts (this is not the complete list of all the gifts) identified in Romans 12:6-8 are prophesying, serving, teaching, encouraging, giving, leadership, and mercy.

Using your gift or operating in your gifting will be a blessing to others.

Father, lead me so that I can use the gift(s) you’ve given me to be a blessing to someone who does not know you or someone who needs an encouragement from you. May my gift bring honour and glory to your name. In Jesus name. Amen

How has your summer reading of the Psalms and the book of Proverbs going? Enjoying it?

What’s your DREAM?

What’s your dream?

Are you doing something on a daily basis that gets you closer to your dream?

I was recently reminded of something that I heard a few years ago.

Where is the wealthiest place on earth? Is it the diamond fields? The gold mines? No…….one more guess….

Is it the Federal Reserve of the USA? Unfortunately, NO!

The wealthiest place on earth is the cemetery. Here lie unexplored dreams, dreams that were put on the back burner, dreams that people talked themselves out of. Some of these dreams include books and that were never written, songs that were not written or sung and technology/machines that were never invented.

Some people have a dream of doing something for the kingdom. Do you have a dream of reaching the lost for Jesus?

So, I ask again, What’s your dream? Do something today that will get you closer to realizing your dream.

Please sign up for the breakfast and/or workday coming up on September 22, 2018 here.

That Song

Do you have a song that brings a smile to your face and spring in your step? If you are feeling down, or just not in the mood, you listen to this song and BOOM! You are ready to conquer the world.

One song that does this for me is “Just a little talk with Jesus,” the Andy Griffith version.

It does not matter what the situation is, I just listen to this a few times and I feel like I am a changed person. My mood changes.

What song gets you going?

Please sign up for the breakfast and/or workday coming up on September 22, 2018 here.

Vacation Time

This is the time of the year that’s popular for vacation and it got me thinking if we can really disconnect from all that keeps us connected (emails, text messages, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) Just recently, the big thing was to be connected all the time.

Now, the big thing is not to be connected all the time. It not enough to have an out of office auto reply for emails when you are on vacation; you have to indicate that you WILL NOT be checking emails while you are on vacation or people expect you to reply.

Can you leave your mobile/cell phone at home when you go on vacation? Or, if you cannot leave your phone at home when you go on vacation, would you try not to post or update or check in or reply to emails and just enjoy your time away? You can update your network when you are back.

Recently, I forgot my cell phone at home when I went to work. My colleagues thought that I lost it when they found out that I forgot my cell phone at home and that I did not feel the need to go home and get it.

What’s your take? Can you truly disconnect by choice? Remember that practice makes improvement and you can start today to intentionally try and not be connected all the time.

Please sign up for the breakfast and/or workday coming up on September 22, 2018 here.