New website

Hey y’all! I am excited to announce that from here on out all my posts will be on my brand new website http://2099onecrossst.com/ which will be a combination of both blogs, and a place which you can out my brand new podcast ONE CROSS RADIO which you can also check out on the podbean app or site by clicking the link above. I hope you’ll consider coming over to the new site and keep following.

I’ll leave both blogs up for about a week, but they’ll be deleted in a week or so. Thanks for reading, and hope you come over to http://2099onecrossst.com/

God bless my friends!

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No real post, just some plugs

Things have been MAD busy lately, and mostly in a good way. Jill and I got a house (pretty sure I mentioned that), so we’ve been moving and painting and between the house and the apartment. I left one of my two jobs to focus on the other – where praise God, things have been going very well and I’ve been getting a bunch of hours (heck, I did a 16hr double saturday into sunday). With all that’s been going on, I haven’t had a chance to post on either here or The Other Blog in awhile. So today I thought I’d share another person’s blog with you that is one of my go to for satire and hilarity for all things Christian.

Matthew Pierce cracks me up like few others do (sorry, Babylon Bee). It can at times be thought provoking – but that’s not the aim, the aim is humor, and it hits its target (picture the guy getting shot by a chicken from an arrow in Hot Shot’s Part Duex). It’s irreverent, it’s sarcastic, it can be biting (but in a loving way), it’s odd, it’s weird (in that great “who the heck thinks of this? way), and it’s skewering of all things in Christendom (seriously, the parody of everyone from Jon Acuff through John Piper is spot on, as are his posts on certain kinds of sin). After all that build up, I hope you find it at least as half as entertaining as I do – cause you’ll be in for a lot of laughter even then.

So if you have some time to spare and want a laugh, head on over to http://matthewepierce.com/ and hopefully you’ll have a giant laugh, which is sorely needed.

Also, our friends over at Cardboard Koinonia have an awesome event coming up (in support of the Young Street Mission )which you can read about by clicking that link. If you live in the Toronto area, you should check it on out. Alternatively, if you’d like to support but can in person you can donate here.

Thanks for reading, and God bless my friends.

Being Thankful round 2 (FIGHT!!)

I could *not* resist putting that ‘FIGHT’ there. Seriously, as I was coming up with the title I could not stop hearing it (especially in that Mortal Kombat voice (MOORRTAAAALLL KOMBAT!!! Dodododododododo))… Anyways, as I write this I am listening to a strange mix of Metallica and the Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir, and it is getting me JACKED UP!!! Why did I share that? No idea. But let’s get to it.

So today’s short post is about (you guessed it) being thankful. And as always, there is much to be thankful to our awesome God for.

So a LOT has been going on lately. I got a new job at a local shelter, my wife and I just bought our first house, and I just finished a stretch of three weeks straight of work with no days off. With my new job since I’m on relief I essentially need to be ready to go to work at the drop of a dime if I can. I’ve got a lot of personal projects on the go/now on hold at the same time as well, so there is a lot happening. And this isn’t bad. None of this is, but it can be a lot of stress and easy to focus on the negative because of that stress.

Heck, I’ll give you a practical example: I’ve got a life long eye infection that acts up when I’m stressed or really tired (the latter of which has been a lot recently). The worst case scenario is that it will flare up – and as it does it will scar the cornea, and I will eventually lose (most of the) vision in my left eye. But praise God, that hasn’t happened yet and the thing is dormant still. But instead of focusing on the upsetting part of the possible eventuality, I can (and try to focus on being) thankful for the vision that I still have – the vision that God has blessed me with, and that I will (hopefully) have for quite some time.

Yes, we bought a house – so now more than ever money needs to be tight. But instead of focusing on that (and the stress that comes with it), and worrying about finances and work hours, I can focus on the fact that God has blessed me with two jobs, an incredibly supportive and giving family, and amazing friends.

It’s so easy for us to focus on the negative – and I’m not saying we should ignore that. But instead of ONLY focusing on that, we can find much to be thankful for in any situation – and for Christians, having a thankful attitude can create an avenue to point others to God.

This below essentially sums everything up:

what a privilege

Also, two more things. The first is that this typo free post was brought to you by Grammarly! Great app right there, free to add to your chrome (just plugging it cause it’s crazy cool). The second is our friends over at Cardboard Koinonia just shared a really interesting article (click me) about the history of board games, which is a great read. If you can, you should check it out.

Thanks for reading, hope and pray this was helpful and encouraging. God bless my friends.

A Chat With Matt and Jen Percy

So today’s interview is one I’m very excited to share with y’all. Matt and Jen are two people who I’ve been blessed to know as friends (and best friend, co-volunteer, coworker, in supervisor role, and as a volunteer for them) for much of my life – God has used them both to shape and inspire me. This year they started their Cardboard Koinonia ministry, and naturally I wanted to to know more about it. Matt and Jen thankfully both took time out of their busy schedules to answer those questions. Hope you enjoy.

cropped-ck-background

Could you share a bit about your testimony?

M: I grew up in a Christian household, not only that, but my parents were Salvation Army officers (Pastors) for the majority of my life at home. At age 5 I gave my heart to the Lord with the help of my Nan (Grandma) who was also an Officer. I always believed, and never doubted my faith or the existence of God but always wondered how God and the Bible fit in with what science and history says and what various scientists say. In my early twenties I began to lose interest in church, I found it boring and didn’t feel that it had anything to offer me and had no idea how to formulate or share my faith. That is until I discovered apologetics. I am a big history and science buff so learning that there was more to faith than just a blind leap was exciting.

J: I came to the Lord as a child and have grown in my knowledge and faith ever since. Like everyone, I’ve faced many ups and downs, but God has revealed himself to me in every circumstance and I have learned to be thankful and praise Him throughout every journey. Marrying Matt has deepened and strengthened my love for God, and His people. I’m excited for how He will use us both to further His kingdom through CK.

You both have been involved with a number of ministries – what can you tell us about them?

M: Growing up in the Salvation Army gives you ample opportunity to serve in all sorts of ways, I have helped with disaster relief, thrift stores, soup kitchens, family services, and youth groups. I have also been a regular part of the worship team as a drummer in each church I attend.

J: I’ve had the opportunity to serve in a few different ministries, 99% out of Calvary Church Toronto where I was born and raised. I’ve enjoyed leadership opportunities in both the Children and Youth ministries, and am currently a Worship Leader. I loved my time at Pape Youth Centre (Youth Unlimited, TYFC) working with you, Chris. I loved bringing the teens together and showing them the love of Jesus through hanging out, cooking, eating, and playing games.  


Why board games? What do you think makes them so interesting to you and others? Why is there such a growing community with them?

M: Board games have a unique way of bringing people together no matter who they are. People can sit at a table and have fun and connect regardless of social status, religion, or culture. I have played games with people from other countries, old and young, atheists, and agnostics as well as fellow believers. No matter who you are you are welcome at a table.

Can you share about the name – why Cardboard Koinonia?

M: Koinonia is a greek word that means christian fellowship, or communion with, God and/or other believers. This is the biggest part of our ministry. Most board games are made of cardboard so that’s where that part came from.


When did you first have the idea for Cardboard Koinonia? How long did it take to get the ball rolling and what steps did you need to take?

M: I have always wanted an excuse or an event that brings people together from various churches. It seems as though many people don’t associate very much with others beyond their own church building. I have also always loved board games and had previously planned game nights at our church just to get the church family together for some fun, we love hosting events and bringing people together. It really wasn’t until I began listening to the Game Store Prophets podcast and finding my way to their Facebook group, The Tavern, that I really figured out which direction it all needed to head. Early 2016 I came up with the name Cardboard Koinonia and started a facebook group of my own. From there we’ve grown it and built a facebook page, and a full website, we’ve had many more events, and I have had chances to talk to others doing similar things in their hometowns from California to Germany. We have been encouraged by the responses and help from others, and feel God calling us to continue with this ministry.


What are your goals with this ministry? What will you do if you can become a non-profit?

M: Our immediate goals are to get our website hosted and shorten our address so we’re a bit easier to find, having a few more awesome Game Nights, working with a great organization on a super secret event, and eventually turning Cardboard Koinonia into a charitable organization officially. This will allow us to raise money both for Cardboard Koinonia and other people and organizations. This will allow us to bring our gaming events to other churches, find our way to different conventions, and make us and our board games available to people that need us. Maybe people have just had a bad week and need to unwind, or maybe they feel as though they don’t really have friends or don’t belong. Lastly, we will be able to create and give away fun things like shirts, bags, and games.


Are there any resources (pastors, authors, theologians, websites) you learn from that you’d recommend to people to check out?

M: If you’re talking in general then I have a nice big list of Theologians, Philosophers, and Apologists that I enjoy and have learned a lot from. People like William Lane Craig, Frank Turek, Greg Koukl, J. Warner Wallace, and Lee Strobel being my favourites. In regards to games and God in particular I look to Mike Perna of Innroads Ministries who is an inspiration and sort of a involuntary mentor, Geeks Under Grace, Geekdom House, and Sam Healey and the Dice Steeple and Dice Tower have also inspired me to a lesser degree.


What do you both think is a challenge facing the church today?

M: I think too many kids are growing up not knowing what they believe and why, then when they are pressed regarding their faith they cannot give answers. Nearly half of the youth that leave Christianity do so because of intellectual difficulty. When challenged about their faith they don’t have a leg to stand on. People nowadays are overly skeptical and won’t believe anything unless there are facts to back it up.

J: I think it’s can be challenging to build relationships, and develop a strong sense of community, family, and belonging. There are many small groups within our church, but (as far as I know) there aren’t any cross-generational ones. I’d love more opportunities to break bread, laugh, cry, serve, learn, play, and grow with every age group.There’s a lot that can be learned from simply spending time with one another. I’d love to see the body become like the church mentioned in Acts 2.   


Do you find that more niche/out of the box ministries have more of an uphill battle (and if so, why)?

M: Yes and no, in the case of something like Geeks Under Grace or Innroads ministries, people are out there looking for a place where they belong, geeks in many cases had been relegated to the outside, churches were not equipped to know what to do with them, they were outsiders in most cases. These organisations give them a community, and know how to serve them the gospel and get them involved. The problem with niche ministries such as these is the amount of people that they minister to. If it wasn’t for the internet and being able to reach people from all over the world Geeks Under Grace and Gamechurch could not have grown to the sizes they have. Years ago it would have been near impossible, but we live in a time where the groups are available and at a time when I believe them to be most needed.


How can people support your ministry?

M: Prayers are always needed and appreciated. This ministry is nothing without God and his help. Secondly, check out our site and Facebook page. Comment, like, and share, let us know you’re out there and you like what we’re doing. Lastly, we currently have a GoFundMe campaign up and running to help us raise money to grow and get our ministry off on the right foot. Donations help pay for our website, events, and help us work towards becoming a charitable organization.


And finally, what would you both suggest to those who want to start their own ministry/non-profit organization?

M: If you already have something in mind, pray about it. God will let you know if that’s what you are supposed to do. Be passionate about it, work on it, think about it, and again pray about it everyday. If you don’t already have something in mind but you know you want to start a ministry figure out what you’re most passionate about, what are your favourite hobbies? How can you use that for others? Are you a carpenter? Build things for others. Are you an athlete? Start a kids sports program, or an adult one. Teach people how God can be glorified through sport.

J: Team up with others because you can’t do it alone! While you might think it’s “your baby| it’s actually God’s ministry and God’s plan and God’s timing. We were made to work together. Spread the word quickly, and ask your friends for help or suggestions. Everyone knows someone who could help with one thing or another.

If you’d like to learn more about Cardboard Koinonia, or if you’re loving what they’re about and would like/be able to financially contribute, you can do so by hitting up these links:

https://www.facebook.com/CardboardKoinonia/
https://cardboardkoinonia.wordpress.com/
https://www.gofundme.com/cardboardkoinonia

Thanks for reading my friends, I hope and pray that this was encouraging and beneficial for you. God bless my friends.

A collection of thoughts

So its been a very busy time recently – I got a second job, I’m trying to expand my horizons (job and hobby wise), been sick, had the blessing of being part of a wedding for my awesome brother in law Caleb and his wonderful wife Abbey (wooo new sister in law!). Been posting on The Other Blog 2099 A.D. more as its easier to do quick posts on it (and honestly, I can talk about that stuff at the drop of a dime where here I feel more prep is necessary), but I do have two interviews/A Chat With’s in the pipeline that I’m very excited about. And that’s where we are. I really want to post here, so this is kind of a collection of mini posts all rolled into one with most not being connected. With that in mind, let’s get to it.

As I write this, I’m listening to Weezer (or in my case, YEAHHHHHH WEEZER!!!). I don’t know why, but I’ve always found them to be excellent writing music. At one time I was writing a script (cause why not) titled Perfect Situation, and just found the song fit the story I was doing so well (and the story was far from a perfect situation). I never finished though, I got some (quite true) feedback on the three scenes I had written that some of the characters were just exposition machines (and not really characters)…and I didn’t know how to change that, and being younger I just stopped writing it altogether. I’d like to revisit it someday and finish it.

Why are we Christians (at times) so quick to jump to condemnation of our ‘celebrities’? I’m not talking about calling out false teaching (though when that happens, the line often does get crossed to personal attack) or encouraging repentance – those things NEED to be done. I’m talking about out and out attacking – we saw it with Mark Driscoll (though there was some honest and good calling out for repentance and concern of doctrine and style, though unfortunately little of it was), and we see it virtually every time Lecrae posts on instagram, with comments like “you eating dinner with that person clearly shows you’re walking away” and attitudes like “Jesus wants us to be united and when you post these opinions (as a black man in a racially tense America) all you’re doing is being divisive!”. Where’s the prayer for these guys? Or trust that those in their circles (who know them better and see their actions and hearts much more than we do) will speak to and lovingly rebuke them when needed? Or the proper way to address concerns in (firm) love and not condemnation? We gotta work on this people. Thankfully, I can say it’s more of an individual/group of Christians problem than a problem of the whole church, at least from what I’ve seen.

Ongoingly (not a word but should be), even with things being so busy, all I can think is praise be to God. Even when things have been rough He is great. Recently I got to be a part of a wedding (as mentioned up top) – and it such a blessing. Seeing two people follow His call, rejoice in His name, and having the chance to catch up with some amazing fellow believers was so fun and regenerating. I cannot say it enough, God is good and praise be to  Him.

I also gotta say, the church is good too. It’s easy to rip on the church, complain about it, say ‘whats wrong with’ it (and why it’s always loosing millennials). This kinda ties back to an earlier point, I’m just not seeing this being done in a constructive or loving way – something I’ve been guilty of in the past. Yes, the church has and does make mistakes – and it’s learning from them (actually engaging in discussion about sex/sexual issues, and struggles with pornography are examples of this). But the church is also very good. We need to talk about and recognize this more, especially when we blog and talk online. The church is often on the frontline when a disaster strikes (sending money, missionaries, and providing much relief (both physical and spiritual), and many are involved with their local communities (providing food, shelter, programs (like ESL), dinners, drop ins for youth, food banks, supplies for other community programs, sending out volunteers, amongst MANY other things). I’m not saying we shouldn’t call out things – on the contrary, we need to. But we also need to build up the church – and I don’t see enough of that. So I will try to do my part on that, and hope you all will do.

Plug time? Plug time. These are all blogs and websites from people I know (and am getting to know more) and love, and are well worth checking out:

Pastor Dave Lombardo –  great blog (http://www.davidlombardo.com/)
Katie Thomas – an excellent travelling blog (http://www.thewanderingdiary.com/)

And, as always;  Cameron Butryn – great blog (http://www.cameronbutryn.com/blog)
I hope and pray this post was helpful and encouraging. God bless my friends.

Friendship – Pastor Dave Lombardo

 

So this sermon is from my dear friend Pastor Dave Lombardo. It’s a guest talk in a sex series from the Upper Room Community Church (a series I’m definitely gonna be checking out later). I’ll link up to the website so you can download the audio of it if you can’t watch the video. Some really great God inspired truth in here. Well worth a listen.

(click me to go to the upper room website to get the audio)

Hope you enjoy, and God bless you all my friends.

Sometimes, we need to lay down our rights and put others first.

This isn’t going to be a long post, it’s something that just kinda hit me while doing a lecture with Gordon Conwell this morning after the speaker (Dr McDonough) addressed it: we need to measure our rights (and entitlements, as these often go hand in hand unfortunately) and put them behind/below our love for others.

Now let me unpack that a little, cause what I’m talking about doesn’t have to do with censorship or forfeiting your human rights. I mean applying very practical biblical principles to your life. You have a right to free speech and to express yourself – but if you know what you say is going to cause hurt or sin in your brother or sister, it may be better to lay down that right at that time. Now there are some exceptions here/’within reasons’: if this is in loving rebuke, you need to say something – it will upset, and hopefully convict and lead to growth – it will be the good (hopefully sanctifying) kind of hurt. We need to be able to call out what is sin, and do what we can to help that person rectify and change that behaviour. The other exception would be if this person gets offended by everything (beyond reason) – you don’t be a jerk, but you can’t not say anything.

You have a right to drink. As Christians we are free to drink (though not get drunk or become mastered by it). However, if you have a brother or sister with you who may stumble because they can’t stop once they start drinking (or have had alcoholic’s in their family, or even simply aren’t comfortable with it) – it would be better to lay down that right that time than to give an avenue for them to sin. I know you personally don’t control their actions, but we’re called to look out for our brothers and love our neighbors as ourselves, and if we know what we’re gonna do can cause an issue for them we should probably (again, certain exceptions) not do it. All things are lawful but some aren’t beneficial, and even though it might be for you it may not be for your brother or sister in Christ. At that time it would ultimately be beneficial to lay down that right.

Those are just two examples, and I’m sure you can think of more.

This whole post is coming out of this morning’s lecture, where Dr McDonough made the point that if Jesus hadn’t forfeit His rights none of us would have been saved from God’s just judgement. Jesus set aside His rights and put us first before himself. I know you can say “well that was God’s plan”, but it is still something we can model. If Jesus had acted like we do with our rights (again, where we can very frequently become entitled with them), He wouldn’t have gone to the cross for us. This all boils down to us needing to humble and lower ourselves, something the opposite of what we’re told by the rest of the world (“go get yours son, by whatever means necessary”), and treat others how we like to be treated.

We need to lay this before God. Look to Jesus, and walk with and emulate Him.

I hope this made sense, and pray it was helpful.

God bless my friends.