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 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.

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.

Pray for our leaders

This is probably gonna be a short post.

So this week, premier Kathleen Wynne announced that minimum wage in Ontario will be increased to $14 come January of 2018, and then $15 in January of 2019. The reaction to it has been mixed.

A lot of people at my work making minimum wage are thrilled. Others in higher positions there aren’t so much…cause now they’re wondering how the company is gonna keep everyone at the hours we’re getting. Other worries I’ve heard brought up are how are they going to afford the other changes (paid sick days and 3 week vacation) and the increase? How much will our prices have to go up? How much more will the cost of living go up? How many jobs will be lost? What about the small businesses? The increase is both great news and has some worrying aspects.

The point of this short post is to encourage y’all to pray for our leaders. It’s easy to just praise or slam them for this (and I’m not saying we shouldn’t do either of those things), but it’s a big deal with A LOT of impact and should be prayed about.

Pray for the small business owners – my brother in law being one of them (who has a really positive attitude about this, it was great seeing).

And pray for peoples jobs – that with these increases people won’t loose their jobs, or generosity to those who depend on financial support (missionaries, shelter staff, etc) won’t lessen.

This can be great stuff, but definitely needs much prayer.

Thanks for reading, and God bless my friends.

Check yourself (before you wreck yourself)

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on here something that wasn’t an interview. It’s been a bit of an up and down time, and I don’t know about y’all – but when its like that, I tend to plug myself into other/lighter/non-self reflective things. But God is good (that just needs to be said, always, to remind us how great He is).

Anyways, last sunday my awesome wife and I were listening to this older Francis Chan sermon and a particular chunk of it really walloped me ( or like a grace filled basketball to the face, as my boy Cameron Butryn would put it). I’d recommend listening to the whole thing anyway, but the proverbial b-ball to face is in the first 10-15mins.

My main take away (for the purpose of this post anyway) was something that I needed to be reminded of; that God doesn’t NEED me, and He doesn’t NEED me to advance the kingdom. I am NOT the clincher; We are not the clincher here, none of us are. God wants us, but doesn’t need us. He doesn’t need me to save anybody, but He can use me – and have plans for me. Nothing I can do can screw up God’s plan. Nothing I can do can ruin Him. Sure, I can misrepresent Him to others and I can point away from Him, but God can still save those people, and correct me.

After I left PYC, and in the frustration of this period of waiting and searching for a new ministry position, my attitude at times can be summed up perfectly by this Doctor Who
clip:

“But me? I could do so much more! SO MUCH MORE!”

And I could – if God chooses to use me for it. On my own? Not so much.

On my own strength, I can’t do anything for the kingdom. On my own strength, PYC and any of the ministries I was leading at Calvary didn’t advance an inch during my tenure there – but God was active through me, and I definitely think there was ground gained and gospel shared.  The truth is God doesn’t need me or my strength to advance the kingdom. But He used me and the volunteers to do just that, and on His strength we shared Him with the kids/volunteers/clients every week, we grew to know them more than before, and hopefully left a lasting impression/planted a seed.

There’s a comforting notion here in that we can’t do anything on our own strength, at least to me. And please, don’t get it twisted – I’m not saying we don’t do anything; on the contrary, we should do all that we are able to. But we/I need to keep in mind that it’s not me (or Jessica or Arron or Xander) who wins someone to Christ, but Christ using us to win others to Him.

This doesn’t give us license to be lazy in our walk, but it does take the pressure and (more often than I’d like to admit) the inflated sense of self off. (maybe that second part is more for me than you). We are not the clincher, that’s Jesus. To piggyback off of Cam’s sports analogies: Jesus the all star player, and we’re the ball He’s using to win the game. Without Him directing and using, we just bounce up and down and make the occasional funny noise.

Thanks for reading. I hope and pray this was helpful.

God bless my friends.