A podcast about porn

Today’s post is a link to an excellent podcast about the issue of pornography, which a dear brother in Christ sent me this morning; you can listen to by clicking this link right here.

Guys and gals (ladies and gents…dudes and dudettes), I seriously cannot recommend this podcast enough – you should really go an listen. They dive into the spiritual and scientific aspects of the negative impact porn has, and it is more than worth a listen. Porn is something that I truly believe is bad, and something I have had many difficulties with in the past. Please, give this a listen.

Praying it is as helpful to you as it was me.

God bless my friends.

 

A Chat With Fran Purvis

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Good afternoon friends! Today I am happy to share with you a new interview, one I got to conduct with a good friend of mine and missionary Fran Purvis. I met Fran back in high school years (good ol EYCI) in a ‘World Religions’ class. From there I had the pleasure of getting to know her more through mutual friends and the schools Christian fellowship. Over the years I’ve been blessed to support Fran in her mission with InterVarsity, and she was kind enough to take some time and answer some questions. Hope you enjoy my friends.

Can you share a bit about your testimony?

F: When I was 7 years old I asked Jesus to come into my heart- a sincere and heartfelt decision. Children can and do hear from their Creator, and they can make genuine decisions to know and follow him!  While I grew up in a spiritually nourishing household, there were also relational tensions within our home, and I struggled with anxiety and insecurity as a result, and between ages 12-18 I didn’t know how to grow in my faith without the presence of spiritual community outside my home.

In university I encountered the IVCF community of believers on my campus which really helped my own my faith, and heal from my identity issues and to see that I could be leader and an agent for the kingdom. I learned so much from them and really fell in love with Jesus at this time.

When did you feel the call missions?

F: My university community was really what helped me see that Jesus was about reaching out world and healing all things, people, relationships and creation! I was very captivated by this vision and was experiencing the goodness of mission in my own context. I felt a call to do full time missions at Urbana 09, but at that point I didn’t know what it meant. In my graduating year I decided to do an intern year with InterVarsity, and was placed In Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. That year was deeply formative for me, in providing me with a supervisor and mentor, Lisa Laird, who would encourage me to learn about the bigger story of Canada’s history, and to put myself in places where I could listen to and learn under Indigenous leadership- both Christian and non-Christian.

After that year, I was invited to join full time staff with IVCF, as a campus minister at the University of Regina. These past 5 years that I have served on staff I have grown in immeasurable ways as a follower of Jesus and a leader of others.  It has stretched me and forced me to see my own brokenness and need for healing; these years of learning to love and students have also challenged me to learn to offer this healing to them, through prayer ministry, community and scripture study.  In these years God has also widened my perspective of the gospel, in particular, God’s heart for reconciliation

 

What can you tell us about InterVarsity?

F: InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, who loved Jesus with a sincerity and devotion I hadn’t seen before- they let their whole lives be impacted by the gospel, but they also had room for my questions.  This community introduced me to a Jesus whose heart is to connect with women, the sick, the poor and the outcast, a Jesus whose kingdom is about reconciling, bridge-building, and restoring all things.

One of IVCF’s gifts is in helping people encounter Jesus in scripture, as well as creating authentic spaces for people to ask questions and wrestle through complexities. Also in creating genuine, loving community. IVCF is also trying to hold vision for multi ethnicity and ethnic justice which is quite unique for an Evangelical organization.

You’ve been on staff with InterVarsity with for a number of years. What roles have you had and what has your experience been like?

F: I have been a mentor, scripture teacher, led prayer meetings, led retreats, and have done admin tasks.  I have done missions work in China, Bangladesh and with Indigenous students here in Regina. Probably my favourite roles are leading prayer meetings, and helping students encounter the healing love of Jesus though prayer ministry. I also love doing any kind of cross cultural relating!  These relationships teach me so much!

What can you tell us about Urbana?

F: Thousands of students, including myself, receive a call to missions at Urbana. Urbana is an amazing chance to have your worldview and view of God’s global kingdom expanded. I have learned so much about God’s heart for the nations, and multicultural worship, from Urbana.

What have been some of your favourite experiences as a missionary?

F: I love seeing students experience Jesus, and to see them get caught up in the mission- to see that he is truly good and worth spending their lives on. Seeing students love their friends more and be more clear about why they follow Jesus, is awesome! I love a good, honest chat about faith and I love a solid Bible study that leaves people more in love with the Kingdom!

What would you say is a challenge facing missions?

Apathy and busyness. Students are so busy and it’s easy to be distracted!  Keeping Jesus at the centre, and having the mission be integrated into their lives (and my life) is essential.

Helping student grow roots in God through spiritual disciplines, like prayer, is a big issue too. Students need to learn to exercise these muscles, and there is alot that gets in the way (phones; socializing, not knowing how to spend time with God…)

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

F: C.S Lewis; Henri Nouewen, Thomas Merton, and Belden Lane.

How do you see the church at work in Saskatchewan?

F: The church here is visible, but seems separate from the rest of life.  The church is sincere and wants to make a difference, but struggles to make an actually difference to peoples’ lives.  There is a heart for revival though, and there is a growing desire to pray and worship and see God move.

Do you see any differences in church culture in Western Canada compared to the East?

F: The church here is more conservative.  Other than that, I’m not sure how to comment, such a big question!

And finally – what would you say to someone thinking of pursuing missions?

F: Pray and ask God to open doors; pray for partners in ministry (friends with similar vision and values).  Work on developing skills and character growth, and spiritual growth, rather than fixating on what specific place you are called to. God will clarify location, but when we’re starting out its good to think about our first ministry assignments as “training ground.” Listen to where Jesus might be calling you and even if it doesn’t make sense or its costly- say yes! Jesus is worth saying yes to every time!

 

Thanks for reading, I hope that the Lord somehow speaks to you through these interviews and through Fran today. God bless my friends.

The point of church should be Jesus

The above sermon was from 2011, but still holds up today. Now I’ll admit this is a sermon that takes one point and pummels us with it – but I like the point, and think it’s a good one. The other thing is during the many examples Fran Chan The Man gives to support his point, it DEFINITELY opens up possibility for discussion – so this could be a fun one to watch in a group – but also works by yourself (how do you feel about his overall point? do you agree with the conclusions he comes to with his examples? why/why not?).

Hope you all enjoy.

God bless my friends.

Free Speech

 

I remember having a conversation with some friends from church a couple of years ago. One was upset that there was a sign on the TTC from an atheist organization and thought it shouldn’t be allowed, but were thrilled there was a sign from a Christian organization. But even though I disagreed with the atheist ad, the truth was clear – if one ad was allowed to be there, the other had every right to as well.

Two quotes immediately come to mind when I think about free speech: “Sure, you’re free to do it, but what does it mean to do it?” and “living where there’s free speech means sometimes you get offended”. And in my opinion, both are right.

Right now there is a lot going on. A lot of people are upset, and they want to be heard – and they should be. But in turn they should also listen – and that doesn’t seem to be happening. The university protests are an example of this; people demand their side be heard, but then verbally harass, assault, shout at, browbeat, and turn violent on people who disagree with them. They come up with any number of terms to dismiss the other side without hearing them. That kind of response is not compatible with free speech.

Please don’t get it twisted, I’m not saying don’t be offended – but what I am saying is that if you want others to hear and listen to why you think and feel the way you do, you should be willing to hear their side. You could both learn something – even if you don’t change their mind.

Protesting Milo (or whomever, I needed an example) in the extreme ways that are going on should not be happening. Disagree with him by all means, even (peacefully) protest, but don’t block his chance to speak. Dare I say even listen – you may gain an understanding why people agree with his view.

Open dialogue is a good thing – it challenges us and helps us grow. Retreating to extreme safe spaces and only speaking to those who are like-minded doesn’t, nor does painting the other side in broad strokes based on stereotypes.

And please, if you need to protest, do it. You have a right to peaceful protest. But macing someone you don’t agree with, destroying property, spitting on widows, and assaulting people isn’t that. It doesn’t endear those your view – it shuts down any chance for understanding (ie; “why would I even listen to you talk about love when there’s all this hate in your ranks?”) to be found. What will be associated with the view is the terrible things being done, not the message you’re trying to convey.

All this post boils down to is this; please think before you speak (especially  to the Christians, as we are called to imitate Christ, which there’s not a lot of that happening, particularly online), and be willing to listen. Don’t try to silence others, you know you wouldn’t want that to happen to you or any of your loved ones. If you’re willing to talk, please be willing to listen.

Hope this post was enjoyable and leads to some conversation. God bless my friends.

The importance of church family

I will be straight up; I have not been going to church as much as I should – and I have not been plugged in. This isn’t good. It’s not okay. This is however something I am working on, and ask that you keep me in your prayers in this area.

Twice in the last month I have had the opportunity to go back to Toronto and visit Calvary for the sunday service, and both experiences meant a lot to me AND reminded me of something that is needed and missing from my life – a church family.

The most recent visit, especially, made me aware of this. Throughout the whole service I had people asking how I was (health wise), letting me know they had been praying for me. People I didn’t know knew I had been sick. People who genuinely cared about me had been asking my family and loved ones for updates since I had left. I found this incredibly touching, and it brought me much joy.

It reminded me how much the church can and does help ones soul. These people have throughout my whole life have poured their time, their care, their love, their teaching, their wisdom, their experiences, and their finances into my ministries and my life. God used them to help me grow. THAT’S AMAZING! And that’s something I think we can only find in a church community. We need to be going.

I’ma leave with two things. The first is that as much as we like to make excuses not to go to church, we need to. We are reminded several times in scripture of this.

The second is this sermon which my father in law preached at Calvary that sunday. Well worth a listen.

*the third (added this after innitially posting) is to a sermon about the church from a great friend of mine, which you can listen to (and I recommend you do) right here!

God bless my friends.

Visiting Narnia

Now unfortunately, not literally. No secret paths were found in my closet or dryer (which would explain where that one sock always disappears to). But I’ll be honest, between my last post and this one I’ve been really constantly reading into or about Narnia (barring a day reading an excellent Power Rangers comic). I want to read the books again. And I’ve started, I’m almost finished Prince Caspian.

Now, I’m loving the Christian symbolism in it. Or at least what I think is some symbolism. I’m not sure, maybe it’s just how I’m interpreting some of the stuff. So know from here on out (with the exception of Aslan, cause, that was CLEARLY INTENDED to be “what would Jesus be like if He existed in Narnia) that these are just my take. Your take could be quite different.

Edmund (probably my favourite character) represents both Judas (betrays his fam for 30 pieces of turkish delight), as well as the converted believer who still struggles with some of his darker traits (“this is no time for chivalry Pete” during the duel with Miraz), or still struggling with pride in the books (becoming quite flustered when his and his fam’s skills are questioned by Trumpkin). While Edmund struggles, he generally does what’s right and looks out for the others in a giving way.

Lucy excellently representing having the faith of the child. Even though she still stumbles with things like jealousy, she readily follows and believes in Aslan.

I’ll be honest, with Peter I struggle to find a deeper symbolism. I think he, like Edmund, represent the struggling believer. He deeply cares for and desires to help others, is a strong character, and a natural leader. However, he struggles with pride, stubbornness,  and impatience; which we see a lot of in the film version of Prince Caspian. But when he comes to his senses, he acts faithfully to his friends and to Aslan.

Now onto Susan, which may be the most interesting because of how many things she could represent. What we know is in The Last Battle, she wasn’t with her family, and was described as no longer a friend of/believing in Narnia, now viewing it as a make belief thing her family had as children. Lewis also had written a letter saying he planned to write a future book about Susan (apparently called Susan of Narnia), but passed away before he could. Lewis still gets a lot of (in my opinion, undo) flack about Susan, and her fate is still often debated, which is a testimony to the impact these stories have. Like I said, Susan could represent a lot of things; the good seed that fell among thorns (her thorns being materialism), her fate could represent the once saved always saved belief (“once a king or queen  of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia), she could represent the myriad of believers walk away after becoming distracted by/obsessed with non important things. It would have been great to know what happens with this character and to see what else Lewis had in store for her. But she could represent some of the things that are harder about the faith – not everyone who confesses believes. You hope they do, you pray they do, but sometimes the faith isn’t there.

In the Dawn Treader film, Eustace has a great line about about Aslan changing him back from a dragon into a boy; “It hurt, but in a good way, like taking a thorn out of your foot”. I found this to be a great metaphor for the sanctification process. Matt Chandler describes it better than I can; it’s an ongoing, painful process. But it’s a good pain.

Alright, that’s all I got for now. Hopefully this was as interesting to you guys as it was to me. I don’t know why, but lately I’ve been really drawn to this world that Lewis created. Don’t be surprised if more posts about it come.

Take care, and hope our amazing God blesses you today my friends.