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Saturday, 24 May 2014

resting

I'm sitting here at home with my grandson, playing in the dirt, had a haircut earlier on, moved our trailer, and now am watching the rain come in. It's been a full and yet restful day; at least for my soul as it has been spent with those I love, helping others out, and just resting before going out to a gospel concert tonight with my wife. Today is a gift, not just because it's a day off from from the other six days which are filled with church oriented activities, but because it's been filled with connecting with those especially close to me.
This is what the whole Sabbath day off is really all about. It's a gift of time every week that God offers to spend time connecting with those especially close to us; think of God here, but also your church family. It's a time of playing as we laugh and share our week, but also a time of helping as we have opportunities to pray for and with each other. It's a day where we're given time to do helping activities with our church family for each other or within the community openly in the name of Jesus, worshiping God in our service and acts of love and grace. It's also a time to simply observe the world around you and the people in it and see how God is moving.
I often feel sorry for those who turn down God's gift of a day set aside to connect with him and each other, to serve others with each other, and to laugh and play with people important to me. For me as a pastor, Sunday often slips into being 'work,' though it is deeply satisfying and fulfilling work, it usually isn't about rest. This is why today, a Saturday, is my rest day, my Sabbath day as the Bible calls it. I thank God for offering it and I embrace it gladly as the gift it is. How about you, do you accept God's gift of a Sabbath day?

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

the language we use

I always find it interesting listening to how people express themselves. That doesn't mean I'm always impressed by how they express themselves, just in how. Over the years I've noticed a decline in how people express themselves; people tend to be much cruder than before. Now admittedly we often don't have very good examples when we listen to our politicians, sports or entertainment stars speak, however I also have to say that even in the church I sometimes cringe when I listen to how people engage in discussions and conversations, even when they're friendly. My father often said that you can tell a person;s intelligence by how they say things; those who swear and use foul language are obviously less intelligent as they are unable to express themselves without resorting to less than edifying language.
But it's in the casual expressions that I hear where I wonder when, as followers of Jesus, we need to be more of an example to the culture we're a part of. Here in Quebec, a very common expression is "Mon Dieu" or "My God." I know it's used in English as well, but you also hear Jesus' name used to express anger, frustration, excitement and in more ways that have nothing to do with talking with Jesus, and I wonder, why aren't we more offended? Why don't we speak up? My father told me right before I left home that he had only one precious thing to give me, my family name, and to protect it as my life reflected on the rest of my family; and I would also say my speech reflected on them too.
When God tells us to not use his name in ways that dishonour it, he's also protecting us and our reputation as his children. How you speak, the language you use reflects not only on you, but on God and all the other followers of Jesus. Perhaps if we thought more about God and each other as we look at how God tells us to live, we might understand how we are interconnected and how what we do does affects each other and God. I encourage to listen to yourself this week and think, "How does the way I'm saying this reflect on God and on the other people in my church family? Am I making them look good, or am I embarrassing them?"