Showing posts from August, 2017

Being a Living sacrifice- Rom 12

Romans 12:1-8
When I think of human sacrifice what comes to mind is the movie Joe Versus The Volcano. 

Tom Hanks plays a man who works in a dreary factory. One day Joe is diagnosed with a terminal disease that will kill him within 6 months. Joe quits his job and tries so spend his remaining time well. He is approached by a man who says he has been trying to extract a certain element from an island, but the islanders will only let him put a mine on their island if he provides a human sacrifice for them. The rich industrialist promises to pay for whatever Joe wants for him to live his last days as long as he jumps into the volcano as the needed sacrifice so he can start mining. … I won’t ruin the ending for you in case you haven’t seen it.   It is probably one of the more humorous examples of human sacrifice that come to mind. 
That is what it would mean to be a dead sacrifice- to throw yourself into a volcano. … What does it mean to be a living sacrifice? It no doubt takes as much courag…

Charlottesville, Jesus, and the Canaanite woman

Matthew 15:10-28
In Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12th we were reminded that racism is far from dead. Some of us are privileged enough to tell ourselves that it is a thing of the past, but when we are confronted with young white men waving swastikas that becomes an impossible story to believe. They shouted slogans like “blood and soil” which is a translation of a German phrase having to do with racial national identity that became particularly popular just before the Nazis rose to power in Germany. There were a number of white supremacist groups represented in Charlottesville protesting the removal of a confederate statue. People were seen doing the Nazi salute. These people were not hooded. They showed their faces and came with protective armor, and shields.

In case we think this is something that is only in the United States. Alberta has been called the center of the white supremacist movement in Canada. I remember being 20 years old in Red Deer and making a new friend who sho…

Joseph and the hidden God

Genesis 37:1-4, 12-28

Joseph’s story is one of the greatest stories ever told. like all great stories, we can’t predict the end from the beginning. Things often seem to get worse before they get better. What happens to Joseph doesn’t match what we think he deserves, which builds up a cry for justice within us. Joseph doesn’t seem to deserve any of the awful things he gets. He gets thrown into a pit, then he is sold into slavery. He is falsely accused of trying to rape his master’s wife and then is thrown into jail. (I’m skipping ahead in the story a bit, but I think Joseph’s story really can only be told with the end in mind).

The story of Joseph is for all those who struggle to see God’s action in their lives. Joseph’s story is a reminder that just because things are difficult and messy it doesn’t mean that God has forgotten about us. Joseph’s story is also a reminder that God’s will is bigger and more complicated than we can understand. Our ideas of God’s will are often overly simpl…

Wrestling with God

Genesis 32:22-31
I think sometimes we present the Christian life a bit too simplistically. We can sometimes make it sound like becoming a Christian will solve all your problems. We can respond to people’s complex problems with cliché’s like, “Let go and let God”. We can walk away feeling like we have reassured the person, but they are still left with their problems. When we oversimplify life with God we can run the risk of becoming like Job’s friends who tried to give Job simplistic explanations for his suffering. However, at the end of the book God says to Job’s friends that only Job spoke rightly about God, while the friends spoke falsely. Job brought his complex troubles and questions to God. We need to be careful about oversimplifying the Christian life.

Sometimes things do seem to go well and simply. We have moments in our lives when it seems like there is a flow. Our prayers are constant and easy. We read our Bibles and we are grounded and inspired. We meet life with faith, ho…