Category: Faith

The Journey of Conscience

I was reading Watchman Nee’s Spiritual Man and finally got to the section about conscience.  What an excellent book, by the way, if you are really hungry to  know how spiritual stuff works for God’s people.

In this section, Nee explains the conscience as being a ‘monitor’ of God’s highest will for His children today.  He writes about how conscience will reveal things at different times for different people for different reasons.  While I was reading an analogy came to me which I jotted down.  This analogy really helped me bring the spiritual mechanism of the conscience to a more earthly level.

We are supposed to walk in the light as He is in the light (1 John 1:7).  And since there weren’t cars then and walking was probably a pretty normal mode of transportation, we could say this walking is a journey.  And Jesus also made it clear that the journey will not be an easy one.  He said ‘strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life and few find it” (Matt 7:14).  Now, let’s convert this difficult journey of walking in the light into a road trip into a standard road trip.

Most people today use GPS.  Ironically, I don’t but that’s just an interesting aside.  Perhaps I don’t use it because I’ve observed the behaviour of its users… anyway.  The GPS shows our current position on the journey.  It’s a monitor that we are on the right path.  Let’s call the GPS our conscience.

Behold! A tree has fallen across the road that the Lord God Almighty has beforehand shown us we must travel.  Let us call this tree ‘sin’ because it is an obstacle to our great journey of walking in the light and enjoying perfect fellowship with God.

Note that this pesky tree was *not* shown us on our GPS just hours before.  Everything was bliss and clear sailing.  So far as we thought we were free like the proverbial seagull. Yet now we have halted and this tree must be dealt with.  Although difficult cutting, you have a pocket knife if your glove box and there is no question that with enough will you could cut through it.  You could also use your brain and reason and likely find other ways to remove this thing which is preventing you from staying on the right path.  Let’s call the removal of this tree as ‘dealing with sin by the blood of the lamb and the cross’.

But, lo!  What is that over yonder?  You look to the right and note a very well paved cement road. It’s very wide and a lot of cars seem to be driving down it.  It would only take a second and you will be moving again.  Then, since it’s going ‘roughly the same direction’, you’ll just find your way back to the path that God ordained a little later.  Yes.  Indeed this is a much easier way.

So you turn right.

Life is good.

You turn the stereo back on and start driving.  You are following a few nice cars and everyone in their cars seem like they are really doing well.  These people are the Sunday church people, you noticed, so surely they are on the right path!  But you noticed something else…. your GPS signal is dead.  Completely dead.  It just shows your car stopped back at the tree.

No problem. You are following these other church people so you keep going.  It starts getting dark and there are less and less people on this road.  Within a short time you are alone.  And it’s dark.

You cry out for help and no one responds.  Just a big, empty void.

Then you hear other cries for help.  Go figure… Those church people are lost in the dark too!  They must have been following each other just like you were.

Fear sets in.

How you long for the days when your GPS was assisting you and you had bold confidence that you were on the right path.

How badly you wished that you just dealt with that tree on the road.

 

 

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They Hate Truth and Love Their Fathers’ Lies

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. – John 8:44

I used to ask questions in biology and geology classes in high school.  I was shown the classic images about how we came from biological soup and ultimately evolved into humans.

monkey-man

Such imaginative stories!

But I had no other teachings about other theories.  Nothing.  I didn’t grow up with the creation story and I assumed that there was no chance that a public school would be allowed to teach lies because that would be unethical.

But I was wrong – very wrong.

A few years later someone explained the biblical story of creation which resonated so deeply in my soul as true that I could almost hear alarm bells ringing.  However, I was already deeply mis-educated.  I had already been brain-scummed (as opposed to brainwashed) with beefdirt (as opposed to hogwash) by the system.  The two theories, neither of which have physical proof that can be put into a test tube, can co-exist.  You cannot believe in one and believe the other.  The creation explanation comes from a Book that says ‘every word in here is true’ so to believe that some story outside of the Book can explain our creation is impossible.  Many well-meaning partial Bible believers have tried to mesh the two together only to be left with a watered down faith in the Book they claim to believe.  They take the position that if something in the Bible doesn’t mesh with what they have been taught as truth in school that the Bible is an old piece of literature with a bit of poetry and room for interpretation.  One gentleman, when I confronted him about his position of trying to believe both the Bible and evolution, proposed to me the idea that at the time of the Bible people were ‘more simple’ and so to teach these dense little archaic people about their origins, they had to ‘dumb it down a bit’.  It had to be put into simple stories like the creation story in the Bible.  You see, the people of that time were unable to understand ‘science’ and the very complicated idea that a monkey boy can become a human man if you just add enough zeros to the number of years it takes to do something like this…

???

HAHAHAHAHA!

Sorry, sometimes it just slips out…

The theory of evolution comes from unbelievers who say that we are meaningless dust floating in randomness heading nowhere fast and that God is just the by-product of humans evolving and becoming more self aware.

The two ideas are in stark contrast and cannot co-exist.  But this makes sense because one is a lie and the other is true.

The truth will always resonate as true in your heart.  But sometimes selfish forces will dominate our desire for truth.  For example, you might be working for a big, stale operating system software company and someone approaches you and says “Your company is going down forever.  They have failed to innovate.  They are past the point of no return. They are doomed.”  Deep in your heart, you know it’s true.  You know all the competitors are better, cheaper, hipper, etc.  But your job is so comfortable.  Your life is so stable.  You cannot believe this truth that the messenger is delivering.  Your selfish voices of the flesh cry out against the truth and say “I will not believe it! If I do, I will have to change!” And you continue in your lie until you are ultimately faced with the thing you knew to be true when everyone gets their pink slips.

I recently posted this article that proposed the idea that the earth may in fact be flat.  I was very intrigued by the reactions I would receive from people when I simply presented the idea.  For a few months I was somewhat bothered by how people would begin (and usually end) the discussion with ridicule, but I am no longer bothered.  In fact, I would be surprised if they did not react this way because most people are children of the father of lies – Satan.  That’s right.  I said it.  I didn’t water it down.  Most people are on the wide and easy path to eternal destruction.  They refuse to follow the narrow path presented by Jesus which is the path of truth.  Not that I have actually focused on this yet, but I don’t recall whether or not Jesus referenced the flat or globular earth in his earthly ministry, but if He did, it surely would have been rejected, because the recipients of His truth were of their father the devil and hated the truth.  Think about it. He opened the blind eyes, healed the sick, cast out devils, raised the dead and to thank Him for these blessings in their community they tried to kill the guy he raised from the dead and then whipped him and stuck him on a cross to bleed to death.

People of the world hate the truth.

People of God love the truth.

There you have it. Simple.

Don’t be so frustrated any more when you find something that is true and people reject it.  They have selfish reasons to reject it.  They have much to lose in this world and by even considering most truths they are forced to take a long, hard look at their depleted and empty lives and feel the shakiness of the sandy foundation upon which they have built their lives.

The truth is painfully hard to bear.  It always has been.  It always will be.

And so it is via lies that Satan operates and keeps his children in full submission and obedience even unto death and eternal damnation.  It is via strong lies that the anti-Christ will establish his throne in the earthly system as written in this letter to the saints (underline added):

Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [will let], until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: [Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2: 5-12)

Yep, suck it up buttercup.  Not only can you have the lies that you already believe in, but God is going to throw you a little cherry on top to make sure that your insatiable love for lies is satisfied at the Lie Buffet with a big ol’ rich piece of tiramisu lie cake.

So what is this strong delusion?  The Bible predicts in no secret language that a strong deception will be set up for truth-haters to consume as a spiritual nail in their coffin.  So what is on the menu?  What lies have been perpetrated throughout the earth on a global scale which are in clear contrast with the God of the Bible?  I believe there are three major ones and the last one only recently did I discover:

  1. Evolution
  2. Aliens
  3. Globular earth

As I continue to do my due diligence on the round/flat earth discussionN (I’m fairly new), it would seem shocking to me if the flat earth were *not* true based just on the following fundamental reasons:

  1. Every observation from my senses say ‘it’s flat’
  2. The Bible says it’s flat and the focal point of God’s creation
  3. There is incredibly strong opposition to the very discussion of it (much like the Creation story)

All three of these ideas/lies work in synergy.

All three of these work diligently to erode faith in the written word of God.

Observe the symbiosis:

-You cannot have aliens without space, planets, galaxies, NASA, etc

-You cannot (easily) have space, without the globular, heliocentric earth model

-You cannot explain our existence without evolution (or aliens), if you believe in the current heliocentric floating-through-random-space model

If you believe the Biblical creation story:

-You cannot believe in aliens if you believe in the creation story (there is no mention of any other life but ours)

-You cannot believe that we are randomly floating through space because uncountable scriptures show that the earth is a flat circle with foundations at the centre of all creation, with the sun and moon in motion over the earth, and with humans at the centre of the drama.

-You cannot believe in evolution while believing in the God of the Bible because God said He created it all with seeds already in each type of creation – a total contrast from survival of the fittest concept

And so I begin the journey for truth.

I love the truth far too much to simply join the masses for the sake of comfort.

I would rather be lonely in truth then with many people in deception.

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Light/Life.

Join me in my pursuit of truth.

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Flat Earth vs Globe Earth and Why it Matters to You

It has taken me about three months to put out this first post on this topic. It took about two of those three months to process the emotional elements associated with a paradigm shift and the remaining month to more positively embrace and learn about what originally seemed as an archaic and outlandish pile of beefdirt (slightly different from hogwash).

Before considering anything, I want you to first try an experiment. Regardless of what you believe about anything, I want you to approach someone, perhaps a teacher, a lawyer, or someone else of repute and simply make a statement. In order to get them to cooperate, I recommend prefacing the questions with something like this: “I wanted to get your feedback on a few people I know and their positions on things”  The first survey question is this:

“Someone I know believes that earth is a kind of experiment and that aliens from another planet put us here. This guy basically believes in aliens. What do you think?”

Now, we are not looking here for their opinion, nor do we care about our own. What we are looking for is their *reaction*.  Now it’s time for the second question to the same person:

“Someone else I know believes that there is a God. Like a real person who created the whole world. What do you think about this?”

Again, we don’t care about their opinion or ours, just their *reaction*. Finally, the third and final one:

“This other guy I know believes that the earth is flat and that everything we’ve been taught in our textbooks about the ‘ball earth’ may not be true.”

And note the reaction between all three.

It has been my experience that people will react politely and with respect to the first two. They may disagree, think they are ridiculous or like a fairy tail, but there still an element of respect in the way they communicate. However, what is most intriguing to me is that when someone is presented with the idea that the earth is flat, for some reason this one creates a very clear reaction. It goes like this:

1. Shocked Disbelief

In this first stage you typically hear things like “You’ve got to be joking, right?” and “You aren’t serious, are you?” and “HA, HA, HA!!!”

2. Insulting Ridicule

During this stage, and it comes right away, statements like “Did this person even go to elementary school?” and “Did this person die in the dark ages and wake up today?” or even things like “Does this person even have a brain?”  The tone is often quite insulting and loaded with ridicule -akin perhaps to an adult who believes in Santa.

3.  Separation

During this stage you will notice that people around the flat earther who is considering the idea that the earth might be flat will be treated as if they had just dropped a nasty fart.  Slowly and politely people start separating from them and try to avoid being connected with this person.  This person is now socially awkward.  Keep in mind that green aliens were not…

4. Anger

Should the person who is considering the flat earth model make it through stages 1 to 3, the next stage is more challenging.  Family, friends and anyone else in the tight circle will begin to get a bit angry.  Without any in depth study of the model, they will make bold statements such as ‘You’re wrong” and “You need to drop this flat earth thing” and “You are crazy and I don’t want to talk about this any more” or “Seriously, WTF is wrong with you?”  You know – angry statements.

So unlike the alien or deities, for some odd reason this topic shakes people up.  It really gets to their core.  It stirs something up inside of them that other discussion topics don’t.  I was left to truly ponder this and think about why it was that such emotions and reactions were incited.  In fact, it was these reactions that propelled me to study it beyond a surface glance.

Then I thought about 9/11.

The 9/11 incident used to be in a similar position.  When Loose Change came out, it was highly unpopular to discuss the possibility that a power higher than the public authorities and governments may have been involved in the destruction of the buildings and the innocent lives on USA land.  Yet after much investigation it is quite obvious that there is either ‘significant proof’ or ‘a strong reason to dispute the public report’.  Yet, all of the above stages/reactions could be observed if one were to present such an unpopular idea.

Yet, many of the people I know who believe that 9/11 was an inside job still display the above stages towards me when I present the flat earth idea to them.  Even though there is significant physical evidence to support the model, the reactions overpower the willingness to look.

So I was forced again to think about why the flat earth is even more unpopular than 9/11 as a inside job.  I have now concluded that the reason is quite simple.

The Bible clearly preaches the flat earth model.

The world hates God, has an agenda against the Bible, and fights tooth and nail against all truth found therein.

Other such examples of faith-based emotion-stirring topics are:

  • we evolved from monkeys randomly  VS a loving God created us thoughtfully
  • me and my interests are most important VS God and God’s interests are most important
  • store up treasures in earth VS store up treasures in heaven
  • if someone hits you, hit them back VS if someone hits you, turn and let them hit the other cheek, too
  • if someone wrongs you, it’s ok to hate them VS forgive your enemy continually
  • divorce is ok VS divorce is not ok
  • abortion is ok VS abortion is not ok
  • homosexuality is normal VS homosexuality is not normal
  • we are specks of random dust, on a random ball, flying through space VS we are created beings, on a flat surface on the centre stage of everything God made for us

And so my conclusion is that in order for this topic to be so vehemently opposed, and with such gusto, there must be truly something here worth investigating further.

Stay tuned as I slowly explore this most interesting topic.

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How to Make Joshua 13-21 Hyper Exciting

Joshua 13-21 is the part of the Bible where God divides the land to the 12 tribes.  I have read this many times and it’s a little… boring. The Word of God ‘boring’???  Sin! Repent!

No.  Some parts of the Word of God are boring.  Of course they are “exciting because it’s the Word of God and God is speaking to you”, but… the content (of some parts) is boring to me. It’s important, but it’s boring.  Like, who wants to read about borders and city names, especially when the map is totally different today?  It’s like how music theory or in-class driving classes are boring and jamming out and driving fast is more fun or… ANYWAY!

I love the Bible and great news! I found a really cool link to make chapters Joshua 13-21 *way more fun*.  Check this map out, zoom in on the details and try to find all the places on this map as you read your Bible.  It’s in Spanish or some etymologically-similar language that I don’t know but the names are pretty close.  And I really love this map because somebody made it *by hand*! Someone must have really loved their Bible and/or found it too boring to read these sections without the visuals. Someone dedicated a *big* part of their life to making *our* Bible time more fun so I’m super thankful:

AWESOME 1759 HAND MADE MAP OF THE DIVISION OF LAND TO 12 TRIBES

Source wikipedia link

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Church Worship Music: The Good, Bad, Ugly, Right, and Wrong

Music – it’s just so personal.

Musical Theory Crash Course – What is Music?

Let’s, for a second talk about music on a secular (wordly) level.  It’s composed of melody, harmony and rhythm.  Theoretically, then, a computer can write a song by adding all of these elements in some way and create ‘music’.  And computers can and do this. On a secular level, it’s actually pretty good. So let’s be clear that music can also be 100% impersonal.

Genres are really just a ‘tendency’ of one or more of the three components above to follow similar patterns.  I happen to really like reggae as a genre and the reason is syncopation or ‘off beat’ rhythms.  Instead of a typical rock beat which goes:

one-and-TWO-and-three-and-FOUR-and

reggae goes:

one-AND-two-AND-three-AND-four-AND

So ‘reggae’ would follow a ‘tendency’ to do that or similar rhythm and would therefore be considered a ‘reggae rhythm’.  There are, of course, other elements like the place where the bass comes in which is so different from standard rock as well.

And don’t think that church music is without genres and this is part of the discussion of this blog post.  But if you were to step back there are two major ‘church genres’: the hymn and what Koreans call ‘CCM’ or what English speaking countries tend to call ‘Praise & Worship Music’.  Now, on that topic, let’s start this blog with some FUN!  Because I’m all about fun whenever possible, even if people get upset.

The Ugly

Note before clicking: do *NOT* go to the red URL because it seems to go to some very potentially *bad* places, although I haven’t researched nor will I.

Is it possible to make worse music for God?  It’s music like this that has turned a lot of people away from Jesus I think! What the heaven genre is this?  “Mullet Praise”?  Dear God have mercy…

Let’s stick with this fun theme and watch another one, shall we?

Note before clicking: Based on my own research I cannot support Amazon (who owns Audible) or Facebook, so please do not support what he is selling until you have done your own due diligence.

How to write a perfect “Praise and Worship Song” (CCM):

This same guy made this similarly funny video.

The Problem with Christian Bands

 

But this topic of music is not actually that ‘funny’ in the church.  I heard a statistic that I have never been willing to research myself but that I believed immediately upon hearing which went like this: “Music is the number one cause of all church splits”.  As soon as I heard it, I believed.

When I became a disciple of Jesus I was coming from a rock and roll garage band kind of background.  I was the typical teen with the guitar and amp and even made a little headway with our little band.  Although music was, before I met Jesus, my god and idol, when I came to the church I realized that music was still important.  Ever since then, and it has been over 20 years now, I have wanted to take a deeper look at what music is, what it should be, and why it’s so impacting.  This blog post is supposed to just whet the whistle on the topic and hopefully spur some comments from people around me and out there so that I can build on the study and leave something useful out there for the body of Christ.

We’ve had some laughs, we’ve drunk some milk, but now let’s get into the meat (even though I’m trying to be a vegetarian).  A Korean sister in the Lord found this video.  I searched both high and low trying to find it in English because a) I want to know who this dude is so I can give him some credit and b) I desperately want to watch part 2 of this series.  Anyway, if you speak either English or Korea, this video should be amazingly beneficial to you on this topic.  If you know who this guy is, please throw some comments below and let me know:

Details about music, genres, right, wrong, harmony, melody, rhythm as it pertains to the church and worship

 

But for me, it didn’t stop there.  There is more to discuss.  Here is a good video to watch where a hip hop reggae Christian artist dude asks a very important and personal question: Why do some churches reject his music?  Please watch especially the response from Ravi Zacharias at the end.

Why do some churches reject my music genre?

 

The first speaker answers with a very bold and, in my opinion overly generalized way when he said ‘If you reject a certain kind of music there is something wrong with you.”  I totally disagree.  There may be very good reasons to reject a certain kind or genre of music as we shall hopefully study over the next few months as I find time.

He also mentions the idea that ‘you can reach people with music’ and his implication is therefore ‘so you should use music as a tool to reach people’.  I am now of the opinion that this is a very dangerous position to take because I agree that music is, at the very roots, a tool: a tool of expression of the soul, a motivation tool, a tool of influence, a tool of worship, and many more applications.  But if a tool is powerful, the person using the tool must understand what the tool is, the benefits and dangers of the tool, the right and wrong time to use the tool, and essentially be well grounded in the usage of said tool.  To just throw a ‘Christian band’ in front of your church and ask people to participate in whatever they lead you to do is, in my opinion, opening yourself up to some problems.  Refer to the ‘Problems with Christian Bands’ video above.

I believe that Ravi’s answer was more grounded and has within it the core issues that need to be addressed when discussing music.

Music is the Language of the Soul

Ravi said ‘Music is the language of the soul’ – and how correct he is.  But this brings us to the most fundamental problem in the church today: no one knows what the soul is, let alone that there is a difference between the soul and the spirit!  To get immediately educated on the topic, I recommend that you go and buy Watchman Nee’s “The Spiritual Man”.  I regret so deeply that I had this book on my shelf for nearly 20 years and never opened it until now.  Now and only now things are starting to make sense in the world as this teaching of body, soul, and spirit comes alive.

What is the Soul?

As a quick snap shot, the soul is composed of the mind, the will, and the emotions.  Simple as that. But as it pertains to music, you will note that *unsaved sinners* all have a mind, a will and emotions!  And herein lies the greatest danger – what is the *spirit* behind the music?  Is the person leading you into worship even saved?  Are they born again?  Are you sure?  Or, are they leading you down a pathway to *their soul*?  And who is the master of their soul?  Is it Jesus?  Do you know?  Are you sure?

I’m not going to pretend to scratch the surface of this topic but I hope that up to now I have spurned some ideas and that we will be able to walk down a very deep path towards truth on this topic of music in the church and in worship.

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Should Yoga be Taught in BC Public Schools?

UPDATES: RESPONSES below added

 

 

The following is a real dialogue between a British Columbia parent who didn’t like the idea of their child doing yoga without their permission in what they thought was a secular school.  Note that the parent received no further communication after sending their time-consuming response below:

Original Email written by Teacher to Parent

Mrs. “Grade One Teacher” has expressed that you are concerned about ‘yoga’ done during Physical Education/ movement classes that I teach to the grade ones.

I want to assure you that there is absolutely no religious/nor any teaching of where ‘yoga’ has come from.  Instead, as per what the B.C. curriculum asks teachers to teach, ‘yoga’ or ‘stretching’ as we often  call it, is focuses on stretching our bodies safely to prevent injury. Some of the stretches are a little harder to do than others, and the students are always told and reassured to try out the stretches but to listen to their bodies and not do anything that will hurt themselves.

Part of the curriculum for Physical Education is to talk about ‘healthy living’ and students often talk about stretches that they do when they play soccer, baseball etc.  The terms ‘yoga’ and ‘stretching’ have been
used in class interchangeably, as many students practice yoga outside of school and recognize some of these stretches mimic yoga moves and stretches.

Please let me know if you have any further questions,

Response from Parent to Teacher

Hello “Teacher”

Sorry for the late reply.

Thanks for your email and for taking the time to send us an email in regards to our concerns.  You are correct that we are concerned.

Here is a quick link to show that we are not alone in our concern about the introduction of yoga into the public school system:
http://bismarcktribune.com/lifestyles/health-med-fit/school-adds-yoga-to-physical-education-curriculum/article_824bc80e-4807-11e2-8f30-001a4bcf887a.html

Although I’m sure the Minister of Education wholeheartedly believes what you explain about yoga being ‘non religious’ a basic search will reveal that Yoga is absolutely rooted in Hinduism and eastern religious
practices.  We did not have any participation in the decision to implement yoga in the public school curriculum, nor do I recall being notified that this practice would be included in the curriculum, but I’m
also very busy so it’s absolutely possible that we missed the memo – and it’s not like I’m on the PAC even though I really wish I was.

For us it’s not about whether or not the the historical teachings of the religions are taught or not with yoga that concerns us. In fact, a neutral, unbiased course on all world religions could be quite
beneficial in helping kids understand more about the religious backgrounds of the students in their class and the world around them.t teach about different world religions at home for this very reason.  We have several friends who have turbans, for example, so we explain about the turban and Guru Nanak before we go to their home so they are not without understanding and can even engage in meaningful
cultural-crossing conversations.

However, what is happening here at Gray Elementary is not the teaching about yoga, but instead the *participation in* the physical movements of yoga, which is a spiritual activity involving the union of mind, spirit, and body which is even deemed dangerous by people who practice yoga at
the highest levels.

Simply put, to ask a child to *participate* in yoga, which in its very name comes from Hinduism and such practices, should not be included in a secular school system curriculum. Incidentally, I have several Indo-Canadian friends of said religions who agree with my position, even though they deem the practice to be beneficial to themselves.  They understand and agree that it comes from these eastern religions and are also confused as to its presence in the public school.

Our position is that because we enrolled our daughter in a *secular* school and we are not comfortable with our child participating in non-secular activities such as Yoga without our consent.  This would include Tai Chi, and other similarly rooted activities.  Stretching, inbthe way that a runner would stretch before a track meet, is absolutely fine, of course.  That is, unlike Yoga, is “just stretching”.

We thank you in advance for understanding our position as it pertains to parenting in relation to our daughters participation in school activities.

In a similar way, do not hesitate to let me know if you have any further questions and thank you so much for your hard work teaching our child.

Sincerely,

Parent

Response from School Principal cc’d to ‘unknown other recipients’

Good afternoon Mr. Parent,

Ms. Yoga-Teacher informed me of your concerns regarding the movement class.

Please be assured that if you choose for your daughter not to participate in the stretching class, an alternate activity will be found for her. Please inform either Ms. Yoga-Teacher or Mrs. GradeOne-Teacher if that is your wish.

Regards,

Response from Parent back to Expanding Party

Hello “Principal”,

Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.  I’m very pleased with all the professional response we have received.  “Nice” Elementary is undoubtedly a great school and we are very thankful for all of you and your hard work.

We are still slightly confused, though.  Is it a stretching class “Daughter” will be doing, or will she be doing yoga?

As we have stated, we are fine with stretching (ie. track-and-field).

However, we are *not* fine with yoga. (ie. rooted in eastern religion(s))

It seems as though the two terms are now being used interchangeably as if ‘yoga = stretching’.  But yoga does not equal stretching.  Yoga is yoga. If we say ‘it’s fine for her to do stretching’ and then she ends up doing yoga, this would be a ‘challenge’.

On another note, please rest assured that we are not trying to be a pain.  My dad was a teacher and I know you don’t need extra admin added to your jobs.  However, I think we’ve presented a pretty good case here
on the topic of secular vs faith-based activities.

I should also state that I would not be whatsoever offended if Christmas activities were removed from the menu as well, and diwali.  all for the same reasons.

A kind of ‘solution’ that I was thinking about is to keep this kind of simple that would be permissible:  When “Yoga-Teacher” is doing yoga-related activities, “Daughter” (and anyone else who wasn’t comfortable doing yoga) could be instructed to do “standard track-and-field stretches”.  We would be fine with that.  We don’t want to make this annoying.

And on a final note, how does a parent get involved in the decision-making processes that lead to activities like these being introduced into the curriculum?

I won’t deny that I was pretty shocked that yoga had landed in my daughter’s grade one curriculum without even a consent form…

Thanks again for all of your feedback and response.

Sincerely,

Parent

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The Best Way to Flee Naked

I love God’s word.  All of it.  Some of it, I will indeed be asking Him directly about one day for the full revelation but for now, while I’m sporting my patented Glasses Darkly,  I only get a little glimpse.

Today I was reading this unique chunk of spiritual revelation.  It occurred seconds after Jesus was betrayed by Judas and arrested by a big throng of meat heads (or whatever term you choose to label them with):

And they all forsook him, and fled. And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about [his] naked [body]; and the young men laid hold on him: And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked. (Mark 14:50-52)

I can  really visualize this scene. It’s very vivid.  All these ‘disciples’ who said ‘I would die before leaving you, Jesus!” run away at the first realization that things might get tricky for them and their Freedom 55 plan reduced in value.  But this one chap (name withheld obviously for privacy and security reasons), not only runs, but runs away naked.

Now that’s some serious fear (with a side order of shame).

This dude operated out of pure fear and even chose the shame of nakedness to make sure he left Jesus in the dust sparing his own life.

And so I sat there and meditated on the Word of God…

…Isn’t it cool how this is the Word of God and you are encouraged to meditate on it??

Then, suddenly, it came to me!  This dude wasn’t the only dude in the Bible to flee someone naked – Joseph did way back in Genesis:

And it came to pass after these things, that his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master’s wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what [is] with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; [There is] none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou [art] his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, [or] to be with her. And it came to pass about this time, that [Joseph] went into the house to do his business; and [there was] none of the men of the house there within. And she caught him by his garment, saying, Lie with me: and he left his garment in her hand, and fled, and got him out. (Genesis 39: 7-12)

Do you see the spiritual revelation?  There are two ways you can flee naked:

  1. in fear
  2. in faith

Joseph chose the best way.  He fled naked in earthly shame, but in reverence of God and God’s righteousness and God turned his naked shame into unspeakable earthly glory (quite a while later and after some nasty ol’ time in prison).  The great news for the scared naked disciple who left Jesus in the dust is that God is super graceful and gracious.  Jesus died so that this guy never has to run away in fear again – whether naked or fully clothed.

Fear is defeated on the cross.

How will you run away naked today?

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Manna: What is it? It is this.

UPDATE: I’ve included a response from a friend to this post in the body of the post below under these neato little == markings, removing some personal identifying items.

=========================

I could feel the heavy burden on my back when I woke up.  It was also on my chest.  I could also feel it pushing on my temples (both sides).  I was being slowly crushed under it – again.  How did this happen?  How did I end up back here again – back under the horrible weight of stress and worry?

Maybe I should have just gone the way of other men.

Maybe the wide road of comfort, ease and abundance is the better way.

Maybe pushing papers for the government or a big company isn’t so bad because there at least I’ll know that my mortgage and bills will be paid and by whom: me!

STOP THE PRESS!

WOAHHHHHH, NELLY!

CONDUCTOR, STOP THIS TRAIN! I NEED TO GO VISIT CAPTAIN JESUS!

And so I went into the Holy of Holies to pray (I call it that because I have curtains that go between my home office and the place where I find myself crying out to God on the floor).

I stopped talking and thinking and got down on my knees and started worshipping.  Within less than three seconds (sometimes He’s fast) He said ‘Manna’.

Manna?

What is it? (Exodus 16)

And what does it have to do with this burden of stress that is slowly sucking my will to live?

Although I don’t have the entire revelation, here is what was shown me in convenient bullet point form for millenial encouragement:

  • no matter how many hours of the day I work I cannot provide more
  • if I sweat all day long and all night long and gather storehouses full of it, it rots leaving me with exactly what I need when the delivery arrives the next day
  • it’s about being in God’s will, not about the easy life that matters
  • the wilderness might not be pretty, but it’s there where faith grows
  • no matter how poor I am, no matter how empty my basket is, no matter how hungry I am, the amount I need always seems to show up – but not always exactly when my stomach growls.

and, the key take away point for me, for today, when I could feel the burden lifting off of my chest, temples and shoulders was this:

  • no matter how much I worry, I cannot add or subtract to the amount of Manna provided because God Almighty knows what’s best for my soul.

Jesus asked this ( Matt 6:27, NLT version):

Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

I write this today in hopes that someone out there who is in my shoes is encouraged.  I’m thinking of one particular friend in Ottawa with whom, although we rarely have time to chat these days, has also chosen the path of most resistance for many years and found himself with humbled and asking for continual help.  He, like I, know that there is something so important to learn on the journey that we have, for many years gone without, worked countless hours more than our neighbours and friends and have ended up with just enough Manna for today.  I’ve always wanted to ask him if his heart, like mine, has become so thankful for the small things in life.  I’ve always wanted to ask him if his relationship with God, like mine, has become so much closer through the journey of learning to trust our Heavenly Father.

And so, brother, I hope that this short post has boosted your faith in Christ, multiplied your thankfulness, encouraged you for the day, and given you hope for tomorrow.

Manna.  It is this.

=========================

Hey bud,

Thanks again for sharing that blog post.
To be honest, I see things a bit differently. Bear with me as I go through some of the things you wrote and offer a different point of view 🙂
The Lord Provides
Full transparency here, and forgive me if I’m repeating stuff I already shared.
A few years back I was pretty fed up with my employment. I had spent a lot of time studying and earning certifications so I could work my way up the ladder and actually help people. Well… when I got there it was just more sales.
As my dissatisfaction grew, my desire to be independently wealthy grew, too, so I made the decision to resign and go it alone.
That was the first in a long series of bad decisions.
In those first few months of unemployment (self employment) I tried various investments and even online marketing.
My wife and I met the Lord in Dec 2011. Shortly after things got to their lowest. We nearly had to sell the house to pay off all the debt I had got us into. Fortunately we were able to work out a debt repayment plan through a government agency here, and as long as we were able to pay X amount back to our creditors each month, we could keep our house.
After that our monthly obligations were more burdensome than ever, and I was still too stubborn to get a job. I was determined to be self employed and had myself convinced that I was very close to having a breakthrough.
I went through many many sleepless nights, crying out to God for help. Every new win encouraged me, so I kept going despite the irrefutable reality that I couldn’t afford to take care of my family.
We were “borrowing” money from my parents on a very regular basis. I was working very long hours. And we just couldn’t get ahead.
There actually were a few times I nearly caved to get a job. My wife kept reminding me to trust the Lord. So I did, and kept going.
Now My Comments:
Maybe pushing papers for the government or a big company isn’t so bad because there at least I’ll know that my mortgage and bills will be paid and by whom: me!
The point you seem to be making here is that if you’re self employed you’re relying on the Lord to provide, but if you were to get a job you’d somehow be relying on your own strength.
I think the danger of relying on your own strength is just as great in either case, but I think that is beside a much greater issue:
In My Case:
I now firmly believe that I was missing a greater commandment and mistakenly thought that I was somehow trusting God more by sticking with self employment.
Here was the reality when I was self employed
  • I was often stressed
  • I wasn’t able to provide for my family
  • I was a great burden to my parents
  • I had very little time with my children and my wife
  • When I DID have time with my family, I was often preoccupied with the demands that come with running my own business
  • I felt like a failure, but didn’t want to admit that I couldn’t do it
  • I wanted to succeed
Here are some truths I have come to understand better in the last year:
  • The professional path I choose does not define my level of trust in the Lord ( Col 3:23-24 )
  • The Lord commands me to train up my children and have a great quantity of time with them (not just ‘quality’ time) ( Deut 11:19, Prov 22:6 )
  • The Lord commands me to be the head of my wife, ministering to her faithfully ( Eph 5:25-30 )
  • The Lord expects that I will make wise decisions and provide for my family. ( 1 Tim 3:5, 5:8 )
I Was Very Wrong
I came to the conclusion that I was no more pious in working for myself, nor would I be any less pious for getting a job.
I realize that my understanding of what it meant to “trust The Lord” was flawed.
I realize that The Lord gives us a very long leash – even enough with which to hang ourselves.
We are expected to be wise. We are commanded to make good decisions. I was using my “trust” in The Lord as a cover all for poor planning and poor decisions. Not intentionally, mind you, but that was what was happening.
With all due respect, love and tenderness, brother, I think you’re missing something when you equate getting a job with seeking a road of comfort, ease and abundance. I don’t think they are the same thing, at all. If you were guilty of that, you’d be guilty of it as a self employed entrepreneur or an office worker.
Rather, could getting a job not be a means to obeying a great commandment? If you were to get a job (and it can be one with purpose, that you enjoy), how much more time would you be able to spend with your family? How much more effective would you be in ministering to the wife and daughters the Lord has entrusted to your care?
“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”
What a promise!!
I’m not saying you are NOT doing these things, but I’m just asking how much MORE could you be doing them were you not preoccupied with work? That was certainly the case with me.
Things Have Changed
Last year I decided to finally get a job, and one that I could enjoy. I decided on a field that I was interested in, and thank The Lord I have a lot of fun doing it.
Last June I started to study, and the Lord connected me with all the right people and opportunities to really grow in this field I enjoy so much.
I was looking for work, but I still had much I needed to learn before I could be an effective team member on a team in this field.
Praise God, through a very unlikely turn of events I landed a job at a startup just 5 minutes from home.
Things are still a bit tight financially, and I get up very early most mornings to study, but we’re making it, and it’s getting better all the time. I have no doubt that The Lord has provided all of this.
I get to spend each lunch hour with my family. I have had the opportunity to share Christ with my young coworker, and I sit next to a woman who recently fled her native country to provide a better life for her sons.
My Point
 
Your post did indeed resonate with me, brother. I saw so much of myself in your struggles, and I find it no accident that we share so much in common.
To answer your questions. Yes, I have been humbled, and continue to be most days ;). Yes, I am very grateful for everything. Yes, I love The Lord so much more than before. But none of those things had to come from the poor decisions I made before.
Now I’m not saying you are guilty of the same things I was. But maybe something in my experience matches your own.
I just urge you to reconsider your assumptions. You are NOT being unfaithful by seeking employment if doing so means more time with your family.
============================================
Thanks Brother. This response will help countless people as it has and will myself.  I wholeheartedly agree with 100% of your points and I ask God to rebuke me sharply if I am on the wrong path.  I want to also add that there is a very good book (I have no idea about his faith) called Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki that talks about becoming an entrepreneur within a company.  There is a cool term for it that I forget but if I could do it again, I would probably go this route for the first round: get a nice paycheque every month, win the hearts of the ownership/directors, and then get their permission to start a new venture under the financial power of that company.  What an easier path than the painful path I have taken my family through, as my friend described above.  That said, God is very gracious.  He speaks to us through friends like this and through His word and if we’re listening He quickly shows us whether we are on track or need to readjust our trajectory.  Thanks again for taking the time to respond, brother.  Next time spare me the pain of editing and just post the comment yourself! 😉
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How to be in, but not of the world.

I know.  It sounded like I was going to provide a step by step tutorial about how to both live in the world and yet live in God’s kingdom.  Sadly, I’m just not that spiritual yet.  However, I do enjoy slamming out blogs of things that I’m working through in my own life.

This week, I encountered and interesting situation.  Someone had taken the words of a Bible teacher, believed them, and then acted on them immediately.  For this, the person is to be praised, however, with every nugget of God’s truth and revelation comes the need to seek His divine balance.  Divine balance?  That sounds like a great marketing tagline… but I digress.

The most obvious example is when Jesus instructed his disciples to cut off their body parts if those body parts cause them to sin.  Everyone knows our body parts cause us to sin so if they really believed his words and took action on them, there would have been a bloody mess on the ground.  In a sense, Jesus was correct in that it would have been better to be a bloody pulpy mess on the ground rather than go to hell forever, but He also was standing before them as the Grand Solution to the sin problem.  The balance is to know that the power of God that Jesus allows us access to is greater than the power of the flesh if we believe.  In other words, there is no need to chop off your extremities and leave them for the fowl of the air if bow your head in humility and trust God for the power to overcome temptation.  This paragraph went way too long…

In this specific issue, the teacher was preaching on the final judgement of God and the end of the world, and, of course, the soon coming of Jesus.  This person was impacted by the Word of God and was instantly changed.  I’m assuming that she started looking around the world and saw what the writer of Ecclesiastes saw – that everything in this earth is vanity and worthless.  I imagine that in her heart she started to question whether her pursuit of education and dreams were worth it.  I imagine that deep in her heart she started questioning whether or not she was even on the right path with God or heading down some path created by someone else.  I imagine that she was in a state of deep sorrow, confusion, and possibly even depression.  Why do I imagine this?  Because I, too, was in this state.

When I came to the saving knowledge of Jesus the Christ, I was very despondent when I realized that no one else around me could see the light.  I just assumed that if I shared the revelation that God just gave me that they would see, repent, and follow me on this most excellent adventure (that was an 80’s reference btw for you young lads).  But they didn’t.  In fact, I became as it were an alien to them.  A nut bar.  A religious fanatic.  A cult victim… you name it.  They did not see the light.

And man was I lonely.

However, looking back, I am so glad that I went through that.  It confirmed so many scriptures, namely that Jesus didn’t come to bring peace but a sword and that He came to divide a home, not unify it.  In essence, it yet again proved the Word of God to be ever true.

So, this person decided, I suppose, that there was no point in continuing her education and that she should just take my earthquake preparedness (I always preach that but never do it myself, sadly) advice and just sit back and wait for the soon-coming of Jesus.  I commend her faith but unfortunately that is not a biblical position.  It is lacking in balance.  Here is the balance:

Matthew 24: 36-42:

36 But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37 But as the days of Noe [were], so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two [women shall be] grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

You see, they were working like normal when Jesus came back.  For students, you will be going to school – perhaps in the most boring class of your life – perhaps gazing out the window – when the Lord shall come and retrieve you.

Gen 3:16-19

16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 17 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.

You see, there is no avoiding our nasty toil, whether it be labour in the field, power-washing the cement, reviewing contracts or sitting in the most awful class in the education system.  We must work and sweat while working because of the nastiness of the work.  We’re made and designed to do it until the end of the ages.  Sadly, the proverbial buttercup must suck it up.  There are lots of other scriptures in the Bible about working with good work ethic if you want.

So, we are to live in this secular world (which hates God).

While living here, we are to work hard and be model citizens in the societies where God has planted us.

The whole time we are living in this world we are not to ‘reside’ or ‘stay’ or ‘build our kingdom’ in the world because we are not from this world.  We are from another kingdom – the kingdom of light.  God’s kingdom.

And so we must always find the balance between that temptation to bunker down with our assault rifle and await the certain persecutions against the brothers and sisters and living like sheep amongst wolves in this corrupt world while we await the New Jerusalem.

Thankfully the Word of God, if you read it all, will always, always, always, give you that much needed balance so get in the Word and ask God to show you the Way.

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Freedom from the Annoyance of Time

Ever felt you can’t focus on someone or something because something is scheduled?  In my case, I was trying to focus on God Almighty and I kept becoming aware that I only had a half an hour before I had to start getting ready for work.

That ain’t natural, and that ain’t the way it’s supposed to be.

So I started thinking about how it is supposed to be and how it will be.

Way back when Adam and Eve were enjoying their time with each other and with their Lord in the garden, time just didn’t exist.  I’m sure the sun rose and set as it does now, but those were yet further events to remind them of the glory of their God.  I have a very hard time imagining Eve yelling at Adam, “Adam!  Are you still lying there?  Don’t you know we have to eat breakfast in 30 minutes?!”  Somehow that just doesn’t jive.

On the other hand, what I do envision is time passing just as it would if one were on a month long vacation on a beach resort:

“What day is it, honey? asked Adam.

“Tuesday?  or… maybe it’s Wednesday?  Where’s my cell?” replied Eve.

Time is unnatural.  It ruins everything.  It causes stress.

It became apparent to me this week again when we were worshipping the Lord.  It was as if time was standing still.  I caught a brief glimpse of heaven and all time stopped.   I recall wishing that particular song wouldn’t end. But, then, abruptly even, it ended all right.  It went right into the next part of the ‘service’.  Time had won again.

But all this makes sense now that I think about it.

God is eternal.  He is outside of time.  He created time.

Man, until the grave error in the garden, walked with God in a state of eternity.  When man goofed, death arrived along with the clenched fists of Uncle Time.

Now man was a lit candle with an eventual end.  Would the candle blow out by a gust of wind or a sneeze or would the it go out naturally when the wax ran out?  In either case, the candle is on a course to the unavoidable poof.

And so man is keenly aware of time and a slave to it for every waking moment.  And, thanks to alarm clocks even our sleep can be governed by it.

In Ecclesiastes, it has been determined that everything in between here and God is vanity – a bit of a waste of time, if you will.  It will all pass away. Projects, dreams, buildings, positions, titles, money –  it’s all a vapour.  None of it can fix the time problem and create eternity.

Speak to any person over the age of, say, 40.  It’s interesting to watch the effects of time working against us all.  For the person who does not know God, this must be the most depressing reality in the earth.  How sorrowful.  How pitiful.  How annoying.

But today I realized that there is freedom for those who wish to escape the death locks of time and everyone needs to know about it.  It is salvation through the name and blood of Jesus.

Once you are redeemed back to your God, he will not only warmly welcome you into heaven where you will experience eternity and the freedom from time, but, what’s even more great, is that you don’t have to wait until then.  You can enter into His presence where time will stop for you.  You can experience the Kingdom of God on earth, just as Jesus said we could pray for.

However, as a suggestion between now and heaven I recommend using an alarm clock when you start to worship as most employers tend not to accept ‘lost in the presence of Almighty God’ as an excuse for being late to work.

 

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