|Posted by redemptionpentecostal on July 17, 2015 at 7:10 PM||comments (0)|
I am by no means an accomplished artist, I would be hesitant to group myself even in the category of artist but I do know one thing.... you often start a painting with the darker colours in the wash/background and build layers upon it gradually adding more vibrant and crisp colours. Last Sunday I led communion with the church and after a week at camp and some of my own struggles it felt very dark, there were a lot of questions brought out through the service and I felt at times that I wasn't able to give clear direction as we celebrated the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So all week I have been praying and asking God to give me wisdom about how to see with right perspective in this current season, and I believe I got at least part of the answer this morning. I was given a vision of a painter prepping to paint an early morning sunrise... before the birds stir, before the hustle and bustle, the black of night has not yet given way to daylight.... you start with the blacks and the dark purples, you cover significant parts of the canvas with the darkest colours known to man. I have struggled much of my life to see the bright and beautiful things in life, and I think for some of us it might take much of our life not to see the glass as half empty... we are still works in process, but our finished canvas my not be the spring morning, full of vibrant colours, or even a fall season rich and majestic. Some of us seem to naturally have a tougher time of it, and I would like to suggest that perhaps our canvas may be of a more subtle but not less beautiful design. Perhaps in our lives we may become a few different canvases, shifts in seasons and perspectives, but it is also entirely possible that life isn't quite so rosy for some. We may shun the dark colours, yearn for the rich and vibrant colours of another's canvas, and miss the fact that the artist is creating a masterpiece in what others may simply see as a mistake or inferior painting. Can we trust the artist and draw close to Him and hear the melody He is singing as He paints? Can we find and trust in hope when at the moment we aren't sure there is a beautiful colour on the artist's palette? My prayer is that the season is not a long one, but at times a decade seems long, and the shades can seem overwhelming. However, this morning I looked and beautiful shades of lighter purples, crisp blues, hints of yellow, orange, red, and white emerge on the horizon. I know that the artist is not finished yet, and I know that it has felt a long time since there were any bright colours being applied, so in this moment I am grateful for the gift of perseverance, for good friends who believed in the potential canvas, to cast vision of what is slow to emerge when there was still only shadow. There is no darkness in the artist, but there is darkness in the human heart, and for some of us the process of coming into the light is difficult and lengthy... but the artist is not done yet, the colours will come. Listen for the melody and trust the process... He is not finished yet:)
|Posted by redemptionpentecostal on October 6, 2013 at 6:40 PM||comments (0)|
Been reflecting lately on the amazing skill and risk of base jumpers that "fly" with wing suits and the parallels in the life of the Spirit. Only a small percentage of the population has any desire to throw themselves off a perfectly good mountain and trust their life to a thin piece of material as they "fall" through the air at high speed and low margin of error. And in the kingdom of the Father, there are those who push the limits of how far we can go spiritually without dying. Some of us cannot enjoy the simple journey of our faith and the privilege of "getting" to heaven. We wake in the morning thirsting for the next big drop, watching as the line between life and death gets blurry, and we feel one moment away from eternity. But the question seems to be, how in this metaphor do we climb the mountain? And in this moment personal devotions start to make sense. If you want to experience the greatest moves and flow of the Spirit it has to be built on something, and that something is the precious Word of God we call the Bible. It would seem that many of the issues with cults and leaders that mislead folks is that they often steer away from scripture and more to "fresh" revelation and visions. I love metaphors and exploring the unique qualities of faith but if I lead from these word pictures and do not have a close relationship with the Word, a fine sounding philosophy can emerge that may be helpful and even insightful but will never led to the highest peak and most satisfying flight. Just like "flying" in a wing suit if the conditions are not right, your gear is not prepared, and you don't have enough time in the skies the results can be disastrous. So too with the spiritual world, if you do not study the Word, listen to the wisdom and insight of the Spirit, and do not have enough air time with mentors, you are very susceptible to chaos and disaster. The last few weeks I have been privileged to lead a group of people as they are learning how to "fly" and develop a stronger walk with Christ. We recognize the value of the written Word, the presence and wisdom of the Holy Sprit, and the value of good mentors. Just the other day I looked back as I was climbing a little higher for the next jump and was shocked at the number of people right behind and beside me. There is a hunger in their eyes and a stronger fire burning inside to climb to the next ledge, push the envelope a little further and feel the rush of experiencing something amazing in the presence of friends. I feel the rush of the elevation, the excitement among the group, and the nervous tension as we near the summit. Living for these moments of sheer bliss. After all the hard work, planning, and preparations, we reach the new peak, our hearts pounding, the minds racing, almost convinced to turn around and climb back down. But here in this moment we gaze out on the beauty, we see the lives of others, the potential for amazing moves of God, and then we brace ourselves... this is the view from up top, and then in that next moment we take the plunge and become fully alive!!
|Posted by redemptionpentecostal on April 24, 2013 at 7:25 PM||comments (0)|
Psalm 133 A song of ascents. Of David. 1 How good and pleasant it is, when God’s people live together in unity!... 3b For there the Lord bestows his blessing,
Been meditating on this truth for a couple of years now, but even this past weekend I was reminded of how unique a blessing He gives us when we meet with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We may have no other connection or common interest but you can meet someone for the first time and the bond that is between fellow believer's is incredible. I remember meeting a pastor from China who could not speak one word of English and shared that evening through a translator. After the session there was a meet and greet and a majority of the folks could speak fluently with the speaker but when it came my turn to meet him, without any word spoken we embraced as brothers. It's been ten+ years and I still get moved by the experience. There is a bond between Chrisitans that I have never experienced in any other group or function and it always amazes me the variety of the folks that you meet along the way. Not only do we share a common bond in Christ, but God actually gives a special blessing when we gather together to fellowship in unity. There is a sweetness in presence, there is a rich sound that exists in the worship, and the prayers shared between us carry a special weight and effect. After thirty years of living among the church there are times when people pray for you and it is very good, and then other times when it feels like the very presence of heaven is thick to overwhelming and in this place you can almost taste and see it. The people become inspired from the inside out, songs are written out of overflow, and speech carries a profound depth and empathy. A hand upon the shoulder feels as though a thousand were by your side, and you gain a confidence to overcome no matter the trial or circumstance and in this place you never feel alone. I feel alive again, it is as though there are bubbles that float around inside, creativity is restored and dark places see the return of the sun. I am grateful once again for the body of Christ, the church in all its glory, and await the next time we gather together and experience His sweet blessing found in unity.
|Posted by redemptionpentecostal on March 19, 2013 at 9:10 PM||comments (0)|
Ever been so hungry you felt like you were going to die?? Perhaps I exagerate a little, but I am sure you get the picture. I am talking about those times when you are really hungry or thirsty, and then you either eat something or drink something and one taste was all you needed and you spit it out.. No matter how hungry or thirsty you might have been, there is no way you are putting that in your body. I have heard it said that this current generation has no appetite for God, that they are only interested in themselves and that there is no hope. Allow me to differ in my opinion and propose that perhaps they had a taste and determined a long time ago not to take another bite. Still further that no matter how we try to candy coat it, market it, manipulate its appearance they may have no interest in trying again.. So let us drop the pop-psychology, market guru, entertainment driven emphasis and strip back the layers to reveal the Truth until that is all that remains. Some of you may not know that Elim was an oasisof tall palms and soothing pools, fitting then that our church bears that name. In the last four years we have attempted to remove all the clutter and sparkle that has muddied the Gospel and tried to create a space where refreshing shade and cool clean water is available. And in the last four years we have begun to discover that people are thirsty, they are hungry and that the elemental quality of the Gospel does meet their need. They come in hesitant, often unsure as to why they came in the first place, and have remained for a while or a season. The Word says that unless the Father draws none can come, so perhaps we are blessed that the market driven church hasn`t worked so well and we must rely on the Spirit. And our job as the church is simply to love those who come and join us, and perhaps we will all experience what it is to drink cool water and enjoy the shade of a pleasant palm. We may be bold enough to take a second bite and find that it is much better than our first.
|Posted by redemptionpentecostal on February 25, 2013 at 11:20 PM||comments (0)|
It feels bloated, like one too many twinkies. I was hungry and ate something that I will call a food substitute, and though it gives the feeling of being full soon afterward the digestion regret sets in. It feels awkward, like a foreign unwanted substance has invaded my inner parts and now my body begins to revolt. And I pause to consider the Spiritual equivalent, filling myself daily with good things, food substitutes that pass as Spiritual food but often are nothing more than cleverly disguised distraction. And the hunger inside grows even as the appetite is being placated by the ingestion of many substitutes. And why do we substitute poor representations of spiritual food for the real thing?? Perhaps it is because we have been taught that the substitute is as good as it gets. Perhaps we have never tasted nor been made aware of the spiritual food that is available. But perhaps you and I share something in common, the variety of excuses we use to feed on the substitute (whether it be TV, activities, hobbies, etc) because the true spiritual food provided through the Word and the Spirit tend not to be in sync with our instant gratification world. The Father will ask us to wait, to be longsuffering, to persist in day by day conversation and listening without the same immediate gratification as the substitute. Perhaps reading the Bible, praying, listening quietly aren't nearly as entertaining and we struggle with a desire to be entertained rather than to be holy. May we as a people learn to desire holiness above all other things, and may we develop our appetite for the full spiritual food of our Father's kingdom and no longer choose to placate our hunger with a poor quality substitute. J
|Posted by redemptionpentecostal on September 22, 2012 at 3:35 PM||comments (0)|
Ever notice that many of our choices are between two distinct possibilities?? There are those times when multiple factors are involved, but often the choice comes down to a basic decision of thing 1 or thing 2. Sometimes we try to make the decision easier by making one the moral high ground and the other lesser so. Other times we convince ourselves we made the best decision given the circumstances.. but what about those times when both decisions seems the low road, or the opposite that both are the high road? What happens to our ability to make choices when the line between right/wrong, high ground/low ground become blurred or even non-existant? How do we determine how to choose one of two jobs when both are great opportunities? Perhaps where we have chosen to live, our vocation, or the car we drive may seem like very different topics based on scale of importance but I wonder if there is a common link that can help with each decision? Perhaps the real heart of the issue isn't necessarily whether it is right or wrong, good or bad, but whether we are weighing each decision with the guidance and support of the Holy Spirit. At this point one may be tempted to believe that God couldn't care less what you drive, or about the insignificant decisions you make... that's why He gave you a brain.. and perhaps it is a valid point, but may I suggest that the Holy Spirit can be the constant hum in the background and as we become aware of His leading and directing we will hear His voice when even the insignificant decisions like where to go for coffee may be a part of a larger plan? I would like to think that God did give us a brain, and we should with all effort make the best use of it, but i would also suggest that learning to hear the subtle hints of the Holy Spirit may help us in making any decision regardless of importance. I leave you with the thought that perhaps rather than trying to find concrete ways of making decisions we allow another voice into the equation no matter the importance, a still small voice that does not violate right/wrong etc., but perhaps brings us to a place where that is not the only basis for the decision. just a thought, J
|Posted by redemptionpentecostal on July 21, 2012 at 1:40 PM||comments (0)|
after having performed a number of memorials and celebrations of life, I have found Psalm 23 helpful but a little awkward as a part of this type of service... it speaks mostly of how God was here for the departed during this life, but I felt that it would be helpful to have a heavenly perspective. So with this in mind I wrote the following letter from the perspective of writing home to loved ones as I woke on the other side.
Good afternoon family, just thought I would drop you a line.. I walked with my Lord the Shepherd this morning in perfect peace. We laughed while in the greenest of pastures and as we strolled by the most beautiful stream my soul was full to overflowing. I see with clarity the path of my life and the glory it brought to His name, and can appreciate how faithfully He led me through even the toughest of trials. I have thanked Him many times for the way He never left my side, how He protected us and brought comfort through all the ups and downs in life. I am reminded of how abundantly He provided for us, the ways that His favour brought blessing in our lives and I am fully aware that His supply always exceeded our need. His goodness and mercy saturated every moment of every day, and I wait for you in the presence of our Lord until we meet again…
(inspired by Psalm 23)
I have no interest in re-writing scripture and this is not the intent, it is simply a letter written to bring peace and comfort to those who have lost and it has been well received as part of the celebrations of life when I have included it. My heart in sharing this writing is simply to bless and encourage all those who read this note. May the God of all peace and comfort bless and keep you in this time of loss, may the body of Christ surround you and walk with you as each new day is brought forth. With much love in Christ Jesus, Jason.
|Posted by redemptionpentecostal on June 16, 2012 at 12:25 AM||comments (0)|
Not that I stand with greedy hands and demand that my already saturated life be lavished with more needless junk. Not that I yearn for more things to occupy my time and consume my precious moments. MORE. With the innocence of a child I simply approach the throne of my Heavenly Father and ask that He reveal Himself. After nearly thrity years of walking with the Father and hearing His voice I am constanly challenged with the present reality that I still know so little about who He is. Undeniably I know much more than I did 30 years ago, but in light of who our Father is30 years has done nothing but cover a small fraction of the surface area. So with hungry hearts I cry out for MORE and what is so incredible, so amazing and Holy, He responds with absolute swiftness to reveal with brilliance and clarity yet another dimension of Himself. Whether it is in prayer, soaking in worship while in the midst a living room, overwhelmed by the creative power of our natural surrounding, He waits with hands full of His greatness to reveal to any who will ask. In spite of who I am, despite my failings and ability to get lost or walk in a wrong perspective about Him He still waits patiently for the next moment when I with open arms and heart cry out for MORE. And in His proviion of MORE I find confidence to let go of the things in my life that are of lesser value. I turn less to the trinkets of humanity that distract from my sense of insecurtiy, and a value that I have misplaced in work, relationships, service. My Father becons me to call out for MORE so that I can know more fully the image of Him that I bear uniquely. I find in His MORE not only greater revelation of WHO He is but also of who He created me to be. I see glimpses of hope, purpose, confidence in calling and destiny. As I stand on the precipice of a new chapter in His revelatory will and cry out for MORE not only am I led to step into the unknown but I become more familiar with what I already thought I knew. I am strengthened with the confidence of knowing those who call me friend will be made MORE precious through the work He has performed. As He draws me into the unknown I find myself less distrubing, my sins less troubling, and my failures less glaring because they pale within the context of who He has created me to be, and the call that He has for my life. At this point I am glad that I am not alone, but that as you read this note you too can give testimony to the powerful work of our Father as He revealed Himself to you more fully. It is in His presence that sin loses its power and effectiveness, and as I accept and walk within that revelation I am transformed and made new. I find that the things which so easily ensnared me weeks ago have become less potent. So may you call out for MORE, knowing that our Father will not only bless you with MORE of Him but also of a greater fulness of who He has made and called you to be. As you cry out for MORE may you be strengthened and encouraged to walk in all that the Father has for your life. May you be blessed and fully aware of how much He loves you, and may you today receive fresh revelation of who you are in Christ. Blessings and Peace be upon you. Amen.