Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Change of Location

A View from the Point has now been integrated into my website:

You can also follow me on Twitter (believe it or not!)


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Colossians 3 Pt. 2

In Pt. 1, I discussed Colossians 3:1-4 and the connection to Ephesians 1:17-19.

Here's the next section from Colossians 3:
5 ¶ Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.
6 Because of these, the wrath of God is coming.
7 You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.
8 ¶ But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips.
9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices
10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
Again I am called to make a choice. A choice to refuse to be satisfied in anything except Christ; to not drink of any other well in order to numb the pain of life. Paul seems to make two lists or categories: the first appears to be the non-verbal and the second appears distinctly verbal.  My personal thought is that the first produces the second.  As we engage in the activities of the 'earthly nature', our speech patterns are dynamically affected.

The question becomes, how on earth can I possibly makes these choices? How can I on a daily basis rid myself of these things? Surely it can't be the power of my own discipline. I have realized that I simply cannot do it.

I made the point previously that wherever God gives an exhortation to do something, there is a corresponding grace available to us to enable us to obey.  Here's what I mean:  God is telling me to put to death the elements of the earthly nature in v. 5-8, and the key to being able to actually DO that is found in v. 1-2.  (I also believe that a critical part of v. 1-2 is described in Eph. 1-17-19)

Another massive line of thinking is found in Col. 3:10.  I'm a big revival and renewal guy.  I love renewal.  Mostly when we think of renewal we think of events like the Toronto Blessing. Believe me, I loved the renewal that came through the Blessing, and I pray that God would release a new installment of that, but Col. 3:10 speaks volumes to the renewal that is available to me on a DAILY basis.

Paul is saying this: I am spiritually renewed by the knowledge of who God is and what God is like.  

In v. 10 I see Paul connecting back to v. 1-2.  When I set my mind and heart on things above, where Christ is seated, my spirit will be touched and renewed, and the more I do it, the more renewal I will experience.  Given that there's no limits to the 'things above', this could really go somewhere!!

In a sense, the dynamics of this verse remain a mystery.  I don't get caught up in the 'how' of it, but rather I seek to take God at His word, that I will experience a spiritual renewal whenever I encounter the truth about what God is like.

One practical way that I have been doing that recently is by adding this verse to my prayer list and by turning it into a daily request.  I connect it to v. 1-2 and bring those verses into the prayers as well.  Then I can't help but go on to praying v. 5-10 too!

So those are a few more of my thoughts on Colossians 3.

Colossians 3 Pt. 1

Recently our family has been attending Renaissance Community Church.  Pam and I have been enjoying the teaching series that's currently going on which is on the book of Colossians.

I've been spending some time in Colossians and actually will be preaching at Renaissance on March 22 (in case anybody wants to come) :)  I've decided to work towards being able to better articulate some of the thoughts and prayers I've had regarding Colossians 3 over the past while, so I'm going to begin here with a series of posts on that chapter.  I'm doing this as a series of posts in order to break it up a bit and make it more readable (hopefully!).  Again these are just some of my thoughts and things that I've felt God showing me in the Scriptures.  

Here's the first part of the passage:
3:1 ¶ Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Now a few thoughts:

1) I guess the beginning for me was the sense of God inviting me to choose: to voluntarily choose to set both my mind and my heart of things above, where Christ is seated, rather than on the earthly things.  Lately I have been actually speaking out loud my intention, my decision that today I will set my mind and my heart on things above; also that I will choose, by an act of my will, to put certain things to death and to rid myself of other things that are destined to perish.  I declare my intention to obey, or as it says in Rev. 1:3, to read, hear and keep God's Word.

2) I've also been linking v. 1-2 with Eph. 1:17-19 because I believe that they go together.  I think that one of the problems with the concept of continually setting our minds on things above where Christ is seated is the fact that we quickly run out of things to think about!  I believe that this is what Paul had in mind when he prayed in Ephesians that God would give to us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Jesus. He's praying that my mind would receive divine wisdom and revelation of what Jesus is like; and that the eyes of my heart would be enlightened.  Paul prays that our hearts would be enlightened in 3 areas:
  1. that we would know the hope that we have been called into (okay, there's oceans of thoughts on that one!)
  2. that we would know the unbelievable riches of his inheritance in us!
  3. that we would know the incomparable power that is at work in us (or is available to us)
So back to Colossians 3.  I've been praying that God would answer the prayer of Eph. 1:17-19 in order that Colossians 3:1-2 would become a greater reality in my life.  Certainly I am called to make deliberate choices in those verses, but I'm not left alone in those choices: God is at work in me to cooperate with my choices, to empower or enable my choices.  Actually in truth, it's God who created the desire in me to make the choice in the first place, and then empowers me to actually do it... my part in this equation is very small and yet utterly essential at the same time.

3) A final thought surrounds v. 3-4.  Certainly there is the main theology of death and resurrection being discussed, and yet as I've been praying it over, something else has been rolling around in my brain.  It's hard to articulate, but here goes:

What if I don't really know who I am?  What if my true identity, the fullness of who God created me to be is still a mystery to me?  Could that be part of what Paul is saying when he declares that my life is 'now hidden with Christ in God'?  Certainly I died and, as Graham Kendrick sings, 'the life that I now live no longer is my own', yet how much do I grasp about all that I have been created to be and do?  God alone knows the depth and the riches of who we have been created to be and only in the resurrection, as we live forever with God (on a redeemed, transformed earth, I might add!) will we be fully known.  Could it be that part of our redemption through the cross is a redemption not only of our relationship with God but also all of our redemptive potential that was lost through sin; the fullness of all that God has in his heart for us when he created us.  

I pray that will appear with Christ in glory!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Light of the World

This morning I was praying and towards the end of the time I was specifically praying for my friends grandfather who has cancer.

As I was praying I found myself beginning to pray for light to enter his body and that the light of Christ would shine upon him and fill him.  Suddenly my mind went to the end of Revelation where it says that there will be no need for the sun because God will provide the light.  
The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its light. 
Rev. 21:23

They wil not need the light of  a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light.
Rev. 22:5
I've always seen references to 'light' as being purely spiritual and separate from physical light. In that way I've separated the physical realm from the spiritual realm.  For instance, how will the light of God be able to provide what is needed for the process of photosynthesis?  Our planet would very quickly perish without the light of the sun.  

As this was in my head, it was then that I went to Rev. 21:23.  I believe that I have had a false distinction between the spiritual and the physical.  In this age there is some clear distinctions, but in the age to come, it seems that those distinctions will no longer be there.

Given that Heaven and earth will become one, then the physical processes of the earth that require the light of the sun must continue in some way.  I don't believe that the physical laws of science that have been put in place will suddenly be done away with.

I also looked at 1 Tim. 6:16 where it says that God dwells in unapproachable light.  What is this light?  If it is of a kind that will sustain the physical earth (even the new, transformed earth) will it not provide healing as well? Somehow what we now know of as physical elements will have spiritual properties as well.  Look at the fact that the leaves from the tree of life will be used for the healing of the nations (Rev. 22:2).  

Of course, all of this depends to a certain extend on my interpretation of Revelation and the fact that I take things somewhat literally (not entirely literally I should add: i.e. I don't think that there is a literal dragons tail that will sweep a third of the stars out of the sky (Rev. 12:4)... given that the stars are billions and billions of miles apart from us).  Thus some may not believe that there are literal physical leaves being spoken of...

So this is becoming more complex than I intended; however coming back to Rev. 22:5, it seems fairly straightforward that God's light will actually replace the role of the sun.  This to me implies a very powerful connection between the physical and the spiritual.. the light is more than just spiritual; it is a physical light that will accomplish physical things.

What then does this potentially mean in terms of our comprehension of what Jesus meant when he said he is the 'light of the world'?

Something to chew on....

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Oh Chief Ramsey

Today I was startled to read in the Edmonton Journal that one of my favorite Chinese food kiosks in West Edmonton Mall had been fined $12000 for sanitation and cockroach problems.

The article describes a scene of food being stored on the floor, raw meat soaking in stagnant water and cockroaches scurrying around the kitchen.

Where is Chief Ramsey and one of his profanity filled tyraids when we need him!!

The place makes some of the best ginger beef around, but now the thought of it makes my stomach turn. Who knows what it's been thawing in or where! Then I start wondering if it really is 'beef' in the first place. (enter Eric's favorite name for a Chinese restaurant here)

I've read stories like this before, but it's never been about a place that I eat at with reasonable regularity (no that doesn't make it worse, it just makes me want to blog about it!!)

Clearly this kind of problem is all too prevalent in the restaurant business, as indicated not only by the existence of food inspectors but the ability to Chief Ramsey to devote an entire TV show to cleaning up different restaurants with similar problems.

In all seriousness, I don't think I'll ever be eating at the Szechuan Chinese Food kiosk again. (it's in phase 3 of WEM, beside the Dairy Queen... lest you confuse it with one of the other 2 large chinese food kiosks in the same food court!!)

I guess I'll be eating more Greek and Italian food there from now on!

Here's to coakroaches and....

scratch that...

here's to a large BEER!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Peripheral Vision

Tonight I decided to go down to Kinsman to work out.  Pam bought me a month pass for Christmas, so I'm diligently trying to use it!  Most of the time I go in the morning, but today was totally booked up so I thought I'd go in the evening.

I will NOT be doing that again.  It was packed. When I first got there the parking lot was so full that I assumed a special event was going on.  I had to park in the overflow lot. (which is actually better because it's closer to the main entrance than the further away spots in the normal lot)

I'd planned on doing some weight training but immediately recognized that my plans needed to change as there were simply way too many people in the weight room.  I decided to ride the bike and go for a brief jog.

As is my custom, I ended with some time in the sauna, but it too was quite full which wasn't all bad but I just don't like being too near other sweaty people.

This leads to the point of all this: later, as I was leaving the shower area, out of the corner of my eye something bizarre caught my peripheral vision.  My head shot to the left only to have my visual senses assaulted by this very large naked man standing on a scale, who was extremely tanned and had the most nasty tan lines..... well I'll let your imagination figure it out....


What on earth was this guy thinking?  BTW, he wasn't at all 'buff-in-the-stuff', so it's not like... oh never mind.

Have you ever noticed that in locker rooms it's the older people who seem to wander around in the 'all together'?  Pam says it's the same way in the women's change room too.  I've enjoyed this month long pass to Kinsman, but I have to say that I've definitely had my fill of male nudity!  

Most of the time I am very thankful that I have very good vision.... most of the time!

Saturday, February 14, 2009


This morning as I was doing some work around the house an old song came into my head:

'Soon and very soon, I am going to see the King
soon and very soon, I am going to see the King
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, I am going to see the King'.

Believe me, I have not had opportunity to sing that song or even hear it, anywhere in a very long time, so it certainly struck me as odd that this old chorus would come into my head. (as strange a head as I may have!!)  Very quickly I recognized the evidence of the Spirit in all this and began to pray around it all.

Not to worry! I am not speaking of my imminent demise; I sensed God remind me of how short life is in the light of eternity and that this is only a brief internship in this age.  The Spirit whispered to me an encouragement and reminder of the worthiness of devoting my life to pursuing God.
Show me O Lord, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life.
Ps. 39:4
'Soon and very soon, I am going to see the King
soon and very soon, I am going to see the King
Hallelujah, Hallelujah, I am going to see the King'.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Songs of Deliverance

I've been really enjoying Psalm 32 for the past few days.  There's just so much there to feed the prayer life!

Nearly half of the Psalm is about confession of sin, and while I've been engaged in that there have also been some other things that God was highlighting to me:

1) praying that my spirit would be cleansed of all deceit (v. 2).  Not only do I need to be forgiven (v.1) but I need to have all manner of deceit driven out of my spirit.  This prayer is a new addition to my prayer list.

2) praying for a return to the hiding place (v.7) or as I've called in earlier blogs, 'the secret place'. 

3) I've been focusing a lot on being surrounded with 'songs of deliverance' (v.7).  Each day I have been coming back to this and in the morning asking God to surround me with songs of deliverance.  There has been a distinct touch from God in praying this.  The other day as I prayed around this, I suddenly found myself beginning to sing my prayers.  This went on at length (one of the joys of being home alone!!) as I prayed and worshipped God.

V. 7 is a fantastic verse to pray for others as well; praying that God would surround them with songs of deliverance.

One final note from my prayer time today:  Today is the day that the Lord has made.  In the midst of prayer I found myself making declarations about the goodness of the day, speaking against the fears and curses that surround (however humorously) 'Friday the 13th'.

May today be a day of blessing and goodness, and not fear and evil.  

May the Lord surround each of us with songs of deliverance today!