It is October already and time mount up and ride for a great cause! On October 13 I will be heading out for a 100km ride to support my favorite fund raising event “Ride for Refugees”. I am looking for your help to make my 100km ride worth the journey.
This cycling event is held each fall and this year it is bigger than ever. This year I am only one of three hundred riders who will be riding on that day. I am very excited to see the number of cyclists growing with each passing year. I am also thankful to see the awareness and the rising support for refugees being served through the heartfelt organization, International Teams Canada
Last year’s ride was tough; it rained, sleeted, snowed and hailed over the course of the ride. There was 35km of head wind on the ride out, one inch of snow on the road and at times not more that 50ft of visibility. But with all that said; this ride still dwarfs in comparison of the challenges faced by a refugee.
The following link is a video put together from interviews and video shots taken during last year’s ride. From this you will get a sense of what the conditions were like.
This year’s event goal is to raise $250,000 and I am looking to raise my share of that goal. This year my personal goal is to raise $2,500 and any amount you give will help reach or exceed it. Please help me reach my goal and help these people, in giving you too will be riding with me on that day.
Would you sponsor me?
There are over 35,000,000 refugees in the world. Many come to Canada and they need our support as they adjust to our Canadian way of life. Imagine snow for the first time. Imagine if the letters all ran backwards to what you were familiar with reading. Imagine being alienated from your friends and family. They need our support and International Teams (www.iteams.ca) has been serving refugees for over 25 years.
You can also go online to http://www.rideforrefugees.com/ and click on sponsor a rider. Once there you can donate with any credit card to my personal fundraising goal. This site also contains a ton of information about the ride and the cause we are riding for.
A few Sundays ago I awoke from my slumber to a preacher speaking on our favorite radio station, FaithFM. He was telling a story of this Hispanic lady who had started coming to his church. She was a very kind and loving woman who loved Jesus deeply.
After a few months she wanted to get more involved with the church and offered to serve Jesus any way she could. She spoke with the pastor who was happy to find a ministry she could serve in. The next week the pastor approached this lady and asks if she wanted to serve in their transportation ministry. You see, this church was quite large; they had set up their own busing system to transport families and children from all over the city to their church and back again. She was very excited to serve in this ministry as Jesus had called her to serve in any way possible.
Over the next few months she rode on different buses, keeping the children occupied and getting to know people. One Sunday she was on a particular bus route when she met a young boy who was about five or six yearâ€™s old sitting alone. He was a very shy and quite boy whom she heard Jesus call to her again, minister to this young boy. She went to the pastor and told him that she had found a bus to serve on. The pastor was very happy she had found her place to serve.
During the months to follow they had developed quite a trusting friendship. A lot of the bus rides she just held him in her loving arms, much like Jesus does if you let him. Every Sunday she met him with the words â€œJesus loves youâ€ and the last thing she said to him before he went home was that â€œJesus loved youâ€. One particular Sunday during the ride home the young boy looked into the ladyâ€™s eyes and said, â€œJesus loves meâ€. She responded with YES! YES! He does! She felt what Jesus had sent her to accomplish was starting to happen.
The next Sunday came and this young boy did not step onto the bus, the next week was the same and each following week she waited for him and each week he did not show. A month later the pastor found out that this young boy was brutally beaten to dead by his drug addicted mother. He was found under the stairs in a garbage bag, tossed away like waste.
Now by this time I am lying there listening to this story, tears streaming down my face, feeling my breaking heart come apart at the seams. So much went through my head like, how can God allow this type of injustice? I got up and got ready for church still very disturbed by this story.
As I sat there at church, I was still pondering what I had heard. Our worship team started to play, “Cry in My Heart” and there was a lyric in the song that made it all crystal clear, “For what do I have if I don’t have you Jesus? What in this life can mean any more? You are my rock You are my glory You are the lifter of my head”. Well, the tears started again, realizing what God had revealed to me through the story and this song. This lady was placed in this boy’s life who told him that Jesus loved him and was able to respond to the lady knowing that Jesus loved him, and in his death he knew Jesus loved him.
As I was writing this, I still tear up as I feel God love which is the same love he embraced that young boy.
Recently, my Bible study group has been doing a study that speaks about 12 questions about Jesus. One of the questions was â€œWhat did Jesus accomplish on the crossâ€. The person that developed the study spoke on how Jesus became sin on the cross in order to save me. This means that every sin I have committed and will commit, Jesus became that sin.
This concept was hard to swallow. What was more important and more disturbing is each time in the future Jesus becomes my sin. I beat him harder, I rip more flesh from his torn body from the scourging, I pound the nail in further and I mock him as he hangs helplessly on the cross.
To become sin for all humankind for past, present and future is a very hard concept to grasp for a mere mortal man. Even though I found the â€œPassion of the Christâ€ to be a reasonable representation of what Christ went through for me, itâ€™s hard not to think that what Christ went through was far worse.
Tonight our small group discussed Luke 4:1-13 “Satan Tempts Jesus” but more precisely, were these temptations valid or did Satan really think that he could tempt Christ.
To set this up, after Jesus was baptized by John he was full of the Holy Spirit and was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness for 40 days. During those 40 days, he was tempted by the devil and was hunger when it was over.
Let us walk through the three-recorded temptation:
1. And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command the stone to become bread”
Here we see the devil tempting Christ’s hunger from the fast as the Bible recorded in verse 2. My understanding of fasting (thanx to one member of our group who had fasted for one week) once you have gone beyond hunger you are not really hungry. But in my opinion, I think that the temptation was to uses the power of God to satisfy a human need for food thus misusing the power to put the physical ahead of the spiritual. Christ’s response to this temptation was a quotation from scripture (Deut. 8:3) which said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” Nice come back to set the spiritual back ahead of the physical.
2. The devil then took Jesus to the top of a high mountain, showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. Then said, “All this authority I will give You and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.” “Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”
This is a good temptation because Jesus can end evil for all time for the world but at what cost. Since Jesus is God, then God would worship the devil. By doing this, it would go against first of the Ten Commandments Ex 20:3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.” At this price, the cost was far too high to take out evil with one act. Again, Christ responses quoting scripture to rebuke the devil’s temptation.
3. For the last recorded temptation the devil brought Jesus to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If Your are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you and in their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
I thought this was interesting how the devil quotes scripture to provoke a response, to use scripture for his own ends. The devil wanted an audience, which is why he took Jesus to Jerusalem, to attempt to expose Godâ€™s power to the public. Again, Christ responses quoting scripture to rebuke the devil’s temptation.
In all three temptations, the devil tries to tempt Christ in areas that the devil knows would tempt Him. If they were not areas that would legitimately tempt Christ then the temptations would not be valid. The devil can only provide the choice; it is up to us to choose the right path.
Today we were challenged by our pastor on re-examining our lifes and how we live to follow the path Jesus. As I sat there I thought, am I living for Jesus the best I can; my answer was yes for right now I am living the best I can live for Jesus. I take comfort in looking to the future where I can live more for Jesus and working for God. As our kids get older, they become less and less of a time commitment and as they leave us to find their own path, they will become less of a financial commitment. The financial groundwork I am laying now will give me the ability to quit working for â€œThe Manâ€ and allow me to work for God.
As I sat there I thought, maybe there is something else I can do right now. I thought maybe I could use the knowledge gained from the path God has put me on over the last two years. I thought YES, there is something else I can do.
I will not spoil the surprise until it is launched but whatÂ I will say is, ifÂ Godâ€™s blessing is uponÂ this idea thenÂ will help feed and care for the poor.
I think it is important to â€œTake Up the Cross and Follow Himâ€ everyday. This can be done in seemingly small and simple ways.
Hold the door for someone
PickupÂ a piece of litter and put it in the trash
Buy someone a coffee
Smiling is contagious
Pat someone else on the back
The list is long, use your imagination. It is amazing how a few acts of kindness can improve someone elseâ€™s life or even just their day. Sometimes you may never see the fruits of your labour but, do not let that stop you.
God calls us to a higher purpose. Are you ready to rise, take up the cross and follow him?
“The Passion of the Christ” has started toÂ play on The Movie Network. I consider this one of the most heart-wrenching movie on the life of Christ I have ever seen. As I watched this movie I am reminded what Christ went through for me. Just so I could be forgiven for all my sins and every time I sin, I crucify him repeatedly.
As I watched the movie, I took comfort that there were believers and non-believers who were watching the movie. Thinking that the believers are reminded by what Christ did for them and the non-believers may come to Christ through this movie.
Last night I had the pleasure of listening to Tony Campolo speak on what it means to be a disciple of Christ. If you ever get a chance to listen to him speak, take to time, travel the distance, the Lord will reward your efforts. During Tonyâ€™s talk, he reminded me of my commitment as a disciple of Christ to care of the poor in whatever way I could. Tony was working out of Matt 25 31-46 but this really hit home when he quoted verse 45.
Then He will answer them, saying, â€˜Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.â€™
I heard you Lord LOUD and CLEAR! I found out long ago that if the Lord is speaking to you, you might as well listen because His voice only gets louder and louder.
Tony continued to say that if you look into the poorâ€™s eyes, you would see Jesus looking back at you. I took this to heart last night and sponsored a girl from Kampala Uganda named Phoebe Akwango. Her favorite subject is writing and as a Blogger, I pray she will be able to develop her writing skill and maybe even have the opportunity to post her writings here someday. At least with this sponsorship she may have a fighting chance to survive to get that chance.
Here is a picture of her.
My niece says she looks so sad. I said this is why we are helping her, to make her happy again.
Here is her story so far.
Phoebe lives with her parents. Her father, a day labourer, does not have regular work, so it has been a constant struggle for him to provide the necessities of life for his family. Her mother is a housewife. This sponsorship is an important and continuing part of the assistance given to help this girl and her family attains self-reliance.
Sponsor a child, there are 13 million orphans in Africa, HELP THEM!
I have been meaning to comment on this subject about the “Left Behind” series. Is it better to be left behind or not to be left behind? The “Left Behind” series places their entire message on two verses, Matt 24:40-41 and Luke 17:34-36.
Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left.
Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left.
I tell you, in that night there will be two men in one bed: the one will be taken and the other will be left. Two women will be grinding together: the one will be taken and the other left. Two men will be in the field: the one will be taken and the other left.
In these verses, Jesus said that if two men were in a field one would be taken and the other would be left. The trouble here is, Jesus never said if the believer would be taken or left. The “left behind camp” assumes that the believer would be taken and the non-believer would be left in the field.
This would all be well and fine accept for Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians. He clarifies who would stay and how would be left behind.
For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
1 Thess 4:14-17
Here, Paul speaks of Christ’s return. When he returns, those believers who fell asleep in Christ will be raised up. But more importantly, those who are alive and remain will be caught up together and raised into the clouds with those who were called from their slumber. We will all be with the Lord forever.
The other day our worship leader really struck chord (no pun intended) with me. To understand the Word better, context of the writings are everything. I have been singing this song for a number of years, â€œI lift my eyes upâ€¿ with no real understanding of the context in which it was written.
I lift my eyes up I lift my eyes up to the mountains,
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from You, Maker of Heaven,
Creator of the earth.
O how I need You Lord, You are my only hope;
You are my only prayer.
So I will wait for You to come and rescue me,
To come and give me life.
I was always under the impression that the mountain was in some way a metaphor for God. This was an incorrect assumption.
The actual passage where this song draws its roots from is from PSalm 121.
I WILL lift up my eyes to the hills
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.
He will not allow your foot to be moved;
He who keeps you will not slumber.
Behold, He who keeps Israel
Shall neither slumber nor sleep.
The LORD is your keeper;
The LORD is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day.
Nor the moon by night.
The LORD shall preserve you from all evil;
He shall preserve your soul.
The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.
I LOVE my wide margin bible (it was gift from an anonyms party while I was attending some classes at theâ€œGreat Commission Schoolâ€¿) because of the center of the page. It is chalk full of cool references to help you understand what you are reading, providing proper context.
Anyways there is a reference that points, â€œI WILL lift up my eyes to the hillsâ€¿ to Jer 3:23 and Jeremiah says;
Truly, in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills,
And from the multitude of mountains;
Truly, in the LORD our God
Is the salvation of Israel.
By this, I see that a hill is just a hill and a mountain is just a mountain. We should not expect salvation from the mountain, whatever that mountain turns out to be, money, things, high rank in the community, etc… We should realize that our salvation comes from and only from the LORD our God.
A good friend of mine who I have lost touch with over the years, has fallen into darkness. He has always been a little eccentric; I just donâ€™t know how he got involved with this evil Internet cult. His wife is a God fearing woman; she could not handle this change in him. This was very sad for her because of her faith but these changes were starting to border on violence toward her and the kids. She recently shared with me that over the past number of years he told her to not keep in contact with my wife and I because he was afraid of our faith. During the time we really hung out together, I was strong in my faith but I didnâ€™t think I was that strong or I didn’t think my strengthÂ showedÂ through as much as it did. I just figured that darkness scurries into the shadows when Godâ€™s light shines.
In my Bible study group, we were working through the passage PS 69:1-2. I read on a bit further and found a passage in PS 72:5-7 that explained the fear.
They shall fear You
As long as the sun and moon endure.
He shall come down like rain upon the grass before mowing.
Like showers that water the earth
In His days the righteous shall flourish
And abundance of peace
Until the moon is no more.
The passage really spoke to me; as long as the sun and the moon endure, evil will always fear God’s lightÂ and His people who carry that light.