Our son starts university in a few days. I struggle to describe the potpourri of feelings that blossom within me when I consider this fact. For one thing, I am very proud of what he has accomplished to reach this landmark; then, I am concerned about how he will navigate this change of course. Will he flourish in this new stage of (online) learning or be frustrated and overcome by the workload and lowered level of accountability? How can I, his father, guide him through this?
I was a rookie pastor and young father at the start of summer 1997, when Siegbert caught up to me in the church stairway. Siegbert is a seasoned German Baptist minister. He put his hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eye, and said, “While you’re on vacation, see how you can be a person of reconciliation.”
A familiar Scripture passage comes to mind when I ponder how to pray for the upcoming federal elections. According to Matthew 6:9-10, Jesus identifies us as people or citizens of God’s kingdom, and as the children or family of God. In our identity as citizens of God’s kingdom family, we are invited to pray for our nation — for his kingdom to come and his will to be done here in Canada as it is in heaven.
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‘Safety’ labels, Indiana Jones and wisdom
There seems to be a definite dearth of common sense among homo sapiens. Humour aside, we face a very serious and expanding problem among us, a lack of wisdom. My seminary professor Tremper Longman III said that wisdom is a knowing how – that is, knowing how to navigate life.
As we begin, full disclosure: although a Mennonite Brethren pastor, by spiritual birthright I am very much a Pentecostal. By this, I mean that I was raised in the Pentecostal church, was born-again and baptized in the Pentecostal church, had powerful encounters with the Holy Spirit in the Pentecostal church, went to Pentecostal bible college, and pastored in Pentecostal churches for thirteen years. This was my world until seven years ago when the Lord led me to leave behind the Pentecostals and join the Mennonite Brethren.
“Thank you for not leaving us alone,” one woman told Paul Shetler Fast, MCC’s health coordinator and former representative in Haiti who was present for the Aug. 31 distribution. “We’ve felt very alone these last days waiting after the earthquake, hoping someone would come, hoping someone would not forget us.”
Today the word reconciliation doesn’t so much bring me hope as it does hurt. Over the summer, we have awoken to numerous gruesome discoveries on the grounds of former Canadian residential schools. How can we as a country reconcile hundreds of years of inflicting pain and suffering on the Indigenous people…
“What do you do with the mad you feel?” was a familiar song on Mr. Roger’s TV show in the 1970s. His iconic cardigan and the little red trolley were not the only notable things about him. Fred had profound and honest insights into our life struggles, mirrored by his Christian faith.
I am more convinced now than ever that in these troubled times, what we need most is the ability to discern truth and persuasively proclaim it. Does this sound like an impossible task? Absolutely!
Full disclosure, my friends – I have times when I do not experience contentment. I demonstrate moments of discontent. However, I do eventually land in a space I call contentment equilibrium. Like you, I am on a journey to a spiritual satisfaction in Christ. The following is what I have learned about contentment. It has enabled me to better walk this journey…
Maria Loewen’s faith is unshaken through 100-years of heartache and upheaval.
This is the first installment in a series on grief written by Shauna Caldwell (with G. Neil Parker). Shauna lost her sons in an accident on February 6, 2016. Her aim is to be authentic in the grief journey, sharing how her faith in Jesus is carrying her through. The Word of God has informed her heart as she has desperately sought God’s peace in the midst of the storm.
The church in the majority world is familiar with rough travel, but we in Canada are used to smoother roads, green lights and loaded vehicles. This is going to change.
Lent is my opportunity to move from the superficial to the supernatural; from giving up token external gestures of sacrifice to an effort of offering myself as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1).
We are each at a different point on the continuum of COVID-19, but I cannot imagine anyone’s version of “re-entry” looks like yesterday or normal. So what if there is another way forward other than what we knew or did yesterday?