One December many years ago, a stranger pulled up to our house with a package. He asked my mother to give it to me, which she did. Upon opening it I was overjoyed – it was a shiny new Kodak Brownie camera. (You know – those old boxy things with the big flash attachment on the side). It was a very expensive gift for a child to receive. You see, I’d met the man a few weeks before on one of my frequent visits to the dentist. He was a fellow patient waiting his turn, and he asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Having never owned one, I told him I’d like a camera. The memory of his generosity has been a great example to me over the years.
There are many things one could point out from this story, but I’ll mention only two. I didn’t deserve this stranger’s gift. I hadn’t ever done anything nice for him; in fact I still don’t know who he was. But he did the work to go and buy the camera, then figure out where we lived so he could deliver it. God says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” (NRSV).
A second thought: responsibility. There is no doubt the man expected me to look after his gift, appreciate it, and not be selfish with it. My parents didn’t have a camera at the time, so we shared its use for many years. God expects us to be responsible with His gift of salvation, to live in a worthy way, and to share it.
There’s something special about a Kodak moment. But what God did for you is enormously better.
– Tim Johnson
We welcome everyone who has come to Barrie for our Young Adult Weekend. It is especially encouraging to have Jay, Linda and Jacob Manimtim among us, and of course Jay is our speaker today. The subject of the weekend is something every Christian needs, “A Closer Walk.”
Jude, who was likely the brother of Jesus Christ, had unique insight into this, as one would expect a brother to have. He didn’t brag about his family connection, nor did he act superior to those who had never met Him. In his short New Testament letter, Jude urged us to draw closer to the Lord, and thus avoid the destructiveness of those who would try to harm Christ’s people. Continue reading
Easter. Many people feel today is the highlight of the year. Churches swell on Easter Sunday, just as they do at Christmas time. While we enjoy having extra people this day, let’s think a little more about Easter.
The entire Bible revolves around the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is no doubt that these events are the heart of the faith. But isn’t it strange that the New Testament does not mention the celebration of Easter – as a specific yearly day above all others? Historically there was a debate over the date when the crucifixion took place; nobody really knew for sure. It grew into an early church squabble, so a date was chosen at the first church-wide council (Nicea) in 325 a.d. Even then the controversy continued. Two hundred years later the church had become more institutionalized and preferred to baptize people only on Easter Sunday. While Jesus Christ didn’t reveal in the New Testament a special yearly day to celebrate his death and resurrection, men chose one anyway. Continue reading
The world values good leadership. Without it armies falter, companies go bankrupt, the economy sours, and whole countries weaken. We’ve seen all of these things happen lately in the world. When wise leadership does not exist, people long for someone to provide guidance.
Jesus Christ is described with an interesting term in Heb.2:10 – “The captain of our salvation” (KJV). More modern versions translate the word as “author” or “leader.” It’s used a second time in Heb.12:2, where he calls Jesus the “author and perfecter of faith.” We’re told in that verse to keep our eyes on Him, for He is our leader. Continue reading