This week's Combap Update newsletter.

Bringing People Into The Caring Community Of Christ
September 15, 2016 - "Context" Edition

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Hello ComBappers:

Sometimes we jump to conclusions. Meaning: we assume something without having enough facts. And, sometimes, we really don't even have enough information to make an informed guess...but we come to conclusions anyway.  May I present exhibit A:

It's hard to fathom what might be happening in this photo. We could jump to some seriously flawed conclusions but, perhaps with a little more information, we might be able to come to some more educated guesses. For instance, it might be helpful to know that this photo is taken in downtown Toronto...specifically near the CN Tower. And it might be helpful to know that Dusty isn't texting but, rather, taking a photo. And it might be helpful to know that Michelle is one of the two main objects in the photo.... the other being the CN Tower.  And, finally, it might be helpful to know that these two people may have spent way too much time in a vehicle driving across Canada in the days previous. :)

Context helps. Greatly. In the Bible we must always keep in mind that any scripture verse standing alone (on a facebook post, or a sign, or pinterest) might even be misleading if we don't understand the context. Yes, knowing Bible verses is good, but make sure you know the context to ensure you understand what the meaning is...and don't come to some crazy ill-conceived conclusions!

Joell


Bringing People Into The Caring Community Of Christ
September 7, 2016 - "He's Back" Edition

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Hello ComBappers:

Like a bad rash (with a broken arm)... I'm back! We finished off our time with a holiday to the East Coast, which dramatically reinforced the fact that this a is a big country! Thousands and thousands of kilometers later, we found ourselves back home, glad to be in our own beds...for one night. It was off to a hospital bed for me (first time ever) for one night in Regina as I needed surgery on my arm after falling off my stepladder at Matt's house. So, ya. I didn't end well. :)

In August I was saddened to hear that our beloved Kathy passed away. Kathy was our "go to" prayer person who both Penny and I relied upon heavily Her poetry, encouragement, and cooking will be missed! Special thanks to Pastor Rick for helping out as I was mid-trek in the East.

And, special thanks to Penny for her faithful service here at the ComBap World Headquarters. She really went above and beyond the call of duty on many occasions. So, take the time to hug her....twice when you see her this week!

Joell


Bringing People Into The Caring Community Of Christ
August 29, 2016 - "Character" Edition

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Hello ComBappers:

Good afternoon!  I read a quote on Facebook yesterday that I really liked:  "Character isn't who you are when life goes your way.  Character is who you really are when the bottom falls out."  (LeCrae Moore) 

How true is that?!   It's easy to be a Christian / nice guy when things are going well ... but how about when we have a bad day, when a relationship or dream crumbles, or when someone criticizes us or ticks us off?  The Bible doesn't say, "Be kind and compassionate to one another, unless you are in a bad mood" (Ephesians 4:32).  Nor does it say, "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, unless there is a horrible driver in front of you" (Ephesians 4:2).  It doesn't even say, "Offer hospitality to one another, unless your house is messy or you have PMS" (I Peter 4:9).

We all go through hard times, disappointments, and frustrations ... but guess what ... these things can help develop godly character.  "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."  (James 1:2-4) 

I'm afraid I'm not there yet, as far as rejoicing when I run into problems and trials ... but I hope God is developing strength of character in me as I face them. 

Penny


Bringing People Into The Caring Community Of Christ
August 22, 2016 - "Clay Pot" Edition

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Hello ComBappers:

When Terry and I were at the Umbrella conference this summer, Brian Doerksen and the Shiyr Poets sang a song based on Psalm 4 called "We Can Be Sure Of This".  The music and lyrics are beautiful, and I have listened to the cd over and over.

"We can be sure of this.  Our God will set apart His own.  We can be sure of this.  Our God will answer when we call."  Take a listen here

There are so many times we need to remember those words ... when we have a tough week ... when we lose a loved one ... when we get an ugly diagnosis from the doctor ... when we are discouraged ... when we are struggling financially ... when we have a prodigal child ... when we are feeling misunderstood, drained, or lonely ... the list goes on and on.

Adam Driscoll's message yesterday was a great encouragement.  If you weren't here for the sermon, "Momentary Troubles - Eternal Glory", I encourage you to watch it here.   Adam  closed with an object lesson originally shared by Francis Chan, illustrating with a long rope how SHORT our life on earth is, compared to eternity.   Truly, our troubles are "momentary" within the context of the big picture.

I also loved Adam's gold-inside-the-Lego-box illustration.  Our "clay pot" (and sometimes "cracked pot"!) bodies indeed can lose their luster, wear down, and break down ... but the treasure inside (God's spirit) never loses its value or beauty.

"If you only look at US, you might well miss the brightness.  We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives.  That's to prevent anyone from confusing God's incomparable power with us.  As it is, there's not much chance of that!  (Ha!)  You know for yourselves that we're not much to look at.  We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized.  We're not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do.  We've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side.  We've been thrown down, but we haven't broken."  (2 Corinthians 4:7-9)

We have eternal glory ahead!  Let's focus on the treasure inside our clay pots.

"Clay Pot Penny"

 

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