This week's Combap Update newsletter.


Bringing People Into The Caring Community Of Christ
August 26th, 2015 - "Road Trip" Edition

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Hello ComBappers:

Road trip! Most summers include one or more road trips to visit relatives, to go to weddings, or to visit far off vacation places. When I drive, I often think of the way transportation was handled in the past. I think of the aboriginal people who literally walked the entire North and South America, settling along the way. From the rugged northwest and the Bering Strait all the way to Newfoundland and the southern tip of Chile. Mountains, plains, deserts, rain forests. Then the European settlers who plunked down in various places, eking a living in log cabins or sod houses, often many miles away from another living human being.

Those people formed the foundation of transportation that we see today.  Often following similar paths, our modern day highways crisscross the nation, allowing us to get to places hundreds of kilometers away.  What would have taken our forefathers days and weeks....now takes us hours. "Going to town" was an all day...or two day affair. Now we do it in 15 minutes and only to get a coffee.

We do stand on the shoulders of those who have come before us, especially in regards to our infrastructure here in Canada. Spiritually, we also do the same. We build upon, first and foremost, the Bible and foundation given to us there. But then we gratefully accept the input from others who have come before. Augustine. Clement. Ambrose. Origen. Calvin. Zwingli. Luther. Lewis. Chesterton. Lloyd-Jones. Carey. MacDonald. Graham. Keller (both Helen and Tim).... and the list of men and women goes on. No, these folks didn't write scripture, but their insights and wisdom have been a blessing to us here in 2015.

Next road trip, thank God for those who laid the paths we drive today...and those whose spiritual paths we also follow.

Joell

 
Bringing People Into The Caring Community Of Christ
August 20, 2015 - "See You Later, Cornie" Edition

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Hello ComBappers:

Yesterday we said goodbye....or rather "see you later"... to our dear fellow saint, Cornie Martens. First off, a special thank you to the many of you who pitched in to help in various ways as we saw our building utilized to near its capacity, and passing in flying colours. I might add! 

One thing I mentioned during the funeral was how Cornie was always willing to pitch in around the church building in any way he could. His favourite job, apparently, was taking care of the lawn. Even as his health started to ebb away, he insisted that he be the one to cut the grass...albeit with a self-propelled mower, which we gladly bought so he could do his ministry! Tending for grass is a slow process. Yes, the cutting has to happen very often; but doing the work of weeding, seeding, and watering is time consuming and, often, without any results for a very long time. For instance, the grass under the evergreen trees was essentially gone. Cornie took the time to rake up the pine cones and needles, rake in some seed, and then tend those spots daily for many weeks. Today we can see the fruit....er grass of his efforts. Grass is now growing nicely almost up to the trunk of the trees. Sometimes we need to wait to see the results.

Same for us in our Christian walk. Don't be surprised that you don't get the immediate results that our society often craves. There are tried, tested, and true methods of growing in your walk with Christ - but it is almost always the slow, mundane, routine things that produce the fruit in our lives weeks, months, or even years down the road. Cornie knew the steps to produce a healthy lawn. We know the steps to produce a healthy faith...but sometimes we want shortcuts. I suppose God does use shortcuts sometimes with us (they are called miracles), but the normal method is cultivating, sowing, and then reaping.

Let's tend our lives like Cornie tended the lawn...and we'll be in great shape!

Joell

 
Bringing People Into The Caring Community Of Christ
August 12, 2015 - "Robot" Edition

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Hello ComBappers:

Are you a robot? Are you living in a computer generated dream world? Are you able to actually choose anything or is your life determined by your genes, and any free will that you think you have is an illusion? It turns out that if you remove God from the universe (yes, figuratively speaking), then you also remove free will. No God = No choice. Now, don't just take my word for it, listen to Nancy Pearcey here for yourself. Well, and don't just listen to Nancy actually, but listen to the leading atheist and secular thinkers on the topic... and they will agree.

Now, some of you might be saying, "Hey, I'd rather have a universe with no meaning or free will rather than a universe with a God", and that is obviously your choice. However, you will be hard pressed to live that way. In other words, your worldview doesn't actually fit the way you live. If you really believed that, ultimately, we are a bag of meat in a meaningless existence, then you will care not about love, compassion, forgiveness, justice...or any of the other good things of this world. Might as well be a robot... or a sociopath.

If you can't live out your worldview... then it's time to question the logic of your worldview.

Joell

 
Bringing People Into The Caring Community Of Christ
August 5, 2015 - "Debate" Edition

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Hello ComBappers:

TV debates are all the rage at the moment. Canadians and our neighbours to the south are in the throes of election campaigns, and part of that process is the traditional TV debate. Somewhere along the way we decided that a good Prime Minister was also a good TV debater. I suppose thinking on your feet isn't a bad quality to have, but I would suggest that other qualities of more importance are not really surfaced by a TV debate. Can you imagine Winston Churchill doing one of these? John A. MacDonald? Tommy Douglas? (OK, he'd probably be pretty good at it, being a preacher and all.)

Debates are not a great way of winning an argument....or, more importantly, making a friend. Christians often feel the need to engage in debates and, for sure, they have their place. But for the average Jesus follower, a sit down discussion is probably the way to go. Sharing and listening. And making friends even with those we disagree with.

Joell

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