This week's Combap Update newsletter.

 
Bringing People Into The Caring Community Of Christ
April 29, 2015 - "Earthquakes" Edition

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Hello ComBappers:

I forgot to mention on Sunday that those who want to give to relief efforts in Nepal should do so via Canadian Baptist Ministries. We know them. We trust them. They do a great job. Click here to donate: http://www.cbmin.org/nepal-emergency-relief/

Four fifths of an inch (2 cm) per year. That doesn't sound like much, does it?  But that is the speed at which India and Asia are moving towards each other. As they  move together, they are pushing the Himalayan mountains up. making Mount Everest a fraction higher every year. Of course, it doesn't actually move those 2 cms but rather builds up pressure to move...much like your hand on a table. The more force you exert down, the harder it is to slide. But, once it does slide, it's hard to stop! That's why every so often, an area that hasn't had quakes for quite a while will get a big one like Nepal just had. 7.8 on the Richter scale. But, for that region, a bigger one may be on the way soon.

So, a theological question often arises after natural disasters such as this: Why does God allow this "natural evil"? For those caught in the midst of the mayhem,  a "bigger picture" answer is of little comfort. Still, our created world does come with some risks in order for advance life to be possible on earth. For instance, plate tectonics is responsible for us to actually have land on the planet instead of it being covered with water. The various land masses floating around on the planet (and they are floating) crash into each other (over millions of years) and end up pushing up and down those floating plates, creating our continents today. That process is still in process and is still needed so that we have places to live. There really wasn't any other way for it to be created. Some folks have tried to think of a way the planet could have been designed differently so there weren't natural disasters, but all their attempted solutions ended up making life impossible.

So, give and extend the hand of grace to those in need.

Joell


Bringing People Into The Caring Community Of Christ
April 22, 2015 - "Practice" Edition

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Hello ComBappers:

Effort and success often go hand in hand. A survey of the greatest of the great athletes in the world found that one thing that consistently described their behavior was "hard work". Wayne Gretzky spent countless hours shooting and passing. Michael Jordan spent the same taking foul shots. They both took their God-given talent and honed it through hours and hours of practice. Yes, for both of them there was an element of having "the gift", but both would have failed (or, perhaps ended up being just average) had they not taken the time to work out their skills. They took what God gave them and worked it.

Not all of us are blessed with some off-the-chart natural gift of some kind. However, we can, and should, take the gifts and talents that God has given us and work them out. Or, work out to improve them. Practice isn't glamorous or even fun, but that makes all the difference in the world. This is what we all need to do with spiritual practice. Attending church, praying, reading the Bible, sharing our faith, and engaging in ministry are all ways that we practice and work out, spiritually speaking. None of these make you a Christian, but all of them help being one!

Joell

 
Bringing People Into The Caring Community Of Christ
April 15, 2015 - "Light" Edition

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Hello ComBappers:

At our Youth Lock-In the other night, we played some games in the dark. And, other than putting a hole in the wall (you'll never find it, we fixed it already!), the game was pretty injury free...and exciting. Throughout the building the kids were hiding from the "Gorgon" (that was me) and, when caught, would forfeit one of their three lives (aka: toothpicks).  Upon getting caught without any lives left to give, they would join the "Gorgon" and start attempting to catch the others. The kids took to hiding in various places, and the hardest ones to find were in the darkest parts of the building. In particular, the basement is almost completely dark, and finding them in those rooms was the hardest because I had to feel my way around. They were the safest in the darkest places but were mostly unwilling to go to those dark places because it was scary!

What's so scary about the dark? Well, it really comes down to not being able to see where you are going. There can be obstacles in the way, and you won't know about them until it's too late and you're lying flat on your back, wondering what you ran into. It's actually more dangerous.

A few years ago in Kitimat at our Youth Camp, we were playing Mission Impossible on a particularly dark night.  Two girls ran into each other at full speed. Both had concussions. Both went to the hospital! Ya, it's dangerous.

But, why if there is an increased danger, do we play those games in the dark? Well, because danger can be exciting! But, all things considered, we know that it is always better to run when you can see where you are running. It might be fun in the dark...but if you actually want to get from A to B, you are better off doing so in the light!

Jesus is the light of the world. Some people would actually prefer to be in the dark for some reason. Is it more exciting? I actually doubt it...but, for sure it's more dangerous. John 3:19 states: "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil." Why do some people not want the Light of Life (Jesus) in their life? It might be shame. But here's the catch. The only thing that gets rid of shame is forgiveness, and the only way to get forgiveness is from God, and the only way to get forgiveness from God is to admit our sin.  But real freedom only comes with forgiveness...so, swallow your pride/shame, come to God for forgiveness, and start living in the light! Don't worry, God still provides the excitement without the danger!

Joell


Bringing People Into The Caring Community Of Christ
April 4, 2015 - "Lock-In" Edition

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Hello ComBappers:

So, I am writing this on the day I don't get to go to sleep. We are having our youth group Lock-In tonight which is an 8pm to 8am extravaganza of games, eating, playing, sharing, and not sleeping. I am clearly too old for this. For some reason teens love this kind of thing. It must be like church sanctioned misbehaving. Feeling like you are breaking the rules without actually breaking the rules. Oh, and of course the lack of sleep will make them all very grouchy the next day or two, so sorry about that.

Of course, the phrase "locked in" shouldn't conjure up ideas of fun and merriment but, rather, of things like jail and prison. I can't imagine what it must feel like to actually be locked in. I've always had the freedom to open any particular door that I happened to be behind. The feeling of freedom, of being able to escape if needed, is an essential part of human flourishing. Nobody want to be trapped...yet so many people are.

Many are trapped in situations where they are being abused but don't think that they can escape. Perhaps they've been brainwashed or convinced otherwise. Perhaps they don't know that there is freedom available. Others are trapped in prison either because of something they did wrong...or, for some, for becoming followers of Jesus. Take some time to read about those who are locked in because of the Gospel here: https://www.vomcanada.com Maybe come out to our church letter writing night on the last Tuesday of each month. Let's encourage those who are locked in for Jesus.

Joell

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