Lessons learned

There are many ways that people learn. Some learn in certain ways better than others or by a combination of methods. Some of these methods are:

  1. reading
  2. speaking
  3. hearing

I was homeschooled in my early years. Once I could read on my own, I could go off, read my lessons, and complete my assignments. I still love learning through reading.

Once I began public school, I learned that not everyone could be so easily self-taught. Some of my peers struggled through silent reading time. There were kids in my class who had to hear the lesson in order to retain the information. And there were students who had to repeat main points back to the teacher to ensure that they grasped the concept. And there were some still who used a combination of these things, as well as others, to learn.

In the days of Moses and Joshua, silent reading was almost unheard of. When the Book of the Law was read, it was read aloud.

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Joshua 1:8 (NIV)

Do you know that only 19 percent of churchgoing Christians read the Bible daily? (A Christian is considered to be churchgoing by attending church just 3 of 8 weeks.) It is no wonder that the Word of God has so little power in our lives.

Consider this, if every professing Christian were to read a portion of the Bible every day, how would you expect the world to change? If we all read the scriptures out loud, would there be even greater change?

Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.

Romans 10:17 (NIV)

If just over 7 percent of Christians read their Bibles daily, it is no wonder the church has lost its influence on society. It is no wonder we are perceived as weak hypocrites.

There is a reason why God was so emphatic about Joshua keeping the Book of the Law near him.

Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.

Joshua 1:7 (NIV)

Our success, both personally and as the body of Christ, I believe, is based entirely on our grasp of the Word of God. Most Christians have never seen a move of God. They don’t even know what it’s supposed to look like because they’ve never read or heard about it. The more I read about all that God has done, all the miracles Jesus performed, the power that came with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the more I crave those things. I yearn to see God move the way He did in the days of the early church.

Our mouths are required for a move of God. We need to open up our mouths and pray. We need to speak the Word of God with boldness and courage. We won’t see the Word come to pass until the Word passes our lips.

Read: Joshua 1-3, Luke 1:57-80

Shoe93

Every church wants a good growth strategy—at least they should. We also want to see community and global outreaches at work. Some churches focus on one more than the other and that’s okay. Organisations like the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) have figured out a way to get relief to war- and disaster-torn countries faster than any other organisation. The Association of Faith Churches and Ministers (AFCM) figured out how to build a leadership and church structure on the Peruvian Amazon in a way no one had been able to accomplish before. Victory Churches International (VCI) has been able to plant churches in 43 nations while also feeding communities and providing other necessities like job skills training and orphanages.

When a small church looks at organisations like these, it can be daunting. How can we possibly make a difference? My church is a part of Victory Churches International. We provide funding for a lot of what the organisation does in Canada and abroad, but we also want to make a difference in our own community—especially since our church is located in the inner city. We see the effects of poverty and drug abuse on a daily basis. And for the five years we’ve been in our building have tried all sorts of things to add value to the community. This year—as we go into our seventh year as a church, God planted a vision in our pastor’s heart that caught fire and spread quickly.

There is a school across the street from our building. It’s the poorest school in the city. Kids come and go all the time because of the transient nature of the neighbourhood. When we approached the school about what we could do, a surprising dilemma presented itself. These kids need shoes. In the spring, we handed out shoes to kids in a migrant camp in Mexico. That was expected. To have kids right across the street from us without shoes was completely unexpected.

So began our Shoe93 campaign.

Why Shoe93? Each year, we host several events which we call Reach293 (two-ninety-three). We work to invite people to fill all 293 seats in our auditorium. Shoe93 started off as a bit of a joke, but caught on. Why not try to collect 93 pairs of shoes? Well, collect 93 pairs we did, and then some. Folks who don’t even attend our church (or any church at all) felt a tug on their hearts to give. And, as of the writing of this post, we have somewhere in the vicinity of 175 pairs of shoes (and constructed a shoe-ninety-tree). We’re now hoping to keep going and get a pair of shoes for every student in the school (about 270).

What does this have to do with today’s Bible reading? Every pair of shoes has a tag that reads:

And on your feet wear the Good News of peace to help you stand strong.

Ephesians 6:15 (ICB)

2017-09-30 11.01

I am convinced that, as kids put on their first pair of new shoes, that the preparation of the Gospel of peace (as the New King James puts it) will go with them. That 270 kids will be running around town spreading peace like we’ve never seen before and that those little feet will be preparing the ground for the Gospel to be planted in our city. I believe that this little vision turned big will be the start of a revival in my town and this won’t be the last you year of Shoe93.

If you’d like to contribute to Shoe293, visit www.noperfectpeople.co to give online. 100% of all donations will go directly to the purchase of new shoes.

Daily Bible reading: Isaiah 29-30, Ephesians 6

Prayer for the Church

I don’t know about you, but I have a very difficult time reading the news these days. When it comes to politics and law, a lot of changes are being made. A lot of changes that – whether you realise it or not – affect the Church. And by church, I don’t necessarily mean individual churches or organisations, I mean The Church. The global Church. A group of individual believers striving together for the Great Commission. There are individual churches that I do no include in this group.

But the church is the church, isn’t it?

Is it?

Reading through the book of Nehemiah, I am struck by how relevant the prophets words are even today. Nehemiah has taken on the great task of rebuilding the walls around Jerusalem and at every turn, he’s met by resistance.

And they plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause confusion in it.

Nehemiah 4:8 (ESV)

Does this sound like anything that’s happening right now? Government officials along with public opinion are pushing against the church trying to cause confusion. Telling half-truths (which are really lies) or outright lies insisting this is the way things are and that to proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ is considered hateful.

In the fifty-two days it took to rebuild the wall, the Jews banded together. Not only did they work together, they fought together. There were workers and their were soldiers. And even the workers had swords strapped to their sides while they worked.

Do no be mistaken, Christianity is not for the faint of heart. We are not called to a happy little hippy community to sit around draping each other with daisy chains. There is a war and it is real and it’s not just being fought in the Middle East. It’s a war that is already in our schools, our churches, and our homes.

My prayer for the Church is this:

God, let us stand strong.
Set a guard of protection around our hearts and minds.
Lead us in the Truth.
Your Truth.
And only Your Truth.
Help us to stand when the world would see us fall.
Give us strength when the world sees us as weak.
Make our mind and path clear.
Go before us.
Victorious.

If you’re Canadian, remember this: engraved on the tower of Parliament is Psalm 72:8 – He shall have dominion also from sea to sea.

If you’re American, look at the change in your pocket. In God we trust.

The founders of our countries knew what they were doing even if many of our current leaders don’t. These ideals were firmly set in the foundation of our nations and, if we don’t stand up and fight for them, they will be removed and anything and everything that was built on them will crumble.

I leave you with Nehemiah’s words:

Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.

Nehemiah 4:14 (ESV)

Daily Bible reading: Nehemiah 4-6; Acts 2:14-47