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#YourLifeMatters

Isn’t that the message of Jesus Christ?

You might think it strange — even heretical — that a message purportedly from God Himself can be boiled down to a single, three-word phrase (and a hashtag, at that!), but why wouldn’t God’s message to us be something that anyone can grasp? No matter what the material world thinks or says about us, Jesus Christ’s life, teaching, death and resurrection are all based on the reality that to God, every one of us matters.

I hope these mini-messages — two minutes (give or take) to check where the Cross is in your life — will encourage you and help you draw closer to the Lord, yourself. Feel free to send in comments and if you’d like to get these via email, you can subscribe (scroll ‘way down to the bottom of this page to do that).

If you click on the “Sermons” tab, you’ll find some of the messages I’ve preached over the past few years. Please visit the “Books, etc.” tab, for some of the writing I’ve done (and links to order it online).

Contact me through this blog if you’d like me to speak at your church or group.

Grace and peace to you,

Drew

pettifogger-2

 

 

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The great mis-direct & the offense of the Cross

The other day, I wrote about the “big news” events in the world, and the possibility — the danger — that we can get so focused on them that we don’t see what’s really going on.

There’s the impeachment investigation in the USA, the election in Canada, Turkey’s invasion of Kurdish areas of Syria, Brexit, storms, fires, and other things too numerous to mention — all commanding our attention. So what are we not seeing through this?

Here’s something to consider: look how quickly the story of Amber Guyger and Brandt Jean, which could have been a game-changer in race relations and especially between African-Americans and police, faded from the public eye. Worse, follow-ups that I saw involved people who were offended by it. The Freedom From Religion Foundation complained that the judge (who, apparently, gave Ms Guyger a Bible and some suggested passages, as her own witness) had over-stepped her bounds, mixing church with state. The New York Times found some people who had been wronged in the judicial system, who complained that they didn’t get a Bible and a hug.

And so it goes. The Apostle Paul referred to “the offense of the Cross” (Galatians 5:11), and gives a clue later as to why the Cross should be offensive.

For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.

But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

— Galatians 6:13-14

The world, like the early-church folks Paul is referring to, wants us to live in a certain way and observe certain things; but the world has been crucified by that Cross, and the world doesn’t like it. The world is eager for revenge, and whether that revenge comes in the form of overt acts like complaints against the judge or in subtle ways, like diverting our attention to the signs of Jesus’ return, but not to the meaning of those signs.

The world wants us to focus on the symptoms, but not the source.

The world wants us to focus on anything but Jesus, and to make sure we do, the world takes offense at the Cross, knowing we humans don’t want to offend anyone.

Jesus knows that.

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.”

— John 15:18-19

So these distractions, these expressions of offense at the Cross, are simply a function of the world hating Jesus, and anyone who follows Him. Knowing what the enemy is up to, we can see past that, and keep loving people and pointing them to that “offense”.

A Very Convenient Truth – The 11th Commandment?

Without question, one of the hallmarks of the concerns over climate change and the general destruction of our environment is fear. It has been for a good twenty years, or so, and if you’ve ever thought that the whole “discussion” — shouting match, really — is un-Godly, consider this.

The continual presence of FEAR is a sign that Satan is pulling the strings.

I don’t mean Godly fear or the wise-as-serpents/keep-your-stick-on-the-ice kind of fear that heightens our awareness of circumstances. I mean the paralyzing, out-of-control kind of fear that makes us dread getting up in the morning and lash out at anyone we think is responsible.

That’s the sort of fear that Satan loves. Here’s another passage from my book, A Very Convenient Truth – or, Jesus Warned Us There’s Be Days Like These, So Stop Worrying About The Planet And Get With His Program!

Another sign that Satan has his hands all over this issue is the amount of fear. The debate is filled with fear of either destruction of the planet or economic collapse.

Fear is not of God. You could say it is the Eleventh Commandment – as Psalm 92 says,

“You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,

“Nor of the arrow that flies by day,

“Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness”Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.”

(Psalm 91:5-6)

That being said, look at the number of times in the Bible that people are told “fear not”, just before an amazing move of God takes place:

– God first tells Abram “fear not” (Genesis 15:1) before announcing he will be the father of many generations;

– the angel Gabriel tells Zechariah “fear not”, before announcing that Elizabeth will have a baby (Luke 1:13) ;

– he tells Mary “fear not”, as he tells her she has found favor with God (Luke 1:30); and

– he tells the shepherds “fear not”, as he announces Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:10)

Think of it: a move of God is so awe-inspiring that people can be stricken dumb with fear. Indeed, when Jesus tells us about the events that precede His return — the effects of climate change among them — He tells us so that we will not be afraid, even though those things can — and do — cast fear into our hearts.

The fear we have of environmental calamity is really a sign that we are about to see a tremendous move of God.

Praise God, He has this all figured out and His plan is unfolding as He told us it would. When we let Him take control, we have nothing to worry about.

What’s really sad is, so many children are being shown to be scared of what’s happening and what could happen in their lifetimes. One wonders why their parents aren’t giving them that important message. Well, as we said yesterday, the god of this age has blinded people to the truth.

One more thing for us to pray about.

The Lord is my Light and my Salvation:

Whom shall I fear?

The Lord is the strength of my life:

Of whom shall I be afraid?

— Psalm 27:1

FEAR NOT!


A Very Convenient Truth is currently going through yet another revision, and will be re-uploaded as an e-book in the next couple of months. But the message of the book is too important to delay.

Remember the mis-direct!

Here’s one for you: what do the current impeachment investigation in the US and the current spate of climate change activist actions have in common?

Here’s a clue:

“Keep your eye on the roses, ladies and gentlemen! Never take your eyes off the roses!”

When so much attention is focused on so little, it’s fair to ask, what are we not seeing, and why? Climate change and the actions of the President of the United States are important issues, in their way, but while we’re looking at those roses, we’re supposed to miss the rabbit and doves coming out of the magician’s hat. Why do you suppose that would be?

That’s not really a rhetorical question. Consider this:

But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,

whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

— 2 Corinthians 4:3-4

While the world is focusing on flashy things like worldwide protest marches or one country’s politics, the fact that we are looking at the greatest “come to Jesus moment” ever is getting overlooked.

We need to be “woke Christians”, looking past the “magician’s mis-direct”, the arguments over climate change and even our own Schadenfreude at seeing the mighty fall; we need to keep our eyes fixed on the Gospel and remembering that our job is to “unveil” the Gospel to the ones Paul says are perishing. It’s our responsibility. It’s our duty.

“For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be.

“And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days.

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘Look, He is there!’ do not believe it.

“For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

“But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand.”

— Mark 13:19-23

A Very Convenient Truth – a challenge and an opportunity

Another major action is planned for my city today (and others around the world, apparently): environmental activists plan to shut down the Johnson Street Bridge, except for bicycles, pedestrians and transit buses, to demand action on climate change. It’s hard to say whether they will win the hearts and minds of the general public by inconveniencing people, but they will certainly get to show off their eco-righteousness, all the while ignoring a key point.

The universe is unfolding exactly the way God says it will. He warned us 2,000 years ago and He’s been warning us since long before that. The events we’re seeing are the things Jesus said would precede His return … the thing is, He doesn’t say by how much they’re preceding His return … that is, His return is imminent, but there’s nothing to indicate that it will be tomorrow, next year or next century …

Then the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing Him asked that He would show them, a sign from heaven.

He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’;

“and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the signs of the times.”

— Matthew 16:1-3

The fact is, we need to be awake and aware. This is not a time to roll over and wait for the Rapture: the events we’re seeing are a wakeup call not simply about climate change, but for us to get our act together in all areas of our relationship with Him.

Racism, violence, hatred, tribalism, terrorism, wars, earthquakes and climate change are all related. They’re not about CO2 emissions, fossil fuels or international accords: they are a result of our falling-away from God; our refusal to consider His word, and our preference to “do it our way”.

And so these problems escalate. Is anybody asking, “how’s that working for us?”  

God’s word makes it clear that if we turn to Him, He will heal the physical stuff.

“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.”

— Matthew 6:33

“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and will heal the land.”

— 2 Chronicles 7:14

This leaves me wondering something. Why don’t the leaders of the environmental movement point to Scripture and the promises it holds — like 2 Chronicles 7:14, above? It seems like that is the one area that gets ignored by the movement, unless it’s to say, “Well, of course we have to take care of God’s Creation!”, and then run off to make more demands of politicians, businesspeople and ordinary folks.

So here’s the “challenge”. Two of them, in fact:

1 – to those who deny there’s a problem, and tend to be associated with the Religious Right, are you willing to take your head out of the oilsands long enough to see that all the signs Jesus told us would precede His return are happening in front of our eyes, and use this opportunity to share the Gospel far and wide?

2 – to the environmental movement, are you willing to consider the word of God above the words of David Suzuki, Al Gore or even Greta Thunberg and lead the call to general repentance for the sake of the Earth you love?

It’s not about taking care of creation: it’s about restoring our relationship with Him. If we do that, He promises to do the heavy lifting, and everything falls into place.


My book, A Very Convenient Truth, or Jesus Warned Us There’d Be Days Like These, So Stop Worrying About the Planet and Get With His Program!, is going through yet another revision. It will be ready soon. I’ll let you know.

The greatest “Thank you!”

When I pray, I generally start by thanking God for everything. Thanking Him for my life, thanking Him for my new life, thanking Him for everyone I know, thanking Him for the challenges I face and that He has the answers.

This morning, I realized — or it was suggested — that I add something else to be thankful for.

“Thank You, that You are real.”

In spite of all the alternatives to God the world is promulgating, not to mention the way so many people dismiss anyone who wants to share the Good News of Jesus Christ by saying, “We all have our belief systems”, the evidence is overwhelming that He is real. He is not just some quaint cultural explanation for the inexplicable: His manifestation — the miracles, the “spirit nudges”, the sense of newness when we turn to Him after a lifetime of “doing it our way” and the supernatural support He provides — is absolute proof of His existence.

And that proof translates to Love, forgiveness and equality in His eyes. Aren’t you glad it’s that, and not condemnation, wrath and favoritism?

I’d say that’s plenty to be thankful for, and worth starting the prayer with that.


The realness of God was on full display in a courtroom in Houston, Texas, the other day. Amber Guyger, a woman police officer, was being sentenced for killing Botham Jean, a black man. She had walked into his apartment and shot him. Her defense was that she thought she was walking into her apartment (she was a neighbour) and assumed he was an intruder.

Then came time for the victim impact statements, and Botham’s brother, Brandt, took the stand. As you know, victim impact statements are usually, and understandably, expressions of grief, loss and anger. Look at how Brandt Jean used his time.

I’ve written before that, contrary to Elton John, “sorry” is not the hardest word. “Forgive” is much harder, but of course, that’s easy to say, when you’re standing outside the actual situation.

Lord, give us the strength to follow Brandt Jean’s example, should You give us the opportunity. Because, after all, what else could have motivated Brandt Jean to speak like that?

Thank You, Lord, for being real.


And thanks, too, to David Robertson, for drawing our attention to this incident in his blog, The Wee Flea.

In Your name … and in your heart

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the worship performer who went public with his “doubts” about faith — in particular, his discomfort with the “contradictions” in the Bible.

To me, that really says that he hasn’t taken the time to explore the word of God for himself, contemplating apparent contradictions and “asking the Author” what He means. It’s something we all can do: it’s called “prayer”.

Prayer is more than “making your requests known to God” or interceding on someone’s behalf: it’s the whole conversation with God, bringing you closer to Him and making Him very real. When you ask Him, “What are You up to here?” and then wait for a response (which could take months or years to come, or be there before the words are out of your mouth), you realize that God is not just an airy-fairy, comforting “concept”, but Someone with whom you can have a relationship.

I don’t know what “contradictions” this chap was running into, but I came across something this morning that gave me cause for pause:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

“Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name and done many wonders in Your name?’

“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'”

— Matthew 7:21-23

So how does that square with this?

Now John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us.”

But Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side.”

— Luke 9:49-50

Certainly, cause for either saying, “Well! The Bible is full of contradictions and that’s one of them!” or “Lord, what are You talking about?”

The underlying theme here, as I see it, is the matter of the state of one’s heart: what’s the motivation for casting out demons? The people Jesus says He doesn’t know are the ones trying to “make a case” for being allowed into the Kingdom by saying, “look at what we’ve been doing in Your name!” The fellow the disciples tried to shut down appears to have been doing it quietly (as quietly as casting out demons can be) for the sake of setting someone free, rather than showing off to Jesus.

Jesus knew whose side this person was on. He knew the man’s heart, something the disciples didn’t. That’s why He tells us that the Father sees “in secret” the things that we do (Matthew 6:1-6).

So is that a “contradiction”? Not when you take a little time to pray deeper.

What’s my motivation in sharing that tidbit with you? To show what a brilliant scholar I am? No. To encourage you to spend a bit of time, yourself, when you run into passages that are hard to comprehend or seem to run counter to something else you’ve read, don’t write the Bible off. Rather, treat them as invitations to pursue the conversation.

Just a building …

“A church is not a building.”

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“A building is not a church.”

We’ve probably all heard that one in our time – and it’s true: a church is about the people who make it up, from the congregation to the Apostolic leader. But there’s something about this particular church building that made it unique, and an integral part of the community it serves. Or served.

Take a look now.

Bit by bit, the building, one of the oldest in Vancouver — built just after the Great Fire of 1886 — is coming down.

Now, I’ve written in the past that Gospel Mission’s history is one of God placing it where it’s supposed to be, before it’s needed there. More about that later. But I’d just like to pause and reflect on this particular building — 325-327-331 Carrall Street.

For three-quarters of a century — the exact year is kinda lost in the mists of time and quixotic record-keeping — people knew that this was the place to come for a meal and to hear the Word of God. It was here that “Bobby” wandered one day, on the verge of following through on his suicidal thoughts, and Barry managed to talk him out of it and, thanks to Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, gave him new hope to carry on.

It was that building, where Shelly knew she could bring a chap who’d injured himself in a fall, and someone could call 9-1-1 at that early hour of the morning.

It was there, that Axel, the aging street thug, came when the case of “street foot” became unbearable, and we were able to wash his feet and dress the wound as best we could and find him a fresh pair of socks.

It was there that Frank, another addict, came to find support to walk up the street to InSite and try to get into the recovery program.

It was there that people could wash up and start their day in a better frame of mind.

Of course, it was in that building that Barry Babcook spent the better part of twenty years of his life, literally holding the place together with ad-hoc handyman work, while serving the Lord by serving others.

Other buildings were literally crumbling around it, but it was evident that God intended for 325-327-331 Carrall Street to stay up — at least, for that time.

Truly, over the decades, that building had become more than a pile of bricks.*

Now, the Mission itself has moved. It has new quarters — at least, temporarily — at The Door is Open, a facility run by the Catholic church. It’s right across the street from Oppenheimer Park, which is the latest “ground zero” for homelessness. A tent city has been in place there for several months now, which means there are fields “ripe for the harvest”.

Once again, the Mission has been placed “ahead of the curve”.

God still has a plan for the Mission: please consider being part of that plan with your tithes and offerings — and time.

So, while I still get misty-eyed about the old pile, at the end of the day, it’s not about the building.


*You can read more about it in my book, God at Work: a Testimony of Prophecy, People and Provision amid Poverty. Just click on the link to order direct from Smashwords.


Too important for humans

The International Panel on Climate Change has released yet another report, proclaiming environmental doom if big changes are not made in the way we live. This past Friday, in my city and around the world, people took to the streets to demand those changes and castigate governments of all stripes for not “doing more” to combat climate change.

There is an underlying implication that nothing is being done to combat climate change, but that is ‘way off-side. For the past half-century, people, organizations, private corporations and yes, even governments have taken action to save humanity from itself. Look at the neighborhood recycling programs, the lobbying for tighter pollution and emission regulations, the cleanup crews hauling trash off shorelines and out of waterways.

Look at the reams of treaties, accords and solemn promises that governments have made over the past 30 years. Heck: let’s go back more than 60 years, to the “ban the bomb” movement and Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring.

Look at the human cost: the thousands upon thousands of jobs lost — and families put into turmoil — due to industries closing.

(I remember hearing an Australian friend gush about the decision to close the Holden car-manufacturing plant in Australia: “That’s great for the environment! Maybe not so good for people losing their jobs — but great for climate change!” Hmm.)

Don’t tell me “nothing has been done”.

But have the actions taken been the right actions? They’ve certainly seemed like good ideas at the time, but as I mentioned on Earth Day earlier this year, even plastics recycling — that most basic of home-environmentalist actions — has not done what it was supposed to do.

The thing is. the IPCC reports — both the one specifically on rising sea levels and the one released just before Earth Day — are classic cases of science confirming the Bible. We’ve been warned about all of the events predicted in those reports — nearly 2,000 years ago and more. And you don’t need to be an end-times wonk (which I’m not) to see that.

Throwing people into a blind panic and stirring up anger because “someone else” isn’t “doing enough” to ameliorate the situation only distracts attention from what’s really going on and what we’re really supposed to be doing in this situation.

And what are we supposed to be doing?

  • Turn to God (2 Chronicles 7:13-14)
  • Repent for our personal failure to “tend His garden” (Genesis 2:15) and move forward with new life (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • Love others unconditionally and stop pointing fingers
  • Minister hope to the poor
  • Keep asking God where He is in this (Matthew 7:8)
  • Learn more about what He says we should to for His creation. His Word actually has practical instructions, which we all can follow

Hope that human intellect, science and technology will save the earth is a false hope. This is too important for humans to tackle alone.

Climate change, racial tension, violent crime and earthquakes, are all products of human intellect. But more importantly, they are the symptoms, not the disease itself. The disease is the falling-away from God. Praise Him, there is a Cross-shaped door that is always open for us to come back.


Starting next Monday and over the next few weeks, this blog will run excerpts of a book I first published in 2008, and am now revising. A Very Convenient Truth — or, Jesus Warned Us There’d Be Days Like These, So Stop Worrying About the Planet and Get With His Program! is what you might call a “Bible Journey” through the issue of environmental trauma — not denying the situation, but suggesting that we re-focus our attention on the root of the issue, rather than the symptoms. Edition #4 will be ready soon.

Gunplay and overcoming the fear factor

The big story out of Vancouver’s Downtown East Side has been three shootings in a 24-hour period. The shootings were “targeted”, one man was taken to hospital, and police have arrested two suspects.

I have a feeling my friends in New York, Toronto and Chicago would shake their heads at the idea that this is generating fear, but it is causing concern among residents and police. The news also comes at a time when rescue missions in the area are reporting a shortage of volunteers.

Coincidence? Or is it more like, this is just the way Satan wants it?

I keep saying it: the Downtown East Side — like any other area of urban poverty — can be scary. Yes, there’s an element of danger, but you keep your head up and make sure you connect with people who are experienced in the place, and know that as you are doing Jesus’ work — because this is exactly the sort of place where Jesus would go — you will be protected and given the wisdom you need.

Because Jesus’ work is all about hope, and hope is the commodity in shortest supply. Consider Mary Magdalene, weeping outside Jesus’ tomb when she discovers His body is not there. Sorry – did I say “weeping”? How about beside-herself-over-the-top grieving?

Consider this excerpt from my book, God At Work: a Testimony of Prophecy, Provision and People amid Poverty.*

The word “maudlin” – meaning an over-the-top, almost embarrassing, display of grief – comes from “Magdalene”. It’s kind of a pejorative word now, but it gives you an image of Mary’s state of mind outside the tomb.

Her life has been gutted in the past couple of days. Jesus was the only man who saw her the way God sees her and treated her as a loved daughter or sister. She watched as He was brutally tortured and killed, nailed to a cross and left to die.

That was bad enough; but when she went to the tomb to minister to the body, it was gone. She couldn’t even look at Him one more time.

Had this all been a dream, or what? Had she only imagined being treated so well when the rest of the world had written her off? This link to God – her one chance at Hope – was gone and she was consumed with grief.

===

That pretty much sums up the situation for most of the people on the Downtown East Side. Their lives have been gutted, and in their grief, they reach out for something of the world to cling to – like alcohol or drugs. Making it worse, the world condemns them for being addicted, and then decides they’re only worthy of “reduced harm”, rather than the whole enchilada. It’s hard to find hope in that scenario – you have to encourage people to reach for the unseen and intangible.

Compounding all of this is that the building that housed Gospel Mission for over 70 years is gone. That’s one fewer beacon, one fewer place of refuge, one fewer place where people are treated as human beings, worthy of healing and hope.

To tell them, in short:

YOUR LIFE MATTERS!

“Your life matters to God, to Jesus Christ … and to me.”

Don’t you think the tendency to violence would be reduced if more people were to bring that message?

Gospel Mission Society/Carrall Street Church has a Facebook page; Street Church has a website. Those are just two missions in Vancouver which could use help. You’d be surprised how much you’d be able to do.


*Available through online booksellers, or click on the link and order directly (US $4.99) from Smashwords.

A few loose ends …

Some random thoughts, from the past few days: reading, football and elections …

1 “Why don’t people read their Bible?” my wife asked.

My mouth went into action before my brain was in gear.

“Laziness, I suppose.”

“You know you’re talking about me, right?” She freely admits she has not read all of the Bible. She has been baptized, has no problem praising Jesus in church and out, and puts me to shame when it comes to reading a situation and praying over it.

My point had been that when people read their Bible and get to know the Word of God, they’re less likely to get sucked-in by cults or get led down a garden path to spiritual and sometimes financial disaster.

But why don’t people read it? As I thought about it, everyone of my responses to that came out judgmental. Except for one.

“We all have our reasons.”

True. So the best I can do is reiterate my reasons for reading the Bible. God has given us His Word so that each of us can know Him, can get a glimpse of “the edge of His garment” and see the extent to which He loves us. He doesn’t keep things a secret or pop any nasty surprises on us, and we wants us to be protected against dangerous things other human beings might say in His name. We’ll know the difference between the Word of God and words of men; and between what God says and what we think He might say.

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

— Hebrews 4:12

2 In last week’s piece about football and the walk with God, there’s at least one more observation, from the tale of “Wrong-Way” Riegels. When he grabbed the fumbled football and ran towards his own end-zone, his “enemies” — the Georgia Tech players — kept their mouths shut. It was his teammates and fans who were screaming at him. Roy thought they were cheering him on, it was his own captain who finally caught up with him and turned him around.

Need I elaborate? When we’re going the wrong way in life, people who don’t really care for us will let us go our merry way, heading towards destruction. The ones who love us will be screaming at us to turn around, and sometimes, we might mistake that for encouragement, as Riegels did. A good leader, though — a team captain in his case, a pastor or teacher for us — will be the one who chases us down and physically get us going in the right direction.

And part of the Riegels story is that he tried to shake off that captain, accusing him of trying to take away his moment of glory. So it is with us: we might accuse a pastor, teacher or really good friend of “hating” us because they’re trying to stop us from doing what we think is right.


3 In Canada, we are in the midst of an election campaign, and for the first time in my voting-age life, I have no idea whom to vote for. I take my vote very seriously, as if my single “X” will determine the direction of the government, and frankly, I think we all should do that. Vote for the person or party, not against. I don’t dig the idea of “strategic voting”, because that’s a very negative approach: it usually means you’re voting for someone to keep someone you don’t like out of office.

We have five political parties in Canada (well, 4.5, really), and I don’t cotton to any of them. I won’t go into particulars, and don’t say, “Well, you’re a Christian: vote for the party that espouses Christian values.”

Two things wrong with that. One, is that we’ve had governments in the past that have been led by professing, church-going Christians, and if anyone was expecting the “state of righteousness” to improve in the country, they’d have been sorely disappointed. Besides, as Rev. Billy Sunday said, “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than sitting in a garage makes you a car.”

Besides, many of the “Christians” in politics — on either side of the border — have not exactly followed what Jesus calls us to do, have they?

Second, one thing that became crystal clear by the election of you-know-who Stateside is that you can’t legislate social mores. Suddenly, fifty years of lobbying, marching and fighting for certain social changes went out the window with the realization that nearly half the voting public of America had not gone through the enlightenment that the activists had expected.

That “enlightenment” can only come in the heart — not through the democratic process. It may take longer than some people would wish, but it’s complete and true.

One of the questions I ask myself about politicians is, “What directs their moral compass?”