All posts filed under: Teaching

Are Ancient Aliens in the Bible?

You may have noticed, there is a growing interest something called “Ancient Aliens.”  This a step up from UFOs and a little guy named ET. When i was a boy, my older brother developed a fascination in flying saucers and visitors from outer space. I was the little brother, and I started reading his books, and I caught the fascination. It was all exciting until one Sunday, when our family went to church. The preacher brought up the topic of UFOs. This was thrilling to my brother and me, for a few seconds. We thought the adult world was going to endorse our hobby. Our hopes disappeared instantly, when he told us all how bad this belief was. We were not, under any circumstances, allowed to believe in that. I remember our mother looking at us with a look of severe correction. Later, at home, all the books were taken away, and we were warned to never speak of UFOs, flying saucers, and visitors from outer space again. My mother died a few years ago, …

The One Thing

Curly Washburn told Mitch Robbins that the secret of life is to find one thing. He didn’t elaborate but as the movie and its sequel roll on Mitch figures it out. Find the one thing that makes you happy and stick to it. Is this advice from an old movie, City Slickers, good advice? According to the world it us sound and solid. You can’t please everyone so you got to please yourself is more than just lyrics from the song, Garden Party, by John Fogerty.  It is an anthem of the modern world.  What if I told you that both these bits of advice parallel the Holy Word of God? They don’t point us in the right direction but they have the same idea of focus and intent to walk our own path in a world telling us who we are  Jesus told us that all the prophets and laws in the Bible can be summed in a simple two sentence statement and that we are to focus on that. Although Curly wasn’t that far …

Forgive and Love

Forgiveness is a tough thing. It is like it has a mind of its own.  There are even times in which we can say we forgive someone and actually believe we did forgive them only to find ourselves angry at them and replaying the hurt over and over again. There are people who seem to forgive every offense. On the other end of the forgiveness spectrum are people who never forgive. They remember every hurt and wear their anger as armor to protect them from further hurts. The first group allow themselves to be trampled upon and the second group do the trampling. There are many formulas written about forgiveness including steps to forgiveness, rituals to help us forgive, and even face to face meetings set up with the ones who hurt us. Most of these are external and miss what the Bible says. Forgiveness is based on the greatest commands of Jesus. Commands that sum up all the laws and prophets of the Old Testament. Jesus said, “Love your God with all your mind, …

Who were the Magi?

One of the tough questions surrounding the story of Jesus’ birth revolves around the magi. Who were they? Well looking at the Biblical account of their arrival only recorded in Matthew, we can determine several things: First we don’t know how many there were. The plural version of this word is used in Matthew, so we know there was more than one. Though they brought three expensive gifts — gold, myrrh and frankincense — it doesn’t mean there were three of them. Some believe this involved a larger group, as many as 12. For sure, they would have been travelling in a caravan for protection. Secondly, they were important enough that King Herod eventually requested a meeting with them. Their gifts express wealth or political connections and probably both. In fact, we read that Herod and all of Jerusalem was troubled by what they had to say about the new king (Matthew 2:3). In other words, Herod respected their opinion enough to be very concerned. We know that thee magi did not arrive at the …

The importance of finding God's purpose for your life

Viktor Frankl, who died in 1997 at the age of 92, was a holocaust survivor. He and his wife along with his parents and other Jewish family members were sent to Nazi concentration camps in 1942. Frankl, who even endured Auschwitz, was the only member of his family to survive the holocaust. After the war, he developed a form of therapy called logotherapy that was based on his time in the concentration camp. He along with others were able to mentally and physically survive their concentration camp experience by finding a purpose and meaning in the midst of the horror. In fact, he even wrote a book on this entitled “Man’s Search for Meaning” based on his concentration camp experience. He believed that within people there is an instinctive desire for meaning. We all need a purpose for our life and people attain happiness when they find that sense of meaning. He went on to suggest that many forms of mental illnesses such as depression can be attributed to this lack of meaning because without …

That Peloton Commercial: Live Better, Lose Arguments

When was the last time you had a good argument? Were you convincing? Did you win? If the answer is yes, you lost. Possibly you won the argument, but you lost, if you won. You might have heard about the video commercial for “Peloton” exercise bikes. I only lasts for about thirty seconds, and it is very well produced. It’s easy to see the professionalism in the production; the script writing, the camera work, and the acting are all excellent. This piece of skilled professional work should have boosted sales for this popular product, this Christmas. But there is a problem. People hate this commercial. The value of the entire corporation fell by ten percent after it was published. That is a huge problem for a business that wants to sell us things. Take a look and decide what you think: Many experts have many things to say, and they know more than me, but I see one spiritual lesson in the Peloton commercial. Notice that the message is basically religious; the woman has a …

We Have To Talk!

Here is a tell-on me scenario. If my wife and I have a meaningful talk every night for six months and miss a night, she says we never talk. If we talk one night in six months, I say we always talk. I can hear the head nodding on this one. Inter-gender communication is an interesting thing. Most men can sit together for hours and laugh and joke or say very little of significance. They have a great time and there’s no communication problem. I’ve heard women get together and laugh and cry and joke and share deep longings together. There is no communication problem there either. I deliberately exaggerated here to prove a point. It doesn’t matter what men talk about and it doesn’t matter what women talk about it, we both talk more freely with our own gender. In the beginning God created everything. First Adam, then Eve, were created. He out of clay of the earth and her out of his rib. These are interesting choices and clay can often turn as …

Should We Shun Other People?

Years ago, when I was a younger and single man, I joined a singles group in my church. We were a friendly bunch, and one day a new member told us what was really bothering her. She had a terrible problem that would not go away, and her life was ruined. She was being shunned. Shunning means that someone is cut off from their community, and in extreme cases, all of their friends and neighbors refuse to speak to them or do business with them. If this sounds odd to you, we didn’t get it either. Being shallow city kids, we could find new friends, and we liked being free from rude and controlling people. And we could sleep in on Sunday. If we were shunned, we would need time to notice that someone had disappeared from our busy lives, and then we could decide if this was a problem or an opportunity. We were shallow. It took us some time to know that our friend was hurting. She had lived in a small town …

It is time to just start doing it

The Apostle John makes an interesting statement in his first letter. He says it is time to grow up and take responsibility for your faith. Now you are probably scratching your head and trying to recall where he exactly said that. Well, he didn’t exactly say it in those terms, instead John wrote: 27 As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things … 1 John 2:27 NASV We live in the day of superstar Christianity. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not against the mega pastors, anointed prophets, teachers and healing evangelists. There are a few that I enjoy listening to, and in fact I believe we need more of them. And I think this is the point that the Apostle John was trying to make. As believers, we have relied too much on the professionals to build the Christian faith. In the early church, they had their superstars like the …

Jezebel’s Nasty

This article is based on an interview I did regarding the spirit of Jezebel. The show is called “The Sound of the Trumpet”. Do you remember Jezebel who was married to Ahab in the Old Testament? She tried to destroy the prophets of God and the culmination of that battle was the confrontation of Elijah and the hundreds of Baal prophets. God proved who He was and the false prophets were killed (1 Kings 18). While she was a real person, the spirit of Jezebel that controlled her is also a real entity. This spirit is at work even today and has infiltrated many churches. This spirit is hard to recognize. The Bible says to look at the fruit to determine the state of the tree so let’s look at the fruits of the Jezebel spirit and compare that to the spirit of God as represented in Elijah. The spirit of Jezebel is still around. Spirits live a lot longer than humans and it is not until Jesus gets rids of them all at the …

I Need a Job: Learn from the Blue Banana

Do you need a job? Most of us feel the pressure to find a career and a good living, possibly with a house in the suburbs, and two cars in the driveway. There are many career counselors, and I’m sure they can give better advice than me, but I think we can all learn from the Blue Banana. This strange name comes from economics, and it is also called the backbone of Europe. On a map, it’s blob, maybe like the shape of a banana, and it gets colored blue on maps. Today it shows where the most people live and where the big cities are. From the north, it stretches from England, to Germany, and to the big cities in northern Italy. There are many important points between that I didn’t mention. RELATED: Blue Banana There is a spiritual lesson here. In history, this region is where the industrial revolution happened, and that explains why the big cities are there today. People live near the jobs. The industrial revolution taught the world how to …

Speak to your mountain

In His powerful statement about faith, Jesus says that if we had enough faith we could cast a mountain into the sea (Mark 11:23). But the key was believing in our heart without doubting. But I think we are missing a second critical element in this verse. Jesus also said that we needed to speak to our mountains. It wasn’t enough to believe, we needed to verbally declare our faith. In other words, we can have all the faith we want, but without speaking nothing changes. There is power in our words. In Proverbs 18:21, the writer states that the tongue has power that can lead to life and death, my interpretation is faith or unbelief. Words make a difference. And I am not talking about what we say to other things or other people, I am talking about what we say to ourselves. Studies indicate that upwards of 70% of the thoughts we think in a single day are overtly negative or at least have a negative bend to them and considering that we …

No More Lies!

In this series we focused on the lies depression tells us. To have victory over depression we need to counter those lies with the truth. In this last article in the series we are going to look at how to be set free from lying spirits and their allies in depression. Depression lies about both who we are and our value. The spirit of depression is a cruel master and like other cruel masters it relies on force and control to destroy us. Getting out from under this force and control is not an easy task. It can be a long, painful journey to freedom. Or it can be one of discovery and light. The traditional way out of depression involves medication, therapy, and support. I know because I used to be involved in this world. Exploring triggers and self-doubts takes a long time and there are many revelations that help along the way. Medication helps victims cope with symptoms of depression and can be essential in preventing suicide. Support that promotes growth and positive …

Why Does God Let Cars Crash?

If there is a God, why do cars crash? Why do people crash their lives? A few days ago, I saw a nice young couple. In my opinion, they were a good-looking young couple, and very polite. The only problem was, he was in a wheelchair, and I guess that he was injured for life. His young wife worked hard to support him, and I think she is a hero, but I didn’t like what I saw. Some terrible accident ruined their happy life together. So, where was God? I have more than one friend who is close to me, with something very wrong in their lives. It’s painful to watch, and it is not easy for me to trust God for them. I also have a relative in a town where I work some times. People I talk to know my relative, better that I do. She is famous as one of the most messed up people in town. Those conversations are embarrassing. I have this nagging doubt that nothing will happen if I …

‘Impostor Syndrome’: Are You a Total Fake?

Did you know that Albert Einstein was a total fake? I don’t mean any disrespect, he was a fake, if you asked him. Albert Einstein called himself an “involuntary swindler.” Successful people often have feelings that tell them they don’t deserve their success. It’s commonly known as “Impostor Syndrome” and it explains a lot of our bad behavior. We don’t feel worthy, and we have this nagging feeling that we might be faking it, swindling the whole world. I once worked in a university, and one of our senior managers told us she had Impostor Syndrome. I didn’t understand, but I did think she was too much of a self promoter. At her level of senior management, everyone had a doctorate in something, and they seemed to live by boasting. I was one of the worker bees; my job was to make my boss look good, and not to promote myself. I once asked what it would take for me to become a tenured professor. I still remember the disdainful response, “We only hire from …

Balancing out the message of the Gospel in your life

For so long I misunderstood the message of salvation and sharing it with another person has been difficult for me. I struggle with the right words to say even though I know them by heart, because I had things twisted and turned around in my mind.  The message of the gospel hadn’t balanced itself out in my life. I was putting too much weight on one truth and not enough weight on another equally important truth. Once I balanced it all out, it started making sense to me. I have been a Christian for many years and I know that God loves me and that Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross closed the gap between God and me.  But my life was riddled with insignificance and I fell short of loving, giving and caring for others the way I wanted too. I tripped over jealousy, comparing myself to others and a selfishness that tied me to the fear of not being good enough and the ensuing rejection that was guaranteed after my attempts to be included. …

Depression’s Biggest Lie

This is the third in the depression series of articles. Depression has many triggers and it is treatable. It is a horrible disease that relies on lies, fear, and isolation to cripple its victims. Please see a medical doctor or a counselor if you or someone you know suffers from depression. Here are the lies I am addressing in this series: I am not good enough I am not strong enough I am not loved enough I am not worth enough I am not needed enough The first two were addressed last week. I am not loved enough. This lie is a bit tougher to defeat. Unlike the previous two lies, it is more intrinsic. It is more of a sense of absence of love that hurts than the love others receive. To be clear, we are all loved by Jesus and by God. So, in that way we are all in the same boat. The issue with depression is often the human element of love is missing. This becomes a foothold for the lies …

Should Christians Protest in the Streets?

A few years ago, I was travelling in the southern U.S., and on Sunday I went to church. I found the church at random; they had a sign on a sidewalk because they met in a rented hall. I joined the small group and I enjoyed the service, mostly. When they made the announcements about activities in the next few weeks, they included the plans for a protest. They planned to meet on a street near a busy mall, and protest. I didn’t understand what they were protesting, they just planned to protest. People were told to show up early to get their signs, and to get the event organized. That was something new for me. I didn’t plan to join them, but they talked about it like a pot-luck dinner, or a Boy Scout meeting in the gym. It was just something that they did. So, should we all do that? Should Christians protest in the streets? In Hong Kong, where people have been protesting against the Communist Government, Christians have acted as leaders …

Was a coincidence a message from God?

A young Iranian man living in Australia became a Christian after a strange coincidence. According to Lee Grady, a popular US Christian writer, in 2016 the young man had decided to watch the film Hacksaw Ridge that told the story of Pfc. Desmond Doss, who volunteered to be a medic during World War II. However, because of his Christian faith, Desmond refused to carry a weapon, but after nearly being kicked out of the army, he was allowed to stay and became the only conscientious objector during World War II to win a Medal of Honor after saving 75 men during the battle for Okinawa. However, during the early part of the movie, the young Iranian man was struck by the words of the Lord’s prayer that were displayed in a picture frame beside Doss. The well-known prayer starts with: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Luke 11:2 KJV Being a Muslim from Iran, the young man had …

Lies of Depression

Last week I wrote about what depression is and how it can manifest itself. I also mentioned the danger of believing the lies that you are not good enough, strong enough, and that people would be better off without you. I also said that these lies stem from fear and judgement. This week we examine these lies. A disclaimer is that I am not saying that all depression is spiritual. There are many elements that trigger depression and once you are in a depressed state, the enemy lies to you about who you are and who loves you. These are some of the lies of depression: I am not good enoughI am not strong enoughI am not loved enoughI am not worth enoughI am not needed enough All these lies can join together into two harmful beliefs: My life is hopeless, and I am helpless. Once there, suicidal ideation is not far off. Once I start fantasizing about my suicide, it is difficult to pull out of it. Especially when we reach the point that …

Suicide’s Lie

This is the first of a series of articles about depression. Depression has deep mental and physical roots as well as a powerful spiritual dimension. Often it manifests with a feeling of being out of sync with our world, our family, and even ourselves. And when we are out of sync with the world it feels like we just don’t fit. We start to withdraw from a world that doesn’t seem to care, is hostile, or can’t be bothered with us. The more we step back, the harder it is to stop. We hear that constant voice that offers peace in a world without peace until one moment, one desperate moment, in which the pain of life overwhelms us and we reach for the one way out. And in a flash our life is over. Our pain which was so deep is now transferred to those who love us. Our loss fuels their fire of guilt and anger. Blame is rampant and their lives will never be the same. Just as we believed the lies …

Those People are So Stupid

We live in interesting times.  With the Internet and communication for everyone, the whole world is communicating, That means we are arguing. Someone has said that we now have smart phones, and stupid people. Someone else told us that we have this amazing Internet where we can discuss any issues without collective intelligence, and we send each other pictures of cats. And you might hear about those other people, and how stupid they are. “Stupid” is one of our favorite words for insulting other people. In the Bible, we read the word “Fool.” Jesus knew this, and He didn’t like it: But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. Matthew 5:22 Notice that Jesus used the word “racah.” That is important in the Bible. Where I live, someone just used the word ‘stupid’ to …

Jesus and the Feast of Tabernacles

The Jewish Feast of Tabernacles also called the Feast of Sukkot or Feast of Booths started this past Monday (October 14, 2019) and will run for seven more days. There are seven feasts instituted in the Old Testament and the Feast of Tabernacles is one of the three pilgrimage festivals, along with Passover and the Festival of Weeks, that requires Jewish males to visit Jerusalem (Deuteronomy 16:16). The Feast of Tabernacles is the last feast on the Jewish Calendar and falls in September or October, five days after the Day of Atonement. The seven feasts fell in this order: Feast of PASSOVER  (Leviticus 23:5) Feast of UNLEAVENED BREAD  (Leviticus 23:6) Feast of FIRST FRUITS  (Leviticus 23:10-11) Feast of PENTECOST  (Leviticus 23:17) Feast of TRUMPETS (Leviticus 23:24) Feast of ATONEMENT (Leviticus 23:27) Feast of TABERNACLES  (Leviticus 23:34) So should Christians celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles or any of the other feasts? I don’t think there is any problem if they do. In fact if we look at the Book of Acts, we see hints that Paul …

Bread or Bruises?

Yesterday afternoon I drove around a rougher area of town giving out bread. It’s just something my wife and I do whenever Lighthouse Ministries has more bread donated than we need. Usually people are happy to see me and only take what they need. No trouble, just happy faces. Yesterday, this streak of beauty came to a screeching halt. While a woman with three kids was choosing her bread, a big man came strolling the street. I asked him if he wanted bread. He said “I’m a bad guy.” Now I am somewhat familiar with bad guys, I even taught a group of federal parolees once and I worked at a federal penitentiary.  Not to mention living in one of the most violent neighborhoods in Canada. Most bad guys don’t have to say they are bad. Maybe I should have been nervous. ‘I don’t care if you’re a bad guy,” I responded, “Do you want some bread?” His response was not what I expected. He stopped and started towards me and threatened that he was …

What is Wrong With Those Radical Demonstrators?

Did you know, we have a new normal? People are demonstrating in the streets, and disrupting our lives; and this gets them into the news. I remember the seventies, when demonstrations were common, but now they seem to be making a comeback. Someone must think this is a good idea. For me, and people from my generation, these kids are amateurs. I remember when every high school assembly was interrupted by radical students. I can’t remember one assembly that worked out according to the plan. One of our classmates liked to shout about “Acheemitka.” We eventually realized that some nuclear devices had been exploded under an island called Amchitka, and our classmate probably had dyslexia. It was all fun, and then we graduated and got jobs. Today, it’s all forgotten, except I can clearly remember someone shouting “Acheemitka, Acheemitka.” It’s like a song I can’t forget. And now we have the new wave of demonstrators: RELATED: Walterdale bridge blocked as part of climate protest: Global News We are used to living our lives without these …