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THE ONE THING THAT CHANGES EVERYTHING

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Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash

Without this ONE thing even the smallest tasks feel impossible.

Without this ONE thing couples give up on their marriage, parents give up on their teens, leaders give up on their people, people give up on their future.

You can live for 40 days without food, about 3 days without water, and about 8 minutes without air.

You don’t want to go a single second without this ONE thing.

The World Of Sports

I’ve coached football long enough to know that spectacular fourth quarter turnarounds happen.

Coaches inspire their team with, “All it takes is one break! All we need is one play! We’re one turnover away from a comeback! There’s time on the clock so we’ve still got a chance!”

Its late in the 2nd period of an NHL playoff hockey game. One team has dominated all game but their opponents are still hanging around. The coach of the team in the lead challenges his players on the bench, “Don’t give them any reason to hope.”

Real Life

In 2003, when we were relocating our downtown church to “the frontier of NW Edmonton” we faced a ton of discouragement. For three years nothing worked in our favor. Favor, it seemed, had bought a ticket out of town.

Then, in January 2004 we held a prayer meeting seeking a breakthrough. The crowd was small. Nothing tangible occurred, other than prayer. We had prayed many times before.

But something did change that night.

Momentum

From that prayer time on we picked up momentum.

* City Council approved our construction application.
* We sold our excess land.
* A buyer came forward for our downtown property.
* We broke ground a year later and completed our facility fourteen months after that.
* It became easier and easier to envision better days ahead.

HOPE is the most important factor in anyone’s life.

Why?

When you have hope, anything is possible.

When you lose hope, you lose your ability to dream for the future.

When hope enters everything changes.

Three Things Hope Does

1. Hope motivates. Every successful person I know has come back from setbacks. I’ve been on the comeback trail a couple of times. Hope helps you bounce back.

Hope focuses on what can be rather than what is.

Trust Jesus – who was raised from the dead – and experienced the ultimate comeback.

2. Hope initiates. Hope sets you free to dream. Dreams build momentum. Momentum attracts support. Support leads to the fulfillment of dreams.

Persevere, so that when you have done the will of God you will receive what He has promised.

3. Hope liberates. Hope releases you from your fears. You have reason to believe that tomorrow will be better than yesterday.

God will send His word and heal you. Find a chapter in the Bible or even one verse to hold on to.

A young man shared recently with me that what gave him inner strength was reading Psalm 91 out loud every morning. He became so familiar with the passage, he memorized it and was able to meditate on the words during the day.

Let this moment be your beginning of enjoying the power of hope.

APPLICATION: What have you learned about hope? Please leave a comment below. Thank you.

More stories about HOPE:
“The Hope Lady”
“Hope Endures”


 I write to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

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3 WORDS TO LIVE BY

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words2

Words ultimately matter.

Plain and simple.

Less Is More

As a pastor/teacher/writer I am constantly learning. My biggest lesson of the past twelve months? “Less is more.”

It’s been a challenging lesson to learn but this trilogy of words is now a guiding light for me. They got me thinking – what else can be said that is meaningful, true and wise in three words?

I asked associates, writers and social media friends to share three words they live by.

Read through them.

Who said them?

Made you smile?

Got a favorite?

Post a comment.words

3 Words To Live By

I need coffee.

Nothing is impossible.

Never ever quit.

Ideals. Action. Altruism.

Eat more sushi.

Make a difference.

Be a light.

Haters gonna hate.

Call of duty.

Village of Hope.

Love never fails.

Keep the faith.

Believe in yourself.

Eat. Sleep. Repeat.

Kindness really matters.

Life goes on.

Be the change.

Enjoy little moments.

Choices. Chances. Changes.

Faith. Hope. Love.

All is well.

Believe you can.

I love you.

Count your blessings.

Make it happen.

Progress not perfection.

Take a number.

Less is more.

Decide to rise.

Let it be.

Little by little.

Shake it off.

Keep it simple.

Dwell in hope.

See the good.

I forgive you.

Do it well.

Lord have mercy.

Believe in possibilities.

As you wish.

Aspire to inspire.

Enjoy every moment.

Are you serious?

Let it go.

Make it count.

Just do it.

Follow your heart.

What’s stopping you?

Talk is cheap.

Rise and shine.

No strings attached.

I am grateful.

Pick your battles.

Say something nice.

Pass the salt.

Take the risk.

Make the time.

Decide. Commit. Succeed.

Love one another.

Never lose hope.

Last, but first in every way…

Jesus Christ Lord

APPLICATION:  What three words do you live by? Please leave a comment below. Thank you.


I write to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

  • Subscribe. I’ll put helpful content into your email box on Mondays and Thursdays, as well as upcoming events at North Pointe Community Church, Edmonton, Alberta.
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DEPRESSION: MY STORY by BROCK HARRISON

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Brock LegJust write, Harrison.

For the love of God, write.

This speech needs to be locked in a week and you don’t even have an outline.

So write. Like you’ve done a thousand times before.

Baby is crying again. Ignore. She’ll get her. You’ve got to get this done.

Oh yeah, and it’s got to be good. There will be 1,000 people with deep pockets at this thing. So make it compelling. And funny. And smart. Some inspiration would be good, too.

Why can’t I do this?

Just write one word. One stinkin’ word.

Nothing.

Heart pounds. Head spins. Muscles seize.

This isn’t going to get done.

Walk away. Lie down.

Have I lost it?

Will I get back?

What if I never do?


Brock Harrison3When Brock Harrison writes, I read. Brock’s crafted persuasive speeches, engaging articles for national newspapers and has numerous other creative accomplishments under his belt. When he shared this story with me I knew it was something everybody should read. I’ve known Brock for twenty six years as his pastor and a friend of our family. I officiated his wedding and dedicated his kids. We’re both fans of the NFL Patriots and have traveled to Foxboro to see them play. This post is his finest moment.


 My Initiation Into The World Of Mental Illness

In November of 2013, I was going about my life as a new dad and speechwriter for the leader of a political party when it hit me.

It presented innocuously enough as panic attacks. Sitting down at my computer brought sudden and paralyzing physiological discomfort. I had experienced the odd panic attack in the past, but they were periodic and easy to shake off. These were different. I physically couldn’t work.

I handed off my major work projects, like the speech, to my colleagues and took a few days off to recover. By the end of it, my panic attacks had subsided but I could sense something more sinister was stirring. By Christmas, after a brief bout of generalized anxiety, I found myself in the depths of major depressive disorder.

EDMONTON, AB : NOVEMBER 17, 2014 -- Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith participates in the Speech from the Throne for the Third Session of the 28th Legislature of Alberta on Monday, November 17, 2014.

EDMONTON, AB : NOVEMBER 17, 2014 — Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith participates in the Speech from the Throne for the Third Session of the 28th Legislature of Alberta on Monday, November 17, 2014.

Kicked Down The Hole

I still don’t know what caused it. I’m nearly three years into my life with mental illness and while I’ve been able to make some sense of it all, I’ve never quite pinpointed what exactly kicked me down the hole.

Was I stressed? Sure. I had a pressure-packed job with no small amount of responsibilities, but I’d been performing it at a high level for years without a mental blip. Our daughter was three months old, but my amazing wife bore the brunt of colic and sleepless nights far more than I did.

I had a young and growing family in a home filled with love. My marriage was strong. I had edifying, meaningful relationships with my family and friends. I had a stimulating and rewarding job that I looked forward to (almost) every single day. And I had just figured out how to drive a golf ball 300 yards.

Any way you slice it (pun intended), life was good.Brock family

Why This? Why Now?

But this thing still happened to me. So more than anything, my depression confounded me. I’d ask why probably a hundred times a day. Why is this happening to me? Why can’t this be over?

I was asking God.

This was fairly normal for me. Throughout my life, I had treated God like a therapist. I talked to him when I felt I needed to and pretty much ignored him when things were good. Obviously, this was a time I needed it. So I talked to him.

My depression woke me up in a cold sweat with a racing heartbeat every single day at 5 a.m. on the nose. (It’s as lovely as it sounds.) Rather than lay in bed thinking of all the reasons the day would suck, I mustered the courage to get up. By the way, when you’re depressed, getting up requires courage.

Every morning, I’d grab my Bible, read, journal and pray. God didn’t answer my prayer immediately. I never heard his voice. I wasn’t healed. Most of the time it just felt like nothing. But I kept doing it.

What Depression Feels Like

It’s impossible to describe what depression feels like – but here is my best shot: It’s like standing in the middle of a gigantic empty warehouse with the lights turned off. The floors are wet and you can see your breath. There are sounds in the distance. The roof leaks.

My depression didn’t debilitate me like it does for some. I went to work. I went to church. I did life stuff. But I never left the warehouse. I couldn’t. It went with me wherever I went.

Being depressed means you’re never present. You don’t experience life the way most people do. A casual conversation can be torture. Comprehending a simple written sentence requires effort. Eating? Forget it. Your appetite is long gone. You can’t engage in life because you’re constantly fighting your mind.

Fortunately, I never experienced the desire to end my life. I now believe it was Jesus, and my begrudged demonstration of faith in my darkest times, that kept me from reaching those lows.

Go See A Doctor

A couple of months in, I received possibly the best piece of advice of my life from a Christian counselor I had reached out to. He told me to go see my doctor. Therapy, he said, was only one type of treatment.

I had always dreaded the thought of medication. People who took mood pills were crazy. I prided myself on my emotional strength and stability and I looked down on people who needed pills to be happy. Truthfully, I thought they were weak.

So when my doctor made the diagnosis official and prescribed me 20 mg of Celexa every morning, though I was desperate to feel better, I felt shame. The judgment I passed on others I was now passing on myself. I had failed. I was weak.

I only told my wife and my parents. One day, when my daughter found my pill case in the bathroom and started rattling it around like a toy, I broke down in tears.

It was awful.

And then it wasn’t.

Closer To God

The medication started to work. Like a morning sunrise, my world slowly got brighter. The darkness lifted and I got my life back. I eventually weaned myself off the medication only to relapse earlier this year. I am now back on Celexa – at double the dose as before.

Sadly, there are still those Christians who scoff at the notion of psychiatric drugs. I can’t overstate how important it is to ignore these people. Medication works. It might take some time and some trials of different types and doses – but it works.

I will say, though, that my battle with depression has brought me so much closer to God. I’m treating Him less like a therapist and more like the father He is. That closeness has given me wisdom and knowledge that has allowed me to understand and manage my illness.

Do I believe God allowed me to get sick in order to grow my faith? I don’t know. But the words of 2 Corinthians 12:9 have never been more true to me:

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Helping Others Find Help

That warehouse? I can still see it. Sometimes it’s far off and faint in the distance. Other times I am standing at the door. Sometimes I find myself back inside. But thanks to Jesus, now I know where the exit is and how to find it.

If you are experiencing anything like I’ve described, please get help. Talk to somebody you trust first. It doesn’t have to be a doctor or a medical professional. If you can’t think of anybody, or have questions for somebody who has been through it, drop me a line. Sharing helps!2016-09-11 19.45.15

On that note, TSN broadcaster Michael Landsberg is doing amazing things at SickNotWeak.com. Michael suffers from depression and anxiety and has made it his life’s mission to create a support community for his fellow travelers by sharing stories like his and mine. Please check out the website and follow him on Twitter – @heylandsberg.

I just want to help Christians who struggle with mental illness. The wisdom God imparts to us is critical to recovery, but I also believe the first step is to share with one another.

I am thankful to Pastor Bob for his willingness to talk about mental illness candidly and for encouraging me to share my story. I hope and pray that it will make a difference for you.

APPLICATION: Please do two things with this post: leave a comment for Brock below and share this on your social media platforms. Thank you.


I write to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

  • Subscribe. I’ll put helpful content into your email box early Mondays and Thursdays, as well as upcoming events at North Pointe Community Church, Edmonton, Alberta.
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FOR TALIYAH AND THE WORLD

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TALIYAH-LEIGH-MARSMANMy day ended with with thoughts of 5 year-old Taliyah Marsman on my mind. I’d listened to Ryan Jesperson and Andrew Grose field texts and phone calls from irate listeners on an unscheduled 630 CHED radio program in response to the terrorist killings in Nice, France and the discovery of Taliyah’s body.

A Pastor And The Death Penalty

All Albertans held their collective breath as we waited with hope that Taliyah, missing for four days, would turn up somewhere safe with a caregiver. We took a collective punch to the gut with the discovery of her body and the 1st degree murder charges laid against the suspect.

Then the calls flooded in for the death penalty to be re-instated for such heinous criminal acts as the murder of a child – Alberta’s third in 2016.

I say “Amen” to those calls.

You say, “But you’re a pastor. You believe the Bible. You follow Jesus. You can’t seriously support the death penalty in 2016.”

Yes, I do.

But a lot of good that does.

Justice System

Canada abolished the death penalty in 1976. The likelihood of the death penalty being re-instated in our political climate is nil.

Since 2011, first degree murder convictions come with eligibility for parole after 25 years.

As of 2013, 4,800 offenders were serving life sentences in Canada. Only 2,880 were incarcerated – the remainder being on parole. 96% of those offenders were serving their sentences for murder.

Should Taliyah and her mother’s murderer be found guilty there is the likelihood of parole.

Feelings Of Futility

This morning I felt intensely frustrated by the unfairness and futility of life. I wasn’t all that comfortable with the face in the mirror staring back at me.

I have a position of community responsibility but feel impotent. More often than I care to remember, my prayers have not been answered in the way I had hoped. I feel like I’ve let people down. After thirty six years of  the emotional load of pastoral ministry I wonder when my limit of crisis, disappointment, suffering and death will be reached.

In the face of futility my Father in heaven sent a thought – “What you can do now is needed. Carry on.”

Even In The Darkest Places

I can’t help Taliyah now or the people killed in Nice, France. The prayers for miracles that were unanswered do not mean the next person who believes won’t experience healing or deliverance.

I’m going to keep pouring my life into doing what I can do now.

I’ll love on my grandkids. I have a granddaughter the same age as Taliyah, a four year-old, a seven month-old and one expected in September. I can show them their world is God’s world. God is good and can be trusted.

I’ll keep giving my life for a congregation my wife and I love and are pleased to serve on Jesus’ behalf.

I’ll keep praying healing for 12 year-old Katelyn Murray  as she battles leukemia and five year-old Jordan Gagnon as she battles GAN.

I’ll keep interceding for the release of a Canadian friend under arrest in a foreign prison.

Today Matters

Today, I’ll help a young woman with inoperable, terminal cancer to plan her end of life service.

Tonight I’ll meet with a couple for pre-marital counseling to help ready them for their wedding day and more importantly, their happily-ever-after.

I’ll finish preparing a message for North Pointe’s 10th Anniversary Sunday services on the faithfulness of God.

I’ll look forward to the baptisms of three teenage siblings this Sunday who are devoted followers of Jesus. Their mother, Angela was told that she would never have her own children.

They make me smile.

My faith in God is unshakeable and my will is unbreakable.

God is good….all the time. All the time….God is good.

July 15

APPLICATION: Do you ever feel the futility of life? What do you do? Please leave a comment below. Thank you for joining the conversation.


I write to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

  • Subscribe. I’ll put helpful content into your email box on Mondays and Thursdays, as well as upcoming events at North Pointe Community Church, Edmonton, Alberta.
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10 MYTH-BUSTERS ABOUT INTROVERTS

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introvert2The most misunderstood person on the planet is an introvert. The reason you don’t hear much about that from us is because we are introverts.

Silent no more.

I’m coming out of my shell to explode ten myths about introverts.

MYTH #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.

Not true at all. I am a preacher. Some people say I talk too much.

I don’t like to talk unless I have something to say. Introverts hate small talk. I default to the serious all the time  – or talking family,  church, writing, Jesus or  football. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in and they won’t stop talking for minutes.

MYTH #2 – Introverts don’t know how to relax and have fun.

Come on! I love relaxing with a good book (non-fiction), a long walk, or 5 solo hours of driving to Saskatoon. You’ve never known fun if you haven’t spent two hours, alone, writing about what you’re passionate about. Introverts relax and have fun – just their own kind of fun. Introverts typically relax at home, not in busy public places. Introverts usually aren’t thrill seekers or adrenaline junkies.

MYTH #3 – Introverts are weird.

“Loner” is a better word than “weird.” You know the “march-to-the-beat-of-a-different-drummer” kind of person? You can’t beat an introvert for that.  Introverts think for themselves. They think deeply. Everything they do is deep. Its only when introverts try to act like an extrovert that they may appear to be weird.

MYTH #4 – Introverts are rude.

Silence is an introvert’s friend. Introverts enjoy silence much too much and can appear to be rude or aloof. Introverts don’t mind hours of silence. My wife and I have driven from Edmonton to Calgary and engaged in conversation approaching Red Deer only to see if a pit stop was needed.

Thinking before they speak – the l-o-n-g pause – is also a mark of introverts. My delayed responses to questions are so I can answer precisely. To others, delays can appear to be uncertainty, lack of focus or boredom.Quiet

MYTH #5 – Introverts are shy.

I am shy by nature but that’s got nothing to do with being an introvert. Introversion has everything to do with re-energizing in solitude and very little to do with socializing. What introverts need is a reason to come out of themselves to interact.  If you want to talk to an introvert, just start talking. Give them an opportunity to jump in or drag them in by asking a question to make it a bona fide dialogue.

MYTH #6 – Introverts don’t like people.

I like people. I love my family. However, with my wife or my granddaughters, I like to listen more than talk. Even with my friends, I prefer listening. I like to hear their stories and ideas. My friends would say I am loyal. My closest friendships are decades old.introvert3

MYTH #7 – Introverts don’t like to go out in public

Introverts take in experiences quickly and also tire quickly in public. I love North Pointe on a Sunday with the energy and sounds of hundreds of people. I love giving hugs, high fives and praying with people. I do look forward to going home and recharging before my next public gathering…which sometimes is only an hour or two later at a prayer service or fellowship gathering.

MYTH #8 – Introverts always want to be alone.

Introverts don’t mind being alone but they don’t want to be alone. They enjoy their own company and can entertain themselves quite nicely but do appreciate people. Our eldest son is the most extroverted in our family. When he was little, sending to him his room was punishment enough. Our youngest son is more of an introvert and punishment by solitary confinement was actually freeing for him.

MYTH #9 – Introverts are all nerds.

The Wikipedia definition of a nerd includes “may have difficulty participating in, or even following, sports.” Do you think Michael Jordan had any trouble participating in sports? O, yes, Michael is an extreme introvert. The NBA’s Larry Bird and Jerry West, the NFL’s Steve Smith and the PGA’s Tiger Woods are all introverted.

Introverts can be superstar athletes, high performance CEO’s or drop-dead gorgeous models. What sets introverts apart is they are very aware of their thoughts and emotions. This can be a drag, especially when setbacks and struggles occur  in the public eye.introvert

MYTH #10 – Introverts can fix themselves and become extroverts.

Introverts don’t need “fixing.”

The world needs introverts to be introverted.

I like what Susan Cain says in her book “Quiet” – “There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.”6 INSIGHTS FOR INTROVERTS

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR INTROVERTS

QUIET: The Power of Introverts in A World That Can’t Stop Talking

6 Insights for Introverts

APPLICATION: Are you an introvert or extrovert? Let me know what you thought of this post. Please leave a comment below. Thank you (especially to you introverts).


I write to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

  • Subscribe. I’ll put helpful content into your email box on Mondays and Thursdays, as well as upcoming events at North Pointe Community Church, Edmonton, Alberta.
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Amanda’s Story: Now Is My Time

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AMANDA'S STORY“Pastor Bob, if there is ever any way my story is able to help, I would love to save someone many unnecessary years of agony.”

Amanda knows agony.  Its a painful part of her past and a redemptive part of her future. Amanda explained to me why obeying Jesus and being baptized was so important to her. This was a determined and deeply emotional choice for her.

We talked on Thursday and she was baptized the following Sunday.

Amanda’s Story

Amanda’s story is what our invitation at North Pointe to “come as you are” is all about.

“I was raised in an abusive home by an alcoholic father and suffered abuse for many years from him. My teenage years were a mess of crystal meth, crime, rape, abusive relationships and abortion. I was a young single mom, with an addiction to Oxycontin and dillatas.  I was an escort/massage parlor worker for six years.

Most of my years have felt like I was selling my soul.

I accepted Jesus into my heart when I was a youth. My grandmother Priscilla influenced my decision for Jesus. She had that good influence on all of her grandchildren.

From Light to Darkness to Light

Since doing so I’ve spent many years straying away. I’ve lived in a dark, broken, empty place – consumed by guilt, shame and anger.  There are so many things that I’ve done that are just plain wrong, bad and awful.

I would like to believe that my life has not been what it has for nothing. I know trying to get people to go straight and transform their life and believe in something they cannot see is a task and a half.

For the first time in my life now, coming to church with my husband and my children, I am at a place where I see this beautiful light. I feel forgiveness. I feel loved. I’m feeling compassion for people.

Why Baptism?

Why do I want to be baptized? Because I know now is my time. I am now ready to let God know I love him as much as He has loved me during everything.

My guilt is gone; my shame is gone; everything is just gone and it’s getting better. I really want to keep going with faith.

Changes in my life? My husband and my children are now coming to church. I am attending church with my other family members. It has brought us closer together. We’re praying at night. My children are learning the great things of God.

My life, just since coming to North Pointe, has become such a beautiful thing. I am where I need to be.

I am where all of these years my heart has longed to be.

So today I’m going to be baptized because now is my time.”

Hear Amanda share her story of God’s love, 2nd chances and grace.

Believer’s Baptism

Believer’s baptisms at North Pointe are front-and-center, public celebrations and Amanda’s was exactly that!

We call them “believer’s baptisms” because they’re a declaration of belief that Jesus died and was raised from the dead.

Those being baptized are saying, “I believe what Jesus did applies to me.  I am identifying with Jesus in his death and resurrection as my Savior and God. I’m going to follow Jesus.”

APPLICATION: Is this your time now to be baptized? Have you believed on Jesus? Connect with me using the info below or call me at 780-452-5569 ext 229.

Vulnerability14 QUOTES VULNERABILITY

Amanda sharing her story is the epitome of vulnerability. Its in being vulnerable that we are strongest. Read “14 Freeing Quotes About Vulnerability”

Please leave a comment for Amanda below. Thank you.


Pointes of View exists in order to help people grow their faith in Jesus, build healthy relationships and effectively live out their purpose.

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RISKY FAITH: RISING INTOLERANCE FOR CHRISTIANITY

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RISKY FAITHA 65-year old man “became” a woman and everyone from the President of the United States to ESPN applauded this as “courageous.” Freedom of speech has its obvious liabilities but until recently, to say the least, free speech was tolerated.

Anyone who expressed contrary opinions about this story were instantly demonized and dehumanized. If the commentator had any association with Christianity they were not only dismissed as deluded but derided as oppressively intolerant.

Increasingly, Christianity is not tolerated because of the need for greater tolerance.

Law-SocietyIntolerance for Tolerance

The word ‘tolerant’ as it is used today, seldom, if ever, includes opposing arguments or competing worldviews.

Being tolerant used to mean, “I may disagree with you completely, but I will treat you with respect.”

Today, tolerant means “you must approve of everything I do and if you do not agree with me you must hate me.”

“Tolerance, ” according to Professor Matthew Staver, “has become decidedly intolerant.”

This is no more apparent than for all things Christian.

Trending in Europe

In January 2015, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe – politicians representing 800 million citizens – acknowledged that Christians are facing increasing intolerance and discrimination.

* 74 percent of those surveyed in the United Kingdom affirm that there is more discrimination directed at Christians than persons of other faiths.culture grafitti

* 84 percent of vandalism in France was committed against Christian places of worship.

* 95 percent of the anti-religious violence in Scotland is directed against Christians.

In February 2015, The Council of Europe, which represents 47 European countries, stressed that Christians in particular need to be protected so that they are not penalized for their beliefs. Read more here.

A Different Drummer

Christians in Canada have always marched to the beat of a different drummer. There is a growing awareness that the drums of Christians are becoming unwelcome in the parade of opinions.

Professor David Seljak, believes that “Canada is not a secular society but a secularizing society and, more precisely, a de-Christianizing society.”

Michael Coren calls anti-Christian behaviour the “last acceptable prejudice.”

This is a significant shift in our culture.

Having the freedom to search for answers to questions of meaning and value and to live publicly and privately in accordance with the answers of faith is an essential part of human fulfillment and happiness.

Christians should not be treated as a tolerated and divisive minority whose rights must always yield to the secular agenda.

3 Responses to Intolerance

1. Ed Stetzer points out, “as Canadian culture shifts to intolerance, Christians will be seen as increasingly unlike the world around them. Be aware of the shifts and be ready for a new reality.angusreid

2. See the new reality as an opportunity not to “curse the darkness, but to light a candle.” “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Jesus Christ

3. Christians can alienate or illuminate what pollster Angus Reid recently identified as the “mushy middle” in Canadian society.  These are Canadians who “do not see themselves as particularly devout; but they also have not abandoned religion.”

Christian authenticity is a needed light for a culture shifting towards intolerance.

* Matthew Staver, Dean and Professor of Law at Liberty University School of Law.
* David Seljak, Department of Religious Studies, St. Jerome’s University in the University of Waterloo

APPLICATION: Have you observed an intolerance for Christian values and faith? Have you felt it in the school system? In the workplace? Please leave a comment below. Thank you.


Pointes of View exists in order to help people grow their faith in Jesus, build healthy relationships and effectively live out their purpose.

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HOW TO BE YOUR PASTOR’S MVP

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HOW TO BE YOUR PASTOR'S MVPEvery pastor needs an MVP (Most Valuable Partner) or a whole tribe of them.

MVP’s will walk a mile in – not on – their pastor’s shoes.

MVP’s know pastors are people first and pastors second.

3 Things I Know For Sure

1. People overwhelmingly love their pastors.

2. People often don’t express their love for their pastors. Church goers are more likely not to say anything about their pastors than express their love for them.

3. Critics often drown out those who love their pastors. Negative people tend to be relatively loud but in the distinct minority. As a consequence, pastors often feel like critics represent the majority. Most of the time, the vast majority of people are very positive about their pastors, but they are quiet as well.

9 Ways To Be Your Pastor’s MVP

1. Be openly supportive. Pray for your pastor. Then show up early before a church service to tell your pastor that you prayed for them. Write them an encouraging note. Hug your pastor.

2. Roll up your sleeves and become a part of the team. Volunteer. Join in. Find a need and fill it.

3. Follow the leadership of your Pastor. Nothing fires up a pastor like the affirmation of people who are not trying to get them fired.

“…they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17).

4. Pray! Pray! Pray for your Pastor. Ask God to shower your Pastor with an abundance of love, hope, joy, faith, peace, power, wisdom, and courage.

Pray for your Pastor’s maturity and growth in faith.

Pray for their family.

5. Treat your Pastor with optimism. Be mindful of this advice from the German writer, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “If you treat a person as he is, he will stay as he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.”

6. Stand with your Pastor through tough times. A pastor stands with you in the adverse circumstances of life, doesn’t forsake you when others may abandon you, helps hold you accountable to your values, forgives and encourages you if or when you fail.

7. Support the ministry and your Pastor financially.

8. Give your Pastor the benefit of the doubt. Support your pastor even when they can’t publicly explain why certain decisions or actions have been made. Oftentimes, to protect the privacy of others, pastors frequently cannot disclose everything publicly… and professional ethics sometimes demand silence over issues that are very sensitive.

If a tough decision takes place, support your pastor and avoid the criticism that usually comes along with such situations.

9. Stay focused on the BIG picture.  The big picture is JESUS. Work with your pastor to bring souls into the Kingdom of God.

Don’t get weighed down by church politics, nonsense, offenses or whatever else goes on, but keep your focus on Jesus and on what your church and your pastor are really all about.

APPLICATION: Are you an MVP? If in doubt, ask your pastor. Please leave a comment below. Thank you!


I write to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

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THEY CALL ME PASTOR

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Slide1Being a pastor is not something to which I aspired.

It certainly wasn’t a childhood dream.

By nurture, I’m a people person.

By nature, I’m a loner. (My teenage ambition was to be a hermit. Really)

I’m like a turtle on a fence post.

When you see a turtle on a fence post you know it didn’t get there on its own – someone put it there.

My fence post is a platform of genuine love for the people God has entrusted to my care.

CONNECTIONS

Like most pastors, the most common connections with people happen…
on a Sunday in the foyer of our ministry campus,
preaching/teaching,
praying,
supporting volunteers,
meeting for a plethora of purposes,
participating in community outreaches,
answering seekers’ questions,
or officiating a wedding, a baby dedication or a celebration of some sort.

My most enduring connections are with people…
in crisis,
careening through a divorce,
facing debilitating distress,
who are suddenly bereaved,
who have a loved one in need of help,
who have been given a terminal diagnosis,
who don’t know where else to turn and call for help.

We cry together,
struggle together,
pray together,
mourn together,

heal together.

Those circumstances create timeless connections.

We bond because of the shared pain and mercy.
We become like “family.”
We are warrior/brothers/sisters because we have shed sweat, tears and blood together.
We can pick up a conversation after many months or even years of separation as though it was only a matter of minutes.

CHANGE

Every so often, one of those connections does not stand the test of time or trouble.

Seemingly out of the blue there is a change.

When my leadership,
spiritual insight,
ministry,
vision,
friendship,

are no longer adequate for their,
preference/need/circumstance,

and a close friend/co-worker/congregant
chooses to no longer be an ally,

I have to say,
“Ouch,”

and then,
“Grace and peace to you.”

…and continue to nurture and focus on the people still in my care.

I’d like to say that I have learned not to let such experiences of loss affect me, but I haven’t.

I’ve concluded that pain is the price of caring and vulnerability.
Jesus understood that.

After all,

who was it that experienced the first, “Judas Kiss?”

LEAN INTO JESUS

My pastoral ministry has spanned thirty-eight years, however in many ways I feel like a rookie.

I suppose that’s good because it means that each day brings new,
challenges,
complexities,
opportunities,
ways of doing things, and
ways of dealing with life.

The newness compels me to lean hard into Jesus.

SPICY EXPERIENCE

No two days of ministry are EVER the same.

Variety is the spice of life and my pastoral experience is 5-pepper spicy.

There is nothing I would rather be doing in this season of my life than being a pastor.

For someone, someday, to say that my life helped influence/inspire/motivate them to open their heart to the calling of pastoral ministry, would be my highest commendation.

Til then,
I will keep the faith,
fight the good fight,
run with perseverance,
long for His appearing,
forget what is behind, and
press toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me.

APPLICATION: Pray for your Pastor and their family. Please leave a comment below.


I write to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

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PTSD AND ME: CPL CRAIG SILVERSON’S STORY

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Slide1My friend Craig Silverson is a Canadian veteran of Afghanistan and a brother in the faith. I admire his courage. You can follow Craig on Twitter at @CraigSilverson and on his website FAITHPLATOON.COM


We reached our objective shortly after 1100 hrs and dismounted from our vehicle.

We proceeded on foot.

Moral was good and that’s always a bonus.

Everything seemed familiar. Nothing that we hadn’t already done before. Routine. This would change in a fraction of a second.

With tremendous speed, a streak appeared overhead. Immediately I felt tension in my chest and all sound was removed. I braced for the concussion. Nothing. They say you never hear the one that gets you. I knew I was alive.

I quickly looked around to assess the situation.

My wife and kids appeared fine, however, their smiles had turned into faces filled with fear and bewilderment. I was at the mall. A sizable skylight had been the window to an aircraft landing at the City Centre Airport. Immediately the army of people engaged in their holiday shopping came into focus. The grip on my chest was still present. Fight or flight!

It was time to go home.

TIME TO GO HOME

I returned from Afghanistan in 2010 and everything appeared to be normal.

Connecting with family and loved ones was welcomed. Mission complete! I was now eager to begin my four and a half weeks of post deployment leave.

I had big plans. Number one on the list was not shaving!

Midway through my leave I grew restless and felt isolated. Although I was at home with my family, I felt alone. I was unable to connect and became anxious to return to duty.

My first day back to battalion did not start off well. We were informed about the passing of one of the members from our unit. All sound was removed. Our fallen brother had taken his own life.

We felt the concussion.

He was only in his early twenties.

He had problems with addictions in the past. Sadly, he had submitted to his battle with depression.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder had just knocked on all of our doors!

POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER

I’ve dedicated a lot of time working on perfecting my “fieldcraft:”
improvised shelters,
survival tactics,
camouflage and
concealment.

As an Infantry soldier, learning to hide things becomes an inherent part of your job. This would also include injuries, both the visible and invisible.

My first sleepless night wasn’t that bad – when it exceeded nearly twenty days consecutively, this raised some concern.

Night sweats, high readiness, guilt and fear where just some of the issues.

Any minute of shut eye I could muster was quickly raided by nightmares! During the day wasn’t much better. My interaction with people became limited and this included my own family. Going to my unit had it’s challenges too. I spent the majority of the day camouflaging my emotions. I became the ultimate grey man. Marking time.

Eventually my anxiety had made me it’s POW (Prisoner of War).

POW

I became physically ill.

This opened up the door for some false support. I found myself at the base medical building seeking treatment for various physical ailments. I was exhausted and completely mentally rundown. I had lost forty pounds and developed a strain of pneumonia in my left lung. This left me on bed rest for two months and with the perfect excuse not to be seen. However, this would make matters worse.

Returning to duty became increasingly difficult.

More sick leave was required.

The next wave of emotion soon hit.

Actually it was more like a full on tsunami.

Anger. Fight or flight.

Targets up!

An attempt for control by a soldier deconstructing.

To be continued…Read Part 2 here.

Cpl Craig Matthew James Silverson

APPLICATION: Please leave a comment for Craig below.


I write to inspire people to be real, grow an authentic faith in Jesus, enjoy healthy relationships and discover their life purpose. If this material is helpful to you, please follow me.

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