Beverly Christian Revival

Saturday, February 21, 2015 @ 2:02pm at home (watchin’ “Rush” – Niki Lauda and James Hunt racing Formula 1 in the 70’s – I love watchin’ historical movies; lots to learn from real events and reactions to those events)

It has almost been a month since I wrote, Slow Down, U-Turn, and Take a Look Inside, and this time in-between has been an impacting one that has led to current events.

So where are we?

Beverly Christian Revival – July 15-18, 2015

I have been led to this and now we push forward in HIM. Last night nine of us met to discuss an event that I have yearned for, for 16 years. The Beverly Christian Revival has the following Mission Statement:

To create a Christian event where we encourage love for our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and love for one another, as we serve the poor; in order to petition our GOD for a spirit of revival.

We are going to pray for GOD to bring the needy and compassionate together into community so we can discuss how to serve the poor effectively in Beverly. We are praying that our efforts to love all people, with a focus on the poor, and our efforts to love GOD (Jesus in the Trinity) with all our hearts, minds, souls, and collective strength will in-turn please our Lord and Saviour.

“A revival is a miracle. It is the hand of the Lord, and it is mighty. It can only be explained as the direct action and intervention of God.” Martyn Lloyd-Jones

“Revival must ever be related to holiness. True revival is a revival of holiness.” Duncan Campbell

“A revival is nothing else than a new beginning of obedience to God.” Charles Finney

These quotes confirm the idea that only GOD can lead revival, but I do believe that we can play a part, and I do believe that in our free will we must allow GOD to lead us to holiness. I have witnessed many human attempts to alleviate the suffering of the poor. Many of these attempts have provided a measure of relief, but the exclusion of Christ handicaps our efforts. We are looking to create an event, in obedience to our LORD, that will challenge our allegiance to Jesus and love. I believe the true children of GOD will then rise as one and fight with courage for the poor.

I know true revival starts with GOD changing an individual. I have looked inside myself and I am still a sinner seeking a greater measure of holiness (willingness to love GOD and others), but even in my broken condition, I feel the LORD is drawing me into corporate revival. We will try to create an event in HIS leading and with HIS blessing; let’s pray HE gives us true Christian Revival in Beverly.

Slow Down, U-Turn, and Take a Look Inside

It has been almost 16 years since a form of JesusNext was received, and immediately I felt I had something I needed to tell a world. I have tried driving across Canada, I have tried the internet, seminars, preaching, teaching and many other forms of communication, but this idea has not changed the world as I expected. It seems Jesus is less concerned with the outward than the inward.

Jesus has been developing me, and like the Israelites in the desert for forty years before entering the Promised Land; “He has humbled me and tested me, so that in the end it might go well with me”. (Deuteronomy 8:16) I mean, “what good is it to gain the whole world, and yet forfeit my own soul?” (Matthew 16:26) The increasing understanding that Jesus is in full control, and that my life is a living sacrifice, has relieved my expectations that I should attain all the comforts that this world should offer. It has brought me peace that is only found by faith in the LORD.

Before JesusNext I never really considered the depravity of my heart, but after 16 years I still find myself wrestling against my sinful nature. Jesus calls us evil (Matthew 7:11) and says, “out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matthew 15:19). Henri Nouwen’s book talks about our identity and our increasing need of affirmation from others. He discusses two main enemies to the spiritual life: anger and greed. “When my sense of self depends on what others say of me, anger is a quite natural reaction to a critical word. And when my sense of self depends on what I can acquire, greed flares up when my desires are frustrated.” (page 23) It is only in placing my faith in Jesus that I can face my anger, for only He can truly affirm me; and it is only in placing my faith in Jesus that I can face my greed, as He will provide what I need, not a big bank account. I must have faith that Jesus is in full control, and my life is called to be a living sacrifice.

So why do I bring this up?

JesusNext will be a battle in the heavenly realms. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12) JesusNext is a simple idea that has the ability to travel in our world quickly, but it is the adoption by the individual that Jesus will be concerned with. Are you willing to be criticized by others and trust in the LORD’s words to love our enemies? Are you willing to part with your possessions that give you a false sense of security and trust the LORD will provide all your needs?

“Do not judge or you too will be judged.” Serving the poor requires me to face anger and greed. I am angry that I see continual destructive behaviour and I am greedy by withholding my possession to relieve the suffering of the poor. But I journey deeper into Jesus and pray for an unconditional, non-judgemental love to flow. If I judge the poor like we judged the black people of Selma then I will oppress in the same manner. There is much in me that is evil, but I choose Jesus and His greatest command.

Discernment: Please LORD Lead Us

In a world where many events preoccupy our minds it is essential to quiet ourselves and discern the guiding of the Lord. For the Lord to be the Lord, we must come to know Him and hear His voice. In my last entry on December 20, 2014 we looked at John 10:1-5; here are some phrases from this passage: “the sheep listen to his voice”, “He calls His own sheep by name”, “his sheep follow him because they know his voice”, “but they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” It is essential to know the voice of the Lord.

This past week I went to the Alberta Nazarene Prayer Retreat and we studied an excellent book by Henri Nouwen called “The Way of the Heart: The Spirituality of the Desert Fathers and Mothers”. This short book offers great insights to discernment through solitude, silence, and prayer. I would like to offer JesusNext.

Discernment is the ability to understand the truth of the Lord in a world where the “father of lies” (John 8:44) lives. Discerning the voice of the Lord and obeying His commands is essential for the Christian. There are two types of discernment that I want to discuss: the Words of the Lord that lead us to an event and the Words of the Lord that follow an event. The Biblical story of Abraham going to sacrifice Isaac is an example of GOD telling Abraham to follow in faith. Now faith is supported by reason, but for faith to be faith, it must exceed reason. Abraham sacrificing Isaac was not reasonable for human comprehension, but GOD’s understanding is above human understanding; “For who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” (Isaiah 40:13; 1 Corinthians 2:16). I believe GOD is calling each Christian to follow in the spirit of faith and we must discern His voice.

The second type of discernment follows an event. A unique event can be a time to reflect and ask why something happened. At the prayer retreat I read this: “All I know of tomorrow is that providence will rise before the sun.” GOD has put events in our path and no matter where you sit on the continuum of providence and free will you must search for GOD in the events of our world. Paul’s vision of the man in Macedonia (Acts 16:6-10) is a great example of events changing what Paul had planned to do. God is constantly speaking and we must follow Him in Spirit and Truth (John 4:23).

Jesus NextNow, where does JesusNext fit in? First, love is the greatest commandment of our Lord and Saviour, and GOD is love. So by trying to love absolutely (all the time and everyone) you should be aligning yourself with the Truth. Second, meditate using JesusNext. Take one minute of your day (1/1440) and just let the name of Jesus wash over your thoughts. Any thought that is not love, is not Jesus.

Building Hope searches for the Will of GOD. We want revival and we want to help the poor as we love in the Name of Jesus;  but He must lead us. We must renew our minds, hear His voice, observe events, and follow in faith. GOD has a plan for BH, and each of us plays a unique part. Unify in HIM. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2).

As we remember the death of Nelson Mandela

As we remember the death of Nelson Mandela one year ago, The New York Times writes, “one year after Nelson Mandela died, it almost seemed as if those he inspired were questing to rediscover his message of probity and reconciliation in a society with new troubles.”[1] Historical figures can teach us a lot about moral principles and valuing the worth of all people.

Jesus Christ is not only the greatest influencer of people, but He is also the greatest reconciler of people. As I watch the North American church shrinking in numbers, I often wonder what our society will look like without the influence of Jesus Christ in people’s lives. There are so many influences out there to attract people, and often people are creating their own moral code to live by. With such a variety of thoughts on “good and evil” is it any wonder that we find it difficult to reconcile with others. Then add to the mix the system of capitalism. Suddenly we have a society that is based on undefined, individualistic moral code, with value placed on money and not humanity.

I feel it is time to return to the core of the Christian message and reconcile with GOD and humanity.

JesusNextJesusNext

  1. Jesus – He is GOD; our Lord and Saviour
  2. Love – It is Jesus’ greatest commandment and we are to love our enemies

Now ask these two questions:

  1. Is Jesus GOD; Lord and Saviour?
  2. Do you believe in unconditional love?

This is the moral code that we teach at Building Hope and this is how I believe we can reconcile to one another and to GOD. Love of GOD and others sums up all the Law and the prophets (Matthew 22:40); love is the greatest action of reconciliation (1 Peter 4:8); and love is the action of discipleship to Christ (John 13:34,35). Love is the moral standard that draws us to Christ the Saviour, as the standard of unconditional love is adopted the sinful nature rebels and the soul can only find rest in the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross. This reconciliation to GOD allows us to petition our Creator with confidence and ask for our hearts desire.

What do I desire? Revival. More Jesus, more love, and more focus on the poor. We follow the example of Christ and love, we reconcile through His blood, and we serve those in need. Not only do we unify and value each person, but imagine the blessing of GOD as we look to serve Him in sacrifice. We must try.

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/06/world/africa/south-africans-mark-first-anniversary-of-nelson-mandelas-death.html?_r=0 – December 5, 2014

“A Writer is the Sum of their Experiences”

“A writer is the sum of their experiences” (Stuck in Love); and a human is often the product of their environment.

This past week, I have experience much and dreamt even more, but I think I need to focus on yesterday’s event that inspired much thought. The University of Alberta’s, “Festival of Ideas”, was an unexpected free gift that makes me proud to live in Edmonton. The two seminars that I attended were: Eldar Shafar’s – The Psychology of Scarcity and a panel dialogue on Truth and Reconciliation with Marie Wilson as moderator and George E. Lafond, Waneek Horn-Miller, Aaron Paquette, and Mayor Don Iveson as the panelists.

Eldar Shafar (Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much) discussed how the Cognitive Capacity (a limited resource or bandwidth) is Captured by Scarcity (we focus on needs) Automatically (our mind has a life of it’s own). He likened this idea to having two suitcases: one large enough to pack belongings and one too small. The person with the small suitcase must constantly make decisions on what to pack, what to buy, and what to leave behind. Eldar seemed to be saying that the poor are constantly focused on urgent needs, and therefore they have diminished mental resources to make important decisions. If this is the case, which his experiments seemed to prove, then another barrier is in place for our poor.

The Truth and Reconciliation discussion seemed to reveal that the reconciliation process between the indigenous communities and the rest of Canada needs to continue to be successful; an apology is a start, but trust needs to be established through action. The strength of the native community was visible at this event; residential schools did much harm, but as Aaron said, “We’re still here, and we have an obligation to live for all who suffered.” I also learned about the idea of Urban Reservations, of which there are approximately 50 across Canada.

So what do I think ?

This type of event is exactly what we stand for at Building Hope. Consider our Philosophy,

“Building Hope requires a firm foundation, and Jesus Christ is our cornerstone. By bringing the compassionate and needy together into community and encouraging all to love in the power of Christ, Building Hope believes that both the needy and compassionate will heal, strengthen, and gain direction.”

We must commit to gathering with people who are in need or feel victimized; we must bring intelligent and informed minds together that can discuss and teach the issues involved; and finally, we must be willing to forgive and love through the process. Proper reconciliation with the poor and native communities will take time, money, and resources; and yes, our focus (bandwidth) will be shifted from money making ventures, but consider the human potential that is lost in these two communities. The power is in the people, not in the money. We need to invest in the poor.

Finally, build an Urban Reserve in Edmonton; we need to give back and gain trust. Love in HIM.