Ten Experiences Children Need in Church

At our junior camp this year, we had a boy who liked to ask a lot of questions—questions in the middle of our lessons, questions about completely different subjects, questions that evolved into stories, etc.  I gently responded each time, “that would be an excellent conversation to have after our lesson.”  Finally, when I started to say this yet again, he cut me off, “I know… that would be a good conversation to have later.”

Realizing this could have been discouraging for him, I caught up with him later in the day.  I said, “I want you to know that I LOVE all the amazing questions you have… and I don’t ever want you to stop asking them, because your questions are a gift from God.”  I image the lessons from camp are probably long forgotten now (even by me), but his experience of camp and his experience of Christian leaders and volunteers remains.

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The Art of Living in Exile: Finding home in Post-Christian North America

It was a beautiful hike up the mountain. My wife and I were in Canmore for a retreat, and we had just enough time for a late afternoon hike. We’d fallen in love with the colour pallette of the Rockies in the autumn, which is very different from home in Quebec.

The terrain was relatively easy and the route well marked. But coming down, the trail became unfamiliar and we struggled to get good footing in the only casual shoes we brought with us. Suddenly we realized that we were off the trail and had to backtrack. Finally we found some other hikers who assured us of the best way down.

A bit of Grassi Lakes trail outside of Canmore, Alberta.

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Wise men, and wise women?

visitofmagiThe Christian holiday of Epiphany was this Friday.  If you’d like to read a good devotional on Ephiphany, check out Seven Lessons from the Magi (unless you are in my small group, in which case, wait until tomorrow night:).

Wise Women

Many ministers have prepared a sermon for tomorrow on the Visit of the Magi.  I got a chuckle reading an online conversation about it this morning.

“Could any of the wise men have been wise women? Why or why not?” wrote one minister.

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Responding to Lust, Confronting Shame: A Better Narrative for How The Church Talks About Sex

Sadly, Christian leaders are still falling prey to lust and the Church is drawn into their anguish.

Some, like Tullian Tchividjian—grandson of famed Billy Graham, and pastor at former D. James Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church—are like rising stars that seem to fall abruptly out of the sky.

Hieronymus_Bosch_-_Triptych_of_Temptation_of_St_Anthony_(detail)_-_WGA2599Others might be featured less prominently in the media, but their anguish is felt deeply in their immediate community, like the suicide of John Gibson, loved pastor and seminary professor, who secretly battled sexual addiction and depression. Dr. Gibson took his life only days after hackers exposed millions of users from the site AshleyMadison.com, among which was his own name.

Anguish and death are the only proper words to use. Death and anguish are the inevitable fallouts of lust—for those struggling with lust, for those directly affected by their behaviours, and for the broader body of Christ. As a pastor, I have seen this anguish in all its forms: broken trust, failed covenants, captives to pornography, as well as unplanned pregnancies and those struggling with past sexual abuse and coercion. As members of one body we grieve and suffer the consequences together. Continue reading