Saturday, February 19, 2011

This past week, a house in Houghton Centre was demolished. That's pretty big news when there are only 8 houses total.

Rumor has it the house was around 100 years old, however, far from being a prized historic site by the local municipality it was...condemned. As I passed it en route to work, there were all kinds of dump trucks around and I wondered what they were up to. When 12pm hit, and I drove home for lunch, the house was gone! Just a pile of rubble.

Warmer weather hit us this week and the many drifts of snow began to melt. I hadn't realized the birds had stopped singing for a few weeks until all of a sudden their voices were back, riding the morning rays.

It was a glorious week of birds, sun, diminishing snow, and slop.

Speaking of birds, I have this theory that the little sparrows in these parts, during the winter time, get a wee bit frozen in their wings and joints, slowing their take-off when in flight from on-coming vehicles. Several times a week, I exclaim in horror as I almost, again, take a little life that was slow to take off and too close to my windshield.

One day, a number of weeks ago, one little birdie didn't make it. It was heart-breaking.

I hope the arrival of the sun will help to thaw their little wings a bit better.

"And those are the latest headlines from BBC world News."

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Here is my opinion on Christian books:

There is a lot of stuff filling Christian bookstores that is a waste of time to read and contains bad theology, likely because it is based on personal bias/opinion that the author brings to Scripture and is not a result of revelation from the Spirit. This is obviously problematic. The broad spectrum of people claiming to be Christian is likewise represented in a broad variety of published works which are just as broad in content, theology and doctrine as the people who write them. One must be cautious in what they "eat."

Now, there are also many fantastic books that are excellent, worth reading, and point us to Jesus and an accurate understanding of Him and His word.

How to know the difference?

Perhaps a bit tougher to know. Certainly discernment is needed, but that is an easy phrase to throw out yet harder in reality to practice.

My feelings are as follows: truly, time is short, and when it takes hours to read a book, those hours are better put to use reading the true stuff and not the stuff that will ultimately lead to confusion and foster religion.

Jesus himself can teach us through his word. The scripture attests to the Spirit being a teacher and this I have found to be true. I will never forget one particular year when the Lord taught me through his Word, connected passages to me and brought revelation through the text. I would then find that as I picked up a book, an author would explain and cover concepts that I already knew because the Spirit himself had taught me. Amazing!

That was the best way to learn. (granted, we should still bring our learnings to the table with stable, true and trusted Christ-followers, so we do not run the risk ourselves of contorting a truth with own human bias.)

So, what should we spend our time reading?

1. The Bible.

2. Testimonies. The life of Jesus at work in other people's lives is incredibly faith-stirring and I have come to value the regular dosage of such testimonies in my life. It leads one to worship, to marvel and to exalt the name of Jesus. Hallelujah! Wow, Jesus does some pretty remarkable things in people's lives and has some incredibly powerful witnesses in His Kingdom. They are worth reading. (granted, there are likely many testimonies that are also contorted that although true, may not be attesting to the power of a Holy Spirit, but a very different spirit all together. How to know the difference? By it's FRUIT. Gage a testimony against the accuracy of Christ's teachings himself and if they line up, that life is a testimony to the Holy Spirit. Hallelujah.)

Some recommendations from the past year:

a) "Tramp for the Lord." Corrie Ten Boom's autobiography. Who knew she was a world evangelist? Unbelievable testimony.

b) "The Heavenly Man." Brother Yun. Likely to be supplementary reading for the student team this summer, this book will shame you as you read of the suffering church in China and their great efforts in evangelism. What a read. Incredible. Wow.

c) "The Red Scorpian." Rami Kavisoli. Gangster turned Christ-follower, I am halfway through this right now. Clearest example of a possessed-man liberated by the power of Christ. Hallelujah. Almost unbelievable, but, it's real. Crazy.

d) Jason Westerfield. I'm not really sure where this is available, I was sent a document from a friend. It was only a part of his greater testimony. I'm sure if you googled him, you'd find it.

e) "Visions beyond the Veil." H.A. Baker. This is really what kick-started a lot of things, and is somewhat of a curriculum for our staff in Guatemala. The common ground: Children. H. A. Baker was a missionary in China, working with orphans. It sites an out-pouring of the Holy Spirit that took place back in the '50's.

f) "Akiane." An artist in the States who was supernaturally gifted in the arts as a toddler. You should see what she paints. Her origins are clearly Christ and her testimony in her publication "Akiane" attests strongly to this. Although currently in her teenage years she seems to have swayed more new-age, her origins are true and we'll just claim her coming back round full circle. A-men!

g) Heidi Baker. I have not read an actual autobiography by her, although it wouldn't surprise me if it exists. Having read various accounts of her testimony and seen some interviews with her, she is a fireball taking the nation of Mozambique with her husband Rolland Baker who is, you guessed it, related to the above H.A. Baker. Rolland is his grandson.

Well, that is a good start. I am anticipating the arrival of Afshin Javid's recently published autobiography, which although not yet available for purchase through Amazon, is available at this site: http://www.afshinjavid.com/ It is the testimony of one radical Muslim surrendered to the Lord. Hallelujah. What a declaration of Jesus. Hurry up and read it Mom, and send it to me! I had the privilege of receiving two enormous hugs from this man and I'm sure, if you visited his church in North Vancouver, you would receive the same.

Happy reading.

Right, now that you have lost yourself in these recommendations, let us review what, in my mind, is worth reading:

#1: the Bible
#2: testimonies
#3: Israel. New to my understanding of Christianity has been a look at Israel's place in history, her current place, and her place in the future. For most of my life, Israel and the Jews have been a mere historic point referenced frequently in the Bible. I really had no understanding in connecting the historic land/people of the Bible with the current nation and people. They say a third of the bible is prophecy and yet I know little of the Lord's second coming. I am enjoying catching up on my years of ignorance. I have no recommendations here, as I am still navigating this new terrain which again has many eager enthusiasts in opinion, but definitely not all are to be trusted.

Peace and discernment to you as you wade your way in search of truth. A-men.