Saturday, November 28, 2009

My Nerdy Hobbie... Yes, I'm a Nerd!

So, seeing as today was a little bit of a slow one, which are few and far between, I decided to try some new web design ideas. 

Disclaimer:  I understand some of the following may look "apple-esq,"  which I will not deny as I love the design of thier site.  I like to play around with those kinds of things to see if I can re-create the ideas and then manipulate them. 

So, obiously I start with a blank document. (Enjoying my free trial of Adobe Photoshop CS4... too bad it would cost an arm and a leg to own!)

Next, I work on what will be a header for my website.  I try to keep my layers organized, which I often lack on... but you know how that can be if you use Photoshop.

Then I begin work on the buttons (navigation) of my site.  I am sure you are seeing that "apple-esqness" about now!  I am a little ocd and want to make sure all the buttons are the same width which sometimes means adjustments to other parts of the design.  If I did my planning in advance I would say this wouldn't be an issue!

Ok, buttons done, for now.  May tweek them later

Now I move on to creating content boxes... (Also realized the title of my site was dumb.  So I changed it.)

Then I half forgot to take screen shots and half got lazy.  So, here is the finished layout. (The black side bars will not be part of the site.

Anyway, I am hoping to complete this at some point.  If you actually took the time to read this, thanks! :-)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Help In Strange Places

It's crazy how sometimes when you are trying to help others, they end up helping you in some way.

I will never forget. It was my first year of Bible college at what was then Northwest Bible College (now Vanguard College) in Edmonton, Alberta. It was also my first time ever being anywhere except Newfoundland. As part of our studies, we were each put in something called mentoring groups. A professor would lead the group and we would get together once a week to chat, pray, or like we did quite often, eat. I enjoyed mentoring group and enjoyed the people I got to hang out with each week.

Another yearly event that took place at our college was Service Day. Mentoring groups would get together and go to homes, churches, businesses and in my case in this first year, a homeless shelter called “Hope Mission”. Needless to say, this would be a day I wouldn’t soon forget.

After cleaning the common room, which at one point I am sure had white walls yet were a dingy, light yellow shade from the tons of tobacco that clung to them, to scrubbing mats and serving lunch, the thing that has been burned into my memory about this day was a simple conversation.

A man approached me to talk. He was clean cut and looked healthy. Once we got to talking I asked him if he was a worker there only to be told that he lived there and was working on getting back on his feet. This man had a wife and a great career. But due to some bad choices, he found himself left with nothing. He didn’t choose the path that he went down, but he ended up there anyway. This conversation was just what I personally needed to realize just how blessed I am and how much I need to consider those around me who are less fortunate or are who I sometimes call the forgotten.

Forgotten by society, government and sadly, most of the time, the church. From the perspective of a youth pastor I look at an event like YC. YC does so much for the less fortunate. It is a great even that I support and love. But I have been led to think about how much time, energy and money gets put into this event by youth groups and churches. This isn’t a knock on YC, in fact, this really has nothing to do with the event.  I am just using this as one example.

We focus so much of our resources on going to this event that really is all about us. I wonder if we would be as efficient if the work we did gave nothing in return? I am troubled by the attitude that always asks “what am I going to get out of this?” What if all we got in return was a sore back from lifting boxes of food at our local food bank? What if all you heard from this was the simple thank you from the single mom you delivered groceries to? Shouldn’t that be enough? Why must we always have to be rewarded for acts of service?

My prayer is that I would be more than satisfied with “thank you.” That I will always thank God for the amazing things he has blessed me with and continues to bless me with each day and realize that receiving shouldn’t be what drives me to do good. Giving is what must drive us to fulfill God’s initiative.

What this man gave me was a sense of reality. A sense that when we serve people and see them turn their lives around we are doing what Christ has asked of us. I am thankful for this experience and although I don’t know what happened to this man from that point on, I am grateful for the lesson he taught me.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Something to Think About Today...

Just read this article on Neue and thought I would share it with you.

Note:  Depending on your browsers security settings, you may have to click "no" if you see a pop-up box.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Great Commission – Remembering Why We Are Here

The Church is called to be missional. I believe this with every fibre in me. As a Bible believing Christ follower I must believe this.  Matthew 28:19 gives us the Great Commission.  "19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit..." (NIV).  Jesus told us to go into the world. I want to stop there for a while. We are to go into the world. This means meeting people where they are. We are sometimes still so caught up in the idea that people will come to us. We used to see people who weren't in relationship with Christ fill the back pews in our church buildings. But this isn't the case anymore (in most cases). We believe that we should just pray and the Holy Spirit will bring unbelievers back in to our churches. But is that all we are called to do? We give many reasons why "outsiders" don't come anymore. "There's no time for the moving of the Spirit anymore." "The Pastor doesn't preach the same anymore." "People aren't interested in God anymore." Maybe there is truth to these reasons in your church, I don't know. But whatever the "reason" why unbelievers don't come to church anymore, whether its because the Pastor doesn’t do somersaults over the pulpit anymore or that they don’t care about “god things” anymore, the fact is they don't.

So what is our logical response to this supposed to be? Prayer is absolutely the starting point and the foundation for all we do--but there has to be more for us to do.?. God says we must go. This is what we are ALL called to do. The Church should be missional. James makes this very clear in James 2:14-18 when he says;

14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. 18But someone will say, "You have faith; I have deeds." Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do. (NIV)

Faith--or let's say for argument sake, prayer without works (action) is dead. God has called us to go.  I think social justice is a big part of going.  We have to be careful not to think that God’s vision for missions stops at overseas missions or even home missions.  Mission work can take place at your neighbours home as much as in the deepest darkest jungles of Africa.  

But just as prayer isn't the end, neither is "going." There is a reason we go. To make disciples through sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  What is a disciple?

Disciple Definition | Definition of Disciple at
a person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrines of another; follower.

We are to be pupils or students of Jesus Christ.  How do we do that?  Through the reading and study of His word as well as time spent communicating with Him.   So, we are to make disciples (students) of Jesus Christ.  I believe this means leading people to the place where they accept Jesus Christ as their saviour.  This has to be the crux of what we do as Bible believing Jesus followers. 

Jesus came into the world to save that which was lost.  Paul states in 1 Timothy 1:15 “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst” (NIV).  Also, John 3:17 says “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (NIV). Luke 19:10 says “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost (NIV)."

So, Jesus came to save sinners.  God wants us to be people of action.  He also wants us to care about the aids victim, the slave, the homeless, the hungry, the abused.  He wants us to show true compassion for them.  There cannot be true compassion without action.  But I believe that the biggest desire for God is that the sacrifice of His Son not be forgotten.  Remember the famous verse of scripture that I already touched on.  "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16, NIV).” 

Yes, the Church should absolutely be missional, but we cannot forget that the reason Jesus ever came to earth was to draw all men unto himself.  People must be met where they are and we must help in tangible ways.  But most of all, we must pray that God would allow us the opportunity to share about his saving grace.  This is what he has called us to do.