Wednesday, 1/20/21 – Pressing on… Unusual Instruments…

Unusual Instruments…

Six-valve, seven bell Sax trombone

Adolphe Sax is best known as the inventor of the saxophone. Among his creations are the saxhorn (1845), the saxtromba (also 1845), the saxtuba closely followed, and in 1852 a prototype trombone. This was a trombone with six independent valves. Each valve was depressed one at a time rather than in slide fashion.

In 1874, Richard Wagner completed the four-opera, 15 hour epic opera “Ring Cycle.” For it, and to create a unique Nordic sound, Wagner invented the Wagner tuba. The devices arrived as rehearsals were underway, they were used as intended but then never used again.

Wagner tuba

Then there’s this cumbersome looking mechanism, the Fluba, an offspring of a flugelhorn and a tuba. But I’ve barely scratched the surface of wind instrument oddities.

Yet all of these very diverse instruments have something in common. When wind passes through them they each make a unique and beautiful sound. When they harmonize and all play together, an amazing symphony is possible.

Scripture teaches us each believer is s sort of “wind instrument” of God. We are “instruments of righteousness” to God (Rom. 6:13). Hear what Paul says to the discordant Christians in Corinth…

Fluba

“…When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. …For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.”

Paul is saying each believer has something special to bring to our times of worship together… all sorts of different things: maybe a song, some instruction, a truth that God has made clear to them, a special spiritual gift in an unknown language perhaps, or the gift to explain what such utterances mean. We bring these gifts and use them in an orderly way and to build up our brothers and sisters, God’s Church.

When God looks down and sees His people all serving harmoniously it does not matter to Him what odd or unusual instruments we may be, but that we allow the “wind” of the Holy Spirit to move freely through us creating a beautiful song of praise to God.

Press on…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Tuesday, 1/19/21 – Pressing on… Unusual, usually…

Unusual, usually…

Many Christians find the Holy Spirit a most puzzling personage of the Holy Trinity. But understanding the Holy Spirit can be a breeze! – or a whirlwind… or a whisper.

When Nicodemus came by night to secretly question Jesus, Jesus said of the Holy Spirit, “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8). The “insufflation” refers to Jesus’ post-resurrection appearance to His disciples when “He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit.’” (John 20:22). [See also Ezek. 37:9-14]. And when the Holy Spirit fell in His fullness upon the disciples we read, “a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:2).

Wind, it seems, has much to teach us about the activity of the Holy Spirit: invisible, gentle & refreshing, forceful & abrasive, powerful or entreating, silent or howling. Wind can empower sailboats, generate electricity, soar a kite or sound delicate chimes. But the one thing no one can determine about it is “where it comes from or where it is going,” and Jesus said the Holy Spirit is like that.

If we want to experience the wind — want to see what it’s up to today — we will need to get outside and expose ourselves to what is has to offer, not just gaze at it’s effects through glazed glass windows.

If we want to experience the Holy Spirit, we must do the same… we must expose ourselves to what He is doing today, not just gaze at His effects through glazed-over hearts and eyes.

How do we do that? Our service this past Sunday offered some clues… leave off our own agendas, ask… seek… knock… and wait for the wind to answer.

Unusual? Not really. Wind is like that. Wind is usually unusual.

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 1/18/21 – Pressing on… Travel Advisory!

Travel Advisory!

There have been all kinds of Travel Advisories these days: COVID-19 has made necessary certain protocols or restrictions related to air travel, land travel, border crossings, and trade. Weather systems at times have also prompted numerous Travel Advisories, warning of dangerous road conditions, ocean storms, air turbulence, even warnings for walkers such as humidity, windchill, or lightning storms.

This past Sunday the Elders of Lincoln Baptist Church considered whether we should issue a Travel Advisory to our church family, or even cancel our Sunday service, as freezing rain hovered in the forecast. Thankfully, this weather system did not develop.

But there is one Travel Advisory we seldom see, yet one which is most urgent

Travel Advisory!

A few things you should know before booking your trip to Hell.

    • Hell is a very popular travel destination; you will meet many enthusiastic travelers during your trip.
    • However, once you arrive, no further communications with these individuals will be possible.
    • Every attempt will be made to make your journey to Hell as pleasant as possible.
    • One way travel only: There are no departures or returns after arrival.
    • No refunds will be given.
    • You may not bring anything with you into Hell.
    • Upon arrival, no outside communications are permitted.
    • All persons arriving in Hell are subject to a mandatory self-isolation period of eternity. (Please note that while in isolation guests will still receive the full Hell experience, all that Hell has to offer.)
    • If you are unhappy in any way with your accommodations in Hell, we apologize, but alternate arrangements will not be provided.
    • It is very hot in Hell – very hot!
    • No food or drink is provided, or permitted at any time.
    • There is no courier messenger service in Hell.
    • Hell oddity: Despite the constant lapping flames, it remains extremely dark in Hell
    • Fun fact: Worms thrive in hell and never die!
    • Tickets to Hell are free and travel is obligatory unless alternate arrangements are made.

IMPORTANT NOTE: An alternate travel destination is currently available, but this offer may end at any time. Call on J-E-S-U-S for redemption.

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Wednesday, 1/13/21 – Pressing on… Loving the Invisible

Loving the Invisible

So how does one love Someone they cannot see? Is God unfair in letting the first Christians walk with, eat with, see and smell and touch Jesus, but leaving all others to hope forward to a Messiah or believe backward to a Saviour? Didn’t John, “the beloved disciple,” proclaim that Christ was the One of Whom “…we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched”?

Jesus recognized we might experience this struggle. He said to Thomas, and with you and I in mind, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29).

Personally, I don’t think a Jesus we could hear, see, touch, and with Whom we daily “broke bread” would have been all that easier to believe on as God incarnate! Imagine your small town plumber (Jesus was a carpenter) one day left the shop, got baptized, then disappeared for over a month only to return and wander about talking in parables, hinting at being divine. “Why,” you might say, “only three months ago he was declogging my toilet, but now – now look at him!”

No, I don’t think belief would have been much easier at all. And what was it they mused later, those two days after His entombment, “…we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel” (Luke 24:21). Had hoped, but no longer… musta been all charisma… “we had hoped…” ???

No… God is fair. He expects faith in all instances: forward-looking hope, face-to-face faith, or backward-looking belief, it is consistently true: “The just [the righteous] shall live by faith.” (Hab. 2:4, Rom. 1:17, Gal. 3:11, Heb. 10:38].

Faith convinces one of obedience and, as Jesus explained, obedience and love are closely connected.

If you love me, keep my commands,” said Jesus to His own. “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” (John 14:15, 21).

Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46).

And to the church of Ephesus that had forsaken the love they had at first Jesus’ remedy was “Repent and do the things you did at first.” (Rev. 2:5).

Loving without seeing is entirely possible, whether we love some dear departed one, grow an online romance, are blind, or love Christ Whom we “have not seen and yet have believed.” And one proof of such love is our obedience.

Press on…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Tuesday, 1/12/21 – Pressing on… How to be Beloved

How to be Beloved

Daniel was “a man greatly beloved” — or as other translation have it, a man “highly esteemed,” “highly regarded,” “treasured,” “respected,” a “man of quality.”

These words were spoken to Daniel by a messenger he saw in a vision. Who was this messenger? Was it Christ? An angel? Some say it was Christ, but though similar to John’s description of Christ (Rev. 1:12-16) there are also many differences. Also, the statement that for 21 days this personage was resisted in coming to Daniel, and that the assistance of the powerful angel Michael was required to defeat this foe, makes Christ seems less likely to be the man’s identity. Daniel had been previously visited by the angel Gabriel (9:21), so, had this visitor been Gabriel one would think Daniel would have recognized him.

But whomever this being was, he was clearly bringing Daniel a message from God, and part of that message was this statement of God’s favour.

Yesterday I listed ten references to God’s great love and acceptance of those who have placed their hope in Christ. Yet, Scripture speaks of various strong or weak entries into His kingdom: Peter speaks of receiving an “abundant entrance,” or “rich welcome” into the eternal kingdom (2 Pet. 1:11), while Jude writes of saving some “with fear,” of “snatching” them from the fires of hell (Jude 23). And Jesus tells the parable of the faithful servant who receives the commendation “Well done,” from his master (Matt. 25:21, 23). Clearly, our goal ought be to mature as Jesus is described, “…in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52).

Be perfect,” Christ urges, “as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48). “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matt. 22:37). These imperatives are important. We have only this lifetime to overcome and demonstrate victorious virtues. In eternity there will be no such opportunity.

Get rid of all secondary “loves,” embrace godliness, press into heaven with all your heart.

Do you want to be a man, a woman, “greatly beloved?” If so, love God greatly!

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 1/11/21 – Pressing on… Love and Acceptance

Love and Acceptance

Do you feel like everyone else is a better Christian than you are? Do you discount yourself among the heroes of faith, the bold men and women used mightily by God, men like David, Moses, Joshua, Daniel, the Apostles, the Revivalists, the martyrs, the prayer warriors, the men and women of great faith, exploits, power with men and favor with God?

This past Sunday morning I shared with you 10 statements of truth about your standing before God… statements of His total acceptance of you. He does love you, and more than you can possibly imagine. Here are the statements, and the references which support them. Look each one up. See if they aren’t true. If you call upon Christ as Saviour and Lord you are loved and accepted!

  1. You are God’s child. – John 1:12
  2. You are a friend of Jesus. – John 15:15
  3. You have been declared righteous before God. – Romans 5:1
  4. You are one with Christ in spirit. 1 Cor. 6:17
  5. You have been bought with a price by God and you belong to Him. – 1 Cor. 6:19-20
  6. You are a member of Christ’s Body. – 1 Cor. 12:27
  7. You are chosen by God and adopted by Him. – Eph. 1:3-8
  8. You have been redeemed and forgiven of all your sins. – Col.1:13-14
  9. You are complete in Christ. – Col. 2:9-10
  10. You have direct access to the throne of grace through Christ. – Heb. 4:14-16

We all know these words of Jesus, “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). It is interesting to note that if you look up the same reference in the first epistle of John you find these words, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (1 John 3:16).

It is no wonder that Jesus’ reply to the Pharisees was: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.” (Matt. 22:37-38).

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13).

Great men and women of God are those who love Him greatly.

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Wednesday, 1/6/21 – Pressing on… The Point.

The Point.

Of course the whole point of my blog ramblings about our move to New Brunswick these past couple of days grows from the message I shared this past Sunday. I spoke about fixing our minds and hearts on our home to come… our home in heaven… the one we will occupy for eternity.

How sad it is when one fixes one’s thoughts only on what is fleeting, deceptive, destructive. How tragic if one looks back, turns, and perishes. “Remember Lot’s wife,” warned Jesus (Luke 17:32).

The Red Sea did not part a second time enabling the now freed Hebrews to cross back and return to Egypt. Of course, with determination they could have walked the longer trek around and got back. But Egypt was destroyed. There was really no going back and the cost of learning this would be the loss of the “Promised Land.”

Similarly, Noah could not return to the life he once had. All these people and beasts had perished. His only way forward was to follow on with the plan God had given him. Lot likewise could not return; Sodom no longer existed — only a steaming pile of brimstone remained.

The point? The point is this: When God says “You cannot stay here!” the only sane plan left to us is His plan. There is only One Way, and that Way is the best way, and that Way is Jesus.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6).

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” (Mark 8:36).

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12).

What destination occupies your mind? … your heart?

Press on…

To hear Pastor John’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Tuesday, 1/5/21 – Pressing on… Preparations in the making…

Preparations in the making…

I knew our kids were going to miss some of the playthings they had enjoyed at our former address, things too large or costly to either ship or bring on the train. So, long before their arrival – and to help me keep my sanity – I set to work to build them some mind-blowing replacements.

Our son had an old wooden chair with home-made attachments added on to it to create a make-believe “drivers seat” of whatever kind of vehicle he might imagine. Though crude, it was one of his favorite toys.

To replace it, I had found an old hand-crafted wooden boat at a yard sale. The boat would require some serious work to make it sea-worthy again, but much less work to transform it into the rocket ship  I had in mind.

I cut the boat in half and filled the front end with switches and colored lights. I bought an old radio at another yard sale, tuned it to some non-station static buzz, and cranked up the volume. I hid the whole thing inside the back part of the boat (er, rocket) and wired it to a button on the mock console, labelled “Thrusters.” Push the button and the rear of the ship shakes as you hear the deafening static (er, thruster fire). I can’t recall all the other bells and whistles I built into it, but one thing was clear to me. Once he saw his bright red rocket ship he would forget forever the little wooden chair he had once loved so much.

For our daughter I joined together several of those emptied postal cartons my wife had been sending and transformed them into “rooms” of a large two-storey home for her Barbie dolls. Floor covering and wallpaper samples bedecked the levels, pictures – actual miniature family photos — were “framed” and mounted on several walls. There was a full cardboard kitchen, bedroom, living room, bathroom and to-scale stairway. I figured it would well replace the playthings she had to leave behind.

I couldn’t wait to see their excited faces once they received what I had been preparing for them over the many weeks while we were apart. I wanted them to know too that I had never forgotten them, but had all this while been preparing for them a place… a new home…. with joys and blessings that would far outweigh what they could not bring with them.

Jesus said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:3). And don’t you know He can’t wait to see your excited face once you received what He has been preparing for you. He has never once forgotten you, but has all this while been preparing for you a place… a new home…. with joys and blessings that will far outweigh anything you must leave behind.

Set your heart and mind on Him. You will not be disappointed!

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor John’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 1/4/21 – Pressing on… Moving on…

Moving on…

There was no work in Saskatchewan, but a position awaited me in New Brunswick if I cared to make the move. We had already decided a move to someplace would likely be necessary. The job dynamics of our chosen professions had changed subtly at first then dramatically. It was clear now that we could no longer stay where we were!

To make the move would be a process. We’d need to sell the home, dispose of the furniture, pass along keepsakes and do the paperwork – and the job began in just ten days. We decided I would drive the five-day trip from Saskatoon, SK to Woodstock, NB with the car filled to the gills with electronic equipment, lamps, ornaments and other breakables. I would find a place to live and begin the job while my wife Val would see to selling the house and disposing of items. Everything else would be sent by Canada Post!

In all I received some 50 plus packages over the ensuing weeks. For the first four weeks I stayed on the cheap in a one room motel room and left the valuables locked in our car. (The car was much more secure than the motel room). I lived on canned tuna and day old “cheaper by the dozen” muffins. I worked, got to know the community, the Church, and made a few friends. When the boxes overtook the motel room I moved to a basement apartment big enough for the family. Finally, by the sixth week, they arrived by train. It was a pea-soup dew-filled foggy maritime morning as I pulled out before dawn to meet them. I feared I would never find the small rural station or would need to backtrack hours if I chose the route wrongly. (There were no personal GPS back then!)

Mind you we quite love New Brunswick and have lived here the longest of any province. But we would never have made this move, or probably any of our previous moves, had it not been made abundantly clear to us that we simply could no longer stay where we were.

But an even bigger move is yet to come for us… for you…. And for all who call upon Christ as Saviour and as Lord. It will be a glorious move, and we will not need to pack anything! There will be no home to sell, no van to book, no paperwork.

And It will be soon. For Christ is making it very clear to us that we simply cannot much longer stay here. We’d better get used to the idea. A very BIG moving day is soon to arrive.

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor John’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Wednesday, 12/30/20 – Pressing on… Fears within…

Fears within…

My parents have long since proven their mortality as I shall one day prove mine. They both died bravely… even more so they lived bravely. Mom’s favorite verse was 1 Peter 5:7, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” Her favorite hymn, “The Love of God.” Its refrain, “O love of God, how rich and pure! / How measureless and strong! / It shall forevermore endure / The saints’ and angels’ song.” Mom was convinced of the Love of God for her, for me… for all souls. It was because she knew His Love for her that she could so assuredly give Him her cares, and urge me to do likewise.

It is the fact of God’s great Love for us that all fear of death, of suffering, of persecution, may be cast off from us. Fears will come upon us – even the Apostle Paul experienced fears, confessing “…we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us…” (2 Cor. 7:5-6). Remembering our God is with us… loving us… having our best interest in heart, can calm our cares. We have His promise:

You [Lord God] will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” (Isa. 26:3).

Fear is a lie. It is a roar from “our adversary the devil.” (1 Pet. 5:8). All he utters are lies. Resist him steadfast (v.9). Speak, with David, the Truth of God,

The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.” (Ps. 118:6) and His Peace will be yours.

Press on…

To hear Don Longworth’s Sunday message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.