Tag Archives: Reminder

It is only in Jesus

” We hold on to the things we should forget; and forget the things we ought to remember.” – Tim Keller

One of the hardest lessons I am learning, have learned, and am reminded of constantly is the need to dwell in Jesus on a minute to minute basis. Sometimes I am frustrated because this is one of the integral parts of walking with Christ, and yet I am ALWAYS, ALWAYS, forgetting it. It is especially apparent when I am having good days, not only good days where everything seems to be going great physically, but it is apparent when I’m having good days when everything seems to be going great spiritually. When I’m successfully overcoming sin, when my Bible memorization and Bible reading goes well, when prayer seems to go well, those are the times when things are going great for me spiritually. And I’ve been realizing that those are the times that I tend to forget to give credit and praise to the Holy Spirit for making things run smoothly. Especially overcoming sin. I forget that my righteousness comes from the shed blood on Calvary. I develop a swagger as if to say “Hey God, look at my own strength. See how I’ve been able to change myself for the better? Aren’t I amazing?” All the while not remembering, holding onto, giving thanks for, and continuing to press into the God who saved me, adopted me, forgave me and changes me.
It is during these times, where I get arrogant that I tend to stumble and fall flat on my face. My self-righteousness, my arrogance and pride kill me. But Thanks be to God for the Gospel of Christ because it is the restoration and rescuing of a rebellious sinners life. I am forever thankful for Christ, that He is still pursuing me and reminding me that the only way I am able to overcome, that I am able to ever truly change is through what He accomplished on the Cross. I am forever thankful that because of the Holy Spirit within me I am able to change through the death and resurrection of Jesus. And I am thankful to God the Father because of His love and mercy towards someone like me. Who despite being weak and a coward, still is arrogant, prideful, and self-righteous enough to think that he can save himself.

I need you God. Because only in you am I truly free to overcome and change.
In your Son’s mighty name,
Amen.

Hansen

Hands and Feet, Old and New.

I’m not sure if I’ll get flack for this. The reason I type that is because I’ve grown up in and around Christian circles that, generally speaking, believe that being the hands and feet of Jesus is somehow more difficult, painful, and frightening than being pressed by Him. As if it takes a certain kind of courage to leave the comfort of our house and home and travel somewhere new, exotic…unreached.
Now of course, no one would outright say that. Don’t get me wrong, I do believe wholeheartedly that being the hands and feet of Jesus is difficult. It is painful. And it is certainly frightening. Especially when He calls you (generally speaking) out of the comfort of house and home and places you into a place that is new, exotic and unreached.
I believe, although I would never outright say it, that in the past, I held missions (being the hands and feet of Jesus) as the avenue in which the highest difficulty with following God lay.
And then I began attending the Gathering. I am fond of the Gathering. I love it. Through loving the Gathering, I understand why Jesus states that if I love Him, I will also love the Church. It is here that I began to have a paradigm shift. It is at the Gathering that I no longer viewed living out God’s mission, furthering His kingdom, as something incredibly frightening, that takes the greatest amount of courage. Part of reason is, I believe, that I was now surrounded by men and women who were willing and eager to go. and I was surrounded by men and women who have gone and have experienced the same fears of going and frustrations of coming back, and so I could talk to both groups. They were/are an encouragement. Now don’t get me wrong, I believe that missions trips (no matter how big or small) do take a great amount of courage. It takes a willingness to obey God, and trust that He has something much bigger, much grander, much better than our mud pies.(this is a vague C.S Lewis reference)
Jesus has used the Gathering to press me in places I do not want to be pressed. And now I am just beginning to understand the terrifying nature of the prayer that I pray both for myself and others. The prayer that Jesus would press us.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: I believe I am awesome. I don’t say it jokingly. Of course I wouldn’t say it out loud. But how I act, how I think, how I talk indicate at the very core of me, that there is a strong sense of selfishness, pride, arrogance and sense of entitlement. It is here that God has been cutting. It is here that God has been working. And it is here that I am terrified/unwilling to really go, and let go. It is at this place that those dangerous prayers (that Jesus would press me), and by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, are taking me. It is here that I know, I will see who I really am…in light of a mighty and Holy God. And it is here I am absolutely terrified to look. Terrified because I know what I will find. Terrified because I know that when I take a look, I will see something ugly. I am afraid to look because I will see that in front of a completely Holy Righteous God, all of me (good, bad, ugly) is nothing but filthy rags. And I know that the process of sanctification, the discipline of God is often times painful.
These are the moments that I need. I don’t need more knowledge about God. I will only know about Him. However, during these moments of sanctification, I will get to know Him. Not only His standards, but His love for me. I will come to understand that His discipline is because He understands that there is something much better if I follow His commands. He knows that it’s better for me in the end, if He holds off on answering certain prayers.
In the end, I find it slightly easier to go and serve than I do to have Jesus open me up. At least I don’t have to look at myself for who I really am. But even in the pain, I know that His Grace is sufficient for me. Even in that despair, I know I will be comforted because of His finished work on the Cross.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for the finished work on the Cross. Thank you for your promise that you will comfort those in distress. Not only over the loss of a loved one, but also for those that grieve over their own fallen, self-destructive sinfulness. Thank you for Your Grace. Thank you for everything. I ask that even as you bring me towards places I do not want to be, sanctify me in those places. Remind me that Your Cross has even paid for it, that I am no longer tethered by it, and I am free to let go. Thank you that because of what You did, because I am clothed in You, I am no longer who I was. But I am counted as righteous in Your sight.
In Your Amazing name,
Amen

Hansen

Taking a look back

Today, in a moment of nostalgia I decided to take a look at my old blog.  Looking throughout the years, I honestly believe that my writing style hasn’t changed much. Nor have my topics of interest.
I remember, however, a post that I did in 2008 entitled “The end is near”  and in that post I talked about my mortality and how one day I was going to die. I didn’t know when, but I knew that I was going to die. So, I decided to make a list of reasons why I shouldn’t be cried for during my funeral. Instead, people should be joyously celebrating the life I’ve had. Because, despite the bumps along the way, I believe that my life has been FULL of experiences that i would never trade away.

This is a look at the 2008 list:
Don’t cry for me I have a wonderful family
Don’t cry for me I have incredible friends
Don’t cry for me I’ve laughed so hard I hyperventilated to the point of almost blacking out
Don’t cry for me, I’ve laughed so loud my friends could hear me from a different room on the other side of the building, and floor.
Don’t cry for me, I’ve laughed so hard that milk came out of my nose
Don’t cry for me, I’ve had good beer with even better friends
Don’t cry for me, I’ve had mind-blowing 4-5 hour long discussions on theology, and not just the simple stuff, but on incredibly weighty issues
Don’t cry for me, I’ve seen Christ save people
Don’t cry for me, I’ve been to Malaysia, Hong Kong, the UK, Kazakhstan, East Asia and the US
Don’t cry for me, I’ve smelled the ocean
Don’t cry for me, I’ve been on a mountain
Don’t cry for me, I’ve seen a sunset
Don’t cry for me, I’ve seen a sunrise
Don’t cry for me, I’ve been to university
Don’t cry for me, I’ve eaten the best sushi
Don’t cry for me, I’ve had amazing bubbletea
Don’t cry for me, I’ve eaten incredibly mouth-watering, savoury food
Don’t cry for me, I’ve eaten a lobster
Don’t cry for me, I’ve ridden a horse
Don’t cry for me, I’ve eaten a horse
Don’t cry for me, I’m home

In 2008, that list had quite the meaning for me. Not much of that list has changed. I still intend on ending it with “Don’t cry for me, I’m home.”
So with that said, the new list looks like this:

Don’t cry for me, I have an amazing family
Don’t cry for me, I have amazing friends
Don’t cry for me, I’ve laughed loudly and long.
Don’t cry for me, I’ve cried tears of joy and sadness.
Don’t cry for me, I’ve eaten the most amazing food
Don’t cry for me, I’ve made/helped make some really tasty food
Don’t cry for me, I’ve sang horribly off key, with my friends in Karaoke.
Don’t cry for me, I’ve had really good beer with even better friends
Don’t cry for me, I’ve had long, insightful, weighty talks about theology and life with stellar people.
Don’t cry for me, I’ve been to the U.S, East Asia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, England, Singapore, Amsterdam, and Kazakhstan
Don’t cry for me, I’ve been to both the West and East coast of Canada.
Don’t cry for me, I’ve seen a beautiful sunset.
Don’t cry for me, I’ve seen a beautiful sunrise.
Don’t cry for me, I’ve been on a mountain
Don’t cry for me, I’ve smelled the ocean
Don’t cry for me, I’ve drank water from glacial ice.
Don’t cry for me, I’ve been to and graduated from university.
Don’t cry for me, I’ve drank the best tasting bubble tea.
Don’t cry for me, I’ve ridden a horse.
Don’t cry for me, I’ve eaten many different cultural foods.
Don’t cry for me, I was part of a fiercely awesome church body, who loved Jesus with all they are.
Don’t cry for me, I’ve prayed with fierce, passionate men and women of Christ.
Don’t cry for me, I’ve seen Jesus save and change people.
Don’t cry for me, I’ve had the privilege to be used by Jesus as He’s saved and changed
people.
Don’t cry for me, I have been saved, redeemed, rescued and changed by Jesus. By His Grace, through His blood.
Don’t cry for me, I’m home.

There are times where I do think heavily on my own fragility. My life, like the Bible says, is like dew. Here in the morning and gone in the afternoon. This list serves as a list of joyous events and occasions worth celebrating. And I honestly hope that throughout the years it will continue to grow. Until it reaches the end, and I am truly home.

Hansen

Biking + Worship + Praise

I don’t get it too often, but when I do get it. It hits. Hard.

What I’m talking about is an overwhelming paralyzing fear of an uncertain future. Uncertain for me at least. Don’t get me wrong, I find extreme comfort in the fact that God has a plan for me. But I have also learned to not try and guess and organize my life around what I think it is. Which at times brings me joy, calm and peace, and at other times makes me completely terrified.

Today was one of those days where the fear just absolutely pulverized me, to the point where I was beginning to hyperventilate. Was it because I didn’t trust God enough that He was still in control of my life? Perhaps. There are many possible reasons on why I would feel the way I did. I don’t want to coldly sweep them away by over-analyzing them, nor do I want to be consumed by the emotion of it all.

Before it could overtake me, I put on some music (Robbie Seay Band and Ascend the Hill) and began riding my bike around Peterborough. The intent was to make myself so tired that I wouldn’t be able to think about it, but before I knew it I began to pray. I wasn’t asking for anything like clarity, or peace or anything like that. What flowed out of my mouth was nothing by praise for my God. In that moment of biking, listening to old hymns and new p&w songs, and praise prayers, my worries and fears began to fade away. What a strong reminder to my soul that it is Jesus who is in control. Holy and mighty. What peace it brings to just praise Him.

I’m not saying that it’s a secret remedy to no longer worry or to not be frightened, but I recognize that at this exact moment this is what I needed. This is what my soul needed (before I realized that it was what I needed). And the Holy Spirit delivered, perfectly.

“It’s in times like this the world will come
Tempt me to just give You up
Oh but I’ve decided to trust
Completely in Your blood
I will run
Blindly, I’ll press into You ” – The Nehemiah Band “Press into You”

Dear Jesus,
Thank you for everything that you are. All you have done. Let the words that leave my mouth, whether in fear, anger, sorrow, joy, etc. be words of praise forever for You.

In your wonderful name,
Amen

Ch.2 The Paths and the By-Paths: The Hike

It has certainly been a long time since I last updated this chapter write up. If the previous section write up is a little fuzzy you can go here to give it a little bit of a refresher. Today we will be looking at what J.I Packer calls “The hike.”

In this section, Packer, equates the life of a Christian as a hike. The reason he does this is because, like a hike, our lives go through various stages and challenges. This section borrows heavily from John Bunyan’s Pilgrims Progress. Rather, Packer references Pilgrims Progress quite a bit. Packer and Nystrom note that Christians (the character in Bunyan’s book) progress can be split into four parts.
1) In the first part Christian finds saving, converting Grace. He sees and believes the Cross and finds himself a new man and his burden gone.

2) The second part is conflict. This is where Christian fights the destroyer and ventures through the valley of the shadow of Death. Where thoughts of despair surround him

3) The third part is companionship. Christian sees Faithful and they swap stories. He will lose Faithful during his journey but be joined later on by Hopeful, where they will journey the rest of the way together.
– it is here that J.I Packer states, and I agree (after learning the hard way), that every believer needs another person where they can walk closely with.

4) In the fourth part, Hopeful and Christian explores moral and spiritual compromise through a meeting with a man named By-ends and also by another man named Demas. They escape those two men but are later locked up in Doubting Castle.

Packer notes that through Bunyan’s writing, we can see that if we are not faithful, we will undoubtedly lose our assurance of salvation. Before I go on, I would like to state that Packer doesn’t seem to be implying that we will lose our salvation. It seems that Packer is saying that we will lose our confidence that we are saved, we will call into question whether or not the Gospel changed us. We will question whether or not we are playing church rather than living a Gospel-driven life. And in our doubts, not only will we lose our assurance of salvation (though not necessarily our salvation. It is vitally important to remember that) but also the Truth of the Gospel.

Packer then states that the authentic Christian life is a many sided affair if it is viewed from the outside. However, from the inside of this life it is just a quest for more of God and more of life both here and later.

The way that Bunyan describes trials, truimphs ditches and deliverance essentially describes the path that Christians walk in which so many by-paths seem to call. These by-paths MUST be resisted if we are not to go astray.

Packer and Nystom want to paint the Christian life in three stages. Of course, like all analogies it isn’t perfect, but I do believe it does paint a fairly accurate picture.
Like a painter who lays down first the green and blue hues, then red and gold and finally the pinks and oranges. The hike is just like the green and blue. Next is God is with us in faithfulness which is like the reds and golds. and finally to finish off the painting, the love of our “best friend” Jesus, who is always beside us is the pinks and oranges. Using all three hues completes the picture that is the Christian life.

This one was a relatively short section. However our next one combines the section entitled “The good companions” and “Hiking with Jesus Christ.”

Some things to remember before ending this entry:

– Packer notes that when we do not press into Jesus (through prayer, reading meditation etc) we, not only lose our assurance of salvation but also the truth of the Gospel. Losing the truth of the Gospel is very much tied to losing our assurance of salvation. Let me be clear, I do not necessarily believe you will lose your salvation. However you will very much lose the confidence that you are saved by Jesus, and in all honesty, you may very well not be. It is during these storms of doubt that we find out whether the Cross of Christ has made us alive, or if we have been playing religion for most of our lives.  Press in, wrestle, Study the Word, Pray and Seek.

– Our lives are very much like a picture. Just as a painting loses some of it’s beauty when one or more colour is missing, so too, does our lives. If we forget about the faithfulness of God and/or forget that Jesus is always beside us, our lives do lose it’s beauty. again Press in, Wrestle, Study, Pray and Seek.

Hansen

Why so heavy O’ my soul?

At the Gathering today, a dear brother (in Christ) of mine spoke. What he spoke about wasn’t anything new, as if he found the secret of the Bible. He didn’t speak as if he had a new interpretation. In fact what he spoke about wasn’t definitely new news, in fact it’s old news. And yet, this old news is good news. It is news that when heard the first time, it’s like music to the ears and life to the heart. It is news that when heard again and again, it is as if there, at some level, are floodgates reopening for the first time in a long time.

I am speaking of course about the Gospel. The good news that is both old and new, and forever beautiful. The fact that the Gospel is central, the fact that Jesus’ death and resurrection is necessary, still amazes, convicts and brings me deep joy.

I have been dwelling upon Psalm 42:5,6 recently. In these particular verses of this particular Psalm, the author writes

“Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within
me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise
him,
my salvation and my God.”

As I was dwelling on this it suddenly clicked (after the message today) that the reason why it resonated with me so much, especially recently, and the reason why I have been thinking about so much is because the author of this Psalm is preaching the Gospel to himself. He is reminding his soul to hope. Hope in what? Actually, better question is hope in who? The psalmist answers hope in God, because He is our salvation. He is our God. We get God, and that is amazing. We get a God who loves us enough to pursue us, to rescue us.

The Psalmist is reminding his very soul that he should not be in turmoil because he gets God. Not in a fully understanding kind of way. But he gets God. He gets to walk with Him, talk with Him, spend time with Him. He gets God. In those 6 lines, the author preaches to himself the Gospel. God is OUR Hope and OUR Salvation. Our soul has no reason to be in turmoil.

And yet, it is. I know often times mine is. There are times where the dwelling upon my sin overtakes it. There are times when I don’t even know the cause of why I feel the way I feel. I just do. I forget that my sin is no longer where my identity lies. And still, even though my heart is a fickle beast, forgetting about a Shepherd Warrior King, Jesus loves me still. And is continually, albeit slowly changing me. And so like the Psalmist, like my dear brother, it is an absolute necessity to preach the Gospel to myself. In times of turmoil, and even, no especially in times when everything seems alright.

It is interesting to note that the author writes the exact same phrase two other times. He writes it once more in verse 11 of ch.42 and then once again in ch.43 in verse 5. The psalmist understood it, we must preach the Gospel to ourselves everyday. When everything seems to be going wrong and when everything seems to be going right. We MUST preach the Gospel to ourselves as a reminder that it is not because of us that we are good and righteous. But it is because of Jesus, and only Him that we can, and are, good and righteous.

Psalm 29

Ascribe to the Lord Glory

A Psalm of David.

29:1 Ascribe to the Lord, O heavenly beings, [1]
ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness. [2]

3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the Lord, over many waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.

5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;
the Lord breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf,
and Sirion like a young wild ox.

7 The voice of the Lord flashes forth flames of fire.
8 The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.

9 The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth [3]
and strips the forests bare,
and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”

10 The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.
11 May the Lord give strength to his people!
May the Lord bless [4] his people with peace!

Epic. and Amen.

Dear Jesus give me a faith that is both vertical and horizontal. Let me be captivated by You and not what You do, so I can glorify You like You deserve. But let me recognize and praise You for what You do and have done.  Teach me to pray like, through and in the Psalter. In your precious name, Amen.