Friday, June 22, 2012

Jesus' Light

So once again I'm sitting on my deck enjoying the warmth of the sun and it feels good.
I don't really know how to say this--when our roads seem so bumpy, and when it feels like you can't take anymore, there Jesus is, reminding us that He is right there with us. And not just 'there' as though He stands watching from a distance, only aware of your journey, of your heart, but there with His love and power to make a difference.
Living the life of a Christ follower always involves being watchful of the Enemy. As challenging as that may be, there is some comfort in knowing that he is outside, that there is some distance there. It seems a whole different story when your greatest enemy is yourself-pretty hard to get away from that one!
And yet Jesus is still there telling us that He is quite fond of us.
I had a conversation with a friend today and the subject of hypocrisy came up. We thought it hard to live out Jesus, to show love toward others when we are feeling anything but love in our hearts. To us it seemed hypocritical. But then the thought struck me: how does this look from Jesus' perspective?
His view of us is that we are His children--He calls us Princes and Princesses! To Him, since He sees us this way, if we are called to show His love to others and we don't, then that is being more like a hypocrite, because He really sees us as people who are made to shine His light to others.
If you think about it, isn't it incredible that He views us in this way?
Yes He is thoughtful of helping our hearts to grow and be healthy, but the fact is that He sees it most fitting that we would live like the Kids He has made us to be--the way He already sees us.
There is a lot freedom in that.
So today, try and see yourself from His perspective--someone fit to shine the kind of love that changes worlds!
The sun is beautiful here on my deck, but this doesn't even compare to the Son whose light warms my heart.
Brian M Tysdal
Lead Pastor
Rock of Ages Church
Saskatoon Sask.
374-1707 (Church)
291-3308 (Cel)

Thursday, June 14, 2012


KISS.  Not the Rock band of the seventies and eighties, but the acronym:  Keep It Simple Stupid.

I need to be reminded of this saying every now and again.  I think this is because the world I live in is a very complicated one, and it does everything in its power to convince me to live according to its principles.  There is also a tendency in my sinful nature to try and do things in my own wisdom, and that wisdom often is a reflection of the way the world works.  All this leads to a way of living that is complex and burdensome.

But sometimes I am reminded that it doesn't always have to be that way.  Here is one example: in James 1:22 there are four words that fly in the face of worldly complexity and these four words are "do what it says."

Read the Bible and do what it says.

Sounds so simple doesn't it?  But does God really expect me to just do what He says?  I mean doesn't He know how that would mess things up?  Isn't He aware of how the world really works?  Is He oblivious to how that would rock the boat, and probably bring a ton of embarassment to me?

Yes, yes and yes.

Simplicity is not always easy.

In fact I have coined a term that fits well here:  simplexity.  What simplexity means is a simple way of living that actually works in the nuances and variances of complex life.  It is very hard to imagine, but I believe that when we step out in faith, we will see just how God works his 'magic' accomplishing the things that gladden His heart as we simply 'do what it says.'

KISS.  Simplicity in a complex world--I wonder what God could do if we took this seriously?


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Spooks and Stairs

When I was a young lad growing up on the farm, from time to time I would be asked to go down into our basement and get something for mom.  I remember the fear that I felt having to go down into that dark, dank place. . .and the worst of it was the stairs!  You see, those stairs were open and so anything could have been lurking under them waiting to reach out and grab my feet at any time!  I remember that like it was yesterday.

Now being much closer to fifty than to fifteen I can still experience the feeling of fear--not the same kind that rose in me as I descended those rotten stairs, but fear nonetheless.  But there is a common denominator, I think, in the fear experienced then and now:  it rises out of a clear sense of feeling alone.

That's one of Satan's favorite tricks is to make human beings, both Christian and non-Christian alike, feel that they are on their own.  That no one is there who can really help them.  And he also likes to try and convince us that not only are we alone, but that we are also unable to overcome whatever it is that we are facing.

Let it be said, very clearly, we cannot make it on our own; we cannot overcome our deep-seated fears by simply digging deeper and trusting that we will find the answers we need buried deep inside our souls. 

No, we need help.

And thankfully, oh so thankfully, we have been given the help we need--we are not alone!!

At the end of Matthew 28 Jesus says this one line:  "And surely I am with you, to the very end of the age."

Think about this:  if you have come into relationship with Jesus, you are blessed with His presence in your life-He is with you.  His power, His love, comfort, wisdom, protection, guidance and on and on-has been promised to you.  He is going to stick with you no matter what.  Even when the world falls apart and human history comes to an end--He will be there, able to help you, able to guide you, and willing to do that too.

No matter what the Devil tries to tell you, you are not alone.

So today, as you face the odds that might be stacked up against you in life; the loss of work, or a spouse, or close relative--whatever it is that is tempting you to feel that you are alone and abandoned--that there is little hope that you will make it through this thing--remember this:  Jesus is surely with you--all the way and right now.

I would encourage you to pray to Jesus right now and give him your fear, doubts and loneliness.  Confess to him your self-sufficient attitudes and place yourself directly in His hands.  He will take care of you.


Friday, June 8, 2012

To Live a Different Life

When we become Christians we made into a 'new creation.'  We made into something different, something unique, something that doesn't quite 'fit' into the world we had grown accustomed to.

It can be really difficult to understand the difference that has occured, and sometimes it can lead to frustration.

In Colossians 2:20-23 we hear about people who had lived with an understanding of the world's ways, and then struggled to live in their new freedom found in Christ.  Old rules and regulations seemed to dominate their thinking.

But God wants us to be really free!  Not in a rebellious, self-absorbed kind of way--as though I have the freedom to 'do whatever I want', because as a new creation in Jesus, I am now His and my freedom is dependant on obedience to Him.

Let's listen to what Paul writes here:  "Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules: 'Do not handle!  Do not taste! Do not touch!'?  These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings.  Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence."

That's a load!  I don't know about you, but I lack the wisdom necessary to unpack all this in such a way that I can clearly see what areas I am still living by 'the principles of this world'.  But I know this for sure:  God wants me to be free from them, and free in Him.

If the longing of your heart today is for freedom in Jesus, then spend some time with Him and pour out your heart--all your questions, confusions, frustrations and whatever else is burdening you and ask that He take care of you. 

That's where our hope lies, and there alone.

Always remember that Jesus loves you more than imaginable, and His love really changes things!


Friday, June 1, 2012

Attention to Detail

I was sitting on my deck this morning and noticed a tiny, single strand of spider's webbing flowing precariously between a glass on the table and a chair about 4 feet away.  I watched it for a while as the sun's rays glinted off it.  I thought it looked so fragile.  And then I noticed a tiny spider making its way along its length, and how it was so fearless in its daredevil journey!

Then my thoughts went to God and His amazing attention to detail.  All the little things I noticed about the spider and its web began to paint a picture in my mind of how nothing escapes God's gaze.  But even more than that--of how God took the time to create the myriad of nuances that so often fly under our radar.

If God takes the time to be concerned about these details is it possible that He is also concerned about the details of our lives?

It is so easy for us to get caught up in whatever challenge is facing us at the moment because it is just so real and present.  Our ability to retain perspective is difficult for us, and even when someone tells us to try and see the big picture, our reality, or at least how we are interpreting our reality at that moment often overwhelms us.  Well, instead of us trying to see the big picture, maybe it's OK for us to sometimes remember our God who is also concerned about the details, even the ones that are happening to us right now.

Matthew 10: 30-31 says this: "Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don't be afraid. . ."

God has numbered the hairs on your head!  We don't even know this number!  God wants us to know that He is mindful of the details, the specific challenges in our lives and that He will lead us through.  Don't be afraid--rely on the One who is able and willing to know exactly the route for you to take through the valley you are in. He knows it is a big deal for you, and He also wants you to know that He cares and is paying attention.

The question is:  will you trust Him?

I don't know if that spider has the ability to acknowledge his precarious position flying around on that single strand of webbing--but it reminds me of how I can feel so anchorless and tossed around as I wrestle with life.

And God says to me: "I see you.  I know.  Don't be afraid."

In the face of your current wrestling--I invite you to say right back to God: "Thank you that you see me.  Thank you that you know what's going on.  Thank you that my fear is taken care of as you take care of me."

Enjoy the ride. . .