Wednesday, 27 February 2019

God of infinite chances

The cause of almost all of the sin and trouble in our lives is selfishness, Smithville Christian students were told at this week’s chapel.

Grade 11 student Patrick, who was this week’s speaker, told students that a recent experience in his life “changed the way I view everything.”

Putting ourselves before others is the reason why we bully, he said. “To make ourselves feel better by putting someone else down.”


 It’s the reason for failing to share, for jealousy, for lying, for boasting.

“It’s all rooted in the idea of me,” he said. “That I am the best. That I am better than you. That I don’t care about you.” Selfishness is regularly reflected back to us in the media, in the modern messaging of “you be you,” or “anything you want, go get it.”

But Christians realize that there is something bigger than ourselves, a Creator who blessed us to be a blessing to others, he said.

Patrick said he tries to be a good guy, to think about things before he does them, “to be a right person.”

But he found it wasn’t working.

“In fact, I am sort of a fake.”

Dropping a nickel on the floor and picking it up, Patrick said finding a coin and pocketing it seems like an inconsequential thing. But in his own life, the Holy Spirit made it clear to him that there are things we can take for granted that can actually be destructive to others – and ourselves.

Patrick said he recently found himself “in a deep, dark hole, and I probably wasn’t going to get out.” He tried to pretend everything was fine, but “there were other people I was hurting.”
Instead of being a Christian, he found himself a hypocrite. “What am I doing? How did I get here? How am I living this big, fat lie? This is not what God called me to do.”

Once he realized how destructive his selfishness was, Patrick said he turned to God, picking up his Bible and immersing himself in the life and ministry of Jesus.

“Jesus is the true example of how not to be selfish,” Patrick said. Truthfully, it’s an example that we can’t match, but is what we should look to master, he said. It might help to think of the fruits of the Spirit, Patrick said, breaking into the children’s song – which earned him hearty applause from the students.



Patrick said his parents also reminded him that God is the God of infinite chances, that everyone who is in Christ is a new creation. “It’s never too late to turn back,” he said. “What you did before doesn’t matter. Apologize, and don’t dwell on the past.”

Turning to God changed everything, Patrick said. Allowing the Holy Spirit to flow through him brought joy, true happiness, and true self-worth. “You will feel it,” he promised. “Remember your identity as a Christian, and pursue God.”

By turning away from self and focusing on God, you encounter love, Patrick said, the kind of love that helps you love everyone as God has loved you.
“You are a much better version of yourself when you love,” he said. “The world is a much better place when we love.”

Members of student praise team, Renewed Roots, led in worship with Glorious Day, One Thing Remains (Your Love Never Fails), and Holy Spirit.



















Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Fresh snow and a fresh semester


What does a blanket of freshly fallen snow mean to you? A pristine landscape that should be left untouched or an invitation to leave your footprints?



At the opening chapel of the new semester, spiritual life director Gord Park said he sees both. The white snow is a symbol of the fresh start that God offers us every day in the forgiveness of our sins (Psalm 51:7), and it’s also an invitation to leave our mark (Isaiah 20:21).

A fresh snowfall is a metaphor for a new semester, Park said. “You get to lay down new tracks.”
And just as the tracks in his backyard – made by squirrels, a dog, and neighbour taking a shortcut – are evidence of life that Park said he might not otherwise see, we can decide to leave tracks that are evidence of the life that is in us.

The footprints in our lives are Christ’s, and we can live as Christ sees us, “whiter than snow,” Park said. This semester, in the way you smile at each other, befriend each other, and care for each other, “you get to lay down tracks of the life that is in you.”