Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Spend Summer With God - Summer devotional series

Hello and welcome to summer! 

A friend challenged me recently with the thought that "we can't complain about false teachers on television, radio, and internet gaining audience with our church members if we aren't willing to be teaching daily and producing content that is trustworthy."

My friend was right.

So, to follow the example of the early church...
Acts 5:42 And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
I'm beginning to try to put out something each day to teach and to engage our congregation and friends in conversation and community.

Here's the first installment. 

Summer is here. Among...and before...everything else we do, let's determine to spend time improving our relationship with God.

If you'd like to get the latest updates, subscribe to the YouTube channel or send me a private message on Facebook and I'll add you to the group of people receiving the updates.

Have a happy day everyone. 

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Joy of The Lord Is Our Strength

“God made human beings as He made His other creatures, to be happy…They are in their right element when they are happy,” said Charles Spurgeon. 

God wants us to be full of His joy. This joy is our strength, fuelling our obedience and giving us hope. Without joy, our spiritual lives will wither and starve. Knowing this, one of the enemy’s chief tactics is to steal our joy. 

How does he do this? With his trademark deceit, the enemy offers us two charmingly wrapped lies. If we believe them, he can weaken or outright steal our joy.

Lie #1: God is not really happy.

Too often, we have a flawed view of God. We struggle to understand the truth that God is always, completely happy. 

As humans, we feel happy when we ace the interview, when our team wins the series, or when we feel like part of the group. When our circumstances change, we struggle with unhappiness. 

We assume that God’s joy, like ours, is fuelled by outside sources. Based on our human experience, we deduce that God will be happy only when X, Y, and Z happen. 

Yet Aquinas described God’s happiness in quite different terms. “God is happiness by his essence: for he is happy not by acquisition or participation of something else, but by his essence. On the other hand, men are happy by participation.” 

God is always happy because happiness is part of His character. And the best part is that He invites us to share in His happiness. 

“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love… These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full,” said Jesus in John 15:10-11. 

As we obey God, we can drink deeply at the fountain of His happiness. 

Lie #2: God is not happy with me.

The closer we grow to God, the more clearly we see our own frailties. We recognize that we are ordinary, imperfect humans. “How could God be happy with me?” we ask. “How could He take pleasure in this needy, self-centred, and often-stumbling servant?”

Yet the truth is that He does not love us because we are worthy. He loves us because we are His own. And out of His boundless love flows happiness. 

It makes God happy to hear us pray….from the lisping words of children to the heartfelt petitions of adults.
It makes Him happy to watch us become more like Jesus…in word, in attitude, and in action.
It makes Him happy to receive our love and worship, in our devotions and at our church in Sydney Mines. 

Let the words of Zephaniah 3:17 sink deep into your soul.
“The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.”
If you are His child, the Lord delights in you! Embrace this truth, and it will transform your view of God.

God designed you and I to be happy. At our church in Sydney Mines, we seek to find happiness in Him. As David wrote,“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Psalm 16:11)

Know this. God is happy because happiness is part of His character. And He is happy with you because you are His.

As Tony Reinke wrote, “God does not give us any joy outside of the joy he has in himself already. Which means, God’s happiness is our strength.” 

The strength we desperately need—for today, for marriage, for training children, for trials, for church, for everything—is found in God’s happiness. 

Embrace God’s happiness, and you will find His strength.

Do you need God’s happiness today? Learn more from the Bible each week by worshipping with the friendly church family of Northside Baptist Church – Sundays at 11:00 am.
For more information, call (902) 736-6465 or email northside1178@gmail.com 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

What a Friend We Have in Jesus: The Story Behind the Hymn

Digging into the history of hymns, we often find people we can relate to. 

Today, let’s discover the story behind the hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” 

One of the best known hymns, it offers comfort and strength. We enjoy singing this popular hymn at our church in North Sydney. Although its author was not a famous hymn writer, it has stood the test of time. What is the history behind this hymn

Who Wrote This Hymn?

Its author was a remarkable man named Joseph Scriven. Born in Ireland to wealthy parents, he studied at Trinity College in Dublin and graduated in 1842. The following year, Joseph asked his childhood sweetheart to marry him, and she said yes. The day before their wedding, she rode a horse across a bridge and fell into the rushing River Bann. She was tragically drowned as Joseph watched helplessly from the opposite bank.

Two years later, he fled memories and emigrated to Canada. A member of the local Plymouth Brethren church, he earned a reputation for serving the poor and needy. Often, he worked free of charge to assist widows and the sick. Never idle, Joseph taught school, preached the gospel, and wrote tracts and Christian literature. At our church in North Sydney, we seek to serve our community, too.

In 1855, he received upsetting news from Ireland. His beloved mother was seriously ill. One day, a friend noticed a tattered sheet of paper lying on a table. He asked Scriven where it had come from. Joseph explained that he had written a poem to comfort his mother called “Pray without Ceasing.” He humbly stated, “The Lord and I did it between us.” 

Its simple lyrics call the reader to find comfort in Jesus Christ. Instead of bearing heavy burdens alone, it encourages us to “Take it to the Lord in prayer.” No matter what trials may come, we can find solace and peace in our relationship with Jesus. 

How Did It Become Famous?

Upon the urging of a friend, Joseph published it unsigned in Horace Hastings’ collection of Social hymns: original and selected (1865). Later, his poem was renamed “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” and set to music by Charles Crozat Converse. It was introduced to Christians across the continent when Ira Sankey published it in Sankey’s Gospel Hymns Number One (1875).

Since then, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” has been translated into several other languages. It is particularly popular at wedding ceremonies in Japan and in the Hindi and Malayalam languages of India. 

It has been recorded by notable singers like Bing Crosby and Ella Fitzgerald, as well as pioneer recording artists like Washington Phillips.

In 2003, this popular hymn was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters’ Hall of Fame. 

What Are the Song Lyrics?

Here are the song lyrics to “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.
1. What a Friend we have in Jesus,
  All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
  Everything to God in prayer!
O what peace we often forfeit,
  O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
  Everything to God in prayer!
2.         Have we trials and temptations?
  Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged,
  Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Can we find a friend so faithful
  Who will all our sorrows share?
Jesus knows our every weakness,
  Take it to the Lord in prayer.
3.         Are we weak and heavy-laden,
  Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge—
  Take it to the Lord in prayer;
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee?
  Take it to the Lord in prayer;
In His arms He’ll take and shield thee,
  Thou wilt find a solace there.

Although Scriven wrote these lyrics over one hundred years ago, they speak truth into our lives today. This hymn encourages us to cast all our cares upon the Lord, because He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7) 
Do you know Jesus as your Friend? Join the friendly church family of Northside Baptist Church on Sundays at 11:00 am to learn more. 
For more information, call (902) 736-6465 or email northside1178@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

3 Reasons Why You Should Memorize Scripture

Memorizing Scripture isn’t a box to check off on the “Christian to-do list” when you want brownie points.
It’s not just for students in Sunday School or teens at AWANA. 
Memorizing the Word of God is integral for your spiritual growth.
It connects you to a constant reservoir of spiritual food and water.

Why should you memorize Scripture? Let’s discover 3 reasons together.

1) To prepare for evangelism

As believers, we want to share the gospel—both at our church in North Sydney and in our community.
God calls us to “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you…” (1 Peter 3:15) Learning gospel-focused verses is a key strategy in our preparation to witness. 
One popular method is commonly referred to as “the Romans Road.” 
This collection gathers key verses to explain salvation. 
It includes verses on man’s sin, God’s solution in Christ, and man’s response. 
Here is a sample version of the Romans Road.

Romans 3:23, 
Romans 3:10, 
Romans 5:12, 
Romans 6:23, 
Romans 5:8, 
Romans 10:9-10, 
Romans 10:13, 
Romans 5:1            
It may also include Ephesians 2:8-9, John 14:6, and John 3:16.
Memorizing these verses will give you a toolbox of truth to help you share the gospel.

2) To enable victory over sin

In Psalm 119:11, David wrote, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
We can memorize Scriptures to combat the specific temptations we face every day.
Whether we struggle with honesty, lust, anxiety, or another sin, we can find Bible verses to address every problem.
To learn what the Bible says about specific issues, we study the Scriptures at our church in North Sydney.
In Matthew 4, Jesus modelled how to resist temptation with specific Scriptures. 
If we imitate His example, we can have victory over specific sin. 
Also, we can renew our thinking by memorizing Scripture. 
As our thinking grows to reflect the Word, its truth will impact our words and our actions.
By harnessing the life-changing power of God’s Word, we can live a victorious Christian life.

3) To kindle our love for and fellowship with God

In the treasure chest of the Word, we can discover so much about our God.
His character and His love shine through every page.
If we seek to know Him through the Word, we will love Him more and more.
Each minute we spend in memorization and each moment we think about His Word is seen by God.
It is an investment in our relationship with Him, and He will richly reward us.
What is the greatest reward He can give us?
It is knowing the sweetness of His presence.
It is walking in the great peace, sufficient strength, and daily joy of His will.
If we draw near to God, He will draw near to us (James 4:8).

And there is no greater reward and no deeper joy than knowing Him.

Will you invest the time to memorize Scripture? Learn more about God each week by worshipping with the friendly church family of Northside Baptist Church – Sundays at 11:00 am. 
For more information, call (902) 736-6465 or email northside1178@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Your Bible Is Not An Art Gallery

Too often, we read the Bible in the same way that we would visit an art gallery. 
Imagine with me…you carve a few minutes out of your busy schedule, take a taxi to the gallery, and land on the front doorstep out of breath.
Stepping inside, you notice a new Renaissance exhibit and stroll over to take a closer look.

You are drawn to a print of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper. 
Admiring it, you take note of its brilliant composition, colour, and light. 
“What a visionary painter,” you think. “His work was way ahead of its time.”
After contemplating it for a few moments, you move on to other works in the collection.
Walking by oil paintings, frescos, sculptures, and more, you hustle to fit it all in.
After a twenty-minute tour, you check your watch, remember all the things you have to do, and hurry out the door.
Although your time at the art gallery was pleasant, it has no influence on your right-here, right-now life.

Da Vinci’s excellence may inspire you, but it does not influence your work.
The raw emotion of a portrait may touch you, but it does not shape your relationships.
You enter and leave unchanged. 

In truth, this approach may work for an art gallery—especially if you’re not a huge art lover.
But it certainly won’t work for your Bible study.

Your Bible is not an art gallery.

It’s a gold mine.

Too often, we come to the Bible with an art-gallery attitude.
Filling a twenty-minute time slot, we browse quickly through chapters. 
We admire the beauty of Scripture and give a mental nod to its teachings.

Yet our time in the Word never reaches our heart…or our hands and feet.
It stays at the academic level of head knowledge.

God never designed His Word to be an art gallery. 
Instead, He designed it to be a gold mine.

In Proverbs 2:3-5, Solomon wrote, “Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.”

God commands us to actively pursue wisdom—to cry out for it, to dig for it, to search for it.
At our church in North Sydney, we seek to learn His wisdom together.

How can we find wisdom and knowledge in the Bible?

1. Ask the Holy Spirit to teach you. 

Jesus promised in John 16:13, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” The Holy Spirit can guide our study and give us understanding.

2. Be faithful.

Choose a time and place to read your Bible, and find a doable Bible reading plan.
Even when life gets busy, don’t give up your time in the Word.
God will bless your faithfulness!

3. Seek to apply what you learn.

Ask yourself, “What does this passage teach me about Jesus? How can I follow His example?”
Look for principles to live by and promises to claim.
Analyze the attitudes, actions, and words of its characters. 
In James 1, God promised to bless those who not only hear His Word, but also do it. 
Join us at our church in North Sydney to learn how you can apply God’s Word in your life.
Will you search for treasures of wisdom in the Bible? Learn more about God each week by worshipping with the friendly church family of Northside Baptist Church – Sundays at 11:00 am. 
For more information, call (902) 736-6465 or email northside1178@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

How to Witness to Your Family

As Christians, we are often deeply concerned for the spiritual need of family members who have not accepted Christ. Yet they seem indifferent and resistant to the truth. What can we do reach our families with the gospel?

1) Pray for them.

Plead with God to soften their hearts, to open their eyes, and to show them their need. Pray for an awareness of their sin and guilt. Like the persistent widow in Jesus’ parable (Luke 18:1-8), keep knocking on heaven’s door.

One lady accepted Christ after she got married. For seventeen years, she prayed faithfully for her husband to accept Christ. Although he seemed hardened to the gospel, she did not give up. What a joy it was to see him accept Christ. Now his life is characterized by love for the Lord, love for His people, and consistent joy. 

2) Wait for God’s leading to witness.

If you want to see fruit from your witnessing, pray for God to prepare their hearts. Don’t rush ahead of Him and pressure them to make a decision. 

Pray that God would give you an opportunity to speak, and wait patiently for it. His timing is always perfect. 

Also, invite them to attend our church in North Sydney with you. Even if they wouldn’t come to a regular service, perhaps they would come out to a special event.

3) Love them as they have never been loved before. 

It is not the words of the gospel that attract sinners to Christ. Rather, it is the love of His people. At our church in North Sydney, we have dear people who shine with the love of Christ.

If you want to see your family accept Christ, you need to love them in a supernatural way.

Learn to overlook annoyances and forgive readily. Shower them with kindness, compassion, and attention. Spend time with them, doing things that they enjoy. Help out around the house when no one asked you. Treat them with respect, and be interested in what they have to say. 

“Your loving actions will speak more loudly than ten thousand eloquent sermons,” wrote Ray Comfort. 

If you will pray, wait for God’s direction, and shower your family with love, you can see God work in the lives of your loved ones. He is faithful, and He loves them even more than you do! 

Will you witness to your family? Learn more from the Bible each week by worshipping with the friendly church family of Northside Baptist Church – Sundays at 11:00 am.
For more information, call (902) 736-6465 or email northside1178@gmail.com