Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Summer Reading Series: Excerpt from Before the Box


Written by our pastor, Jason Homan, Before the Box is a journey through church history and culture. It describes the boxes (traditions, expectations, and extremes) in which modern Christianity has encased itself. To move forward in our spiritual lives and to make our churches most effective for Jesus, we must get back to a time before these traditions, expectations, and extremes. We must return to the vibrant faith and gospel-centered life of first-century Christianity.

In this excerpt, Pastor Homan writes about pleasing God and how it fits into a correct motivation for ministry. Love for God is the only correct, lasting motive for both ministry and the Christian life. 

Where does pleasing God fit into correct motivation?

Revelation 4:11 tells us that we were created to please God.

Pleasing God, of course, is another effect of the landslide that is the love of God. Not a motivation in itself.

Funny enough, we think that it is what we do that pleases Him instead of who we are.

We think that He is more impressed with our production than He is in the person He is forming us to be. In thinking this way, we elevate our handiwork over the workmanship of God.

We exalt achievement and downplay character in our society. However, any parent worth their salt will tell you that they would rather have a godly teenager flipping burgers at the local fast food establishment than a rebellious teen heading up a dot-com empire. I think we have forgotten that God is a Father who is first interested in who we are, and then He helps us do what we do.

Did you ever read about God’s inspection of Adam’s work in the Garden? We all think in the back of our minds that this is the reason why God was showing up in the “cool of the day” – to inspect. Nope, it was to spend time with the one who pleased Him. Adam didn’t please God because of his own production, but instead Adam pleased God because Adam was God’s creation!

God isn’t nearly as excited about what we are doing (although we do right in response to His love) as  He is excited about His new creation…what He has created in us and is doing in us! That is what He is pleased with.

The truth is that God is easily pleased. He is pleased when He sees what He has done in us, not what we have done to look good to Him. Remember the “filthy rags” part? (Isa 64:6) It’s what He does in me that matters!!!

For some tangled and bungled up reason, we have this notion that we keep God happy by our works. We couldn’t please Him with our works at salvation and we aren’t supposed to walk by works now. (2 Cor. 5:7)

Oh, how much pain we cause ourselves when we have a distorted view of God. So many times, we see Him as a quality inspector on an assembly line instead of as a grandparent waiting for the grandchildren to arrive for a visit.

He loves us, because He sees Himself (Jesus) in us. That’s what pleases Him.
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Are you trying to please God by works, or are you resting in His love for you? 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

Before the Box is available on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.ca/Before-Box-Freeing-First-Century-Christianity/dp/1497406064/

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The One Question That Transforms Your Bible Study


Studying the Bible is about asking the right questions.

To whom was the gospel of John written? How was this Old Testament prophecy fulfilled in the New Testament? What principles did Paul give for relationships? 

When we ask the right questions, we can gain so much knowledge and wisdom from the Bible. However, we sometimes neglect to ask one key question. This question is simple yet highly significant. What is the one question that transforms your Bible study?

“How can I see Jesus in this passage?”

This question calls us to seek Him in the Bible. 
It calls us to step beyond mere information-gathering. 
It calls us to consider how the Bible reveals Jesus’ character and glory.
How can we see Jesus in the Scriptures? 
Here are three specific ways to seek Him in our daily Bible study.

1) Look for Jesus’ words.
If we study what Jesus said, we can better understand His heart. His words sprang from His love for God and His love for others. Jesus said in John 12:50b, “…whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” His words always pleased His Father. He always spoke truth—sometimes in rebuke, and sometimes in infinite gentleness. 

As the Son of God, Jesus spoke with authority and power. If we study His words, we can better understand both His mind and heart. 

2) Consider Jesus’ attitudes and emotions.
With Mary and Martha, He wept over Lazarus’ death (John 11:35). In the temple, He rebuked the money-changers with righteous anger (Matthew 21:13). Jesus was moved with compassion for the crowds who desperately needed a shepherd (Matthew 9:36). 

On the cross, Jesus demonstrated an attitude of humility and submission to the Father’s will. He cried out, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do…” (Luke 23:34) In His darkest hour, Jesus had an attitude of forgiveness and grace. 

After His resurrection, Jesus showed great love and kindness to His discouraged disciples. Calling them to a lakeside breakfast, He nourished both their bodies and their hearts. Jesus gave Peter fresh hope and a new assignment in His kingdom. (John 21)

As the Son of Man, Jesus was transparent about His emotions. Despite the trials He faced, He always chose to have a godly attitude. Jesus was not ruled by His emotions. Rather, He obeyed the Father even when He probably didn’t “feel like it.” If we consider His example, we can do likewise.

3) Study Jesus’ actions.
Jesus’ actions were always wise and well-chosen. Like David, He “behaved himself wisely in a perfect way.” (Psalm 101:2) As a youth, He obeyed His parents. As a travelling rabbi, Jesus preached the kingdom of God. He healed the sick, raised the dead, and forgave sins. 

Jesus modelled true servant-leadership. He was willing to do humble tasks and everyday labour. Lovingly, Jesus washed His disciples’ feet and gave us an example to imitate. If we study Jesus’ actions, we can learn practical principles to help us live the Christian life.

As we study the Bible, we should always ask the question, “How can I see Jesus in this passage?” By doing so, we will not only know Him in a deeper way. We will also be transformed into His glorious image. “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
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Will you seek to know Jesus through your Bible study? 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, June 7, 2017

New Book Release: Seeking Jesus


I'm excited to announce the release of my new book today…

Seeking Jesus: Stepping Into a Life of Bold Surrender, Freedom, and Deep Joy in His Presence. 

The book is a co-write with a talented friend named Claudine Broussard.

It's being released from Forward Publishing today! #bookbirthday 

What's the book about?

Our souls were designed to seek Jesus. Inherent in our very nature is a need for relationship, for empathy, and for love. Jesus does not leave us alone to stumble through the darkness. He takes the initiative and seeks us out. "Come away," He whispers, "and sit at My feet.” Jesus calls us to seek Him.

Too often, we become complacent in our walk with Jesus. Our love for Jesus withers, and the embers of our zeal grow cold. We choose comfort over courage and familiar territory over unknown ground. We no longer experience the active work of God in our lives.

How can we return to our first love? 

How can we seek Jesus again and step into His presence? 

In our new book, we explore Scriptural principles for seeking Jesus.
  • Recognize the importance of preparing your heart to seek Jesus. 
  • Learn the Biblical principle of four circles of relationship.
  • Discover how to seek Jesus through the spiritual disciplines, through obedience, and through holiness. 
  • Delight in knowing the presence of Jesus in a deeper way.
Packed with practical tips, this book will inspire you to seek Jesus and walk in the light of His presence. 

You can get your copy in paperback or Kindle here:
 https://www.amazon.com/Seeking-Jesus-Stepping-Surrender-Freedom/dp/1547021101/
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Will you seek to know Jesus? 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, May 31, 2017

Hymn Stories: No One Ever Cared for Me Like Jesus




In November of 1871, a son was born to a German baker and his wife in Lafayette, Indiana. Charles Weigle grew up in a devout Methodist home. However, he had a violent temper and often got into fights with other boys.

One night, he attended a revival meeting at his church. The Holy Spirit worked in his heart, pointing out his sin and need for Christ. He later wrote, “There seemed to be no hope for me. My sins towered up before me. Then Jesus came and quieted my fears. He paid the penalty for all my sins and guilt…When this great truth dawned upon my mind, my heart was filled with gratitude and praise. There came a great love into my heart for my Saviour.” 

From that moment on, Charles grew to love Jesus more and more. He was hungry for the Word of God. As he grew spiritually, people noticed a remarkable change in his actions and attitude. He gave up fighting and learned to live a holy life.

As a man, God called Charles to evangelism. His preaching was blessed with much fruit. He also sang in a rich baritone and composed hymns. Charles travelled the country with his wife and daughter. However, he soon had to enter the school of sorrow. His marriage was troubled and his wife dissatisfied with her circumstances. One night at a revival meeting, Charles received a message about trouble at home. He fell on his face in anguished prayer. A fellow preacher, H. C. Morrison, came alongside him to pray.

After they rose from their knees, Morrison put his arm around Charles’ trembling shoulder. He said, “Charlie, you may not think you can bear this, but you will, for time is a great healer; and Jesus will bring you through.” These words buoyed Charles up and gave him strength to continue.

Only a few months later, his wife told him, “I’m leaving, Charlie. I don’t want to live the life you are living. I want to go the other way—to the bright lights.” Charles had to put his wife and only daughter on a train to California and bid them farewell. In his hour of sorrow, he depended on God’s grace as never before. The love of Jesus carried him through deep waters of grief.

About five years later, in 1932, he began to write songs again. One night, he sat at the piano, thinking of how God had carried him through those dark days. Suddenly, the words came to his heart, “No one ever cared for me like Jesus.” For the next thirty minutes, God helped him to write the words and melody to this hymn. The verses came easily, as if he had known them all his life. Within a week, he sent it to the publishers. 

Immediately after Charles received the first prints of his song, he attended an evangelistic conference in Indianapolis. On the final night, the song leader asked him to sing an impromptu solo. Charles took the prints out of his pocket, gave one to the organist, and sang the song born out of his heartache. Many of the audience were in tears by the time he finished. 

Three evangelistic singers immediately asked him for more copies, saying, “Weigle, this is the song we have been looking for.” They sang his song across America, and God used it to draw many people to Himself. Since then, it has been published in thirty different languages across the globe. Though Charles Weigle has gone on to glory, his poignant words continue to point people to his greatest Friend.

I would love to tell you what I think of Jesus
Since I found in Him a friend so strong and true;
I would tell you how He changed my life completely -
He did something that no other friend could do.

Chorus:
No one ever cared for me like Jesus;
There's no other friend so kind as He;
No one else could take the sin and darkness from me -
O how much He cared for me!

All my life was full of sin when Jesus found me;
All my heart was full of misery and woe;
Jesus placed His strong and loving arms around me,
And He led me in the way I ought to go.

Every day He comes to me with new assurance,
More and more I understand His words of love;
But I'll never know just why He came to save me,
Till some day I see His blessed face above.
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Have you experienced Jesus’ great love and care for you? 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


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Heroes of the Faith: Brother Lawrence


“We should fix ourselves firmly in the presence of God by conversing all the time with Him...we should feed our soul with a lofty conception of God and from that derive great joy in being his.” -Brother Lawrence

Born in 1611 in Hériménil, France, Nicolas Herman grew up during the bloody Thirty Years’ War. At the age of eighteen, Nicolas had a remarkable conversion to Christ. After serving as a footman to the royal treasurer, he decided to enter a monastery in Paris as a lay brother. He took the name, “Lawrence of the Resurrection.”

In the monastery, Brother Lawrence became a cook. In the midst of onions and fresh-baked bread, ceaseless duties and a thousand details, he learned to fulfill 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” He learned the art of practicing the presence of God. Resolving to focus his mind on God, Brother Lawrence prayed as he worked. He tried to perform every duty for the love of God. He said, “We ought not to be weary of doing little things for the love of God, who regards not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is performed.” 

As he walked in God’s presence, Brother Lawrence grew to reflect Christ more and more. His face shone with sweetness, love, and devotion to Christ. Despite the pressures of his work, he was never hasty or anxious. Brother Lawrence walked through life with a tranquil peace and restful spirit. People noticed his godly example and visited him to learn his secret. He mentored them in practicing the presence of God and wrote letters to encourage them.

An abbot, Joseph de Beaufort, collected a series of interviews and letters with Brother Lawrence. He published them in 1692 as Spiritual Maxims. Today, we know this book as The Practice of the Presence of God. We highly recommend this devotional classic for its timeless truths and excellent advice.

Like Brother Lawrence, we too can practice the presence of God. Throughout our days, we can devote our minds to prayer and our hands to working for love of Him. If we do so, we will discover the greatest of joys in knowing His presence. As Brother Lawrence wrote, “There is not in the world a kind of life more sweet and delightful than that of a continual conversation with God.”
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Will you learn to practice the presence of God? Join the friendly church family of Northside Baptist Church on Sundays at 11:00 am. 
For more information, call (902) 736-6465 or email northside1178@gmail.com


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

3 Prayers God Always Answers


God does not answer every prayer we pray with, “Yes”. Some prayers are based on incomplete knowledge and human wisdom. Other prayers are made with selfish, greedy motives. Some prayers are overruled because His love knows best. Nevertheless, there are at least 3 prayers that God will always answer in the affirmative. In fact, He teaches us in the Bible to pray these requests. What are 3 prayers that God always answers?

“Lord, I want to know You. Reveal Yourself to me.”
God created us for fellowship with Himself. Yet He does not require people to seek Him, to spend time with Him, and to love Him. God wants us to seek Him of our own free will. 
David was a man who sought God with all his heart. He wrote in Psalm 27:8, 
“When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.”
God promises to reward those who seek Him wholeheartedly. We can know the Creator of the universe as our dearest Friend and loving Father. What a marvellous privilege!

“Lord, I have sinned. Forgive me.”
The Bible teaches us that we are all sinners deserving of eternal punishment. We cannot earn heaven by good works (Ephesians 2:8-9). Yet Jesus came and died on the cross to pay the ultimate price for our sins. When we turn to Him in faith and ask forgiveness for our sins, He will answer.
“To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission [forgiveness] of sins.” (Acts 10:43)

After we have believed on Jesus, we still commit individual sins. Sin separates us from having fellowship with God. It steals our joy and hinders our growth. Through Jesus’ blood, God has made provision for continual cleansing.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

“Lord, I am weak. Give me Your grace.”
Although we are reluctant to admit it, we are dependent. Each breath we take is given by the grace and mercy of God. We walk through life in fragile bodies, experiencing the effects of a sin-cursed world. Without God’s intervention, we are powerless to overcome sin. We cannot live the Christian life in our own strength. We are weak. But Jesus Christ—in us—is strong!

The apostle Paul grappled with the weakness of his flesh and begged God for relief. 
In 2 Corinthians 12:9, the Lord answered his prayers.
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness…”
God gives us hard things to both show us our own weakness and to draw us to Himself. In His presence, we find everlasting strength (Isaiah 26:4).

Have you prayed these prayers? How did God answer you? Can you think of other prayers that God will always answer? Let us know in the comments below! 
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Has God answered any of these prayers in your life? 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