The Community Word Challenge

Welcome! Here is our Calendar and some comments that we hope you will find helpful.

May 1  Gordon Den Otter

2 Corinthians 9:11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

Diana Bitner
How fitting, after Pastor Marc’s message yesterday!! It’s more blessed to give than receive!! Wow!!! These promises to the giver are incredible!!!

And God is able to make all grace (every favor and earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation].
As it is written, He [the benevolent person] scatters abroad; He gives to the poor; His deeds of justice and goodness and kindness and benevolence will go on and endure forever!

2 Corinthians 9:9 | AMP

ALL things, ALL times, having ALL that you need!!

His deeds of justice and goodness and kindness and benevolence will go on and endure forever!!!

If that’s not a KINGDOM principle, I don’t know what is!!!

MOTIVATED!!

I think of this as “God’s cycle of the economy”.

Man’s cycle is based on scarcity – we compete for scarce resources, and this sets the price, which means that the poor get less, and the rich get more.

God’s cycle is based on abundance. God enriches us, so that we are generous, so that praise goes to God, so that he enriches us, so that we are generous…

I want to participate in God’s cycle, but to do that, I must reject thinking that is based on my perceived lack of resources. I must embrace the truth of God’s abundance. God, change my mind!

Gordon Den Otter  April 11 

Really interesting chapter. (1 Cor. 5)

First, amazing how we can rationalize any behavior. “I’m not under the Law” is a favourite starting point.

Second, there is definitely a place for righteous judgment – to be done by those who are in authority, who are commanded to shepherd the flock. They have a responsibility to judge, and God will give them the wisdom to do so, if they ask.

Third, “handing him over to Satan” is not “consigning him to eternal hell”. In this case, the “destruction of the body” is for the purpose of “saving the soul”. We have to be willing for God to put on whatever pressure is needed to bring about repentance.

Lots of other good stuff. For example, when Paul says, “I will be present in spirit”, is he speaking metaphorically, or can he actually be there? I used to “know” the answer to that, but now I’m not so sure…

Diana Bitner  April 10

I read this chapter over and over! After Pastor Marc Brisebois‘ message yesterday, here is another reminder of what God wants to do in our hearts!

5 So do not make any hasty or premature judgments before the time when the Lord comes [again], for He will both bring to light the secret things that are [now hidden] in darkness and disclose and expose the [secret] aims (motives and purposes) of hearts. Then every man will receive his [due] commendation from God.

1 Corinthians 4:5 | AMP

Oh God …. Do it in my heart today!!

Gordon Den Otter  April 8

I find that chapters 1 and 2 (1 Cor.) are so full of challenge to everything I have inside my flesh. I always prided myself on being the wise one, the philosopher, the one with the answers. God must laugh. He has been systematically breaking down every one of those things, so that I glory only in him.

But his promise is so uplifting. I HAVE the mind of Christ! By revelation, I can grasp things that are totally beyond my understanding. And I glory in the fact that I have barely scratched the surface. The adventure is only just beginning!

Jen Pahl  April 5 

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13,NLT

Isn’t it amazing … it’s not about us and what we do or don’t do. HE is our source of hope, HE fills us completely with joy and peace, HE does the overflowing part! Our part is just to trust in Him, simply coming to Him and saying, “I’m going to trust You in this part of my life.”

March 30 Michael Lefort

I’ve been reading the Psalms out loud and it has been very interesting every time he starts saying and I will praise the Lord or something like that it feels like I’m declaring it over myself versus just reading a verse.

March 30 Courtney Sinclair

Read. Okay guys, needing explanation on this one. From what I understood, God has chosen certain people for greatness and some to struggle. So why then when people we know are struggling, some more than others, do we always tell them that they can always do better and that they can change or make their lives better? We say this with confidence but after reading this it sounds like their plan has already been laid out. I guess my question is, are some people just destined to struggle or have trials no matter how much we pray for them or how much they try to be better? I want to believe that anyone could be changed or be blessed immensely should they choose to follow God, pray and have faith and a relationship with Him. We act like everyone has favour when we pray for them but is that the way it is? Just kinda confused.

Comments Marie Spenst This might be hard to put into words but I’ll try and I’m sure others will chime in. If you are saved by grace then you are a child of promise, and I believe that because we are joint heirs with Christ and are working to follow Him through His grace that we are not destined to struggle but to experience freedom in Christ. He calls us His people and His loved ones, Verse 25. There is so much in this subject and so many other portions of Scripture that need to be studied along side of it. I’ll try to add more later when I’m at my computer or others will add it. Good questions though. Deep subject.

Courtney Sinclair K so I read it a bunch more times to try to put it all together and I’m pretty sure I see what Paul’s saying now. But it can get kinda confusing. This might be one to chat about in person;)

Gordon Den Otter  From my background, I see that there are many times when we encounter something about God and his works that is beyond our understanding, maybe even beyond human ability to grasp. Then, we have two choices: either we use our own perspectives to decide on a limited view of what God is doing, and then insist that this is all that God is doing; or, we acknowledge that God is far above what we can understand, and rest in what he says about himself in all of Scripture.

Marie Spenst Yes, thanks for chiming in Gordon. 🙂 Love what you said but I especially love this ~ If we are to grasp it, we must do it through the Spirit first, not through our minds first.

And you are showing/proving that we must look at the whole of Scripture and not just a portion. We need to discern and interpret Scripture through the whole of Scripture with the Spirit guiding us.

We have Scriptures that tell us, Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. 2 Corinthians 5:18

And ~ that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

Well I can pull up a lot of Scriptures but I will keep this short. Love digging into this stuff. Courtney, thanks for asking and getting us to dig deeper. 🙂

And Gordon I agree on what you said and this ~ “we acknowledge that God is far above what we can understand, and rest in what he says about himself in all of Scripture.” So very true.

Courtney Sinclair Thanks for the input. I thought my question would have a somewhat simple answer but I do see now, that it was pretty intricate with many different things to factor in.

I do have a better grasp on it now. And verse 25 does say we are now all his people. Simply trusting God is the key, especially when we can’t make sense of it all!

March 20  Julia Martin

I am struck by the second part of verse 3; “to go to his friends that they might provide for his needs.” In this time when God is speaking to us about each having a place, and being an important part, I have been struck by the need we all have to be needed. But in our western society, we are good with giving out, but not so much with the having a need part. Paul was taking a long voyage by sea, and would have had some practical physical needs. These friends weren’t just “ministering” to him, but were “ministering to” his needs. They didn’t have cell phones, so he probably hadn’t called in advance to say he was coming, and to just show up, but not be able to stay, he’d have to be able to say kind of outright, “hey, I have some needs, will you help me?” Certainly, there would have been more of a cultural precedent for this because of the times, but human nature tends to not really change; we want to provide for ourselves, and not really have to “need” each other. We would prefer to be the example of Paul, who has a clear word from God about what is going to happen, and be able to intercede with God for the lives and safety of others, and be able to encourage and comfort others with the prophetic word, but….what if those abilities can only truly manifest in being able to first be humble enough to say, “I’m in need”, and not just privately in prayer to God, but in vulnerability to those around us. The Centurion, not just his friends, knew he had some needs, else he wouldn’t have allowed him to go.

March 14 Corrine Janzen

God had a plan for the Jews to be a light to the Gentiles, telling them about the one true God, instead they became separatists and exclusive, God did have his plan come to fruition and Paul took all opportunitits to preach the good news, may we be able to do the same!

March 9 Gordon Den Otter 

In Acts 15, I find it interesting how the letter from the Jerusalem church leaders is interpreted by Paul in his later epistles. The “party of the Pharisees” wanted to put the believers under the Law, but Paul clearly sees the church leaders’ letter as meaning “If you want to keep the peace, and keep relationships open, please do these things.”

In his letters, Paul later argues that “eating food offered to idols” and “eating meat” (presumably with blood still in it) are about not violating the consciences of weaker believers. The only item he is adamant about is keeping from sexual immorality. However, he doesn’t even present this as “law”, but explains why this is a bad thing.

So, Acts 15 is really a clash between mindsets – the old mind, which is locked into thinking that “rules are what drives everything”, and the renewed mind, which says “relationships drive everything.”

March 6  Gordon Den Otter

Acts 13 – There is a pattern that starts here. Even though Paul was sent as the apostle to the Gentiles, at every town he starts in the synagogue. I think that he is doing two things. First, he is honoring the “elder brother”. Salvation is from the Jews. This makes it clear that he is not trying to set up a religion that is intended to be in opposition to his people.

Second, he is demonstrating that the Jewish religious leaders are unwilling to see truth and respond to it. Therefore, it is not Paul who is causing the split; it is the religious leaders.

Interesting parallel with the story of the sorcerer at the start of the chapter. In both cases, you have opposition that results in blindness “for a period of time”.

From my own personal experience, my choices to believe lies instead of truth have resulted in blindness for many years. Thanks be to God who is rooting out the lies and restoring sight!

March 5  Diana Bitner

What a fun story today! It reminds me of the scripture in Revelation that talks about Jesus being the one who opens doors no one can lock and who locks doors no one can open!

Here, Peter was let out of chains and through locked doors and past guards …. and then the city gate just opens in front of him ….. But …. When he gets to the house, he has to keep knocking and knocking before someone will let him in!
Will I trust that God is opening and closing doors in front of me??

March 3  Cameron Hunter

Acts 10:

Wow, now that I’ve been to Israel and particularly to both Jaffa and Cesearea, this story is more poignant. It’s about a 65 km walk between the two places. A centurion of the occupying Roman forces sends for a Jew closely associated with “the Man who turned the nation upside down”. Peter has been at the center of riots because he refused to stop publicly preaching about Jesus. Peter has commandments from the Scripture and cultural training not to associate with gentiles. All Cornelius knows is “send for Peter”, all Peter knows is “arise, kill and eat unclean animals, and oh, go with the Roman guys who show up – I sent them”.

When they meet, Peter suddenly understands God wants to save the gentiles too. And the Holy Ghost drops on the meeting like a monsoon. This moment opened salvation and the Kingdom up to the whole world.

Wow.

March 2  Jen Pahl

Here’s an interesting thought that struck me this morning … Perhaps God is a great God who is completely in control of all that goes on!! 😉 Let me explain … During most of my life, I’ve heard how much the persecuted church grows, how stagnant we are in first world countries. But if you look at verse 31, the church entered into a time of peace and the Holy Spirit continued to grow the church, their numbers continued to grow! Perhaps we idolize the persecution (look what they had to endure!!) instead of looking to see what God is doing each and every day all around us. I pray God gives us that same boldness to speak what He tells us and to go to the people He shows us, but to realize it’s HIM who increases His church, not the circumstances we are in. He will bring about His purposes in times of persecution and peace.

February 25 at 2:01am  Cameron Hunter

v13 – “none of the rest dared join them, but they were held in high esteem.” When His presence is near enough to reduce the lag time between sin and death about 1 second, no wonder!

Even so, my heart and flesh cry out for You, Living God!

COME CLOSER!!
February 26 at 7:12am  Gordon Den Otter

Wow. How many things there are in this one chapter!

Just when we get a bit too complacent with “God is love”, we read something like this. Along with great revelation comes great accountability. When God is honoring those who are displaying Kingdom life from their hearts, it can be fatal to try to grab some of the glory.

Note that the Bible doesn’t say Ananias and Sapphira went to hell; however, their actions needed a sharp and immediate response, or the life of the Church would have been poisoned.

Note also that the problem wasn’t that they held back some of the money. Peter says that it was theirs to do with as they pleased. It was that they lied about it. If they had said, “We sold some land and decided to give some of the proceeds”, they would have received some honor. The sin was that they wanted to get honor on false pretences – honor for something they did not do.

And that’s just the opening story of the chapter! There are numerous other things…

Feb 17 ~ Gordon Den Otter
John 17:20-23 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

This is the one prayer of Jesus that is recorded where he explicitly prays for us (meaning me, and you). And he prays that we would be one – maybe that is important.

If we are not one, loving each other, the world has the right to say that God did not send Jesus. Do you think that maybe this explains our lack of power to change our society?

We truly need to repent, and to pursue love and unity.

Feb 18 ~ Corrine Janzen
In John 18:6 the message paraphrase, the soldiers were taken back and in other translations they fell to the ground. That is a very big difference as many in the Christian world have not witnessed God’s power in this way. We need the power in the gospel when we preach it!
Jen Pahl
One silly thought, one pondering …

I never paid attention before that the servant who lost his ear had a name … Malchus.

I wonder what that meeting with Jesus did to Pilate. He spoke face to face with The King … did that change him? Did he become a Christ follower? Was his heart too hard to recognize God?

Miranda Weiler-Eley Very interesting, Jen! I have wondered similar things, actually. And the one who asked Peter about being a follower of Jesus was related to Malchus. It is interesting to me why John chose to add those details. Also, I wonder what Barabas did after being released? Did he realize who took his place?
 Feb 19 ~ Cameron Hunter

Psalm 25:12 – this verse struck me. The one who fears God will be instructed in which path to choose.

I’ve recently begun to realize that I value God’s input far less than my own ideas. Some deep part of me is pretty sure I’m right more often than He is … which explains the lack of results I often complain about. Ephesians 2:10 says God has prepared good works for us to walk out, but I don’t search for those – I’m too busy picking my own. Asking Him to bless my works hasn’t turned out very well this far, but I keep trying. Didn’t someone once define insanity that way?

I’m double minded and trusting in the arm of flesh. Forgive me & unite my heart to fear you, God.

February 1 at 6:35am  Gordon Den Otter

John 5. There is so incredibly much here. The main thing that strikes me is that here is the first real clash between two kingdoms.

Jesus asks the man, “Do you want to get well?” The man only sees the tiny trickle of healing that was available in the action of the pool, which he was unable to access. (How often is that my mindset!) But Jesus IS LIFE!

The Pharisees (quite legitimately, in their kingdom view) say to the healed man, “Don’t carry your mat on the Sabbath.” The man responds, “Someone whose LIFE trumps your Law told me different.

Then, Jesus’ powerful words in the rest of the chapter. The part that hit me most: John 5:24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and WILL NOT BE JUDGED but has crossed over from death to life.”

The Pharisees’ kingdom brought nothing but judgment; Jesus’ Kingdom brings life!

If I claim to be in Jesus’ Kingdom, do my words and actions bring life? Or judgment? God, change me to bring life!

 

January 30 at 10:21pm  Gaylene Den Otter

John 4:42
Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.”

Her testimony brought them to Jesus, which gave them the opportunity to hear Him and believe. How wonderful it is when our words draw people to Jesus in such a way that they desire to hear and then learn to listen to Him themselves.

 

January 30 at 8:35am  Diana Bitner

“Lift up your eyes and look at the fields”!!!! In the natural it looked like things wouldn’t be ready for four months yet, but in the spirit, it was TIME!!! I want to discern His timing and go after IT!!

I also want to express how thankful I am that I have been able to reap what I have not sown! Many others have sacrificed and sown seed that I have waltzed in on …. So thankful!

 

February 1 at 9:22am  Wendy Tomlinson Brisebois

It was interesting to me how the pharisees became fixated/rankled by the fact that Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath. Makes me wonder where I’ve been misdirected in my (not so) “righteous indignation” and focussed on a lesser thing, when I should have been rejoicing in the miracle! The other thing that stuck out was the instruction to “go and sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you” God will reach out to us in whatever state we are in. But if we want to follow him in freedom, we must turn from our sin.