Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 22, Issue 12     April 22, 2012

Mark:  a special sign or brand; a sign of ownership

Seal:  a mark of authority and authenticity,
             an official mark of ownership

Brand:  a mark to signify ownership

Some Christians instead of resting in the fact that they are marked by God are walking in fear that they may some how get the mark of the beast!

For every reference to the mark of the beast there are at least two references to the mark or seal of God?

Everybody will be marked or branded…..it simply depends on who’s outfit you ride for.

God has set in place a certain sign or
mark to identify those that are His.
These marked ones are protected by His very Word.

Exodus 12:13  “And the blood shall be to you for a token... and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague will not touch you... God said “When I see the blood!”

According to Ephesians 4:30 we are sealed to the day of redemption by the Holy Spirit of God.

Ephesians 1:13  “...sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.”

The seal
  • is the indwelling Holy Spirit
His presence in our hearts is the evidence of our approval in the sight of God.

The sealer is God
  • He gives the Spirit to them that believe
The sealed are they “who hearing the Gospel trusted in Christ.”

The significance being that a seal is given as the closing of a deal and a sign of ownership.

The sealing of the Holy Spirit speaks of:

  • Sealed with the kings signet that the purpose might not be changed.
II Timothy 2:19  “Nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal, The Lord knows them that are his. None shall pluck them out of His hand.”

  • Those sealed by the Spirit of God are owned of God.
We are bought with a price!  The blood of Christ redeems us to God.  The Holy Spirit possesses us for God!

We, in reality, have been purchased by the precious blood of the Lamb…therefore we are in the greatest sense no longer our own.  It would be good for us to think of our body, soul, mind, emotions and spirit to be “under new management”.

  • The seal of God is a sign of authority.
Thus, those who are sealed of God act in the King’s name, they act in Christ’s stead.

  • A seal imparts its own image to the object sealed.
That is why the object sealed must be soft enough to receive the mark.  Those sealed by the Spirit will have the mind of the spirit, which is the mind of Christ.

Just as the mark of the antichrist system -
the mark of the beast is placed on the foreheads so is the mark for the redeemed.

Revelation 14:1  “And a Lamb stood on the mount Zion and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads.”

The royal stamp of Heaven is set on all the souls that belong to the kingdom of God.

Every redeemed one is a marked one!

Come with me for a minute to Psalms 23:4 “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou [art] with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

“.... thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”

To understand what David is really saying here, we must turn to 2 scriptures:

Leviticus 27:32  “And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, [even] of whatsoever passes under the rod, the tenth shall be holy to the LORD.”

Ezekiel 20:37  “I will cause you to pass under the rod, I will bring you into the bond of the covenant.”

Let’s see how God’s marked men behave...

Ezekiel 9:1-6  “He cried also in mine ears with a loud voice, saying, Cause them that have charge over the city to draw near, even every man with his destroying weapon in his hand. And, behold, six men came from the way of the higher gate, which lieth toward the north, and every man a slaughter weapon in his hand; and one man among them was clothed with linen, with a writer's inkhorn by his side: and they went in, and stood beside the brasen altar. And the glory of the God of Israel was gone up from the cherub, whereupon he was, to the threshold of the house. And he called to the man clothed with linen, which had the writer's inkhorn by his side; And the LORD said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof. And to the others he said in mine hearing, Go ye after him through the city, and smite: let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity: Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark; and begin at my sanctuary.”

See if this doesn’t sound familiar when we read:

Revelation 7:3  “Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.”

And look at Revelation 9:4  “And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.”

Thank God for David’s insight….
        “thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 22, Issue 11      April 15, 2012

Galatians 6:14  “But God forbid that I should glory, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.”

Look at the cross, my friend....
Have you ever really looked at it?

I Corinthians 1:18  “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but to us which are saved it is the power of God.”

You will never understand the significance
of what happened at the cross until you
are clear about who it was that died there.

If He is the Son of the living God what is He doing there on the cross?

Jesus answered this Himself in Matthew 20:28 “the Son of man came give his life a ransom for many.”

Charles Spurgeon said…..
“The heart of the gospel is redemption and the essence of redemption is the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ.”

The cross had blinded the eyes of the apostle Paul so much that he gloried in nothing else!

The preacher who has ceased glorying in the cross of Christ has ceased preaching in the power of the Holy Spirit.  For the whole counsel of God finds its center in the crucified One.

Jeremiah 9:23-24  “Let not the wise glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty glory in his might, let not the rich glory in his riches: But let him that gloriy, glory in this, that he understands and knows God, that He is the LORD which exercises lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for I delight in these things, said the LORD.”

To know the meaning of the cross of Christ is to
understand and know God and to glory in Him.

I Corinthians 2:2  “I have determined not to know any thing....except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”

Here are some good reasons why we should glory in the cross:

BY IT…..
*   The Love of the Father is seen
I John 4:9-10  “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.”

Romans 5:8  “But God commended his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

*   The Love of Jesus is declared
John 10:11  “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

*   Sinners are reconciled to God
Romans 5:10  “We were reconciled to God by the death of his Son.”

*   Believers are crucified
Galatians 6:14  “God forbid that I should glory, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.”

*   Every blessing is pledged
Romans 8:17&32  “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together..... He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”

IN IT…..
*   Lies a remedy for all the woes of the world
John 3:16  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

The cross, not just any cross -
but the cross of Christ,
is what brings man,
a guilty sinner,
together with a Holy God.

Without the shedding of blood there would be no remission of sin.

At the cross of Christ, Jesus Himself, bore your sins and mine.  Jesus paid the debt of our guilt and our transgressions.

II Corinthians 5:21  “For he has made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God.”

Galatians 1:4  “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world.”

I Peter 2:24  “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live to righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.”

Colossians 2:13-15  “You were spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were not free from the power of your sinful self, has he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting (IOU) of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.”

You and I have only one thing to do:
Simply believe the cross’ message.
Nothing else! Simply trust God!

  • Do not tell me you are going to live better.
  • Do not tell me you will try harder.
……You don’t understand the cross if you say that!

Acts 13:38-39  “Know this - through this man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.”

Only believe and you shall see!
That Christ is all and all to you!

The most important thing about each and every one of us is that outside of Christ we are lost!  It doesn’t matter who we are for “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God!”

Whatever particular form your sin takes…
  • respectable sins
  • repulsive sins
It matters not!  Sin is sin!

Be it known to you all, that Jesus Christ died on the cross to pay your debt.... Just believe!

By Him, all who believe, are at this very moment justified entirely and completely from everything you have ever done!

Jesus died on the cross for your sins!

Believe that and thank Him for it and rely utterly and only on Him and all your SINS are blotted out completely as if you had never sinned in your life!

Jesus’ righteousness is put on you and God sees you perfect in His Son….


Now do you see why we should glory in the cross of our Lord?

And can it be that I should gain,
An interest in the Saviour’s blood
Died He for me who caused His pain,
For me who Him to death pursued….
Amazing love How can it be,
That You my God, should die for me!

Christ, by offering Himself, has…..

Hebrews 10:14  “For by one offering he has perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”

Jeremiah 31:34  “I will forgive their sin, and I will remember it no more.”

Galatians 6:14  “But God forbid that I should glory, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified to me, and I to the world.”


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 22, Issue 10      April 1, 2012

I sometimes wish there was a “Discernment For Dummies” course.

I’d like to address a topic that is seldom, if ever, brought up in church, “How to deal with toxic people”.  The Bible must have some words of wisdom to help us remain good Christians and still avoid a head on crash with these kinds of people?

The first verse I thought of was “I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.”  I Corinthians 5:11

And then there was my old friend Nehemiah.  He faced three men in his life who were toxic: liars and gossipers and they wanted to control Nehemiah with their negative attitudes.

And then I thought of Judas.  Chosen as one of the twelve.  He was right in the middle of the core group for over the three years of Jesus’ ministry.  He is as close as you could get, yet he had been robbing the purse that was there to support Jesus and the disciples and to feed the poor.  He was deceitful and finally sells Jesus out for filthy lucre, 30 pieces of silver, the cost of a slave.  His name has come to mean betrayer.  Certainly he’d be considered toxic.

Yet his toxicity level was no match for our Lord’s grace.

Sometimes the biggest stressors in our lives are people who are easy to upset and hard to please, or those who let you down time after time.  A toxic person robs you of your self-esteem and dignity.

There are many types of toxic people.  The following are the more toxic ones:

Needy people
There are mildly needy people which isn't a big problem and then there are the “Drain the very life out of you” needy.

Their message is:
  • “I need you to solve all my problems”
  • “I can't function without you”
  • My happiness depends totally on you”
  • “If you leave, I’ll just die”
Needy people demand constant attention.  They use emotional blackmail to get it and offer gratitude only if it keeps you on the hook.

No matter what you do for them
it is never enough.

You'll handle one crisis, only to find them weeping inconsolably over the next one.  And you'll sink deeper and deeper into their quicksand each time you try to pull them out.

If you are confronted with a needy person and you feel that the relationship is worth saving here is something you may try:

  • Be honest with them (novel idea)
Tell them something like this…
“I'm getting close to avoiding you, because almost every time I ask you about something you haven't done you make an excuse or blame someone else. And almost every time I confront you about ways in which you need to improve, you either act hurt, start to cry or get angry. All of us feel disappointment, hurt or upset from time to time, but if you get angry or emotional each time, it's too exhausting to be around. You have the right to react in ways you choose. But I have the right to excuse myself or avoid you, which is what I will do. And that is not going to help our relationship. So I hope you will start taking responsibility for yourself, and find a way to keep from falling apart when you feel upset.”

This could go one of two ways.  If the person is smart enough to take your message seriously, you'll see a change for the better.  On the other hand, the person may refuse to change, or even escalate the needy behavior.  This may seem like pretty strong medicine, and is not something you should have to say to other people.  But, with needy people, however, you need strong medicine.

If you are coping with a needy person, one warning is in order:
  • extreme and highly pathological neediness can sometimes be a sign of borderline personality disorder
People with this disorder also exhibit these behaviors:
  • They demand more than whine
  • They desperately fear abandonment
  • They cycle between idolizing you and you devaluing you
  • They have no core personality, they seem empty because they are empty and to fill that hole they've parasitically latched onto whoever is closest.
  • They act impulsively and have extreme mood swings.
  • They may threaten suicide or act paranoid.
If you are dealing with a person who acts this way, you are in trouble. You need professional help in dealing with this type of person.  Be careful, people with borderline personality disorder can become stalkers.

Borderline personality disorder is treatable, but even professionals find it tough to help these people.  Try to rescue a person with borderline personality on your own and you'll go down in flames together.

Bullies….yes there are bullies in the church.  They are not just found in the schoolyard.  Bullies come after you because they think you are easy prey, refuse to follow their script and they usually give up and seek an easier target.  When a bully tries to intimidate you by verbally attacking you do this:
  • Make eye contact
  • Act perfectly polite but ever so slightly bored as if your mind is elsewhere
  • Let your body language transmit the same message
  • Stand up straight, be relaxed and cock your head as if you're listening but not very hard
  • Let your arms hang casually, instead of throwing them defensively across your chest
Often this response makes bullies feel uncomfortable or even foolish and causes them to back down.  Bullies act the way they do because they get away with it, but deep down, most of them know it's not an ideal strategy.  Sometimes they just need someone to say that to their face.  Many bullies are knocked for a loop when someone bullies them back.

Takers…..they're the ones who hit you up every day for a favor.  These people usually won't ruin your life, but they can ruin your day.  Avoid takers when you can, but if that's not possible neutralize them.

How?  It's the easiest trick in the book.  The next time a taker asks you for a favor follow with: “Sure no problem, you can help me out by (fill in the blank). You don't mind doing a favor for me in return….right?”  You’ll only need to do this once or twice.

Narcissists…..these people aren't out to hurt you, but they don’t care about you either, except as an audience for their own “wonderfulness”.

A narcissist’s motto is, “So enough about you”.  Narcissists are always on center stage, expecting you to sit in the wings and cheer them on.

The Psychopath…..cold, lack of empathy, self-centered, ruthless – make some of the world’s most financially successful business leaders.  But the not so bright ones end up in prison.

Odds are, you'll run into one of these people at some point in your life.

If so follow this rule:
  • Get away! Run!
  • Chew off your leg to escape the trap if you have to, because these people will ruin you financially, crush you emotionally and destroy your life if it helps them and they'll never look back.
Most people make the mistake of trying to reason with a psychopath.  But you cannot touch these people emotionally.  You cannot win them over, make them feel sorry for you, or make them want to help you in any way.  They may pretend to care about you, but they don't.

How can you spot a psychopath?  It's harder than you think.  Here are a few clues:
  • They manipulate people like chess pieces with no regard to the pain they cause
  • They are predatory thrill seekers
  • They lie easily and don't care if they get caught
  • They are glib, charismatic and charming
  • They crave power and do whatever it takes to get it
  • They use people for sexual or financial purposes and then discard them
Again, do not make the mistake of thinking that you can handle these people. Quite simply, these people lacked the neural mechanisms to respond to you in a reciprocal moral or ethical way.

Stay clear no matter what the cost, you'll pay a far
higher price if you stay connected. 
In summary you need to strip these
people of the power to hurt you.

There are three ways to do this:
  1. Confront these people directly
  2. Neutralize them
  3. Walk away and pray they don't follow you
Sometimes we get entangled financially or emotionally and it's really tough to do, but painful or not ,handling these people is critical to your success, your inner peace and your sanity.

*   Maybe they are like Judas
Lying thieves, betrayers of trust, taking advantage of every opportunity to get ahead on the backs of others

*   Maybe they’re people you have to rely on but they continually let you down

*   Maybe you share the toxicity
You’ve a need to please and they’re impossible to please!

*   Maybe they are hateful people

*   Maybe they have a twisted negative view of the world

*   Maybe they have power and they use it to grind you down

How do you deal with them?

If you google “toxic people” you get a bunch of articles about how to avoid toxic people, how to get them out of your life and even a few on how to get revenge.

But the question really is, “How does Jesus want me to deal with them?”

At the Passover, the Last Supper, the “do this in remembrance of me” meal, Jesus shares this meal with toxic Judas.  They share the same dipping bowl, “The one who dipped his bread with me…”.  Jesus shares His dipping bowl with the one who is going to betray Him.

We see that Jesus is aware of Judas’ toxicity.  Jesus even washes Judas’ feet.

So Jesus’ way of dealing with toxic people
is to serve them and show them love.

You say, “I could never do that”.  Well, you're not the only one.  Jesus does it because of the power within Him.

Jesus knows who He is… John 13:1-3 “It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power and that he had come from God and was returning to God.”

So is this how we should deal with toxic people?

First and foremost, we need to KNOW who we are in Christ.

Question - What is our purpose?  Is it to change the toxic person or is it to be like Jesus?

Did Jesus change Judas?  Jesus gets in his face and serves him and then Jesus frees Judas to betray Him.

We often try to appease toxic people, dance around them or avoid them.

We need to meditate on who we are in Christ.  That way we will not try to build our self-worth by trying to please, or change, or defeat the toxic people in our lives.

Meditate on who you are in Christ….
Loved, Accepted, Adopted, Forgiven

That is radical living!  Matthew 5:43-44 “You have heard it said, ’Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

Luke 6:27,28&36 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. … Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

Romans 12:14-21 “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse; Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head (and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you).”

We are to have a healthy self-respect and a
good self-image / healthy self-esteem.

So to deal with toxic people follow the following three steps:

1.   Don't Take It Personally
When we take personal insults personally, we allow Satan and whoever to catch us with their hooks.  Hold up your shield of faith!  Ignore them.

2.   If You Can Avoid This Person - Do So! 
Billy Graham has often been heard to say, “I do not answer my critics”.

You do not have to have conversations with people just because they want to argue with you.  Avoid them if possible.  Refuse to engage toxic people, stay focused on God's mission for your life.

3.   Don't Try To Change Toxic People
You can't change them.  Do not try.  If you kick a skunk you will end up stinking.

Consider this truth…..
We blossom and flourish from childhood to adulthood because of the encouragement, support, and mentorship of parents, teachers, coaches, and other influential people.  We are able to face tough times largely through the emotional support and compassion of our loved ones.

We need each other!

Thankfully God has put people in our lives who we can always count on.
  • those who know you best
  • those you can trust with your darkest secrets and they will still love you, forgiveness is readily granted and memories erased.
Remember that toxic relationships can and will steal
your joy, your health and well-being.

It is appropriate to sever relationships that are poisonous.

We forgive.  We don't harbor ill will.
But it is absolutely appropriate to
sever such relationships.
You can still pray for that person,
but you must disarm them.

Good relationships make us happier and
happy people have better relationships.

Mirror check…..
When you encounter toxic people, in attempt to analyze the problem, always keep one thing in mind.

Is it possible – just barely possible – that the person with the problem is you? OUCH!!!

We all screw up in different ways and what separates the good people from the toxic ones is the ability to face those screw ups and learn a lesson from them.

May God help you keep toxic people from hindering your progress!


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 22, Issue 9      March 25, 2012

A wise man once said that there is a good reason why we have two ears and one mouth; we were meant to use them in that proportion.

However, knowing we need to listen more and better, is not enough.

“I know that you believe you understand what
you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize
that what you heard is not what I meant.”

Why is listening important?

The average person interrupts after listening for only 17 seconds.

What would happen if we listened actively and waited respectfully for the person we're talking with to finish his or her thought?

Proverbs 20:12
“The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the LORD has made them both.”

Matthew 13:15
“For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”

Matthew 13:16
“But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.”

There are three levels of listening:

Half Listening
  • Paying attention some; tuning out some
  • Focusing on your reaction
  • Commenting to others
  • Waiting for a chance to break in
  • Distracted by thoughts and what’s going on around you
  • Doodling or texting
Sound Listening
  • Hearing the words, but not the meaning behind them
  • Missing the significance of the message
  • Responding with logic only
Active Listening
  • Ignoring distractions
  • Ignoring delivery quirks and focusing on the message
  • Making eye contact
  • Being aware of body language
  • Understanding the speaker’s ideas
  • Asking clarifying questions
  • Recognizing the speaker’s intent
  • Acknowledging the emotion involved
  • Responding appropriately
  • Remaining engaged even when taking notes

Three Keys to Developing Active Listening

Keep an open mind
  • Focus on the speaker’s ideas, not on the delivery
  • Give the speaker your full attention
  • Resist forming an opinion until you’ve heard everything
  • Don’t let the speaker’s quirks, mannerisms, speech patterns, personality, or appearance get in the way of listening
  • Stay focused on the central ideas being communicated
  • Listen for the significance of the message
Ignore distractions
  • Be fully present
  • Make sure your phone is silenced or turned off
  • Tune out any chatter around you, or politely tell the talkers that you’re having trouble listening
  • Avoid outside distractions
  • Set aside all emotional issues you brought with you
  • Know your own hot buttons and don’t allow yourself to respond emotionally to issues being presented
  • Make eye contact with the speaker
  • Nod to show understanding
  • Ask clarifying questions
  • Maintain body language that shows you are interested
  • Avoid slouching in your chair and looking bored
  • Take notes, but continue to stay focused on the speaker, looking up often
I Kings 19:11-13
“And he said, Go forth, and stand on the mountain before the LORD.
And, behold, the LORD passed by and a great and strong wind
rent the mountains and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD;
but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake;
but the LORD was not I in the earthquake:
And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire:
and after the fire a still small voice…. and Elijah heard it.”

When Peace Speaks …

Isaiah prophesied the Messiah would be the:
      “Prince of Peace”  (Isaiah 9:6)

An angel chorus proclaimed:
      “Peace to men”  (Luke 2:14)

Jesus spoke:
     “Peace to the sick, to His disciples, to nature, to life, to our
       hearts, to our minds.” 
      (Luke 8:48, John 14:27, Luke 24:36)

as He speaks peace to you. 

If we would only be wise enough to hear God in each other’s voices.

Hear God in each other’s voice…..
But I DO listen!  Don’t I??

Have you ever had Habakkuk’s complaint?
“How long, O LORD, must I call for help?  But you do not listen!”

The most basic of all human needs is the need to
understand and be understood.
The best way to understand people is to listen to them.
                                               Ralph Nichols

If someone can’t or won’t listen to you, get him to listen to himself.

The only way to truly win friends and influence the best in people, is to be more interested in listening to them than you are in impressing them.

“Listen unto others as you would
have them listen unto you!”


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 22, Issue 8     March 18, 2012

I want to start by asking some thought provoking questions. 
  • Why is it that doctors call what they do “a practice”? 
  • Why is it that the man who invests all your money is called “a broker”? 
  • Why is the time with the slowest traffic called “rush hour”? 
  • Why is the word “abbreviation” so long?
  • Why do we “drive on parkways” and “park on driveways”
Language is a great gift from God that sets us apart from every other creature.  But sometimes our words are misunderstood or mistranslated.

For example, I found some commercial slogans that when translated into other languages didn’t translate the same:
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken, “finger-lickin’ good”.  In Chinese it came out as “eat your fingers off”.
  • The Pepsi slogan “Come alive with the Pepsi Generation” came out in Taiwan as “Pepsi will bring your ancestors back from the dead”.
  • When General Motors introduced the Chevy Nova in South America, they were unaware that “no va” means “it won’t go”.  They didn’t sell many cars in South America.
  • Coors “Turn It Loose” slogan was mistranslated into Spanish as “Drink Coors and get diarrhea”.
The words we use to communicate can be very powerful, so we need to be very careful how we use them.

Words can:
  • make us happy or sad
  • make us angry or fill us with joy
  • make us laugh or cry
  • heal or they can hurt
Words are an important part of life.

Parents may say to their children: “Choose your words carefully because you may have to eat them.”  Or they may warn their children not to use any “four-letter words”.

Proverbs 18:21  “The tongue has the power of life and death.”

Proverbs 15:4  “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life.”

Proverbs 16:24  “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.”

We always tried to support our kids when they played sports.  Judi was better at it than I was.  I was shocked at times, to hear a parent yell out at his/her kids, “Get your head in the game. What were you thinking? Come on you can do better than that.”

The kid just feels embarrassed.  Even if he does try harder, he still hears that voice of condemnation.

I love to hear the parents cheering on their kids.  They say things like, “You can do it. Way to go! Good hustle …..good job! I’m so proud of you.”  When the kids hear their parents cheering them on, it motivates them to try as hard as they can.  It gives them courage, confidence and motivation.

Proverbs 25:11  “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

We should always look for opportunities
to encourage our kids every day.

So, I’d like to share with you three ways in which we speak:

Unfortunately, the words we use don’t always have the effect we want.  Sometimes words meant to spur people on toward action, fall on deaf ears.

Sometimes we don’t know what words to use, and we choose ones that end up doing more harm than good.

And sometimes the words we speak have very little meaning at all.

Many of our polite greetings like:
  • “Good to see you”
  • “Let’s get together sometime”
  • “How are you”
  • “Have a nice day”
are gracefully disguised ways of saying:
  • “Keep your distance, I’m just being polite.”
Ephesians 5:6  “Let no man deceive you with vain words.”

God’s word may not always tell me what I want to hear but it always tells me what I need to hear.

We often speak polite words, but shallow words.  When we ask how people are, we are just being kind.   Most of us don’t expect a real significant answer.

If we truly want to be more than just acquaintances, more involved in people’s lives, then we must go beyond surface level communication.

But sadly we are more comfortable with shallow words (surface level communication) because we don’t want to reveal too much about ourselves.  Perhaps we fear rejection or condemnation or maybe it’s because we don’t want to get to know too much about another person.

Words can both tear down and build up.

Proverbs 21:23  “Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps his soul from troubles.”

We need to learn to harness the power of the tongue.  A sharp knife, in the hands of a surgeon can heal, but in the hands of a careless child can be harmful.

Proverbs 18:21  “The tongue has the power of life and death.”

James 3:8  “The tongue is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”

Our words can crush a person’s spirit, and they can leave people feeling hurt and hopeless.

Whoever said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” didn’t have a clue what they were talking about.

It’s likely that each one of you has been hurt because of something that has been said to you.

It’s also likely that each one of you has said something that hurt someone else.

Usually we don’t mean to hurt people.  The words just “pop up” without planning.  We speak before we think and sometimes our words do great damage.

We often forget the hurtful words we spoke, but we rarely ever forget those death words that were spoken to us.

They have a way of lingering in our lives and they can cause emotional distress, bitterness and resentment.

Sometimes the death words we speak were meant to be a joke.  They were meant to be humorous, but those we joke with didn’t see it that way. I have a tendency to joke with those I’m close to and my jesting at times has done damage to some relationships.

Words can soothe!  More importantly they can inspire, encourage and give life.

Proverbs 15:4  “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life.”

Ephesians 4:29 Paul instructs us to, “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

We are in the race and we need encouragement.
We need to hear words that inspire, encourage and give life.

Hebrews 10:24-25  “And let us consider one another to provoke to love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.”

Psalm 19:14  “Let the words of my mouth, And the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.”


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 22, Issue 7     March 4, 2012

Truth: You Are Accepted, Secure & Special In Christ
The following promises of God are very important and will greatly help you as you learn to “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”.

Back in high school, the cafeteria had posters encouraging the students to eat well-balanced diets.  I remember one poster in particular it read, “You are what you eat”.

In other words, it was saying that the kind of fuel I put into my body, determined my performance - the higher the octane level, the higher the output.  This is true in the spiritual as well.

If healthy eating is the key to well-being,
then healthy thinking is the key to wholeness of mind.

Food affects all of our body cells, and by extension, every aspect of our being.  Just like food, what we allow our mind to dwell on, affects our mood, energy levels, food cravings, thinking capacity, sleeping habits and general health.

Just like when you feed on junk food, stinking thinking will cause you to become low in energy, even low in brain power.

Proverbs 23:7 tells us that, “as a man thinks, so he becomes.”

In other words, what you put into your mind determines what comes out in your words and actions.

As a man continues to think, so he remains.  What you focus on is what you develop.  What are you focusing on?

If you are thinking on negative, critical, demeaning thoughts, that is precisely what you will become.

In Philippines 4:4-8, the Apostle Paul tells us to “not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admi rable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me - put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

We need to:
  • Reprogram our minds with thoughts that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.
  • Examine what you are putting into your mind through television, books, conversations, movies and magazines
  • Replace harmful input with wholesome material
  • Above all, read God’s Word and pray.  Ask God to help you focus your mind on what is good and pure.  It takes practice, but it can be done.
  • Take time each day to be still and know that God is God
One way you can begin realizing God’s destiny for you is to know what God has said about you.

Below, there is a list of promises from God. Read them out loud. And then, each day for the next 21 days, read them out loud to yourself.

Read them in the early morning when you get up or save them for just before bed.  Perhaps take a copy with you to read out at your lunch break.  No matter when, read them out loud once a day, for the next three weeks.

You will want to refer to these powerful statements often.

You might find it beneficial to post these powerful promises on the fridge or bathroom mirror.  Do whatever it takes to get these promises in front of you, so that you can review them often and always be mindful of God’s great promises for you.

Although you may be reluctant to say these out loud, there is a powerful effect brought by vocalizing God’s Word.

I am sure you’ll begin realizing the life changing truth of God’s promises for you.

I am accepted - God says that ...
• I am God’s child  John 1:12
• I am Christ’s friend  John 15:15
• I have been justified  Romans 5:1
• I am united with the Lord and I am one spirit with Him
  1 Corinthians 6:17
• I have been bought with a price; I belong to God
  1 Corinthians 6:19&20
• I am a member of Christ’s body  1 Corinthians 12:27
• I have been adopted as God’s child  Ephesians 1:5
• I have direct access to God through the Holy Spirit
  Ephesians 2:18
• I have been redeemed and forgiven of all my sins  Colossians 1:14
• I am complete in Christ  Colossians 2:10

I am secure - God says that ...
• I am free forever from condemnation  Romans 8:1&2
• He will work all things together for good  Romans 8:28
• I cannot be separated from the love of God  Romans 8:35-39
• I have been established, anointed and sealed by God
  11 Corinthians 1:21-22
• He will finish the good work He started in me  Philippians 1:6
• I am a citizen of heaven  Philippians 3:20
• I am hidden with Christ  Colossians 3:3
• I can find mercy and grace to help in time of need  Hebrews 4:16
• I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me  1 John 5:18
• He has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a
  sound mind II Timothy 1:7

I am special - God says that ...
• I am the salt of the earth and light of the world  Matthew 5:13-14
• I am a branch of the true vine, Jesus, a channel of His life
  John 15:15
• I have been chosen to bear fruit  John 15:16
• I am a personal, Spirit-empowered witness of Christ   Acts 1:8
• I am a temple of God  11 Corinthians 3:16
• I am a minister of reconciliation for God  11 Corinthians 5:17-21
• I am God’s co-worker  11 Corinthians 6:1
• I am seated with Christ in the heavenly realm  Ephesians 2:6
• I am God’s workmanship, created for good works  Ephesians 2:10
• I may approach God with freedom and confidence  Ephesians 3:12
• I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me
  Philippians 4:13

Some ways of dealing with the burdens of life:
  • Accept that some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue.
  • Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
  • If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
  • It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others.
  • Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance.
  • When everything’s coming your way, you’re in the wrong lane.
  • Birthdays are good for you. The more you have, the longer you live.
  • Some mistakes are too much fun to only make once.
  • A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 22, Issue 6     February 26, 2012

Do you have peace of mind?
     Never   Seldom   Frequently   Consistently

Are you free from smoldering anger?
     Never   Seldom   Frequently   Consistently

Are you free from nagging fears?
Never   Seldom   Frequently   Consistently

Do you allow circumstances to disrupt your peace?
     Never   Seldom   Frequently   Consistently

Are you free from envy?
     Never   Seldom   Frequently   Consistently

Do you trust in His daily guidance?
     Never   Seldom   Frequently   Consistently

Do you let others rob you of inner peace?
     Never   Seldom   Frequently   Consistently

Are you at peace with others?
     Never   Seldom   Frequently   Consistently

Do you remain calm in the face of trouble?
     Never   Seldom   Frequently   Consistently

Are you strained by stress, agitation, nervousness?
     Never   Seldom   Frequently   Consistently

Are you free from high blood pressure?
     Never   Seldom   Frequently   Consistently

Do you have a sense of calmness in your body?
     Never   Seldom   Frequently   Consistently

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John 14:27

1.  Jesus calls everyone to come to Him for lasting peace

“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 

Only those who come to Jesus….will have rest.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.”
Galatians 5:22, 23

2.  Loving service is followed with peaceful thoughts

“The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever.”
Isaiah 32:17 

3.  Only the Lord’s blessings give peace, not anything else

“The Lord gives strength to his people;
the Lord blesses his people with peace.”
Psalm 29:11 

4.  Great peace is found in loving and obeying the scriptures

“Great peace have they who love your law,
and nothing can make them stumble.”
Psalm 119:165

5.  Learn to read, study, memorize and meditate on the scriptures to calm your mind when feeling anxious, bothered or burdened

“You will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
Isaiah 26:3

6.  Take up the armor of God for our peace

Paul writes,
“Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s scheme. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, authorities and powers of this dark world.”
Ephesians 6:10-12 

Without this armor we are vulnerable to the attacks of the devil.

7.  Find peace in your hope

Job wrote,
“You will have courage because you will have hope. You will take your time and rest in safety. You will lie down unafraid and many will look to you for help.”
Job 11:18, 19

You will enjoy greater peace as you let His peace replace any negative thoughts, irrational assumptions or anxious thoughts.

Speak and sing His word in your hearts.  His joy will be your strength, your comfort and peace.

8.  Perfect peace comes by focusing your attention on Jesus

Isaiah wrote,
“You will keep him in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord.”
Isaiah 26:3 

“Trust Him to work all things together for good.”
Romans 8:28 

The world tells you many lies about who you are
and you simply have to be realistic enough
to remind yourself of this.

Every time you feel hurt, offended or rejected you have to dare to say to yourself:

“these feelings, strong as they may be, are not telling me the truth about myself. The truth, even though I can't feel it right now, is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in Gods' eyes, called the beloved from all eternity and held safe in an everlasting embrace.”

Perfect Peace is not possible if you can't accept yourself, or struggle in your relationship with God.

Consider these peace opposing facts
  • The wounds are still there
  • The problems still hurt even though it was in the past
  • It is a current issue
  • It has become your identity
  • You are too embarrassed to let anyone help you
Folks, today can be the beginning of the Peace you have been seeking.  Hear again the words of our Lord…

“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11:28-30 

When this quality of peace reigns in you, it cannot be debilitated by people or circumstances.


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 22, Issue 5     February 19, 2012

Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God. We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.

God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first. If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.”  I John 4

In Dr. Henry Brandt's helpful book “The Struggle for Peace”, he tells of a woman who came to him because of a great fear she had of going into supermarkets.  She came to him for help in this problem, and he relied, as he always does, on the wisdom of Scripture.  Remembering the verse “Perfect love drives out fear”, I John 4:18b, he began to look for a violation of love in her life, for fear comes when there is something inhibiting the flow of love.  He said to her, “With whom are you angry?”

Finally she realized that she was angry at her husband for an incident that had occurred a number of years before in a supermarket when they had had an unpleasant flare-up.  As a result, she was emotionally disturbed whenever she went into a supermarket.

When she dealt with her lack of love, her fear left. 
Her anger toward him, reflected right back on herself.

Various spiritual teachings say that there are only two fundamental emotions: love and fear.  For the body, this is true.  All mammals, including humans, have two opposing hormonal responses to stimuli.

Threatening stimuli cause an increase of stress hormones - adrenaline and cortisol.

A sudden threat triggers the fight-or-flight response associated with adrenaline.

Adrenaline steps up heart rate, increases respiration, activates muscles and promotes hyper-alertness.

Longer-term stress, increases a different stress hormone called cortisol.

Cortisol’s evolutionary functions are quite different than the temporary jolt of adrenaline designed to propel us out of danger.

The stress encountered by mammals - and our hunter-gatherer ancestors - was chiefly physical, not emotional.

The most common physical stressors were probably starvation, long migrations and critical injury.  To cope with such emergencies, cortisol begins to break down non-essential organs and tissues to maintain blood sugar and feed vital organs.

When cortisol stays at high levels, it automatically digests bones, muscles and joints to obtain these key nutrients.  The result is elevated blood fats and sugar, which are related to many disorders.

Another side effect is hungerCortisol makes us reach for high-calorie foods.

Today our biggest long-term stressors are emotional and mental, not physical.

We face threats in the form of potential job loss, the pressure of commuting in heavy traffic, a daily barrage of fear-producing media, relationship disharmony in a marriage, etc.

Even though these are not physical threats, our body has only one automatic response and that is to produce more cortisol.

Please understand that Cortisol is very hard on the body.

The cortisol hormone serves many important functions in the body such as regulating blood sugar and blood pressure and providing energy for exercise and activity.

When your body is stressed, either physically or emotionally, it secretes cortisolCortisol increases the flow of glucose (as well as protein and fat) from your tissues and into the bloodstream to increase energy and physical readiness to handle the stressful situation or threat.

The problem is we often deal with stress mentally, and seldom if ever respond to stress with physical activity that would burn the extra energy provided by the cortisol surge.

Whether your stress was emotional or physical, the stress response is identical, causing a spike in your appetite.  This can cause a craving for comfort foods - foods high in fat and sugar

Praise God, we have a built-in mechanism for countering stress.  It entails another hormone, called oxytocin.  And although the anti stress effects of oxytocin is a recent discovery, God spoke of it 2000 years ago.

I truly believe that “Disease” should be reclassified as “Dis - Ease” , a state in which the body is not in it’s natural state of biological ‘ease’.

Nearly all the negative effects of continued stress on the body and mind are related to elevated levels of cortisol.

These include:
  • chronic anxiety and depression
  • emotional over-reaction
  • negativity
  • weight gain
  • heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • weakened immunity
Oxytocin, by countering cortisol, can relieve all of these conditions.

Numerous activities produce more oxytocin: meditation, yoga, exercise, massage, caring for a pet, joining a support group, worshiping and so forth.

Yet one of the most important avenues for decreasing stress and increasing levels of oxytocin lies in our intimate relationships.

Love and intimacy are such powerful promoters of health that if they were produced in pill form, doctors who failed to prescribe them for unhealthy patients would be guilty of malpractice.

The primary conscious behavior or thought process that increases oxytocin is caring for another.

Appreciation, generous touch, gratitude, and emotional connections with others also raise oxytocin levels.

We see one of oxytocin's most powerful effects at birth - when the mother and father bond with their child.

At that moment, oxytocin surges causes a rewiring of both parents' brains so that they will do anything for their little screaming creature.  Under ordinary circumstances they remain permanently in love.

We all form similar connections with friends, family, pets, even God.  And the benefits to us of these deep connections are great.

Oxytocin is the reason why people with pets tend to recover more quickly from illness, why married people tend to live longer, why support groups benefit those with cancer, addictions and chronic disorders and why care-giving parents, whether male or female, live longer than the non-care-giving parents.

You may wonder why we can’t just take oxytocin pills to increase levels of this helpful hormone.  Good Question!

Unfortunately, oxytocin doesn’t cross the body’s “blood/brain barrier,” except in the form of nasal sprays. How-ever, long-term administration of oxytocin via spray has resulted in amnesia, hallucinations and imbalances in electrolytes and hormones.

To gain its benefits, we must produce it naturally in the brain.  We produce it naturally when we love, are loved, nurture another, give selflessly, or engage in affectionate touch.

Oxytocin equates with love; we could not fall in love without it.

Cortisol equates with fear.

By the way, oxytocin is a very unique neurochemical; the more oxytocin we make, the stronger our body and mind respond to it.

Our nerve cells actually sprout more oxytocin receptors, making them more sensitive to its effects.  It grows easier and easier to be loving.

In other words…..
     Love tends to breed more love, and fear tends to breed more fear.

Is it any wonder God tells us in I John 3:11 “For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.”

Know Love – No Fear!

Isaiah 26:3-4  “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal.”

Unfortunately there is a BIG difference between what we believe and how we feel and think.

Perfect Peace includes: mind, emotions, will, body, relationships and circumstances.

Physical Signs of Chronic Stress
  • Joint pain, Muscle weakness, Chronic fatigue, Obesity, Digestive problems, Excess belly fat
Emotional Signs of Chronic Stress
  • Nervousness, Anxiety, Depression, Feeling loss of control, Irritability, Craving carbohydrates
Situations for Chronic Stress
  • Illness after finals or completing a stressful project, Get sick when you go on vacation
Signs of Chronic Stress
  • Mental preoccupation with a stressful event
  • Emotional over-eaters.
  • Women tend to overeat during times of stress to ease or lessen their emotional pain and misery.
II Timothy 1:7  “God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

I John 4:18  “God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect…..Such love has no fear, Because perfect love expels all fear.”

We have discovered today that fear comes when there is something inhibiting the flow of love.  We also learned that fear releases cortisol which is very hard on our bodies.

We also learned that Perfect Love casts out all fear!

So if you are stressed or fearful I need to ask you, “Who are you angry with?”

PLEASE ask God to show you where you have violated LOVE in your life.

Then repent and fall freshly in love with God and His children.


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 22, Issue 4     February 12, 2012

II Peter 1:5-7  “Make every effort to add to your faith,
goodness; and to your goodness, knowledge; and to
knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance;
and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness,
brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.”

The majority of ministry and missionary activity in the early Church and ministry was accomplished by non-professionals, ordinary men and women involved in secular work as their occupations.

Jesus entrusted ordinary people with major responsibilities of spreading the Gospel.  Jesus took fishermen from their boats, He made them “fishers of men”.  Jesus knew that ordinary people would become extraordinary when empowered by the Holy Spirit.

When the Lord calls us into His ministry, He does not place any limitations on us.  We are only limited by our own imaginations.  We look forward to speaking with you about your calling and how we may be able to help you reach your potential in the ministry.

Romans 12:1-4-8  “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Jesus Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do so cheerfully.”

The authority of Jesus was opposed because He was not an approved religious leader.  He did not hold the credentials of a scribe or Pharisee.  They questioned His authority because He was a carpenter's son from the poor village of Nazareth.

Please remember this and let no one stand in the way of your call into the Lords' ministry.

Galatians 6:4  “You should each judge your own conduct. If it is good, then you can be proud of what you yourself have done, without having to compare it with what someone else has done.”

The Lord has called each of us to live for a cause a lot greater than ourselves.

If God were to asked you today what have you done for the poor, for the suffering or for the needy, what could you say?

John 14:12 -13  “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.” 

You can count on this.  I have seen it time and time again in my own life.
  • We must stand firmly rooted in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • We must live the life He has called us to as His servants and His messengers.
James 2:14  “Dear brothers and sisters, what's the use of saying you have faith if you don't prove it by your actions? That kind of faith can't save anyone.” 

Please never let anyone tell you that you are not good enough or smart enough.  Listen to your heart and follow the Lord’s calling in your life.

Many claim to have faith, but my question is, are they faithful?

Faith to the unfaithful is worthless.
Just something to think about.

“I pray that The Gathering Place will be about the
great commission by recruiting good hardworking people,
who have been there, to go out into their world,
spreading the gospel, going to for them to come to us.”

According to the apostle Paul, all believers in Christ are part of “one body”.  And if one part suffers, “all the member parts suffer”.

So we must ask ourselves:
  • Do we grieve when a brother or sister is in trouble?
  • Do we experience sorrow and pain in our hearts when a child of God is going through times of afflictions and trials?
If not, we must get on our knees and ask our Lord and Savior to help us become the kind of people who can understand and share the pain and suffering of others.

Please don't just read scripture.  Stop and think about what it means and then act on it!

John 13:35  “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

Let the love and the beauty and the holiness
of Jesus shine me. May the things that I do
and the things that I say, bring glory Lord to thee!

Folks you can make a difference!

“To the world, we might just be one person, but to one person we may be the world.”

Never let your lack of education or life history keep you from pursuing what GOD has called you to do.
We have all made mistakes.

I don't know about you, but I will do everything I can to stay faithful to the Gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and the ministry that HE has called me to.

I Corinthians 9: 1-27  “Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”

What I’ve been feeling as of late:
  • There is a very real need for trained and certified volunteers to help with, Critical Incident Stress Management and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder within the emergency services.  Firefighters, Police and Emergency First Responders are all at risk.
I am in process right now to become a certified Disaster Response Chaplain through Chaplain Fellowship Ministries International.  With their certification and training, CANWEST is looking at developing a Critical Incident Response Team (C.I.R.T.) to help firefighters deal with traumatic incidents and especially LODD.

If anyone should be filling these roles, I believe it should be the church.  If you are interested in learning more about this, please let me know.

Consider these recent headlines:
  • Deadly fiery crash kills five family members (two children)
  • 11 killed, including 10 migrant workers in deadliest ever Ontario crash
  • Two Maple Ridge teens killed in early morning crash
  • Volunteer firefighter killed in Enderby, B.C. fire
And these not so recent:
  • Landslide levels 5 homes in B.C. Interior
  • Oliver, B.C. high school ravaged by fire
“Lord Jesus, we long to serve You in ministry.  We rejoice that ministry depends upon Your grace, not our abilities. Lord, we humbly bow before You, seeking You for the necessary grace to serve You in any way that You desire.  In Your gracious name, Amen!”


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 22, Issue 3     January 22, 2012

Ephesians 4:17-32  “With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity. But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God —truly righteous and holy.

So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tender hearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”


They walk “in the futility of their mind”.  That starts with the “hardening of the heart” which leads to “ignorance within”.

Such ignorance causes “alienation from the life of God” and that results “having their understanding darkened”.

“But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.”

This is how you learned Christ
As you heard Him and were taught by Him.  For you were taught to “put off” the “old man”.  That is, your “former conduct”, how you behaved before you were saved.

Colossians 3:5-9  “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds.”

Putting off the old man is needed because
it is never content, but “grows corrupt
according to the deceitful lusts”.

And to “be renewed in the spirit of your mind”.  Which is the key to true “transformation”.

Romans 12:2  “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

You “renew” your mind only as you “set your mind on things above”.  Colossians 3:1-2

And to “put on the new man” a new man “which was created according to God”.  Colossians 3:10

A new man, “in righteousness and true holiness”
Colossians 3:12-17

In giving the admonition “No longer walk as the
rest of the Gentiles”, Paul made it clear that it
involves both a “putting off” and a “putting on”.

Our “Walking In Truth And Holiness” is not just a bunch of “Thou Shalt Nots”.  There are also some “Thou Shalts”.

To illustrate further the difference between how the unsaved walk and how Christians are to walk, we find Paul making over 24 points of change.

1.  The “old man” thinks nothing of lying

2.  The “new man” puts away lying, and in its place speaks truth with his neighbor (especially to those who are members of the same body)

CASE IN POINT: ANGER... (v 26-27)
1.  The “old man” gets angry letting it linger or get out of control

2.  The “new man” may get angry, but does not...
       a. let it linger….“do not let the sun go down on your wrath”
       b. let it lead to sinful behavior “nor give place to the devil”

1.  The “old man” is willing to steal

2.  The “new man” not only stops stealing, but works so he can help others who may be in need!

1.  The “old man” doesn’t care what comes out of his mouth

2. The “new man” not only avoids “corrupt communication”, but seeks to speak that which is uplifting to those who hear

We need to put on those things befitting the “new man”.

“Being kind, tender hearted, forgiving one another just as God forgives us in Christ.”

What if all those in the church truly became Word Walkers?

Let’s be eager to have God “put us on”, like a good pair of shoes, and walk out His Love and Mercy to those in our circle of life.

Pray earnestly that the Holy Spirit will find our attitudes to be less and less in keeping with the “old man”.

Rather may we be:

WORD WALKERS — walking in “righteousness and true holiness”.


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 22, Issue 2     January 15, 2012

What characteristics come to your mind when you think of the ideal church?

In Ephesians 4:11-16, Paul gives his picture of the ideal church. “Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ. This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”

Notice he doesn't say anything about, buildings, although we need a place to meet.  He doesn't say anything about music, although later he mentions that someone filled with the Spirit will sing in his heart to the Lord.  And he doesn't say anything about programs, although these may serve the purpose of the church.

So what is Paul's picture of the ideal church?

In the ideal church those with leadership gifts are
equipping everyone, so that as each person does
his part, the whole body grows up in love into Christ,
avoiding false teaching.

That is the ideal church: equipping…. growing….exercising.

Paul says Christ himself gave leadership gifts to the church:
  • apostles
  • prophets
  • evangelists
  • pastor/teachers
Now, we usually call these “spiritual gifts” and they are indeed spiritual.  God gives them through the power of the Holy Spirit working in us.  They are spiritual in origin, but we could as well term them “ministry gifts” because the gifts are ministerial in purpose.

Paul says the ministry of the leaders is to equip “the saints”.

Everyone who trusts in the shed blood of Jesus for salvation is a saint.

And, if you are a saint, Ephesians 4:12 says “you are to do the work of the ministry.”

The leadership gifts are given to “equip the saints” for this work.

What does equip mean?

The Greek word translated “equip” can mean:
  • to make one what one ought to be
  • to shape up, to complete or to perfect.

So the leadership gifts are given to the church in order to make each saint what he or she is intended to be.

Leaders are to shape up the rest of the body, so that all members of the body are then able to exercise their particular gifts.

How does this equipping take place?

Consider verse 15 “but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ.”

Literally, it reads, “But truthing in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him.”

Now, certainly the leaders are to speak the truth in love.

We are to teach, to exhort,
to preach the Word faithfully and fully!

Sadly, many supposed ministers of the gospel have abandoned true biblical teaching, and instead fill Sunday mornings with moral stories which are the modern equivalent of Aesop’s fables.

Consistent, expository preaching of the word builds up the body of Christ, so that all who hear may learn these truths and put them into practice.

The leaders are:
  • not only to speak the truth with their mouths, but also
  • to live out the truth in their lives
Paul himself is a wonderful example of this. “But you know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings.”  II Timothy 3:10

Paul taught the word verbally and also lived out that word in all situations, thereby teaching the truth to Timothy and to everyone else he encountered.

Teaching and living out of the word is what equips, builds up and completes us.

Consider: “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up.”  Acts 20:32

“Though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, you have come to need milk, not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food is for the mature who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.”  Hebrews 5:12-14

Teaching and preaching the word build up the body.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, adequately equipped for every good work. I solemnly charge you . . .preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with great patience and careful instruction.”  II Timothy 3:16-17, 4:2

Do you remember Ephesians 4:14?
“As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.”

  • Children tend to follow the crowd
  • Children are easily diverted and distracted
  • Children are easily deceived
So there is the picture of the ideal church:
  1. The saints are teaching the word of God, verbally and by example
  2. Where each person is being built up
  3. Where false teaching is unknown
  4. Where each person is then contributing to the building up of every other person by living out their part in the body
I want to close by raising two issues with you.

First…..are you feeding on the word?

Are you taking advantage of the teaching you receive here, taking notes, asking questions about things you don't understand, figuring out how to apply this Word to your life?

Second…..are you building others up by playing your unique role in the body?

Remember, that you are not equipped for ministry unless YOU are feeding on the Word and are doing your best to learn from the leaders given to you.