Making God Smile

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 35, November 16, 2008

Mark 4 Listen. What do you make of this? A farmer planted seed. As he scattered the seed, some of it fell on the road and birds ate it. Some fell in the gravel; it sprouted quickly but didn't put down roots, so when the sun came up it withered just as quickly. Some fell in the weeds; as it came up, it was strangled among the weeds and nothing came of it. Some fell on good earth and came up with a flourish, producing a harvest exceeding his wildest dreams. Are you listening to this? Really listening? When they were off by themselves, those who were close to him, along with the Twelve, asked about the stories. He told them, You've been given insight into God's kingdom—you know how it works. But to those who can't see it yet, everything comes in stories, creating readiness, nudging them toward receptive insight. These are people— Whose eyes are open but don't see a thing, Whose ears are open but don't understand a word, Who avoid making an about-face and getting forgiven."
He continued, Do you see how this story works? All my stories work this way. The farmer plants the Word. Some people are like the seed that falls on the hardened soil of the road. No sooner do they hear the Word than Satan snatches away what has been planted in them. And some are like the seed that lands in the gravel. When they first hear the Word, they respond with great enthusiasm. But there is such shallow soil of character that when the emotions wear off and some difficulty arrives, there is nothing to show for it. The seed cast in the weeds represents the ones who hear the kingdom news but are overwhelmed with worries about all the things they have to do and all the things they want to get. The stress strangles what they heard, and nothing comes of it. But the seed planted in the good earth represents those who hear the Word, embrace it, and produce a harvest beyond their wildest dreams.
Mark 4:15 Satan comes immediately, and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts.

Mark 4:16 … immediately receive it with gladness
Mark 4:17 … endure but for a time: when affliction or persecution arises for the word's sake, immediately they are offended.

Four types of thorns are described (Mark 4:18)
¨ The care of this world; What’ll I eat, or drink? What’ll I wear? How can I keep what I got? How do I get more? .
¨ The deceitfulness of riches: not riches themselves, but the deceitfulness of riches. Your line of conduct ought never to be ruled by gain or loss.
¨ The pleasures of this life. This is the age of excessive amusement; Many have had all holy thoughts and resolutions murdered by a continual pursuit for pleasure.
¨ The lusts of other things: All things except the things that glorify God are “other things”. Seed is choked.

The result: The seed was unfruitful. The seed grew, but brought no fruit to perfection. A person may look like, walk like and talk like a Christian... but the proof is in the fruit!

Far too many are growing weak in this late hour. Thorns are choking out the very life of the Christian’s spirit!

Consider: Thorns are natural to the soil. Sin is very much at home in the human heart.
Thorns are already established in the soil. The roots of sin run through our nature.

Watch and pray lest temptation choke that which is good in you! Mark 14:38
Many professing Christians are like the thorny ground?
I believe it is because the process of dealing with sin has been so watered down. Thorns need to be pulled out by the roots and burned on the spot. It is easy to say you’re a sinner without feeling what it means!

I in instantaneous conversion and I love to see it take place - but I’d rather see the thorough work of grace, awakening a deep sense of sin. You can’t get rid of dandelions by delicately nipping off the buds!

In the stony ground we see a group of people who:
· received the Word. They recognised God's truth!
· received it immediately. They jumped right in!
· received it with gladness. happiness vs conversion

These people in not counting the cost, didn’t figure in temptations and persecutions to come. They made rapid progress... but in due time came the trial.

No one gets to heaven without being tried! Not one fragment of God’s gold hasn’t first passed through the fire! The Lord Jesus said this testing came because of the Word!

These people believed, yet were immediately offended ... just as fast as they fell in love with the gospel they fell out! Their radical defect lay in an unbroken heart!

This ground was not soil with rocks in it was bedrock, a hard layer of rock with a thin layer of soil over it. The seed sprang up immediately.

These folk were so fast at accepting the seed they were:
· healed before they recognised they were wounded!
· clothed before they saw the shame of their nakedness!
· filled before they were empty!
· made alive before they were dead!

They were unbroken in heart and that is a fatal defect!

Psalms 34:18 The LORD is near those that have a broken heart and saves such as be of a contrite spirit.

They lacked depth! Everything was superficial - surface! This seed did sprout - but it had no root! No prayer, no bible study, no fear of God. No intimacy with Jesus.

Dear friends, guard your spiritual life.. Think about this - if your boat is near ready to go down in calm waters, what’ll become of you when a storm arises.

We need the Holy Spirit to cultivate our hearts.
I am called to be your Spiritual Husbandmen, my chief work is to sow the Word. Multiplying what God has revealed, not human speculation, not human news, not scientific discoveries however good they may be - not theories about the Word - just the unadulterated Word of God. That is my chief job… sowing the Word.

Each and every one of you is able to sow the Word. Each life touches another—and you multiply power for good or for evil.

Sow the true seed and you may count on a sure and large harvest. The seed’s fruitfulness is according to the condition of the hearts receiving it. Jesus said, “He that has ears, let him hear”. Divine truth needs attention.

A good hearer of the Word:
· Stirs him/herself up to listen.
· Their hearing is an opportunity and they take care to make the most of it.
· What he/she hears is kept by reflecting on it (meditating), and assimilating for their own edification and growth in grace.
· They “do” what they hear. To hear without obeying is to harden the heart.
· Some of course will make more of their opportunities!

Zechariah 13:8-9 it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. And I will bring the third part through the fire and will refine them as silver is refined and try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be my disciples.

Lest We Forget

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 34, November 9, 2008

Remembrance Day! Every November 11th, Canadians across the country pause in a silent moment of remembrance.
WW I - it was 1914 and Canada’s population was just over 3 million, most of which were women and children. Of the men and women who VOLUNTEERED 60,000 were killed and 120,000 were wounded. This we should remember.
The Canadians' first major battle was later seen as one of the most crucial battles in history. It was April 22, 1915, and the Germans used poison gas for the first time in war. As 145 tons of chlorine gas drifted over the trenches, the Canadian troops held and stopped the German advance. The casualties were enormous. In 48 hours, 1 of every 3 Canadians died.
In April 1917, the Canadians helped turn the tide of battle when they won a major victory at Vimy Ridge. This too had its cost: more than 10,000 casualties in six days. The war continued for more than a year but finally on November 11, 1918, the Armistice was signed and the Canadians took part in the triumphant entry into Belgium. This too we should remember.
WW2: It was 1939 and again Canadians flocked to enlist. They included veterans of earlier wars, boys still in high school and thousands of unemployed.
For almost six years, Canadians fought valiantly on battlefronts around the world. More than one million men and women enlisted in the army, the navy and the air force. When the war was over, more than 45,000 had given their lives.
The Gospel of Saint John says, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
If this is true than we as Canadians had best remember the price our friends paid for our freedom. And we as Christians had best remember the price our Friend Jesus paid for us.
As the artillerymen swung three abreast down Main Street, traffic stopped and people watched from the sidewalks. Some stood in silence. A few wept. Some cheered a bit or called out to soldiers they knew - they waved at the officer who had for years devoted his spare time to the militia battery, to the gentle giant from the lumber mill, to the young orchardist from the Okanagan, to the blonde haired teenager leaving the prettiest girl in town.
When war came, Canadians volunteered readily to serve their country as champions of liberty. They came from farms, from small towns and large cities across the country, riding high on the initial wave of indignation, excitement, and patriotism. For the men and women who rallied to support their nation's cause, the threats of war seemed far away and unreal.
In the fall of 1914 as the 1st contingent of Canadians left the shelter of the St. Lawrence for the open Atlantic, some of the realities came into focus....Those who came forward had not stopped to count the cost, for the excitement was thrilling, the lottery alluring, and the cause glorious; but now that the confusion was passed and the fulfillment of their vows alone remained to be faced, things took on a more somber aspect ..... and yes this too we should remember!
How could they know that four long years of death and destruction were ahead?
With every battle over this century, extremes of temperature, mud, mutilation, mind-numbing fatigue, fear and death were daily realities for over 1,500,000 Canadian men and women.
For all of these conflicts fought in far-off lands, there is much to remember. Foremost are the people, the men and women who served wherever they were needed. They faced difficult situations bravely and brought honor to themselves, to their loved ones and to their country They were ordinary Canadians who made extraordinary sacrifices.
We should not keep silent in our reflections, the price of our freedom and liberty is too awesome, the cost too great!
Yes we stop to remember today - the horror of war - But I believe it only proper that in our daily living we remember their great sacrifice!
Turn with me to Deuteronomy 8:1-5 Keep and live out the entire commandment that I'm commanding you today so that you'll live and prosper and enter and own the land that God promised to your ancestors.
Remember every road that God led you on for those forty years in the wilderness, pushing you to your limits, testing you so that he would know what you were made of, whether you would keep his commandments or not.
He put you through hard times. He made you go hungry. Then he fed you with manna, something neither you nor your parents knew anything about, so you would learn that men and women don't live by bread only; we live by every word that comes from God's mouth.
Your clothes didn't wear out and your feet didn't blister those forty years. You learned deep in your heart that God disciplines you in the same ways a father disciplines his child.
Deuteronomy 8:6-9 So it's paramount that you keep the commandments of God, your God, walk down the roads he shows you and reverently respect him. God is about to bring you into a good land, a land with brooks and rivers, springs and lakes, streams out of the hills and through the valleys. It's a land of wheat and barley, of vines and figs and pomegranates, of olives, oil, and honey. It's land where you'll never go hungry—always food on the table and a roof over your head. It's a land where you'll get iron out of rocks and mine copper from the hills.
Deuteronomy 8:10-16 After a meal, satisfied, bless God, your God, for the good land he has given you.
Make sure you don't forget God, your God, by not keeping his commandments, his rules and regulations that I command you today. Make sure that when you eat and are satisfied, build pleasant houses and settle in, see your herds and flocks flourish and more and more money come in, watch your standard of living going up and up—make sure you don't become so full of yourself and your things that you forget your God.
· The God who delivered you from Egyptian slavery;
· The God who led you through that huge and fearsome wilderness, those desolate, arid badlands crawling with fiery snakes and scorpions;
· The God who gave you water gushing from hard rock;
· The God who gave you manna to eat in the wilderness, something your ancestors had never heard of, in order to give you a taste of the hard life, to test you so that you would be prepared to live well in the days ahead of you.
Deuteronomy 8:17-18 If you start thinking to yourselves, "I did all this. And all by myself. I'm rich. It's all mine!"— well, think again. Remember that God, your God, gave you the strength to produce all this wealth so as to confirm the covenant that he promised to your ancestors—as it is today.
Deuteronomy 8:19-20 If you forget, forget God, your God, and start taking up with other gods, serving and worshiping them, I'm on record right now as giving you firm warning: that will be the end of you; I mean it—destruction. You'll go to your doom—the same as the nations God is destroying before you; doom because you wouldn't obey the Voice of God, your God.
We should not keep silent in our reflections, the price of our freedom and liberty is too awesome, the cost too great!
May God be glorified in our living!

Pharaoh, Pharaoh

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 33, November 2, 2008

Song written by Tony Sbrana, 1971 Pharaoh, Pharaoh oooh baby, let my people go.

Exodus 8-10 “Pharaoh Pharaoh Obey Me, let my people go”

Pharaoh didn’t want to let them go, but he did offer some compromises. This is what the devil offers us, compromisers! The devil doesn’t need you to quit he’ll settle for compromise.

Now I don’t mind riding the fence line but I sure don’t like riding the fence. For one thing I don’t like crowds!

Political Party called the “Mugwumps” (Mugs on one side wumps on the other.) Although compromise may be expected in politics and the secret to success in marriage … it is the death of Christian convictions.

Compromise is the crack in the armor we are supposed to be wearing, and when our armor is compromised that is the very spot Satan will strike his death blow!

We are still being offered the same four compromises Pharaoh offered Mosses.

First Compromise: Exodus 8:25 Worship God, but do it in the land. (stay in Egypt) Today the devil doesn’t mind us going to church on Sunday as long as we stay in the world all week long. To serve God but stay in sin is a compromise.

But God says, Come on out of Egypt! If you’re gonna do it, do it right. Not halfway. “I’ll serve God but I can’t tithe.” Come on all the way out of Egypt!

There’s two extremes to avoid when talking about separation from the world [like ditches on either side of the highway]:

Legalism says—Keep this set of rules and you won’t be worldly anymore. You’ll be more spiritual than most everyone else.

But worldliness starts in the heart, and the fix isn’t outward conforming but inward transforming!

The problem with lists of rules is everyone’s list is different, and we begin to major on little minors, and focusing on our preferences. God does give us some lists in His Word, and we should focus on those.. just make sure it’s a heart decision to please God and not something you’re doing for man.

Liberalism says—I’m free in Christ. I can go where I want, look like I want, watch what I want, listen to what I want, hang out with whoever I want.

But it matters how we look, where we go, who we are with, what we do, say, take in, or put out. This crowd loves to quote the OT verse that says ‘God looks at the heart’. But they forget the first part of the verse which states that ‘man looks on the outward appearance!’ If we’re going to affect the world the world is going to have to see a difference in us.

The truth is both the inside and outside need to be affected by God. So make some inner decisions and allow those to affect you outwardly.

What about things the Bible doesn’t mention directly.

It has been daid, “’s hell’s box office! Cinemax? It’s sin to the max! So don’t be looking at a TV, be looking up, for the Lord will soon return and it’s gonna be Showtime!”

Here’s 5 questions to ask about questionable areas:
[these guidelines only work for those with a heart to do right, not for the worldly Christian looking for an excuse]

1. What would Jesus do? I Peter 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

Would Jesus do this activity? Would He watch this? Would He talk this way?

2. Is God your top priority? Does He take the back seat to anything else? What are you more committed to? Am I in conflict between God and the world?

3. Will this help or hinder my Christian walk? We should not only consider what’s wrong w/ something, but what is right with it? Is it of any lasting value in eternity? Would my time and efforts be better spent on something more profitable?

4. What is the atmosphere around this? The context is important. It’s not just about what are you doing, but what are others doing in this place. It is guilt by association.

Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Romans 13:12 ...let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.

5. How will this affect others? No man is an island. We have a responsibility to consider how we affect others around us. Paul said there’s some things I could do that are ok, but if they offend my brother, I won’t do them for his sake.

Serve God, but stay in Egypt...

Second Compromise — 8:28 Worship God, but don’t go very far away. Don’t go overboard w/ this Jesus stuff.
Be a borderline Christian / a compartment Christian – have a life – have a work life, a home life, a recreation life, and a church life.

Don’t compartmentalize God. Don’t lock Him into one room. Allow Him to roam freely and permeate every area of your life. Not just another spoke in the wheel, but the hub out of which all the other areas are firmly rooted and revolve around!

What little word do we get from the word fanatic?

‘Fan’! It’s ok to be a sports fan, but if you are a Jesus fan that’s bad?

"I'll go where you want me to go, Dear Lord,
Real service is what I desire;
I'll say what you want me to say, Dear Lord,
But don't ask me to sing in the choir.
I'll say what you want me to say, Dear Lord,
I'd like to see things come to pass;
But don't ask me to teach girls and boys, Dear Lord;
I'd rather just stay in my class.
I'll do what you want me to do, Dear Lord.
I yearn for your kingdom to thrive.
I'll give you my nickels and dimes, Dear Lord,
But please don't ask me to tithe.
I'll go where you want me to go, Dear Lord,
I'll say what you want me to say;
I'm busy just now with myself, Dear Lord.
I'll help you some other day."

Third Compromise — 10:7-11 Worship God, but don’t take your family. Just the men were allowed to go. Today the devil says, let your kids make up their own mind. Don’t turn your spouse off to God,
just keep quiet about it all. It’s time for men to get back to being the spiritual leaders in the home!

This attitude surfaces today as adults lead their own lives, and leave the kids in front of the automated baby sitter [TV or game system] and leave their education up to the school and leave their salvation up to their Sunday School teacher. We need to claim our kids for Christ and take action to see they know the Lord. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”

Fourth Compromise — 10:24-26 Worship God, but leave your flocks and herds. Pharaoh says, in case this religion thing doesn’t work out for you, you need a fall back plan. Don’t burn your bridges!
If doing God’s will and going to church doesn’t work out for you, you can always go back to the way you used to be! Don’t sell out for God. Keep one foot in the door of the world.

“Don’t let religion affect your pocketbook”. Flocks and herds in those days were money. The cry of the day in Christianity is that churches are all about money, when they should be about people and their hearts. But Jesus said where your treasure is, there your heart is also.

“Don’t talk about money preacher, talk about something spiritual!” There’s nothing more spiritual that we can talk about it’s the supreme test of our values, our obedience, and our heart.

“Pharaoh, pharaoh, I wish you’d just leave my people alone!” But he won’t. Satan is more at work in these last days than ever, and he wants us to compromise. He knows he has lost your soul to heaven, but he doesn’t want you taking others with you. He doesn’t mind you going to church, as long as you live a 50-50 lifestyle.

That’s a miserable place to be...riding the fence. You’ve got enough Jesus in you that you can no longer enjoy the world, but still enough world in you so you can’t fully enjoy Jesus!

Get all the way out of Egypt not still in eyeshot of the old life, but going forward, gaining higher ground, no looking back...on to the Promised Land!

A Better Resurrection

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 32, October 26, 2008

Hebrews 11:32-34 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon; - through faith received a miraculous victory, and of Barak; - a captain in Deborah's army who through faith brought a great deliverance at the hand of God, and of Samson; God delivered all the Philistines into his hands, and of Jephthae; a judge who through faith showed great boldness; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, showed forth righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.

The Word of God is full of accounts of deliverance. Many of you have received deliverance of some form. Drug Addiction, Alcoholism, Violent Tempers…
Jesus breaks every chain!

In general we were all: lost in sin and now we are found! Dead and now we live!
Blind but now we see! These wonderful things happen as people put their trust and faith in the Lord Jesus!

However, there is a kind of faith that is not seen much today. A powerful effective faith that refuses anything, but God's deliverance! Folks there are two types of faith.
There is a receiving faith and there is a refusing faith!

Hebrews 11:35-39 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yes and more, chains and imprisonment: WHY did they refuse deliverance?

They were stoned, they were sawed in half, were tempted, were slain with the sword: (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: They relied on the promised Messiah, but never lived to see Him come in the flesh and fulfill His work of redemption.

There comes an hour when the strongest proof of your
faith is in the rejection of the
easiest way out!

It seems that the early believers were always given a choice - all they had to do was to denounce their belief and they would be spared all the suffering.

A Roman centurion would write the name of Christ on the wall and all the believer would have to do was spit on it - and they would be given their total freedom - granted deliverance.

In another example all the believer would have to do is reach into a box, pick up some grain from within it and throw it down at the feet of "another god". Instantly all the cruel mockery and torment would cease - - just by throwing down the grain!

But, they refused to bow, they would not compromise!

They chose faithfulness to God rather than the freedom offered at the hands of man. We need this type of faith.

I Corinthians 10:13 no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it.

Do you know it?

Many Christians settle for a quick fix. Beware! There is no true deliverance outside of Christ!

I want to show you something, turn to Matthew 4:8-10 Again, the devil took Jesus up on to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world And sad to him, All these things will I give thee, if you will fall down and worship me. Then Jesus replied Get out of here, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.

Just as Christ was taken to the mountain by the enemy - so the enemy takes us. The devil will bring you up on a mountain some-where. He’ll offer you all that your eyes can behold - all you'd have to do is just compromise a little!

Just bow down and all these kingdoms will I give you!

Consider these verses when the enemy comes to you.

Psalms 142:3-5 When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, You knew my path. On the path that I walked they laid a snare for me. I looked on my right but there was no one around to help me, my refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul. I cried out to You, O LORD: saying, You are my refuge and my portion in the land of the living.

Our confidence can’t be in any other form of deliverance or in any other deliverer! Psalms 20:7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD.

When your job ends, when Mr/Miss dreamboat becomes a nightmare - when depression attacks, when the car breaks down, when there is no bread in the cupboard, whatever the case - do not seek deliverance in your own wisdom!

Trust the Lord - He will deliver you!

Don't compromise to make ends meet; refuse to look the other way! The night may be dark but there will come joy!

Psalms 5:11-12 Let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them.. For thou, LORD, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.

Psalms 34:7-9 The angel of the LORD camps round about them that fear him, and delivers them. O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusts in him... there is no want to them that fear him.

Jesus was tempted with deliverance -

Matthew 27:34 They gave him vinegar mingled with gall and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.

Had He not prayed in the garden for the Father to take this cup from Him? Could this not be the way of deliverance?

This was a drug, a pain killer. He’d still be crucified - it would still accomplish the same result - wouldn't it?

Take heed! The Word of God warns us that; there will come a time when people will not endure sound doctrine; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. I Timothy 4:3

Folks don't give up!
Folks don’t give in! Look up!

Carry on in Faith Brothers and Sisters Carry On!

The LORD, preserves the souls of his saints; he delivers them out of the hand of the wicked. Psalms 97:9-11

Hebrews 11:35 ... and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:... Of whom the world was not worthy

Luke 22:31 Jesus said, Simon, Simon, Satan has desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for you, that your faith fail not:
Christ doesn’t always deliver us out, but He always delivers us through!

Jude 1:24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy

“This is that!”

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 31, October 19, 2008

ACTS 2:12 What does this mean?
ACTS 2:37 This is that!
ACTS 2:12 What will we do?
Over 5,000 kilometers wide, Canada’s 10 provinces and three
territories are home to 31 million residents. This is a typical Sunday morning in Anytown, Canada. Our local churches are having a morning service as per usual of most of the 20,000 Christian church services across this great land. The people respectfully listen to earnest preachers. They may not be particularly stirred, but they don’t fall asleep. Soon every one will leave the church building with a sense, a comfortable sense of having done their duty.

I can’t help wonder, if we really believe the glorious things men and women of God preach about, those wonderful truths we’ve gathered here to talk about. If we really believed would we go out so lifelessly?
Erhard said something Tuesday morning that hit me…. “People need to stop acting like Christians and just be Christians”.
After all, if 2000 years ago there lived on this earth a Man who was also God, if He was all He claimed to be and if He did all the record says He did, shouldn’t we be excited about it?
So how do we get back the lost radiance of Christian faith? Strange thing about Christians, we’re afraid not to give something to the cause of Christ, yet we’re equally afraid to give it everything. Yet, if it is worth anything, isn’t worth everything.
If we’re not going to live out our faith, let’s take down our sign.
The Early Church met the same kinds of problems we face today, the same combination of opportunity and opposition.
One big difference - then the church was in conflict with outside forces; now she is in a compromise with them.
Sadduceeism: The Sadducees denied the resurrection. We call them modernists, but modernism is not modern; it is older than dirt. We’ve had it ever since men first doubted God's Word.
But the Church today is not meeting Sadduceeism as the Early Church met it. Then it was outside the Church; now it is inside, even in pulpits, where we are told that the Bible merely contains God's Word.
Pharisaism: The Early Church met pharisaism. That was ritualism, form without force. Once again, what was outside the Church then is inside now. “Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof.”
The Drop Dead Couple: The Early Church encountered Ananias and Sapphira. Their sin didn’t lie in giving part or in keeping part but in pretending that they gave the whole. The Church was at such a height of rightness, that liars couldn’t stand it. If we had spiritual purity like that in our fellowships there’d be corpses everywhere.
Sadly today, men with fingers crossed, one hand behind their backs, sing, “I surrender all.”
Although we’ve had many courses in stewardship and have been told countless times that we are not our own but are bought with a price, we still withhold from God our time, talents and money.
Above all we hold back ourselves.
Persecution: The Early Church met persecution. Peter and John forbidden to preach in the Name of Jesus, had the church pray for more boldness, the thing that got them into trouble in the first place.
From then on, the path of the church was a path of blood and fire, but “the blood of the martyrs was the seed of the church”. The church always has prospered in persecution but suffered in prosperity.
Vance Havnar speaking of the church said, “She is secure in danger but endangered by security. She has always been rich when poor, and poor when rich. She has had least treasure in heaven when she has had most money in the bank.”
Idolatry: The Early Church met idolatry. In Athens Paul saw only a city given to idolatry. They listened until he came to the resurrection and repentance and then, like many in the 20th century, they smiled him away. Paul left Athens, never to return.
He went back to places where he was persecuted, but he had no time to waste on the mild, intellectual curiosity which we court so fervently today.
Demonism: The Early Church met demonism in Philippi and Ephesus. Paul, as usual, had a head-on collision. If you think our cities are any better today you don't know our cities.
But the church today is not meeting it as Paul met it; we try to handle it with psychiatry instead of preaching. Have we forgotten that “Greater is he that is in me than he that is in the world.”
There are congregations a plenty of whom it can be said, as far as experience goes, “We’ve not so much as heard of the Holy Spirit.”
No matter what the Early Church met, she met it triumphantly.
What is wrong with us that we don’t follow her example?
How do we recapture the lost radiance?
We too often dismiss these things by saying, “there's nothing we can do about it."
Is that true? Is there nothing we can do about it?
Are we supposed to accept conditions as they are, fold our hands, and say, “Let well enough alone; it could be worse?”
There was a reason for the radiance of the Early Church, that reason was Pentecost.
Two questions were asked by the people who looked on that day: “What does this mean?” and “What shall we do?”
Today we try to reverse the order. We are trying to make men ask, “What must I do to be saved?” before they have seen enough in our churches to make them inquire: “What does this mean?”
We are pushing for evangelism without revival. When people are once again amazed by a church filled with the Spirit, then we may expect them to ask further as to the way of salvation.
“What does this mean?” they asked. Peter said, “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.” Joel was a revivalist. He called first for A SWEEPING REVIVAL.
It was a call to all ages. Preachers were included in Joel's call: “Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep . . .”
What is needed today is a stirring of God's Spirit among all ages, all groups, in pulpit and pew. We need to weep not just for the lost, but that God’s reputation has been slammed!
God wants a broken and contrite heart. Nehemiah wept. Paul warned men night and day with tears. Jesus wept.
People are by-passing the Church today and saying, “Where is this Holy Spirit you talk about?”
May we seek revival, for the right reason, not for growth of our programs or more dollars in the offering. but for God's sake. For the honor of His Name, that the world may no longer pass by and jeer.
After the Church has her lost joy restored and is upheld afresh by the Spirit, transgressors will be taught God's ways and sinners be converted. Psalm 51
The Church will not get on its feet, until it first gets on its knees.

Ezekiel said, “The Spirit entered into me and set me upon my feet.”

After we have repented and are Spirit-filled, we shall stand on our feet in testimony and men shall first ask, “What does this mean?” and then, “What shall we do?”


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 30, October 12, 2008

Psalm 100:4 Enter His Gates With ThanksgivingWe are gathered together today to count our God blessings. We are gathered together to give thanks to our God Who has provided us with life itself!Listen to what the psalmist says: Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs… Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
A little boy went to a birthday party. On his return, his mother queried, "Bobby, did you thank the lady for the party?" "Well, I was going to. But a girl ahead of me said, 'Thank you,' and the lady told her not to mention it. So I didn't."
Of course we should always say thanks to our host or hostess. This is true for God too. When it comes to thanking God, we can't remain silent and we must not remain silent.The psalmist tells us to rejoice in the Lord. We are to shout for joy to the Lord. We are called to serve Him with gladness. We are urged to come before Him with joyful songs. We’re to be filled with an enthusiastic, overflowing joy.In the Hebrew, joy or rejoicing is an inward emotion that simply has to express itself as praise to and for God!
The Old Testament shows God’s people were filled with joy they couldn’t help but come into God's presence with clapping, singing, shouting, and dancing.
Joy, all joy, expresses itself in praise!
Though joyful thanks is to be given in all of life, it is especially worship that the psalmist has in mind: Serve the Lord ... come before him ... Enter his gates ... and his courts.
Our life is to be a time of joyful thanks. Thanks Living!
Why? The psalmist tell us: For the Lord is good ... Good is a word so common we use it without thinking. "How was work?" Good "How you doing?" Good “How’s supper?” Good We use the word a lot, but what does it mean?God is good, says Scripture. God is good; He wants to share Himself, His life, His love, with others.
When we read through the first chapter of Genesis we come across that word good 7 times. Not only is God good; God saw all that he had made, and it was very good Genesis 1:31On this Thanksgiving Day we rejoice in our God Who has shared His goodness with us by giving us life itself.
God is good. He satisfies us, fills us to the brim, and meets our God created needs.
God is good. He satisfies the needs of all His creatures. We all can testify that God satisfies our need for shelter, food, drink, clothing, fellowship.God is good. He satisfies our biggest and greatest need.
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Psalm 42:1,2
God Himself is our biggest and greatest need. That is why the Psalmist can say, The Lord is my shepherd, I shall lack nothing Psalm 23:1
David probably wrote this while out in the wilderness. He may have lacked food, drink, clothing, shelter, safety, and or protection. Yet, he said he lacked nothing. Why?
Because he had the Lord and in that he had the most important thing in life. Having the Lord, nothing else is really needed.
He who has the Lord, lacks nothing.God is good. He satisfies our need for Himself.To satisfy this need, our need for Him, God had to come to us in Christ.
There was a time that man could come to God without Christ. In fact, there was a time when he lived, talked and walked with God. He was so completely in God that he had no knowledge of life without God.
This wasn’t a religious thing - it was completely natural!
But then came man’s fall into sin and man became incapable of coming to God on his own. Man was incapable of satisfying the deepest need of his heart – fellowship with and in God.
So God sent His son Christ Jesus. Christ took on human form, He died on the cross and rose from the grave so that we could once again have fellowship with God, satisfying the deepest need of our heart.
On this Thanksgiving Day we rejoice in our God Who shared His goodness with us by satisfying our need for Himself in and through Jesus.God is good. He is so good. God is loving and faithful in His goodness. His love endures forever; his faithfulness through all generations, says the Psalmist.
This means that God continues to share Himself with us, He continues to satisfy all our needs. He is always good.
Our God is good. He is so good. That is why the Psalmist says, Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Our God is good. He is so good. That is why the Psalmist says, Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
The Lord is good. He is so good.
Only one response is possible: we must now give Him our joyful thanks, by thanks living!

“Caught In The Act!”

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 29, October 5, 2008

This is one of the most contested texts, one of the most beloved texts and one of the most misunderstood texts in the Bible. It is a contested text because it doesn’t show up in any of the earliest and best manuscripts. Look at your footnotes. On top of that, it’s language and style doesn’t fit the book of John. Fact is, you can skip this story, and jump from John 7:52 to John 8:12 with perfect coherence. Actually, it’s more like Luke’s style and one ancient Bible version has this story at Luke 21:38 (check it out and see how it works there).

Normally modern scholars would simply throw it out as an early church invention. But it’s not the sort of story the church would invent. So, most everyone agrees, whether it’s at the beginning of John 8, or in Luke, or in a footnote, this story belongs in the Bible.

In eleven compact verses, we have a story of unsurpassed drama, wisdom, grace, and beauty.

Jesus is teaching in the temple area. There’s suddenly a ruckus as a group of prominent men, scribes and Pharisees, drag in a woman and stand her before Jesus. Imagine her, tear-streaked face, eyes cast down, absolutely terrified. Pointing at her, the sneering men make their charge, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such a woman. What do you say?” Now this is an interesting for several reasons. First, being “caught in the act” was absolutely necessary. The law stated that in order to bring this charge there had to be at least two witnesses, which, when you think of it is hard to do without some kind of sting operation. There’s a smell of a set up. But even more interesting is the fact that only the woman gets convicted here. Leviticus 20 states: “If a man (note the emphasis) commits adultery with another man’s wife, both the man and the woman must be put to death.” So my question is “Where is the man?”

Now folks, I may not be the smartest guy on the block but far as I can tell, adultery is not something one does in splendid isolation.
Did he somehow manage to escape? Or was this another case of the double standard? In fact, then and now, women endure severe social consequences for their sexual sins, while men get away with a permissive wink; boys being boys and all of that crap.

Of course, if this was a sting, the Pharisees may have let the guy off with a handshake, thanking him for his assistance, the woman being no more than a pawn in their plan to get Jesus. Bottom line was, they wanted to get Jesus into a no-win situation. If Jesus let’s her off the hook, he’s soft on sin and adultery, playing fast and loose with the law of Moses. If Jesus condemns her, he risks offending the Roman authorities who have to give their own permission for any capital punishment, as the Sanhedrin had to do with Jesus. But as many others find out, when you set a trap for Jesus, you risk falling into it yourself. The crowd leaning in listens with great interest.

They glare at the woman apparently pulled straight from her bed. They watch for a reaction from Jesus. What Jesus does has been analyzed in depth. He writes with his finger on the ground. Believe it or not, someone actually figured out what He wrote.

One ingenious scholar has figured out how many Hebrew letters one could write within an average arm reach, and came up with 19 characters, which happens to fit exactly a relevant passage from Exodus 23:1 Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness. Isn’t it amazing what you can discover when you let someone loose with a text and a PhD? I also think that it is important, that He wrote with His finger. As you may remember the law was carved in stone with God’s very finger. Here is God incarnate, carving a new law into human history. Perhaps He was just doodling, buying time, cooling off what could well be described as a lynch mob.

You must admit it sure raises the tension level in the story. They all wait, the woman, the accusers, and the crowd standing by, while the question hangs heavy in the air, “Now, what do you say?”
Jesus looks up from his writing and speaks. He goes with the law. “Go ahead and stone her.” But he adds one conscience-shattering provision that turns everything upside down: “Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” This is where the misunderstanding I mentioned in the beginning comes in. This saying of Jesus has been both well used and abused. Jesus is not saying that we sinners can’t form judgments about the actions of others. That would make the administration of human justice impossible, because not one of us is without sin. None of us can ever “throw the first stone” in judgment of someone else.

How can we, who have entertained lustful thoughts, judge the sin of adultery. How can we, who have hated others, judge the sin of murder? From the mouth of Jesus, it makes perfect sense, but when some corrupt politician or some caught-with-his-pants-down preacher comes up with this as a defense, it doesn’t ring true, does it. Sinners though we are, we sometimes have to make difficult judgments about our own and other people’s behavior. But Jesus wants to make sure we face our own soul in the process. When Jesus says, “Let anyone among you who is without sin throw the first stone,” he tilts us in the direction of mercy rather than prideful judgment. Suddenly we see the beam in our own eye. In making our judgments, we must do so mercifully, deeply mindful that our own sins stand under God’s judgment as well. The woman’s accusers resurface today… we want longer prison sentences for first offenders. We want ‘three strikes and you're out,’ a ‘throw-away-the-key’ approach to smalltime repeaters whose harm has been only to themselves. We want the rebels reduced to nothing. We want law and order.”Go ahead, there are lots of people out there, struggling trying hurting, failing. Feel free to hunt them down. Grind them under. Count them out. Throw them away. Go ahead. Throw the first stone. After his startling words, Jesus bent down for some more writing on the ground, while his words land like a pebble in a pond, sending a ripple of reality through the crowd. One by one they drop their rocks and go home; interestingly, from the oldest to the youngest.

I would hope that the older we get, the more we would sense our own need for mercy, because then we will be more likely to offer it to others. Finally, Jesus looks up, and they’re all gone. It’s just Jesus and the woman: the sinful woman and the sinless one, or as St. Augustine put it so wonderfully, misery and mercy. He straightened up. Where are your accusers?
They’re all gone, Lord. “Neither do I condemn you.”

Jesus, the only one in the whole world who, according to his own criterion, had the perfect moral standing to throw the first stone, refuses. While this is unbelievably good news for the woman, I wonder about her betrayed husband and family.

Adultery has incredible fallout. The anger and hurt. Worlds are totally upended, trust is devastated. How can Jesus forgive him or her so freely?” Because that’s what Jesus came to do. As it says earlier in John, “God sent his son into the world not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.”

Or as Paul puts it so wonderfully in Romans 8 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. The only one who could be our perfect accuser has become our perfect savior, by taking the condemnation on his own soul. Notice something else here. She says nothing.
There’s no, “I’m sorry.” No, “I’ll never do it again.”
Not even, “I’ve made a mess of things.” Not a word of remorse. Which reminds us again; our repentance, isn’t the condition for forgiveness, it’s the consequence. It is all grace-- wonderful, free grace. But it is not cheap. It wasn’t cheap for Jesus to win, nor is it cheap for us to live. “Go and don’t sin any more.” Yeah, and that’s going to happen. No, we’ll be back again, standing in front of Jesus, condemned by self, or condemned by others. And again, he will say, neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.

Many of us struggle in one-way or another with the nagging voice of guilt. It’s as though a band of scribes and Pharisees lurk in the corners of our soul ready to remind us of those actions or thoughts for which we are ashamed.

But if you listen to the gentle voice of Jesus you will hear, “I do not condemn you.” This is the voice of God’s mercy in Jesus Christ.
If you listen to that voice coming from the center of your soul, and if you trust in it, you will find peace. And when the other voices fight for your attention again, as they will, just return to that gentle, powerful, voice from the center until the other voices stop, and the rocks drop.

Having faced the real misery of your sin, and its effects in your life and others, the next words will sound more and more like grace too, “Go and sin no more.”

Jesus will be right there with you by the power of his Spirit on that sometimes long and winding road to spiritual wholeness.

“Is Jesus Your Everything!”

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 28, September 28, 2008

I want to declare to you as the Apostle Paul declared in the Colossians that "Christ is all and in all.” Christ was everything to Paul. To the Corinthians he had written, I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified. To the Galatians he wrote: God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. And to the Philippians he declared, To me to live is Christ.

Today’s Christians seem to put Jesus in a box, either in Palestine a long time ago or now at the Father's right hand. We need Paul's vision - to see Christ past, present, and future. If Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, Beginning and Ending, Author and Finisher of our faith, if by Him all things consist, it would follow that everything centers and converges in Him. For by him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created by him and for him Colossians 1:16
How many Christians ever think of Christ as the One by whom all things are created, as C0lossians puts it; by whom all things were made: as John puts it; by whom God made the worlds, as Hebrews put it?
By Him redemption consists. In order to conform men to the image of His Son, God gave His Son. There is no salvation in any other.
By Him the Gospel consists. The Gospel is simply the good news about Jesus, that He came, died, and rose again. It is not a program, plan, or philosophy that saves, but a Person.
By Him the church consists. God gave him to be head over all things to the church which is his body, the fullness of him that fills all in all Ephesians 1:22,23
By Him true doctrine consists. Some Christians become disciples of a phrase, playing a one string banjo. For example, Some get off on a tangent on sanctification. But sanctification, strictly speaking, is not just a doctrine it is Christ Himself. I Corinthians 1:30

Spurgeon said, "Holiness is not the way to Christ; Christ is the way to holiness."
Better still, Christ is our holiness.

Some make the Holy Spirit the figurehead of movements, but the Spirit testifies not of Himself but of Christ John 15:26 In that classic passage regarding the Holy Spirit, John 7:37-39, it is Jesus who is at the center of the stage: If any man thirst, let him come to ME and drink. He that believes on ME, as the scripture has said, from within him shall flow rivers of living water. This spoke HE of the Spirit which they that believe on HIM should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that JESUS was not yet glorified.

Any supposed experience of the Spirit that draws attention to itself and not to Christ is not to be trusted.

By Him the resurrection consists. Jesus said to Martha, Your brother shall rise again. She said, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Martha was orthodox, but she needed to move from the doctrinal to the personal. So Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life.

The resurrection is not something to believe, but Someone to believe.
By Him faith consists. It is not the quantity or the quality but the object of our faith that matters. Saving faith is faith in Christ, not just things about Christ. It is not faith in our faith, but a faith in our Christ.

By Him all Christian experience consist. The Christian life is simply Christ, the indwelling and outliving Christ. To me to live is Christ The victorious life is just more of Christ and less of self. He is our Life, not just a teacher of how to live.

By Him separation consists. He is the Great Divider, who came not to send peace, but a sword, and He in fact must separate us. Separation is not just quitting things, it is going to HIM, outside the camp bearing HIS reproach. When He was on earth, there was often a division of the people on account of Him, and He still divides men today. But this should not be confused with those who cause division among us. They are to be watched out for and avoided.

Let me ask you a question; What is the main thing about the Lord's return?
It is the Lord. Some are merely looking for an event, rather than for a person.

By Him Christian fellowship consists. Our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ I John 1:3 The mark of true fellowship is love to all the saints, which springs from faith in Jesus Colossians 1:4 By Him our testimony consists. We are His witnesses, not His lawyers. We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord. Simon Peter comes to Jesus because Andrew goes after him with a testimony.

By Him our fruitfulness consists. He that abides in me and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing John 15:5

It is not what is done for Him, but, by Him that counts.

I wonder how much church activity really comes from Him? We need to get our eyes off our efficiency and on His sufficiency.
By Him the answer to every situation or need consists. God has promised to supply all our need according to His riches in glory by Jesus. If we need victory we can reign in life through Christ. If we need peace, the peace of God will garrison our hearts through Christ Jesus. If we need wisdom, He is our wisdom. If we need strength, we can do all things through Christ.
By Him the future consists. It is not just about going to heaven, it is about being WITH CHRIST. It is His presence that makes heaven so glorious. And it is separation from Him that is hell's worst feature. My dear friends - I wish I could convey this incredible message to you in such a clear and simple way that we all would get it all!

Jesus is to be our everything. It is in our looking to Him - not in a backward over the shoulder glance or in a futuristic hope so - it is in our looking to Him right now as He is here this very moment in time, that life itself will make sense.

A little girl was struggling to put together a ripped torn up map of the United States, discovered that on the reverse side was a picture of George Washington and that by putting his picture together she also assembled the map, illustrates a profounder truth.

Nothing can be assembled, either one's life or the universe, apart from Christ. But when we know Him everything else will find its place….. for by Him all things consist!

"The Mary And Martha Story"

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 27, September 21, 2008

Luke 10:38-42 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her therefore to help me. And Jesus answered and said to her, Martha, Martha, you are careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Lets look into this a bit.

Martha is not faulted for her service. Many feel a secret sympathy for Martha. I mean, Martha welcomes Jesus and his disciples into her home. Martha gave the invitation of hospitality knowing full well it would mean work.

Being hospitable is hard work. But she seemed ok with it.

Let’s be honest, if not for the Martha's of this world, not much would get done. Interestingly this story comes right after the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Now why would that be? Wasn’t Martha being a neighbor to Jesus and the Disciples? Jesus doesn’t fault Martha for her service. I believe what he does pick up on is her attitude.

The “Resentful Good Samaritan”.
Good service with a bad spirit is bad service.
Jesus finds a problem with the spirit of her service.

That Martha was irritated is an understatement. Her outburst ruins the party for her, for Mary, and for their special company.

Martha was like many type “A” personalities; she may have thought, “Someone’s got to do it and well, I’ll do it if there is no one else. It has to be done - one way or the other.”Martha must have been shocked when Jesus cut across her huffing and puffing and corrected her attitude.

Jesus said, Mary had chosen the better part. Think about that.

It seems ministry to our spirit must precede ministry to others. In effect he said to Martha - Don’t just do something - sit there! Learn from me, let me serve your soul.Service motivated and energized by God’s Spirit and done with the right attitude will last and bring glory to God.

I believe there are times when God says, "Don't just do something, sit there." There are times God wants us to be quiet, to be still and seek Him.

Am I seeing this right? You don’t tell people just to sit there!

Most churches have enough pew sitters, some having sat for years. Most organizations struggle to get people to volunteer.

Rather than telling people to sit there they are running around trying to find people to fill the gaps. Sometimes the methods they use manipulate us through guilt.

Service because of guilt causes burn out and all too often, bitterness.
We are a family, a new community that is meant to model in our life the purposes of God.

This is meant to be a healthy incubator for people to grow in Christ and die to God’s glory. So there are times when we have to say to each other —“Don’t just Do something - Sit there!” Refresh. Renew. Receive.God must do something in us before we do something for Him.

Take the example of Nehemiah. He was involved in the most radical and successful building project Israel had ever seen. For 90 years they had tried to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and had failed. Then along came Nehemiah and in 90 days, walking in God’s will, they had the job virtually completed.But what is often missed in the account of Nehemiah is before he was engaged in exhausting activity he sat still. He prayed and sought the Lord. First, he allowed God to do something in him. While he was waiting he developed a plan and was ready for action.
Often we tend to develop a plan, then ask God to bless it and head off on our merry way. To this Jesus says, “Don’t just do something - sit there.” Seek Me, think it through, plan carefully and consider the options.Let the Lord do something in you before you do something for Him. Then you’ll maintain your vision and your passion for the task. You’ll have the fortitude and stick ability to see it through.
You will have the conviction that this is God’s will and although there may be obstacles, you’ll see it through.

Some years ago a young man approached the foreman of a logging crew and asked for a job. "That depends," replied the foreman. "Let's see you fell this tree." The young man stepped forward and skilfully felled a great tree. Impressed, the foreman exclaimed, "Start Monday!" Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday rolled by, and Thursday afternoon the foreman approached the young man and said, "You can pick up your pay cheque on the way out today." Startled, he replied, "I thought you paid on Friday." "Normally we do," answered the foreman, "but we're letting you go today because you've fallen behind. Our daily felling charts show that you've dropped from first place on Monday to last on Wednesday." "But I'm a hard worker," the young man objected. "I arrive first, leave last, and even have worked through my coffee breaks!"

The foreman, sensing the boy's integrity, thought for a minute and then asked, "Have you been sharpening your axe?"

The young man replied, "I've been working too hard to take the time."

How often do we work harder and harder spiritually only to find we are less and less fruitful.

It time to hear the words, “Don’t just do something. Sit there and let the Lord minister to you.”

Sharpen your axe. Sharpen yourself spiritually; rekindle that edge, renew your strength.
Please note, there is certainly a time and place for diving in with both feet, for taking on whatever task is in front of us.

We continue to appreciate firefighters who storm headlong into buildings, rescue workers who dive into raging waters, trained military who without thinking about it, answer the call.

Many of us have a voice in our heads screaming at us, "Don't just stand there, do something." But we who care about caring for others can lose more than ourselves in “our doing”, we can lose the ability to give ourselves away for the necessary long haul, for a world of pain and need beyond today’s headlines.

Friends when the rescue workers go home, when the funeral flowers fade, when the get well-visits get missed in the third round of chemo, some of us will still be called to be there.

The daily grind of caring takes its toll. If you find yourself pulling away from the needs of people. If you shut off the TV news, if you let the answering machine pick up phone calls from a friend, let me suggest that you find some stillness, even solitude.

"Don't just do something, stand there."
Pause to listen and pause to feel. Pause to pray and take stock of yourself and your resources. Do only what really needs doing.

In our much doing, we lose perspective, lose our energy, and more importantly, lose our creativity and sense of humor.

We thus begin to carry the world on our shoulders and soon become overwhelmed or disillusioned. Matthew 11:28 Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

We after being renewed spiritually can again enter our world to “do it right”.

"Unchurched Dick and Jane"

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 27 September 14, 2008

Unchurched Dick and Jane are like most other Canadians. Fighting traffic, paying rent or mortgages, desperately trying to scratch out a living in today’s uncertain economy. They are "nice" people but probably haven’t been to a church for a few years, except to attend weddings and funerals. They are the basically unchurched.

As Christians, we are expected, sometime, somehow, somewhere, to share our faith with people like Dick and Jane.

Truth be told if Jesus lives inside us, we have little choice.
The apostle Paul shows us to be part of God’s plan. II Corinthians 5:17-19

God has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
Committed: - to give in trust or charge, consign, to entrust

God has reconciled the world in Christ, but the task of proclaiming that reconciliation goes to us!
Paul gives our spiritual job description: We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. II Corinthians 5:20

God makes His appeal to this hurting world through us, in our circle of influence ….. a humbling assignment!

Although the skeptic may blow off your doctrine or argue your theology, they cannot honestly ignore your life story. You walking out your new life in Christ is a powerful undeniable message! There is great power in personal testimony!

The atheist may stop his ears to the words of a preacher or the pleadings of an evangelist, but they are somehow attracted to the human-interest story of how you found peace within.
What do you think about “Friendship Evangelism,” what I mean by that is, forming close friendships with non-Christians.

Do you know what they accused Jesus of? They accused Him of being a friend of sinners. I think that we ought to have friendships with sinners. How else are we going to win them to Christ?

The greatest soil for Evangelism is friendship.

Jesus came healing, meeting people at their deepest point of need with mercy and love. He built relationships. I mean, standing on a corner screaming at a bunch of strangers isn't nearly as effective as a friendship. The good-news according to you, is one of the best ways to reach the lost.

Friendship evangelism works long after the hit and run evangelists have come and gone. blows in, blows up, blows out! We are best able to influence those closest to us, mainly because we have more credibility than with complete strangers.

Share about your heart transplant. Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you.. I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Share your life enthusiastically, passionately and consistently.

The results are not up to you, but the presentation sure is!

You may not win everyone you share with over to the Lord’s side, and that is ok. Consider, Jesus was crucified between two thieves. One responded, one didn’t. Usually, it is a bad personal experience that turns unchurched Dick and Jane off of Christianity. An abusive minister, legalism or worse yet conflict with someone in the church.

Here is where your personal example comes into play. Most people you share your faith with will listen to the gospel according to you. You don’t even need to know how to read or write to be an effective ambassador for Christ.

Your credentials are: how you live your Christian life as employees, neighbors and family members.

Real-life events can bring great witness opportunities.
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have. I Peter 3:15

The best evangelism is intimate, up-close, one-on-one and face to face!

Perhaps Mary, the receptionist, will tearfully confide to you that her husband is leaving her for another woman. Or maybe, your neighbor Ted, leaning over the fence, breaks the news that his father has cancer.

These are real issues of life. They are opportunities to reflect Jesus.
WWJHMD? (What would Jesus have me do)

Verbalize your feelings
Communicate heart-to-heart as well as head-to-head
Tell them you’ll pray for them and be sure to do so

In some situations, it may be appropriate to pray then and there, asking God for wisdom, healing, strength, faith or peace.

You may want to share a favorite verse. You may share a personal experience but be careful not to “one-up” them.

As much as possible use THE WORD. You look it up and get them to read it. God’s Word can calm people. Sometimes that’s all that people in crisis need.

· Be Discerning. (Personal Space) Go only as deep as the person allows. Unchurched people are not really expecting you to be a theologian. Tell in your own words what God has done.

· Be Christ-like. Be the kind of person people can respect and confide in. Be known for going the extra mile at work and elsewhere. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to be consistently open, honest and concerned.

· Be Bold. Don’t be afraid to tell people: you’ll be praying for them. Offer to pray with them right then and there.

· Be Real. Don’t pretend to know what they are going through or feeling. Above all, don’t treat people like some project - be their friend, get involved in their life.

· Follow up. This shows you really are interested. A card or a gift is a concrete way of letting people know you care. Our world is starving for spiritual connection. With God’s help we can be ambassadors of healing.

John 4:6-30 Jesus meets with a Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. He talks of living water, the woman asks, Sir, give me this water. The woman then leaves her water pot, runs into the city, inviting people to come, meet the Christ... And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did.”

John 4:39-42 When the Samaritans came to him, they asked if he would stay with them: and he stayed two days. And many more believed because of his own word; And said to the woman, Now we believe, not because of your words: for we’ve heard him ourselves and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.

“A Thousand Words Worth”

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 25 September 7, 2008

Did you know that there are 591 pictures taken every second? That's 51.1 million every day. We take 3 billion photographs just during the Christmas holiday season. If a picture is worth a 1000 words, that’d be a big book. We do all this to help our memory. We need things to strengthen or jar our memory.
The Bible makes an interesting statement in Proverbs 10:7 (NIV) "The memory of the Righteous will be a blessing!"
If you store good things in your mind, that's going to be a great blessing to you. II Timothy 2:8 "Remember Jesus Christ..."
Never forget what Jesus did for you on the cross. Keep Jesus fresh in the photo album of your mind.
At one time in London, there was a Christian restaurant owner named Emil Mettler, (a close friend of Albert Schweitzer). Mettler would never allow a Christian worker to pay for a meal in his restaurant. One day he opened his cash register and a British Secretary was astonished to see among the bills and coins a six-inch nail. What was it doing there? Mettler explained, "I keep this nail with my money to remind me of the price that Christ paid for my salvation and of what I owe Him in return."
We need to do every thing we can to remember Jesus. So today we celebrate communion.
I Corinthians 11:24-26 (NIV) it says: And when He had given thanks he broke it and said: 'This is my body, which is for you, do this in Remembrance of Me.' In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.' For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim (REMEMBER) the Lord's death until he comes.
I pray this service will be a turning point in your life.. like the nail in the cash register. As you enter in today think on Jesus.
Think on what Jesus did for you, stir up your memory. Stir the depths of your heart. "This do in remembrance of me"
If you can lets kneel together as we thank God for the blessing of the bread and the cup.
Today we have the advantage of reading about what took place on Calvary. We can picture in our mind's eye how it must have been. Yet, we have a disadvantage...we weren’t there!
Had we been there, I think the impact on our minds would’ve been even greater. I wish we had a picture of that.
We need to pray that God will paint a picture on our minds of what actually did happen, perhaps then we’d respond to that.
"You hold in your hand the symbols of the body and the blood of our Savoir. He spent those two things for us.
The first symbol is the symbol of His body which is the bread. Jesus is the Bread of life.
Jesus told His disciples, Take and eat. This is My body which is broken for you.'
In this same manner, He took the cup. The cup contains the pure juice of the grape.
Jesus said to His disciples, Drink ye all of it.

Dr. Thomas Welch (1825-1903) was the communion steward of the Methodist church in Vineland, New Jersey. The son of a Methodist minister, he himself studied to be a minister.

However, due to voice problems, Welch decided to become a medical doctor and later a dentist. At the time, unfermented wine (grape juice) was not available year round for use in communion.
(From history we know that unfermented wine was widely used and preserved in ancient times. William Patton in his classic book, Bible Wines and the Laws of Fermentation (c.1870), documents four methods of preserving grape juice in The Bible times. Apparently, these methods had fallen into disuse.)

In 1869, Dr. Welch began to experiment in his kitchen with concord grape juice, using the pasteurization techniques developed by Louis Pasteur just four years earlier. He soon perfected a process for preserving grape juice and began marketing it with the label Dr. Welch‟s Unfermented Wine.

He produced it with the thought of providing churches with an alternative to alcoholic wine, never envisioning a beverage for the general public. His son, Dr. Charles Welch, envisioned greater things and bought the business in 1873. Charles said that the company was born, out of a passion to serve God by helping His church to give communion as the fruit of the vine instead of the cup of devils.

In 1893, the grape juice business really took off when samples were given out at the Chicago World‟s Fair and the name was changed to “Welch’s Grape Juice.”

Today, Welch’s is a $650 million a year business. Welch’s Grape Juice made worldwide headlines in 1913 when Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan, gave a formal state dinner honoring the retiring British ambassador. He served Welch’s Grape Juice instead of fermented wine. Bryan was a dedicated Christian who once ran for U.S. President.

Worldwide headlines were made again in 1914 when Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the U.S. Navy, forbade the use of alcoholic beverages aboard navy ships and substituted Welch’s Grape Juice in their place. Thomas B. Welch proved the truth that, I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me Philippians 4:13
His son, Charles, demonstrated the Truth, where there is no vision, the people perish Proverbs 29:13.

The next time you see “since 1869” on the Welch’s Grape Juice label you can remember this service… and now you know the rest of the story!

“A Point To Prove”

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 24 August 31, 2008

I hope to prove to you that God over answers prayer!

According to Romans 8:37 .. we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

According to I Peter 1:8 we can rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

According to II Peter 1:4 .. we are given exceeding great and precious promises: ....

According to I Timothy 1:14 the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love in Christ Jesus.

According to Ephesians 3:20 ... He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think…

According to John 10:10 life and that more abundantly.

According to Judges 10:9-33 we are given power to subdue the enemy of our soul!

God has so much more for you then the victory in one battle... He wants you to subdue your enemy so you will have the total victory! He makes you more than conqueror!

Not only forgiven, but revived! Think for a moment.... God has done that for you!

You asked God for a clean heart... He gave you a new one! He gave you a heart that hungers after Him, a heart that thirsts after Jesus! He gave you eyes to see and ears to hear ...

You asked for forgiveness - He not only forgave He wiped out the record! He put a hatred for sin in you, and flooded your soul with hope and confidence in Jesus!

You asked for peace - Jesus became your morning dew. He refreshes your soul daily.

You are not dead or dying - you are alive and growing in Him! He waters your soul with His word...

You only asked to be saved, and God poured it on in abundant measure!

Our God is a generous God!

David said of the Lord in Psalms 130:7 Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD [there is] mercy, and with him [is] plenteous redemption.

God delights in being plenteous and He loves to over-flow with blessings! Even when we go astray at times..

Isaiah 55:7 .. return to the LORD, and he’ll have mercy, return to God, for he will abundantly pardon.

I believe I’ve proven that our God is not a stingy God!

Yet, we so often act as if we have to with great agonizing pull things from Him!

Yet, Matthew 7:11 says, If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Ephesians 3:20 Now to him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us,... yet so many pray ... “Just heal, just deliver!”... The word “Just” limits God!

Not only is God able to answer prayer, He wants to do for us exceedingly above all we can even imagine!

He wants to answer us way beyond our punny requests!

He wants to answer according to His infinite riches in glory!

I Corinthians 2:9-10 Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him.....

II Peter 1:4 We are given exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you may be partakers of the divine nature

I Timothy 6:17... trust in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy;

God virtually begs us to ask for great things!

May we ask of the Lord things that are worthy of His wealth and His ability to give! Is any request to big or too small for our God?

Could it be that we embarrass God with our puny requests?

Malachi 3:10 prove me now says the LORD if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive
Some how we have come to think it spiritual not to ask Him for anything yet, Jesus invites us to ask.

Luke 11:9 Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find

Matthew 7:7 Ask, and it shall be given you; knock and it shall be opened Some never ask God for anything afraid to test a faith they may not have!

I wonder if God doesn’t ask questions like…

How long before you stand on My word?

Why are you so afraid to trust Me?

When will you learn that I’m the great I AM?

When will you believe that I have all that you will ever need?

Pray, believing that He delights to answer you in His own way and time...
trust Him for your financial situation,
trust Him for those unsaved loved ones.. trust Him for that healing!

I remind you that If you abide in Jesus and His words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done.

May you stretch the tent pegs of your faith and ask big!

Be blessed

“Just As I Am”

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 23 August 17, 2008

Hebrews 9:11-15 But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption [for us]. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions [that were] under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

In the early to mid seventies many people came to the altar to pray or to receive Jesus for the first time. It was a season that has often been referred to as “The Jesus Movement”.

Throughout this wonderful time it was the words of one song in particular that accompanied sinners as they responded to the altar call. It was a hymn that has touched literally thousands of us. The hymn was “Just as I Am”. It was written by Charlotte Elliott, 1789-1871

As we look at the first verse of “Just As I Am” there are 4 words I’d like you to think about. The first word is, ACCEPTANCE (“Just as I am, without one plea”)

I think one of the reasons this hymn has had such a powerful impact is that it expresses a common human longing. That being the desire to be accepted – to be accepted “just as we are, warts and all.” Who among us hasn’t felt that longing?

We often make desperate attempts, consciously or unconsciously” to make ourselves acceptable.

All God really wants and all we really need is to come before the Lord “just as we are.” Because when we really get right down to it, it is the only way we can come before God – “as I am, without one plea”.

Coming before Him with no plea other than being a desperate sinner in need of His grace.

“Just as I am, without one plea” That first line of our hymn strikes at one of our core longings – the good news is that God accepts us as we are and we need come before God with no plea accept that we are all desperate sinners in need of grace.

The second word for consideration is, ATONEMENT (“But that Thy blood was shed for me”)

Christians should know that we don’t have to do something to be acceptable to the Lord.

Something has already been done.
And as the writer of Hebrews says it was a “once of all” atonement (9:12).

Not like under the old covenant where animal sacrifices were made constantly; it was a new covenant that brought “eternal redemption” with “his own blood.”

This is the good news of the Gospel!

Christ “offered Himself without blemish to God” (v.14), so now we can come into the presence of God “just as we are,” with all of our blemishes.
For when God looks at us, all he sees is the blood of his Son who gave his life for you and for me.

We have no other plea, “but that Thy blood was shed for me.”

We’ve been accepted and we’ve been atoned for once for all time. And because Christ has given his life for us to redeem us, he offers us an invitation, which leads to our third word which is…APPEAL (“And that Thou bidst me come to Thee”)

I heard a story of a minister who worked on the streets of a major city sharing the gospel with hookers, trying to get them to stop turning tricks. Her words to them weren’t scolding or judgmental. She didn’t walk up to these women and say, “How dare you do this to your body!”

No, what she did was approach them with grace, got to know them and then asked, “Don’t you think you were made for more than this?”

When I think back to November 28th, 1972 it seems that is exactly what Jesus said to me.

I believe if you listen carefully you will hear Jesus say to you, “Don’t you think you were made for more than this?”

I remember a young man coming to the altar after one of my services. As he walked that centre isle towards the saving power of Christ, being encouraged by the Holy Ghost with words like, “Its all good son, come as you are.” This young man was responding to the simple invitation to come to him.

It was awesome, but as he walked slowly down the isle, Sister Sandpaper noticed the package of cigs in his back pocket. She figured he had to quit smoking before coming to Jesus.

I am so grateful that Jesus isn’t related to her. Jesus welcomes us, we can come just as we are, with all our sins, all of our shortcomings, and with all defenses down. Even with a pack of cigs in our back pocket!

Why? Because the blood of Christ was shed for us! Jesus kindly and gracious appeals to us, “Come to me.”

The great preacher Samuel Shoemaker once offered the appeal of Christ in a Palm Sunday sermon with these words: “Not to the gates of Jerusalem alone does Jesus ride today, but to the gates of our hearts. There he waits knocking, knocking. His knuckles must be raw by now. The gentle rap has been so long smothered by contemporary rivals that some of us can barely hear it. But he goes on standing there.”

Can you hear him today?

If so, join with me in the final word from the hymn, APPROACH

(“O Lamb of God, I come, I come.”)

Hebrews 9:14, (The Message) We have been freed from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God.” We’ve been set free.

Now before I close you need to know that today’s hymn was written by a bed ridden invalid who felt useless to do anything except express her feelings of devotion to God. Yet Charlotte’s simply worded text has influenced more people for Christ than any other hymn or sermon ever written.

As a young person in Brighton England Miss Elliott was known as “carefree Charlotte”. She was a popular portrait artist and writer of humorous verse. At the age of 30 however, a serious ailment made her an invalid for life. She became listless and depressed. A Swiss evangelist visiting her noticed her spiritual distress and exclaimed, “Charlotte you must come just as you are - a sinner - to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” Immediately placing her complete trust in Christ’s redemptive sacrifice for her, Charlotte experienced inner peace and joy in spite of her physical affliction until her death at the age of 82.

Charlotte wrote approximately 150 hymns, she is considered to be one of the finest of all English hymn writers.

“God sees, God guards, God guides me”, she said. “His grace surrounds me His voice continually bids me to be happy and holy in His service—just where I am.”

And the question I leave you with today is…will you approach now, will you come to the Lamb of God and live all out for him?
Will you give God thanks for His acceptance of you just as you are?

As you respond in simple faith to Him you will find “all that you need” not only for our personal salvation but also for the particular place of service that He has for you.

“Jesus Only”

Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 22 August 10, 2008

It is a privilege to speak to you my friends in the name of Him who has called us His friends if we do the things which He commands us.
I've found a Friend, O such a Friend! He loved me ere I knew Him; He drew me with the cords of love, And thus He bound me to Him."
There are many things about which I am too ignorant to speak wisely and, I hope, too wise to speak ignorantly but I can speak of Jesus with freedom. I'd rather know a few things for certain than be sure of a lot of things that ain't so! In a day when men are chasing after a thousand things that "ain't so" I rejoice in "Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, today and forever."
I have found in Christ a life that is beautifully simple and simply beautiful.
In Him I find, PARDON. "God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." I owed a debt I could not pay, he paid a debt he did not owe! Jesus, with His blood at Calvary, wrote, "your sins be forgiven you." All to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain; He washed it white as snow."
Because Christ means Pardon, He also means PEACE to me. Through Him I have peace with God, and as I make my requests known to God with thanksgiving, the peace of God which passes all understanding — and as someone once said, all misunderstanding too! — garrisons my heart and mind through Christ Jesus.
This world has no peace: "There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked." We are all so crazy these days that it has been reported that monkeys have been known to go insane watching people on the outside of their cages!
Someone has spelled modern life in three words, "Hurry, Worry, Bury." The world has insomnia of the soul.
"My peace I give unto you, not as the world gives."
Then Christ gives me a purpose: "To live is Christ."
A philosopher once said, "One reason why some folks never get anywhere is because they weren't going anywhere in the first place." But Christ gives us a purpose, and that purpose is just Himself. To know Christ and to make Him known.
Christ also means POWER, the power to see the purpose through. "All power is given unto me," He said, and Paul declares, "I can do all things through Christ." Jesus is not only our Savior, He is our sustenance, He is "the power of God." His power is made real to us by the Holy Spirit, not that we may brag about it but that we may be His witnesses.
And then He means PLENTY, spiritual abundance. "All things are yours," says Paul to the Christian. Again he speaks of "having nothing, yet possessing all things."
It is the Christian's paradox. He doesn't have to get rich, he is rich, for "the Lord is rich unto all that call upon Him" Romans 10:12
Most of us appreciate but do not appropriate what we have in Christ. We carry checks on the bank of heaven and never cash them at the window of prayer. We are Bible window-shoppers: we stroll up and down through the show-windows of God's Word and never possess what we perceive.
God, who spared not His Son, shall with Him also freely give us all things.
Finally, Christ gives me an eternal PROSPECT. "Where I am, there ye may be also."
Someone has said, with reference to the life to come, that in the Old Testament they were willing to go but wanting to stay, while in the New they were wanting to go but willing to stay.
Jesus had made the difference. And what a difference it makes to be with Christ!
A mother whose little son had died, told her little daughter, "Your brother has gone to be with Jesus." Later, in conversation with a friend, she spoke of having lost her little boy. The daughter spoke up and said, "But, mother, you said he was with Jesus. How can he be lost if you know where he is!"
Truly, the Christian can say of his departed loved ones in Christ: "Death can hide but not divide; Thou art but on Christ's other side. Thou art with Christ and Christ with me; In Christ united still are we."
These are some things Christ means to me.
All I need is found in Him. He is Alpha and Omega and all the letters between.
He is the same yesterday, the historic Christ; the same today, the indwelling Christ; the same tomorrow, the coming Christ.
I am of Paul's persuasion: persuaded that nothing can separate me from God's love in Christ; persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed against that day; and, knowing the terror of the Lord, constrained by the love of Christ, I would persuade men.
The church of God may have many faults and failings but I would rather take Bible believing Christians at their worst than this world at its best. I thank God for the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love.

Out of all this I have come to a fixed conclusion: the issue is simply Jesus Christ. Spurgeon said: "In the days of Paul the sum and substance of theology was Jesus Christ. I am convinced that the Holy Spirit has made a change in me. In my earlier years I may have sought after this experience or that, but now I can say, “Once it was the blessing, Now it is the Lord."
I’m embarrassed to think that I have at times made a Santa Claus of the Lord, seeking only His gifts! Happy are we when we seek the Giver rather than the gift.

My message therefore is simply Jesus Christ. He is enough.

There is only one safe and sure center of Christian experience, doctrine and testimony and that is Jesus Christ. Stand at any other point, no matter how good, and you will become lopsided. Stand with Him and you keep your balance, for by Him all things consist.


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 18, Issue 21 July 27, 2008

FREEDOM! Many see Christian freedom as freedom from sin, death, law, and the need to earn God’s favor by works.

However, Christian freedom is not just freedom “from” it is also freedom “for”, freedom for doing what’s right and honoring to God.

When we were still caught in sin, we weren’t able to please God, no matter how hard we tried. But now, in Christ, we are free to do what God desires, even what His law dictates.

Yet, we do this, not in order to earn God’s favor, rather in a response to the favor already given in Christ.

Here’s the good news of your freedom in a nutshell: You are now free to do the right thing.

You are free to live your life for God. You are now free to live the best possible life there is.

In Christ you have freedom from and freedom for.

Paul is quite specific in Galatians about what our Christian freedom is for.

Galatians 5:13-14 For you have been called to live in freedom—not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Did you catch that?

Don’t use your freedom for your sinful nature (“the flesh” in Greek). Rather use it “to serve one another in love.”

The English misses the shocking irony of the Greek, which literally reads, “You were called to freedom . . . .
So use your freedom by becoming slaves to each other in love.”

Paul says that we should use our freedom in Christ to choose to act as if we were slaves to each other.

We’re not just talking about casual and convenient serving here, but committed and consistent and self-sacrificial servant-hood – exactly the sort of thing we see in Christ himself.

The last supper; What a picture we have here - Jesus kneeling as a slave / washing the dirt from feet of sinful men, who were utterly indifferent to His impending death!

The basin was there, the towel was there.. But they were obscured by the arguement about who would be the greatest... no one was about to move and wash someone else’s feet.

Yet in spite of what awaited our Lord, He still revealed clearly His personal love for the twelve. Jesus selflessly humbled Himself to meet the needs of others.

Paul calls us to mutual servanthood, not a one-way street of slavery and domination. If I am committed to serving you sacrificially, and you are committed to serving me in the same way, then there’s no danger of abuse or domination.

Moreover, we are to serve as slaves to one another “through love.” Love not only enables me to serve you and you to serve me, but it controls the nature of our servanthood.

We have been set free, not only to serve our brothers and sisters in Christ, but to live as servants of Christ in and for the world.

Christ has set us free so that we might give our lives away in his service, loving one another and reaching out to love our neighbors, no matter where they might live.

It is the nature of love to be selfless!

I Corinthians 13:5 seeks not her own... The greatest virtue of love is its humility, for it is the humility of love that proves it and makes it visible.

The desire to be noticed kills love, humility and service.

Jesus was teaching His disciples: They needed to begin to operate on the basis of humility. If the Lord of Glory was willing to gird Himself with a towel, take upon himself the form of a servant, act like a slave and wash the dirty feet of sinful disciples it was a reasonable that the disciples should be willing to wash each others feet.

Many believe that in John 13 Jesus was instituteing an ordinance for the church. Some churches practice foot washing in a ritual similar to baptism and Communion.

I have no problem with that, but I don’t believe that is what is being taught here.

Jesus says I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.

The word “as” is a translation of the Greek word kathos which means “according as”.

If Jesus was establishing footwashing as a pattern of ritual to be practiced in the church, He would have used the Greek word “ho”, which means “that which”. He would have been saying “I have given you an example that you should do that which I have done to you.”

But He was not saying “Do the same thing I have done.” He was saying “Behave in the same manner as I have behaved.”

In other words the example we are to follow is not the foot washing, it is the humility.

The lesson of John 13 is a pratical humility that should govern every area of life.

The result of that kind of humility is always loving service - doing the menial and humbling tasls for the glory of the Lord.

This utterly destroys most of the popular ideas of modern-day spirituality. Some seem to think that the nearer you get to God the further you must be from people, not so!

Actual proximity to God is to serve some-one else.

Jesus willingly served - we should be the same!
Do you want to be blessed fulfilled and happy? Develop a servants heart!

Matthew 20:26-27 whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:

Instead of grabbing for the crown - take the towel

Philippians 2:3-5 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

The more we do this, the more our neighbors will see Christ in us and be drawn to him.

Before I conclude this message, I must mention that we do not have to try to earn God’s favor by doing the right things and avoiding the wrong ones.

His favor – which we call grace – has already been given to us in Christ.