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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Words can both tear down and build up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You will want to refer to these powerful statements often.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Do you have peace of mind?
     Never   Seldom   Frequently   Consistently

Are you free from smoldering anger?
     Never   Seldom   Frequently   Consistently

Are you free from nagging fears?
Never   Seldom   Frequently   Consistently

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

Are you free from envy?
     Never   Seldom   Frequently   Consistently

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

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

Are you at peace with others?
     Never   Seldom   Frequently   Consistently

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2.  Loving service is followed with peaceful thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6.  Take up the armor of God for our peace

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

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

7.  Find peace in your hope

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

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

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

8.  Perfect peace comes by focusing your attention on Jesus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please understand that Cortisol is very hard on the body.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cortisol equates with fear.

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

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

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

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

Know Love – No Fear!

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

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

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

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

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

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

We also learned that Perfect Love casts out all fear!

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Folks you can make a difference!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1.  The “old man” thinks nothing of lying

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

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

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

1.  The “old man” is willing to steal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rather may we be:

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What does equip mean?

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

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

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

How does this equipping take place?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Teaching and preaching the word build up the body.

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

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

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

First…..are you feeding on the word?

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

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

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


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 22, Issue 1     January 8, 2012

There never was a revival that did not begin the
rebuilding of broken altars of consecration,
of family altars, of altars of praise and testimony.

Stained glass windows, robed choirs, eloquence in the pulpit, and elegance in the pew have never deceived God.  He demands truth in the inward parts, and heaven will keep silent until we approach Him with rebuilt altars.

There must be sacrifice on those altars - not a sacrifice for sin, for that has been offered once for all.

1. There must be the sacrifice of penitence
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise."  Psalm 51:17

How little of that do we see in our dry-eyed churches!

Penitence is not merely feeling sorrow because you got caught in your sin but having a broken heart over our sin and how it has affected our relationship with God.

The problem is that many don’t feel sorry over sin!  We feel no sorrow over the sin that is present in our lives nor any remorse for our lack of obedience to the Lord!  We don’t even blush!

2. There must be the sacrifice of person
“Present your bodies a living sacrifice.” 
Romans 12:1

The Macedonians first gave themselves unto the Lord.

Friends, until we are willing to allow His Spirit to control us in all areas of our lives….He is not Lord!  Jesus said in Luke 9:23, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

The biggest hurdle we face is in denying self!

Friends, God wants our hearts above anything else!

The Lord desires we offer ourselves as “living sacrifices” Romans 12:1.

Many today are involved but few are committed.

What’s the difference you ask?

When you look at a plate of ham and eggs, you know the chicken was involved, but the pig was committed.

A little boy had no money to give to the Church but he wrote upon a piece of paper, “I give myself” and put that into the plate.

His was the biggest gift that morning!

3. There must be the sacrifice of praise

"By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name"  Hebrews 13:15

We try to work up that sacrifice by artificial means; song leaders sweat and plead trying to bring out a song that is not there.

The psalmist said in Psalm 40:2-3 "He brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet on a rock, and established my goings. He has put a new song in my mouth, even praise to our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD."

Folks, there is no reason for God’s people not to be joyful and singing in their hearts to the Lord!

For one thing Deuteronomy 28:47-48 tells us: "Because you did not serve the LORD your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, you shall serve your enemies."

Psalm 34:1-3  "I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the LORD: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together."

Philippians 4:4  "Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say rejoice."

Friends, for us to worship and praise God rightly, it must come from the heart.

Until the heart is right, we cannot give Him praise rightly!

When our heart is changed, and we are in love with Jesus, we cannot help but sing His praises!

Psalm 100 is a great psalm of praise that we ought to read often.

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all ye lands.
Serve the LORD with gladness:
come before his presence with singing.
Know that the LORD he is God:
it is he that has made us, and not we ourselves;
we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise:
be thankful to him, and bless his name.
For the LORD is good;
his mercy is everlasting;
and his truth endures to all generations.

We’ve so much to praise God for!

You cannot change the order of :
  • Penitence
  • Person
  • Praise
When God's people repent and give themselves to God, they will have a song.

It will be spontaneous, for what is down in the well will come up in the bucket.

Are their some altars in your life which need repaired?


Preached by Rev. Ed Brouwer at The Gathering Place, Osoyoos
Pulpit Series Volume 21, Issue 23     December 11, 2011

This morning, I have a question for you…

Have you ever considered what Christmas cost the two other major characters in the story of our Lord’s birth?  I am talking about Mary and Joseph.

For Mary, the cost of saying “Yes” to God's plan of bringing His Son into the world meant that she, a good girl from a good family, became pregnant before she was married and faced the cost associated with out-of-wedlock pregnancy in that very strict culture.
  1. How would she explain it to her family?
  2. What would the neighbours think?
  3. Worse yet, how would she face Joseph?
Joseph would be expected to demand that she be executed by stoning or at the very least publicly humiliated.

Her family would have been super humiliated at her obvious condition in a small town like Nazareth - much like Osoyoos a place where everybody knows everybody's business.

And Mary, if she survived all of that, would one day have the horrible pain of seeing her son, God's Son, go to His death.

Joseph, described in Matthew's gospel as “a righteous man”, experienced the shock and humiliation of discovering that the girl he was engaged to was pregnant by someone else.

Because he loved both God and Mary, he really struggled with the decision of what to do.  That he was truly a “good man” is seen in his decision to “divorce her quietly” rather than humiliate her publicly.

Then imagine the leap of faith required for him to believe the message he received in a dream…..
  • that he should accept the baby in Mary's womb as the Son of God
  • that he should share with her the humiliation
  • that he should endure with her the small town gossip
  • that he should take her into his home, protect her, care for her and her baby
  • that he should raise “God's Son” as his own child.
Think also of the fact that Mary's baby, God's Son, was born in an animal shelter for “there was no room for them in the inn”.

Why should having no room in the inn have been an issue?
After all, Bethlehem was Joseph's home town.

  • Why wouldn't they have been staying with family or friends?
  • What had made them outcasts from the family and unwelcome in their homes?
  • Was it because the scandal of Mary's pregnancy?
  • Was it the foolishness of Joseph to continue to care for her?
And then they had to flee for their lives to Egypt leaving behind their home and business - everything they had.  Think of them, living for a time in a foreign country where they didn't understand know the language or the culture.

This peasant couple from a small town in Galilee, willingly paid the price of bringing Jesus into their world and into our world.

The price paid to bring Jesus into the world
is not just a one-time cost paid by Mary and Joseph.

It is a price to be paid in every generation
by every believer in order to bring Jesus
into the world we live in.

The price Mary and Joseph paid really relates to each of us as individual Christian believers.

  • Mary gave her life to bring God's Son, into her world.
  • Mary was not focussed on fulfilling her own desires, plans or ambitions, but on God's purpose for her.
  • Mary gave her body to the process of bringing a baby full term.
  • Mary gave her life and energy to love, care, nurture and develop Him.
  • Mary of Nazareth became Mary the mother of Jesus.
  • Mary lost her identity to the new life God planted within her.
What about us?

When I let the life of Jesus grow in me:
  • I can't always do what I want to do.
  • I sometimes feel helpless and vulnerable.
  • I am to let the world see Jesus and not me.
Jesus born in me, however inconvenient and painful, so that the life I live is Jesus' life and not my own.

We see:
  • Joseph caring for pregnant Mary while Christ was being formed in her.
  • Joseph had to set aside his ambitions and desires to the task of training and developing this child of God.
Like Joseph, we have been chosen not to do our own thing, but rather to develop the Jesus-life in others.

  • Joseph accepted the responsibility to care for, protect and nurture the life of God's Son.
We too, must accept as our primary focus the task of developing, discipling, influencing, training, protecting, nurturing and equipping those for whom we have been given responsibility.

Our most important task is developing the Jesus-life in those with whose lives and futures we’ve been entrusted.

The Cost of Christmas...
  • What will it cost you to bring Jesus into your world?
  • What will it cost you to bring Jesus into your family, your workplace, your circle of friends and acquaintances?
For each of us, there is a price to pay….

It may not involve public humiliation or relocating to another country, but then again it might!

It may involve some misunderstanding, some discomfort, some sacrifice, some changes in your life.

Certainly it will involve less of you and more of Him.

It may involve less of what you can do and achieve, and more of what you can develop and nurture in others.

Make no mistake, this is the “fullness of time”.

Once again God is looking for:
Marys to take the life of His Son within them, to allow that life to be formed in their own bodies and personalities, and to deliver the Life of Jesus to their own world.

Once again God is looking for:
Josephs to accept the responsbility for nurturing and developing the life of Jesus in others, even if it means taking a much less prominent role for themselves.

I encourage you to say as Mary did, “May it be to me as you have said.”  Luke 1:38

I encourage you to do as Joseph did and give yourself to developing the Jesus life in others.