Fighters

Fighters

As a kid I wasn’t much of a fighter. Looking back, I’m not that hard on myself as I grew up in an area and went to a school known for its tougher characters.  It never seemed to fail either that those seeking to fight me were always bigger, older or just plain tougher than I was and I was never one for taking a beating for the sake of taking a beating.  As I grew into my teen years I signed up for martial arts at the local YMCA and by the time I got into grade 8, the odds started to even out.  Over time I even grew found of fighting but not in the sense one might think.

Fighting is a part of our makeup and that is something I feel was intentional on the part of our Creator. Craig Groeschel in his book “Fight” says we as men are willing to fight “Because that’s is how we are wired”.  I’d be inclined to agree and say it’s a guy thing were it not for the few women I know who would welcome a fight just for the fun of it.  Everything from illness to injustice has us either in a fight or encouraging others to fight in the face of trying circumstances.  I feel it to be a part of who we are in that it is something we are meant to do or even called to do when the circumstance warrants it.  I look no further than the truth of scripture as my source of reference.

All through both the Old and New Testaments we see and learn of battles in both the physical and spiritual realms. With Jesus’s victory on the cross, the physical battles are for the most part, over.  As Christians we are known and should be known for our love; how we show it (John 13 v 35), for peacemaking (Matthew 5 v 9) and for serving (James 2 v 18).  That said the spiritual battle is far from over and we need to participate.  If your parenting is similar to mine, you are raising our children to not fight.  We teach them to reason and to seek help where needed.  But as was the case in World War II, in the face of an enemy bent on destruction, the call to arms is necessary and I point to 4 keys found in God’s word that will lead us in the fight.

The first key is to know who or what we are fighting and what his tactics will be. 1 Peter 5 v 8 and Ephesians 6 v 11 – 12 outline who the enemy is in stating:

“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil (Satan) prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

The enemy is revealed and as far as his tactics go, it is a game of deception.  The scriptures warn over and over that we are to be careful that we are not deceived.  John 8 v 44 states:

“He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

There is no mystery or global game of clue leaving one wondering whose behind it all.  The scriptures are clear.

The second key is one of preparation. What training will we need and what are we to fight with?  1 Timothy 4 v 7 indicates that we should be trained up in godliness.  This is seen in the person who prays, loves, serves and has a deep knowledge of scripture while at the same time equipped with the armor of God as described in Ephesians 6 v 14 – 17:

“Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.  In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

This, more than anything, shows that we all have a role to play.

The 3rd key is where the battle is taking place.  As a Christian I’ve grown to know that when the Lord has your heart, your hands and feet will follow.  When Satan has your mind, your hands and feet will follow.  A relationship with God is not one of head knowledge but that of his reign in our hearts.  Even though the battle is against the evils of this dark world and in the heavenly realms, it starts with the mind, as that is what Satan attacks.

1 Peter 1 v 13 speaks of a mind ready for action, ready for the attack that looks something like what is illustrated in James 1 v 14 – 16:

“But each one is tempted when by his own evil desires he is lured away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is fully grown, it gives birth to death.  Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.”

Many a song has been sung about that which was so wrong but felt so right.  It effects the entirety of our flesh and our success can feel much like a pendulum.  We have every reason to have hope and I refer you to the Apostle Paul’s description of the struggle found in Ephesians 5 v 16 – 26 & the entire chapter of Romans 8.

The fourth, final and most important key is that of what it’s all about; what we are fighting for. This is not a complicated issue.  The salvation of our souls is at stake.  Jesus sanctifies, justifies and makes us right before God.  He is the way and while still here guides us in the fight by the power of his Spirit in us.  I love how James 5 v 19 – 20 describes the victory we have in Christ when it states:

“My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.”

It is about salvation from an eternal death.  Eternally separated from the love and presence of our Father; our Creator.

To close, I feel the need to state, even to implore you to take the battle for the souls, maybe yours in particular, seriously. 2 Peter 3 v 9 says that God is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. Jonathan Cahn states in his book “The Mystery of the Shemitah” that, “The sound of an alarm cannot, by nature, be pleasant.  It can’t be.  Otherwise it wouldn’t serve its purpose to awaken and to warn.”

We are warned and the worst mistake we can make is to underestimate our enemy. Yeshua is the Hebrew word for Jesus and translated means safety.  I pray that all would hear and heed the warning.  That we would be ready and willing to fight knowing that we are forever safe in Jesus.

God Bless – Sean Bosse

Friended

Friended

If social media has done anything, it has proven our tendencies to want to control what we see and or hear. Now, I have be accused of being a selective hearer on more than one occasion but I do find the reactions of those who happen to hear or see something that displeases them to be humorous.  That said, I’m no different.  With all that is pumped out before us, it can be overwhelming.  But in the click of a button we demonstrate our power to control or limit our exposure.

With so much of the world now lived out online, much has been done in the interest of preference. We have the ability to create as many alter egos or personalities as necessary and when we come across someone or something we don’t like or agree with, we simply filter it or them out; a social firewall so to speak.  I’ve yet to hear that Shangri-La has been found but there seems to be many of them online; or at least the ability to create that place online.

Writing and posting what I call devotionals for the past few years now, there have been more than a few occasions where what I have said has drawn me into a discussion. Knowing that not everyone agrees or shares my faith, I expect there to be disagreements from time to time and I confess, I have enjoyed them.  It always seems to create another opportunity for me to expand, explain or defend my faith.  My goal is never to be right but that Christ would be glorified.  And, there has never been a time where I felt the need to push the unfriend button as a result.

In the world of social media many sites, in an effort to give the user the sense of control, provide the feature to unfriend. In clicking this button a user has the ability to block any communication with an individual while at the same time letting them know of their new standing or rank in the life of the one clicking the button.  A proverbial Staple’s “Easy” or Queen of Hearts “Off with their heads” button if there ever was one.

This ability to be selective in what or who we are exposed too is nothing new. It is not something those of the 22nd century will look back on and say was an idea that came out of the 21st century.  Ecclesiastes 1 v 9 states the following regarding this:

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”

Acknowledging and conceding this, selective hearing was a real issue faced by those charged with ministering and dispersing the Gospel to the world.  The Apostle Paul states the following in preparing Timothy for the struggles he was sure to face:

“For the time will come when men will not tolerate sound doctrine, but with itching ears they will gather around themselves teachers to suit their own desires.”

Reading the scripture above we can be assured that we will be confronted by those of a differing opinion and the question I have is, will that or does that opinion change what we know to be true? This thought immediately has me reflecting on what is said in Proverbs 14 v 12:

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death”

When it comes to the Gospel, there truly are two sides to the fence.

In a marriage crisis, the situation often faced is that of one wanting to replace their spouse with another they think or feel to be a better option. In counselling it is always said, or should be said, “The grass is not greener on the other side of the fence”.  With man’s wisdom vs. the Gospel of Christ, there is only one side of the fence that is healthy, growing and green.

In Genesis 3 we learn of the fall of man, that moment sin entered the world resulting in our once immortal state becoming mortal.  The end of Genesis 3 v 19 states the following regarding our condition from that moment on:

“for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

Romans 6 v 23 affirms this to still be the case thousands of years later:

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

This state of things has not changed for us today; nor will it change for those of the future.  But in saying this, there is also another truth that stands unchanging; resolute.  That of God’s unwavering grace.

Grace is at the core of the Gospel message a Christian professes. It is the good news that says to those who receive it, regardless of what we’ve done you are forgiven.  It is given freely by a Father whose motivation is love.  Again, in preparing Timothy, Paul illustrates the scope of grace in saying:

“This is a trustworthy saying, worthy of full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst. But for this very reason I was shown mercy, so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display His perfect patience, as an example to those who would believe in Him for eternal life.”  1 Timothy 1 v 15 -16

In Christ, there is no fear of the unfriend button regardless of what we’ve done.  When grace is needed, it apportioned and I’m forever thankful.

In closing, I recall the movie Avatar and the social impact it had on many looking for that uncorrupted land of utopia. News outlets reported on the despair seen in blogs and forums across the web.  In seeing what they deemed to be a perfect world, a world in touch with its creator, so many expressed their struggle in continuing to live in the world we have today.  A world created out of CGI had struck a nerve leaving so many with a desire for more without ever realizing that it does exist.

Faced with knowledge that his life here was coming to an end Jesus comforted his disciples in stating:

“In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.”  John 14 v 2 -4

Heaven is that place.  A place of uncorrupted eternal peace.  A place free from the pain of our sin; where we are not just in touch with our creator but live eternally in his presence.

I love what Jesus is saying in

“You know the way to the place where I am going.”

It is not found in some great treasure hunt or at the end of a rainbow.  It is found in Christ (John 14 v 6) and because of grace; all are welcome; all are called friends (John 15 v 15).  I pray I see you there.

God Bless – Sean Bosse

Be Blessed or Be Warned

Be Blessed or Be Warned

It is the year 2017 and still, it never ceases to amaze me what people will do despite being warmed of what the potential outcome could be. With all the advancements made in technology, by God’s grace, we have come so far in our ability to warn the masses of impending danger.  We are now able to provide advance warnings when it comes to hurricanes, tsunamis, tornadoes, etc. with scientists working everyday on improving them further.  All in an effort to increase the time people have to be warned and to respond.

Being from Atlantic Canada, I have never known the fear of a tornado, earthquake or any of the other natural disasters those of the more tropical climate have had to live with. That said, there are dangers to our climate that the locals have to consider, especially during the winter season.  Extreme cold, ice and snow are an almost constant during the winter months creating real danger for those left exposed.  Fortunately for us, we often know what is coming days before it gets here but that still doesn’t seem to be enough for some to make the right decision and I give an example to illustrate the point.

Now before I outline this example, let it be known that I do concede the fact evacuating or properly stocking the necessities may not be an option for some. The sick, elderly and those struggling in impoverished conditions come to mind first when thinking on this.  I’m more taking about those who have the means to heed a warning but choose to do nothing; or worse, do the exact opposite.

In February of this year, 2017, our province was brought to a standstill. In a winter that was quickly becoming known for its lack of snow and cold weather, we were hit by a blizzard that seemed to make up for what was lacking all in one shot.  With winter storm warnings a constant on radio, television and social media, telling the masses to avoid travel unless absolutely necessary, many still found the need to be out.  With many stranded and in need of rescue, one city that I know of in our province was forced to fine those found driving on the roads unnecessarily.

Of all the ridiculous things I heard during this time was a post on social media of a person seeking to find someone willing to brave the storm to get food, coffee and cigarettes to a loved one stranded at their place of work. Now I have experienced what people can get like when going through withdrawal, but the thought of risking one’s life for coffee and smokes did have me in stitches.  That said, the post does seem to speak to our passive, almost deliberate ignorance to those warnings whose intentions are to bless and protect.  An attitude that plagued believers of the Bible as it does today.

In the time of the Old Testament, there were constant warnings of what would happen for those of Israel who strayed from God. In speaking on this to Moses, God states the following in Deuteronomy 31 v 20 – 21:

“When I have brought them into the land flowing with milk and honey, the land I promised on oath to their ancestors, and when they eat their fill and thrive, they will turn to other gods and worship them, rejecting me and breaking my covenant. And when many disasters and calamities come on them, this song will testify against them, because it will not be forgotten by their descendants. I know what they are disposed to do, even before I bring them into the land I promised them on oath.”

Like a child, there has always been a need to rebel against those interpreted to be telling us what to do or how to live.

In reading the scripture above, what stands out the most is what God says at the end; that our disposition is known. Disposition is defined as a person’s inherent qualities of mind and character.  The implications of this are revealing.  Our creator knows our life’s pattern as stated in Genesis 6 v 5:

Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Proverbs 27 v 20 highlights this reality in saying,

Sheol (Death) and Abaddon (Destruction) are never satisfied, Nor are the eyes of man ever satisfied.”

For me, this helps to make sense out of what said to those of Rome, and to us today, in Romans 3 v 20 and 7 v 7:

Therefore no one will be justified in His sight by works of the Law. For the Law merely brings awareness of sin.

What then shall we say? Is the Law sin? By no means! Indeed, I would not have been mindful of sin if not for the Law.

With our weakness known and exposed, the law is there as reminder to us. Laws aren’t so much about protection as much as they are a warning to those may be inclined to break them; to do those things they know they ought not do.

Despite the warnings, if our disposition is one of sin and the death it leads too, one might be inclined to ask an obvious question, “Why try?” Thankfully the answer, as it always is, is found in Christ.  Romans 5 v 20 – 21 states:

“The Law was given so that the trespass would increase; but where sin increased, grace increased all the more, so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness, to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

In the revelation of sin we see how much we need God in Christ and even more than that, how dependable we need to be on him and how dependable he is. Being found in the eternal Christ, as it says in Romans 6 v 4, indicates that:

“we too may walk in newness of life. “

In closing, I’m reminded of the last time I was pulled over. In my rush to get to work on time, I hadn’t realized how fast I was going.  In attempting to explain my reasoning for being in such a hurry, I had resigned myself to the ticket I had earned.  When the officer came back and handed me my ID, he simply stated with a smile “Slow down”.  He had had let me go with a warning and what a blessed warning it was.  I was so thankful and even had the chance to tell him that when I had seen him again on the street many days later.

To reject a warning is to really, “reject at one’s own peril”, as they say. It has me echoing the words of one of Israel’s great leaders of old.  Joshua 24 v 15 states:

“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

This is the desire for me and my house and I pray it to be yours and your household’s as well; both now and forever more.

God Bless

Search and Rescue

Search and Rescue

My daughter was 3 and a half when I received a call from a friend who served with the River Valley Search and Rescue. In an effort to recruit new volunteers they were looking for a new image for their campaign.  With photography being one of my friends many talents, he had an idea for a photo shoot and was calling to see if my daughter and I would be interested in being part of it.  My concern was with my daughter but even at her young age, she was happy to help.  Before we knew it, we found ourselves at the shoot location where wardrobe and make up awaited us.  After sharing his vision for the picture, we were prepped and the camera stated flashing.

There were a few reasons he had come to us as candidates for the picture.  The first being that small children love to explore and can often get lost.  With a young daughter it was a great idea to have a picture of a child being rescued.  The second, humorous reason looking back on it now, was that the rescuer was going to be wearing one of their shirts.  They needed someone with a wide enough back for their logo to be clear and fully visible.  Luckily for my friend, I had been weightlifting for several years at that point and had the back he needed.  After reviewing the pictures taken, a few were chosen for submission and remarkably, our picture was selected for their great cause.

During a recent conversation with another friend of mine I was again reminded of the importance of search and rescue. He was calling to inform me that he was getting back involved with an organization he had worked with in the past; Search and Rescue Aircrew.  He would be the first to admit that the struggles of his younger years disqualified him for service at that time.  But, with our savior Jesus being the master of restoration, he was renewed and far more improved than he ever was on his own.  This transformation led to him being welcomed back to serve in this vital area.

As he relayed the news of this old but new opportunity, I could hear the passion in his voice as the work he was doing had so many parallels to the work he was doing in service to our Savior. You see, my friend is an evangelist, what I hope all Christians would be, and the work of an evangelist is all about search and rescue.  As Christians, we are called to be ready, mindful and courageous in stepping into of those opportunities to minister the gospel.  Now my friend again had the opportunity to search out the physically lost while ministering to their spiritual needs.

In speaking to my friend, a fire had been lighten in side of me; inspiring this write up. There was one thing he said that has stuck with me as it was so true about those who encounter Christ.  He stated that when searching for a person who has been lost, often the light of their rescuer is the first thing a lost person sees when they are found; a sentiment echoed by Jesus in the scriptures.  Matthew 15 v 4 states the following regarding light and its source:

“You are the light of the world.  A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”

As light carried on the helmet of a search and rescuer leads the way, so too we as Christians carry a light leading us to the lost.

In reading the scripture verse above I find the second line most interesting in that it gives perspective to the fact that we as believer should not live in such a way that this light would not be seen. Or worse, not recognized.  Verses 15 of Matthew 5 expands on this by saying:

“Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead, they set it on a lampstand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”

Light has its purpose and it would not make sense to shine a light only to cover it up. We elevate the light in an effort to see its reach go everywhere and touch everyone.

For those who have been lost or in particular, have been in the dark for a period of time, light can be hard to see. Stories are told by those rescued of seeing light but not being sure of where it was coming from; that it was a struggle or even confusing as they sought to focus and identify its source.  Thankfully as a Christian we don’t have this struggle.  We know the source of our spiritual light and are able to point others to it.  John 8 v 12 states:

“Once again, Jesus spoke to the people and said, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Jesus is the light and in him, and with him in us, we have his light; the light of life. In a world so recognized for its darkness we are implored shine this light that is so desperately needed.

Coming back to what was said in Matthew 15, Jesus indicates that the way we shine this light is in how we live; that the way we live has the power to influence those around us in a way that has them giving glory to God. I love Peter’s insight on this as found in 1 Peter 3 v 16:

“keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander”

This would be a life well lived.

To close, I’ll let the friend who inspired this writing have the last words. “As a Search and Rescue Aircrew member, we give of ourselves as our motto says “THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE”.  With a vision for the Christian side of this, I see that he tasks us out as men and women to help others find the life he has given us.  He equips us with a spiritual GPS (Godly Positioning System) and green lights us to jump into the darkness; to shine His light upon the lost and escort them to the safety of God and his kingdom.

In a real Aircrew rescue we say “Hi there, I’m (Insert Name). A search and rescue specialist.  I’m here to get you out.  Grab on and know that I have you and won’t let you go.  In the church we need to do the same.  Boldly taking charge in saying, “Hi there, I’m (Insert Name) a believer in Jesus Christ.  He paid for my sins and yours and has sent me to this time and place to help get you to safety.  All you need do is say yes to him and grab on as he’s got you.  His light is eternal and will lead you home.”

Thank you for your witness brother Jason.

God Bless all – Sean Bosse

Being Prepared

Being Prepared

“BE PREPARED” – Scout’s Motto

When looking at my upbringing I’m always grateful for the fact that I can say there have been those who took the time to invest in my life. Family members, Ministers, teachers all played a role in my upbringing at one time or another.  But what I find myself thinking about at the moment is my time as a Boy Scout.  I have many great memories of my time in the Scouts program and attribute much of my knowing that I could turn back to God from what I learned and seen of him there.

My introduction to Scouts was via a friend and I remember my first night light it was yesterday. I met those involved, learned the purpose and goals and discovered that my most consistent bully was a high ranking member of the troop; a reality I quickly grew to love.  I found out immediately that he was serious about Scouts; a fact that surprised me as I didn’t think he took anything serious other than beating me up whenever possible.  I took every chance afforded to test his loyalty and paid for it outside on more than a few occasions.  Making him look bad, along with the fact it made my dad (Dad who raised me) so happy, fueled my early attendance and after a while, I grew to love it myself.

Scout’s was a safe place for me growing up.  I was doing something my brother wasn’t and it created a connection for my Dad and me.  He loved everything about Scouting and even got involved himself from time to time.  Not being a great communicator, looking back, I think it was an avenue for him to teach me all the things he wanted me to know but couldn’t say.  Communication wasn’t easy in the home but with Scouting we found ourselves doing a lot more together without the need to actually say anything.  I credit much of this time together to the most Godly man I knew at the time, my Scout leader Bill Wright.

A man known to only have about 25% of heart functioning correctly, Bill certainly didn’t live a life that reflected it.  Our troop was a hodge-podge dysfunction.  We had more than our share of group and broken home kids.  Based on the characters in our troop I know it was intentional on Bill’s part to seek out those deemed a lost cause or a project and welcome them to the troop.   We were treated as God’s creation and the expectation of us was to do the same.  As an example, when my parents separated and it was hard to see my dad, Bill encouraged the invite for him to join us.  Then there was the weekend retreat with the Middle East refugee.  To say we were all nervous is an understatement but Bill wasn’t.  It was like he could sense opportunities to live out his faith and be an example for us and it is now, as I write this out that the weight of what he was doing hits me.  It was as much about the spiritual wilderness as it was the physical; he was discipling us.

As a Scout Master, Bill was answering the call that we all as Christians have; the commission call of Matthew 28 to go and make disciples.  He was preparing us with the expectation that we would then go and prepare others.  Discipleship is all about preparation and one of the best examples of its depth and purpose was on display in Jesus’s washing of the disciple’s feet.

Scripture tells of Jesus and his disciple’s coming together to celebrate Passover; a time for the Jewish community to remember God’s grace in delivering them from the hands of the Egyptians. (Reference Exodus for details) Jesus knew his time was drawing near and that he would soon be betrayed so he was making the most of it.  As they gathered round, Jesus proceeded to wash each of his disciple’s feet.  A most humble act I can assure you.

With Nike’s non-existent, the first thing one would want to do when entering a home to eat would be to wash their feet. Those of that time ate around tables that would have been low to the ground, if they were not eating off the ground itself.  To not wash ones feet would be equivalent to leaving the washroom and without washing your hands.  With all that the feet of those days could accrue, Jesus’s desire to wash them was a demonstration of absolute humility.

Peter’s response exemplifies the shock the disciples must have felt. Knowing this, when finished Jesus explains his actions as seen in John 13 v 15 – 17:
“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
In this we realize the purpose of discipleship and the role it plays in the life of a believer as well as the church.  To be an example of a better way and to then, by the grace of God, lead the lost into it.

If the church is be effective in a world desperately in need of Jesus; for those saved by his grace and striving to walk the Christian walk; our example has to be more than just words, it has to be matched by what we do. 1 Peter 3 v 15 states:
“But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,”
This command tells me 2 things. The first being that the way we live our lives and whom we are living them for is going to be vastly different than those who live apart from Christ.  The second is that there will be those who want, if not demand, a reason for it.

Coming to grips with discipleship is key if we are to be prepared and if we are to assist in the preparations of others. I have to ask, are you prepared?  What is the quality of your pray life?  Are you spending enough time in God’s word?  Maybe your preparation starts in turning back to Jesus again or maybe turning to him for the first time.  Do you view your current situation as a discipleship opportunity for yourself or for someone else?  God does.  And I know that he would not want you to waste this opportunity to learn or lead.

In closing, I’m reminded Bill’s passing. Not for the fact that it happened but from whom the news came.  It was in receiving a call from my dad that I heard of Bill’s passing.  He asked if I was going or wanted to go to the funeral home as there was still time to make it.  As I was thinking about it, my dad suggested I should go and even though I knew he was right, I believe it was because he wanted to be there too.  Looking back I believe he realized, as I do now, the importance of what Bill was doing in our lives.  That it helped frame the man of God I was at that time.  I have to ask, has discipleship framed your life?  Is it framing the lives of those around you?  I pray that it is and that your prepared.

God Bless – Sean Bosse

Grown Up

Grown Up

Every good husband shares the load regarding house work and it was during a recent stretch of folding laundry that I found myself thinking of the “Most Interesting Man in the World”. (Yes I know, your shocked to hear that it’s not me.)  The commercials always show or speak of him in the most unrealistic ways and doing laundry just may be one of the most unrealistic things a women could find a man doing.  If given the chance, I’m sure some wives would write the catch line for that commercial as follows, “Whenever a man does or folds the laundry, he never does it right.”  Regardless, I was giving it my best when the remarkable happened that left me reflecting on God’s word.

As I was folding I ran into a rather familiar problem. The father of a tall 13 year old daughter, I’m no longer able to tell the difference between my daughter’s clothes and her mothers.  With my wife being over 6 feet tall and now my daughter almost 6 feet tall, I’m often left having to ask one of them the question of “Is this yours?”  I don’t say this to indicate frustration as I find it very comical at this point.  Matter of fact, I feel more pride than anything else.  We are so blessed to be raising a daughter who continues to mature into the God fearing women we pray her to be; a result most parents pray for but sadly, for some, doesn’t happen.

Some youth just never seem to want to grow up. Actions speak louder than words they say and statistics are showing, as is the media, this reality.  The growth issue can be seen through all generations and Christians are not immune.  Growth and maturity issues have plagued Christians and the church throughout the centuries.  The proverbial 1 step forward, 2 steps backwards is seen often.  For some it may be 10 steps forward, 1 step back and it is that step that could be the undoing were it not for the grace of God in Christ.

Life is about growth.   It is of the utmost importance when it comes to God’s children and his church.  Scriptures referring to the vine, pruning and God being the enabler for growth shed the light on this.  (For reference see John 15 v 5, John 15 v 2, 1 Corinthians 3 v 6 – 7).  But as with the physical, there are things that have the power to stunt growth.  With growth being an issue for early believers and churches, we can learn a lot from history if we are to avoid repeating it.

The book of Hebrews is a New Testament book whose author is unknown.  It is a letter written to encourage its readers, those considering leaving the faith in the face of great persecution.  To stay firm in the truth that Christ was and is who he said he was, who they have been waiting for.  Hebrews 5 and 6 provide great insight into what was hindering there growth, creating the room for doubt.  In sadness, I believe the writer indicates the following in Hebrews 5 v 11: “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand.”

In reading the words above I can’t help but feel the emotion; even more so when looking at my own life as well as the church of my time. The writer explains further in Hebrews 5 v 12: “In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!” I take this thought and the revelation of the believers not even trying to understand to mean that they may have had the following problems:

  • A poor prayer life (Hebrews 10 v 22)
  • Neglect of the daily and diligently searching of the scriptures. That they had forgotten (Hebrews 12 v 4).

I would even go so far as to say that they may also have gotten away from the frequent fellowship together (Hebrews 12 v 25), that those of Acts 2 as well as believers present day benefit from.

Growth was also an issue for the church in Corinth, (See 1 Corinthians 3), and this same lack of growth affects believers and churches today.  It’s no wonder to me that these early believers were considering abandoning their faith; if some had not already done so.  The enemy was taking full advantage of their weakened state and I have to ask, is he taking advantage of yours?  Are you feeling weak?  Are you or have you considered abandoning your faith?  If you can relate, let me encourage you by saying that God can bring the change.  He can, as Isaiah 41 v 17 – 20 indicates, bring life to what was once considered dead.  To maximize yours and ours potential, with faith as the enabler.

It takes faith to believe what we believe and even more to live it out. If you are in need of first time faith or maybe just a greater portion, I have good news, I know where it can be found.  Ephesians 2 v 8 reveals faith is a gift from God alone. Romans 10 v 17 says, it is given to those who hear his word; all we need do is ask.  Ask our loving father to give us, as Jesus says in Mark 4 v 9, ears to hear.  And once we’ve heard; once the seed of faith has been planted; that we would take those steps to sure up that which we know to be true.

In providing discipline to the believers of Rome and/or Palestine, the writer of Hebrews is quick to illustrate a key to our growth and maturity. Hebrews 5 v 4 states: “But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” In stating this we can determine that maturity comes not in ones sitting back or watching from the sidelines as was the problem for the Thessalonian church.  It is in the living out of our faith that the growth comes.  That as we pray, consume scripture, help the needy and if the Lord wills it heal, we would not be living a life to ritual but, as stated in 2 Corinthians 3 v 18,”And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into His image with intensifying glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

To closing, I can’t help thinking about my own time as a youth. All I wanted was to grow up and I hear this from young people all the time.  With adulthood come the opportunities.  As an adult I often find myself thinking the opposite; a sentiment older people often share.  The reality is, as Christian’s we are always growing.  The pursuit of growing up is always before us and we’ll never fully mature until we are home.  That truth keeps me young and I pray that it does for you also.  That you would again look forward to the day when you are all grown up.

God Bless – Sean Bosse

New Year or New Creation

New Year or New Creation

“The goal is not to reinvent yourself by striving to be some perfect person but to allow God to do an extreme makeover by uncovering your true self in his image, redeemed through Christ.” Craig Groeshel – Alter Ego

It is now the start of the year 2017 and I find myself struggling with a familiar dilemma. What can I or will I do this year to top what I did the previous year.  Can you relate?  Have you worked really hard over the past year to improve in a particular area personally or professionally?  Have you fulfilled your resolutions for the past year and are seeking to improve or break ground on new resolutions for the upcoming year.  You’ve set goals and mapped out the road for accomplishing them?  If this is you, I can surely relate.

Goals or goal setting surprises me as growing up I wasn’t one for setting goals nor was anyone looking to me accomplish them. I don’t say this to put anyone down as the body of work I was producing in my teen years would have led anyone to this conclusion.  In thinking of the labels graduates are given or give themselves, I laugh when thinking of what mine would have been.  Most likely not to succeed is what comes to mind first.

Becoming a Christian at 19 years of age, I can say that not much changed initially in the way of my goals or lack of them. Yes, Christ had saved my life and that fact was evident and undeniable.  I had a passion to see anyone I came into contact with to know Christ and what he had done.  But as far as my life plan, there was still a big question mark and I wasn’t sure when or where the answer would come.  Often operating from a sense of what needed to be done rather than what I was made to do.

And then it happened, I found myself back in school, a place I never thought I would set foot in again. In the late 90’s IT (Information Technology) was the hot market and anyone who knew how to assign an IP address seemed to be getting a good job; something most 12 year olds can do today.  Hearing of a school with a good reputation for training and employment, my mother encouraged me to investigate.  It wasn’t long before I had applied, and being successful, began the start of my journey in setting and reaching goals.  If I were to stop here, it would sound like just another success story but that is not the end as I have learned of a few dangers and pitfalls along the way.

Now I should start by saying that goal setting and striving to be better is a good thing, but as indicated, there are traps, if not landmines, one can step on if not careful. For me, it was the success of achieving the goals that became the problem, if not the addiction over time.  I can already hear you saying “but Sean isn’t the point of setting goals to reach them” and yes, I agree that to be the point.  But for me, the rush of achievement became addictive.  I loved the feeling of a perceived successful family, professional life and ministry.  I loved it when people would say that I couldn’t or shouldn’t do this, go here or there, build this or start that.  For me it was the fuel on the fire that, looking back, was toxic and for the life of a believer can become deadly if one is not transparent.  I had allowed, if not created, an idol in my life and to quote Lloyd Christmas from the movie Dumb and Dumber “I got robbed by a sweet old lady on a motorized cart. And I didn’t even see it coming”. (Emphasis Added)

When looking at all that is done under the sun the one thing we always need to consider is the motive and even more so for the life of the believer. Actions once birthed of noble intentions can quickly if not deceptively turn to self-serving without our even noticing it happened.  From Samuel 15 to Psalm 51; Proverbs 21 to Hosea 6; the scriptures are full of references to the heart with which our works are done.  I in particular love what Jesus says when stating the following in Matthew 12 v 7: “And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless.”

In saying this he is referring to Hosea 6 v 6.  When it comes to mercy and obedience; those things at the core of one’s heart; we are defined.  Luke 6 v 45 states: “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” It is this truth which sits before me now; motivating, if not imploring me to consider my motives for what lies ahead in 2017.  That, what is found in Psalm 51 v 17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” would be found in me.

The Apostle Paul understood this better than anyone. In his proclamation of the Gospel to King Agrippa in Acts 26 he readily admits that before he was saved he was a persecutor of Christ; a persecutor of all that was known and shown to be right and true.  Without him, all his works amounted to death and it is in light of this that he was motivated to become all he could be in Christ.  He sums up his motivation best in Philippians 3 v 7 – 11 when he states: “But whatever was an asset to me, I count as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things as loss compared to the surpassing excellence of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God on the basis of faith.  I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to Him in His death, so that I may somehow attain to the resurrection from the dead.”

Wow, I couldn’t aspire to a better motivation on my best day for 2017 and the years ahead. Fulfillment isn’t found in pursuit of a goal but in pursing Christ to reach the goal.  It is about a Christian being; not a Christian doing.  Doing what you were made to do instead of what you have to do that joy is truly found.  As stated in the quote I started this with but now modify a bit, “That we wouldn’t reinvent ourselves by striving to be some perfect person but to allow God to do an extreme makeover by uncovering our true self in his image, redeemed through Christ.”  As it states in 2nd Corinthians 5 v 17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Happy New Year and God Bless