Look Alike

Look Alike

The 2016 school year will see my son start his last year of primary school, or for what we old folk remember as elementary school. Yes, I know it is only July and I shouldn’t even be thinking of school at this time but I can’t help myself; time is just moving too fast.  When complete, our daughter will be on her way to high school and our son to middle school.  This means that Mitchell will be the last of our children to go through the primary grades and will be the end of our experience as parents at this level.  As usual, I find myself in a reflective frame of mind.  Thinking of the joys, victories, trials and friends both have made as they progressed through those years has me feeling blessed as both Christa and I are so proud of them.  Thinking about the primary experience for our kids also has me remembering my own experiences in elementary school.  Of all the memories one thing stands out and is the parallel for my message.

For those who may not know, I have a twin brother and it was grade 2 where we found ourselves in a new school and more than that, in a class with two other sets of twins. As if twins were not rare enough, we were in a class that now boasted 3 sets; a nightmare for the best of teachers I’m sure.  Sean and Scott, Penny and Jenny, Mark and (I forget his brother’s name) in one class room.  From what I remember our teacher acclimated well as there were really only 2 sets of twins in the room according to our classmates.  My brother and I are what they refer to as fraternal twins as we look nothing alike.  With the other twins in the class being identical, our classmates took every opportunity afforded to question my brother and I’s relation; whether we were really brothers at all.  This is where the fun began for them and the trouble incurred for me.

It wasn’t too long into the year before I came home with a question that needed answering. Our classmates had stated their case, identical twins included, and my seven year old mind was convinced that baby switching was real and that this was the case for fraternal twins.  The question to my mother the first time was as follows, “Mom, is Scott my real brother?” and then I would explain my classmate’s logic.  The first time I questioned her on this she compassionately assured me that he was my brother and that they were just teasing me.  After approaching the subject with her a few more times over the course of the year, each time more seriously than the last, my mom’s patience reached its limit.  At the threat of severe discipline I quickly learned and accepted there was a difference; that fraternal and identical twins did exist.

The twin conundrum resolved, there still is the issue of looks that needs addressing. Even with limited exposure to the western culture one could quickly come to the conclusion that a particular look would be needed if one was to make it.  Advertising has cornered this market to perfection it seems with many, young people in particular, pursuing an image or ideal not at all healthy and stands in contrast to our emotional, physical and spiritual well-being.  The suicide rates seen in our young people today speak to this.  The above stated though, the reality is that we all do look like someone or something and if this is the case, it leaves me with the lingering questions of who or what should we look like?  Is there an image we should be striving for as we live out our days here on God’s earth?  With great encouragement I proclaim the answer to be yes and that it is found in the word of our creator which makes sense.  After all, where would the creation turn but to the creator with questions of origin.

The issue of image is handled in scripture on two layers; one being physical and the other spiritual. As the truth soaks in, I find myself agreeing with what Andrei Agassi use to say in that, “Image Is Everything”.  One thing is clear though when it comes to the image layers addressed, one is important while the other is vital.  Genesis 1 v 26 states the following as it relates to the physical image:

“Then God Said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our Likeness;”

Hebrews 2 v 6 – 7, 9 & 11 state the following regarding Jesus, his purpose and our relation to him:

“But there is a place where someone has testified: “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, a son of man that you care for him? You made them a little lower than the angels; you crowned them with glory and honor”
“But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” “Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters.”

We are made in the image of our creator! We look like him and though looks can often describe an individual, what incurs the most labels are our actions.

Actions are used most often to describe an individual, whether for the good or bad. Luke 6 v 45, Matthew 15 v 18, James 2 v 18 state:

“The good man brings food things out of the good treasure of his heart, and the evil man brings evil things our of the evil treasure of his heart.  For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
“But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a man.”
“But someone will say, “You have faith and I have deeds.”  Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.”

As it relates to image I feel God imploring us to emphasize the spiritual, the internal, as our priority. All through the word as well as history testify that youth is fleeting as we will all taste physical death.  There is an eternal life or death situation that we will all face and it will be our actions that determine the outcome; an outcome of judgment that can be avoided in the grace found through Christ.

To me, one of the most powerful pleas Jesus’s makes is in relation to his actions and how they should be interpreted when considering who he is can be found in the book of John: 10 v 37 – 38.  In dealing with the religious leaders of his day, those you assume would recognize Jesus as the Messiah immediately, as well as those of the region he states:

“If I am not doing the works of My Father, then do not believe Me. But if I am doing them, even though you do not believe Me, believe the works themselves, so that you may know and understand that the Father is in Me, and I in the Father.”

Jesus implored those of yesteryear as he implores us today to look at his message and more than that, his body of work to see if they line up and then to make a decision. From there, our actions will identify us and from there judgment.  For reference, I would encourage you to review Revelation 20 – 23.

To close I refer to the word doppelganger which is defined as an apparition or double of a living person. I can’t tell you how many times someone has said to me they had just seen my double somewhere or someplace.  I often smile and state something to the effect that God must have liked the template.  I can’t help but laugh when this happens as I really do have a twin but we don’t look much alike.  In saying that though, there is someone I do want to look like.  His name is Jesus and he is my savior, whose love in action paved the way to my salvation.  It is my heart’s desire to look as much like him as I can and not so much in physical sense but in the spiritual heart sense.  That what might be said of me would be similar to what God said of an Old Testament king named David in 1 Samuel 13 and referred to again in Acts 13.  Oh that moment when someone sees me and the things I do and says, “Sean, you look a lot like someone I know.  His name is Jesus.” and I pray that for you, whoever you may be.  As I say to my kids every day in modeling Jesus, “Thought, Word and Deed”.

God Bless – Sean Bosse

Indiscriminate Grace

Indiscriminate Grace

It was the end of another busy day when I received a call from a close friend who lived on the other side of the country. Unable to answer the call, I made it a point to get back to him when I had time.  Then he called again and followed that up with a call to my cell.  Sensing the urgency, as well as my wife telling me that his fiancé had sent us a message indicating they had received bad news, I raced up stairs to give him a call.  When I was able to reach him, I could tell something was up and that is when he proceeded to inform me that he had been diagnosed to colon cancer.

With my heart in my feet, my reaction was similar to most who receive news of this sort, that of disbelief. As I gathered myself and tried to string a thought together my friend, who is really more like a brother, proceeded to tell me of the circumstances that led to the diagnosis.  A part of the story that struck me was of his family doctors initial passive response to his concerns when first brought to his attention; a story heard all too often in young people.  Saving that rant for another day, we were left with the reality that there truly is no prejudice with cancer.  It does not discriminate.

Under normal circumstances a lack of prejudice or discrimination in society would be cause for celebration. But when it comes to cancer that is never the case.  I have seen and heard of this disease, synonymous with pain and death, bring the strongest to their knees.  Were that the end of the story I would surely despair.  But as seen with cancer, the lack of discrimination, this perceived habitual lack of prejudice is also found in the grace of our God in Christ.  The only deference being that of the consistency in its application; a truth the Apostle Peter experienced to the full during an encounter with a Roman Centurion named Cornelius and a large crowd he brought together.  The detailed encounter is found in Acts chapter 10.

In an effort to give context to the story, it should be known that Cornelius, his family and associates were known as gentiles.  To be known or referred to as a gentile would mean to identify someone as not Jewish.  For Peter, being a Jew, to associate with a gentile would go against his religious beliefs and its customs.  For him to do this, to put himself in conflict with his people, would have required something of a miraculous nature and that is exactly what happened.

The chapter starts out will Cornelius being recognized by God through a vision for his piety and the way he cared for the poor; not something normally said of a Roman Centurion back in the day. He is told to send for a man named Peter who will bring a message of good news.  At the same time, Peter is having a vision of different types of food, known to be avoided by the Jews, placed before him to eat.  Peter promptly refuses to eat that deemed unclean which leads to the following response found in Acts 10 v 15:

“The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.””

After a bit more back and forth the food is taken and before long he is on his way to Cornelius’s house.

Upon arriving, Cornelius falls before Peter’s feet as if he were royalty. Peter’s response grips me to this day while keeping me humble at the same time.  In Act 10 v 26 we read:

“But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.””

Peter never loses sight of who he is in light of who his creator is; something I feel we as a North American society could learn from.

Knowing the position Peter finds himself in, he states the following in verse 28:

“He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with or visit a Gentile. But God has shown me that I should not call anyone impure or unclean.”

Again, never losing sight of his position in light of the Creator. So, forget identifying the elephant in the room right out of the gate.  He slays the thing and from there they share the events resulting in there coming together.

In answering the call of the evangelist; a call given to all who call on Christ or identify themselves as a Christian, Peter understands the purpose of the meeting and proceeds to minister the gospel of grace in Christ which is welcomed by the large crowd in attendance. As he delivers his message and fulfills his purpose, the Holy Spirit is poured out on all present and he bears witness to its power.  In awe Peter confesses that which was the case from the beginning but had been lost; that the grace of Christ is and has always been for everyone who believes.  Peter’s confession is heard in verse 47 of Acts 10:

“Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”

Mission accomplished as the family grew and all were baptized.

This lack of discrimination needs to be understood in the faith today if we are to disperse the gospel in a way that is in line with the biblical narrative. We have our model in Jesus.  Being selective is to not be Christian; a truth the Apostle Paul was sure to avoid.  He knew the gospel was for everyone as he, the self-described worst of the sinners, was saved.  When the Jews of Acts 13 rejected it, he told them plainly that he was taking it to the Gentiles and for those whose hearts responded, as stated in Acts 11, were simply called Christians. This has not changed for us today.  Nor will it change for those of tomorrow.  We are called and to be called Christians.

Whether it was Jesus running towards the leper or the demon possessed when everyone else was running the other way; whether it was Jesus or the Apostles heading to their death; the gospel, its scope and power, were always at the forefront. Regardless of what life may bring; regardless of who we may encounter; that we, like Paul, would always be able to say:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8 v 38 – 39

I pray this to be the lens with which we view the world and hence become a change agent for Christ for its benefit.

God Bless – Sean Bosse

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