Tag Archive: change

The State of My Soul

Since Labour Day, I’ve lost almost 30 lbs. It’s been noticeable. Some others have noticed as well. While I appreciate the encouragement people have given in resetting my physical health, I’ve realized any changes in my spiritual health isn’t as evident (for better or for worse). What’s the state of my soul?

Grant it, I don’t care for my soul primarily to be noticed by others. (Just as I didn’t go on this physical health journey for the approval of others.) But if no change is evident, then I need to ask what change (if any) is happening, and why.

Jesus challenges the Pharisees with these words (Matthew 23:25-28): Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

These words weren’t just for the Pharisees. They are also a challenge to his followers, whom I count myself as one. While my outer side may seem like it’s getting better, what is my inner side like? What is the state of my soul?

I recently came across John Ortberg’s sermon on Soul Keeping. I don’t fully understand or comprehend what it means to care for my soul, but it’s pushing me to consider how does God want me to care for all of me for the sake of his kingdom.

While I don’t have many answers for this one yet, it’s driven me to seriously consider how God might continue to restore my soul so that I might be transformed more and more each day for his glory.

Let’s see where God takes this.


Little Upgrades

Sometimes, it takes big changes in order to move forward. A major renovation. A residential move. Lately though, I’ve found that the little upgrades give a sense of progress. Not huge steps. But small changes. At our church, we’ve just modified our projection system so that we’ve got a monitor for the front platform to see the screen (vs having to always turn around). A small change, but it gives us a sense that things are moving forward. At home, I just changed our toilet seat (the one that came with house was GROSS!). Not a big change, but gives a sense that we’re settling and making it home.

Big changes will come inevitably. But they usually happen few and far between (at least that’s been my experience so far). But the little changes, the small modifications help us to feel like we keep moving forward.

I am getting old(er)

Today, it was a “revelation”. I am getting old. My body is not able to do the things I used to be able to do. In some ways, I am approaching (if not past) my mid life. It’s not to say my life is over or going downhill. It’s a change in reality, in how I see myself and perhaps now others see me.

Before, I used to feel like the “rookie” in the room. In some ways, I was still seen as “the kid”. There are various factors that could lend to that perception. In some ways, depending on the group I was with, I perhaps lent myself to the “kid” role.

The fact is, I am no longer “a kid”. My oldest is now a tween; my daughter is not far behind. I’ve been out of school now for almost 14 years. While I may not own a house or a car, I sure have my share of financial responsibilities.

And so, I feel as if I’m taking another step on the path of adulthood. I am no longer the rookie. I am no longer “the kid”. I am now entering that phase of being the “older one”, perhaps slowly creeping towards the “sage” (although not near the wisdom required). It will be interesting to see what changes in my perception within a group and how I engage from here.

Another step in life change perceptions.


Main idea: To be happy, you need to be who you really are.

In Zookeeper, Griffin (played by Kevin James) tries to win the hand of his former fiancee. (In somewhat predictable fashion), he changes into the person she wants him to be, all the while noticing how he wasn’t happy. Near the end, he has this epiphany: “I thought I had to change who I was to be happy.”

How many of us feel that? We say, “if only I could be this” or “if only I could have that”, then I’d be happy. From a spiritual aspect, it is recognizing who we are in Christ and living out what he created us that will deeply resonate with you. It doesn’t mean you’ll never have troubles or won’t ever be sad. However, that fundamental feeling deep within us that gnaws at us when we’re not living the life we’re called to live probes us to discover who we really are.

Over the last few months, I keep people say they are going through transitions.  In our office, we’ve had at least 3 staff transitions within the last 6 months.  Almost anyone I’ve talked to lately, they mention how they are either in or influenced by a transition whether personally or professionally.

Could it be that stating you’re in transition is now a moot point?   Fact is, at least in our culture, change is not just inevitable, it’s almost constant now.  This person moves.  That person has a new job.  She’s having a baby.  He’s getting married.  Is staying you’re in transition almost as moot as saying “I’m breathing right now”.  It’s just an assumed part of life now.  To have or be in transition seems (besides God) to never be changing.

Cycles of Life

Yesterday, Canada went through a seismic political shift in its landscape. Many firsts came (Liberals being 3rd, Bloc no longer an official party, NDP becoming the official opposition, Green party getting a seat). Based on the comments on Facebook, the reaction was also split from great elation to jumping ship out of the country. In some ways, this is new territory. Yet politically, we’ve seen strange stuff before. A sovereignist party as Canada’s official opposition. The Progressive Conservatives (one of the main parties for most of the 1900s) was decimated to 2 seats and eventually merged with the Reform Party to ultimately become the Conservative Party of Canada. Now with the buddings of the Green Party and the evolution of the NDP, once again, the political face of Canada changes. One of the key details I’ve noticed is the fact that politically, if a paradigm or structure doesn’t work, it changes into something that does. The left and right political spectra continue to shift and morph into different variations (though the spectrum itself never changes).

It got me thinking about a comment made the other day to me when discussing church ministries, someone said that sometimes the Christian church (at least in the Canadian context) tends to hold on to its structures a bit too tight when perhaps God is changing his strategy in reaching the world. God’s message has never changed, but his strategy does. The Gospel remains the same but the way it’s presented is ever evolving. Sometimes, we a the church fail to recognize when God has decided to end something that he blessed for a time to shift resources into something else he’d like to use in blessing a community. Sometimes we hold on too tight and become so “survivalist” in our mentality that we misuse God’s resources and miss what he’s doing around us. Perhaps if we were willing to allow things to shift as he sees fit (like we seem to allow happen at least in our Canadian political landscape), then perhaps we’d be more effective in bringing his grace and love to those around us.

May God grant us the awareness to know when he’s shut a ministry down, to celebrate God’s working through it and his directives to move ahead.


Earth Hour is tomorrow.  My kids are asking whether I’ll be participating.  Alongside them, I will.  At the same time, I’m wondering just what does this really accomplish?  Many buildings and landmarks will power-down for that 1 hour.  It does a little bit of good, but really, if it doesn’t produce any life change, then really, what’s the point?  To feel like we did something?  To put our conscience to rest at least for 1 hour?  It’s like other artifically-generated remembrances like Valentine’s day or Father’s day; if we really cared, we’d show our appreciation and affection everyday in meaningful ways, not just on designated days.

It seems, at least in North American western society, we do these little tokens to clear our collective conscience so we can continue on without really making a change in our lives.  If we really want to make a significant impact on the environment, we’d make lifestyle changes that would actually produce a sustained result.  These little tokens seem like nothing but gimmicks and fads.  I bet, if I were to crank up my heat, turn on all my lights and crank the stereo while keeping my car idling in front of my house for that 1 hour, I’d be frowned upon.  “Oh, he doesn’t respect the earth because he doesn’t observe Earth hour.”  Yet the collective damage of those same people with their 3 SUVs in their garages ready to throw up another smog cloud into the sky won’t care when 9:35pm hits and all the lights crank back up once again.

Perhaps it’s time we put less emphasis on these fads/gimmicks and aimed to make sustainable change if we truly believe in these causes.

Changing of the Mind

The other day, I read this editorial in the Toronto Star. The premise was the rights of one group overrides another’s.  In this example, it’s the rights of people wanting to marry into same-sex unions being able to do so from any marriage commissioner (i.e. that commissioner cannot refuse on religious grounds).  The editor was suggesting that a person’s rights (in this case, the rights of the gay couple wanting to be married) should not automatically take presence of another’s (i.e. a Christian marriage commissioner).

At first glance, this seems to make sense.  One’s ideology cannot necessarily be dogmatically enforced upon others (although there must be some standard i.e. the laws of the land).  I identified with the Christian marriage commissioner who’s rights were being impeded because another ideology was trying to override theirs.

Then I also realized that, in Christian circles, we try to do the same thing as well.  We happen to call it “evangelism”.  While some people will argue that imposing one’s ideology is different than “sharing the love of God (and hoping people convert to the Christian faith)”, in many levels, they are similar.  We are all, at some level, trying to persuade others that one ideology is better than another (because you prove it by actually living it).  So really, with some forms of evangelism, I can now begin to identify with the other person who’s ideology some Christians try to change.  I can begin to sympathize with the fact that, at times, we as Christians thrust our theology/faith upon people when we wouldn’t want others to do the same.  Perhaps that’s where the premise or objective of relativism is: to acknowledge that everyone can stick to their own ideologies without having someone try to change them and to allow that stalemate to remain.

Of course, in reality, that’s impossible.  People are always trying to influence another’s ideology in every media possible.  And maybe that’s why I’ve always been so hesitant to evangelize in a certain method because I can identify with the position of having someone thrust their ideology upon me even if I disagree with me.

But perhaps that’s why I take comfort in 1 Cor. 3:5-9 because in the end, if Yahweh is really the true God, then He will help make the changes in that person, that it’s not my responsibility to “thrust” my ideology upon someone, but to love them with the grace and love and truth that Jesus extends to everyone.  Of course, there are times when I must take a stand for what I believe.  But I think, all to often, we as Christians take so many stands that our knees are beginning to buckle.  Maybe we need to trust that God will continue to help people see the light if they want to, and our part is to follow His directives, not push our theology into other people’s faces.

%d bloggers like this: