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Earl Marshall

Month: October 2007

Morning of Prayer

Yesterday (Tuesday) we took an entire morning to talk and listen to God about our relationship with him and each other.  Perhaps this does not sound like such a revolutionary idea for a church ministry staff but there is so much activity that creeps into the daily and weekly life of a church that can get in the way of fundamental spiritual disciplines.

This was a good life moment for me.  One that was very much needed.

A few highlights from my space . . .

Having Justus Miwanda with us.  Justus is our partner with International Needs Uganda.  It has been an absolute joy to get to know this man of God over the last few years.  He is an answer to prayer for our church as we have prayed that God would help us transform our world and now we are able to do so in Uganda.  Justus prayed with and for us.  I was reminded again of what God is doing in our church.  It was like he was part of our ministry staff.  I suppose that is how I see him now.  Part of us and we of the ministry in Uganda.

Reflecting on the words of "Take Time to Be Holy" encouraged me especially of God’s continued guidance in my life.  What a great reminder.

Having the ministry staff pray over me.  There is not a week that goes by and I am reminded of how blessed I am to work with such a talented, gifted, committed and called group of people.  And if some of you are reading this what blows me away the most is how jazzed you are about being with one another.  This team is amazing and I am blessed to be able to be part of this family.

The Shack

200px-Shackover I just finished reading William P. Young’s “The Shack”.  This is a beautiful conflicting book of longing masterfully written and will leave you with wondering what might be for your own life.  The story revolves around Mack who has lost his young daughter tragically and all the pain and questions of God that come with the uncertainly of life experienced.  This is well worth the read and could very well awaken great hopes within your own heart for what could be in your relationship with God.

This book is a great blend of emotion and knowledge.  Young weaves theology in and out of the story.  In fact reading this book may be a more meaningful way to teach Theology Proper.  This will probably be one of those books I read again and again.

Is being a Christian different from being a Follower?

Sunday we began a series entitled "Follow Me" an examination of what it means to follow Jesus according to Luke’s gospel.   The sermon on Sunday was an overview of where we are going for the next nine Sundays.  My basic point was that when Jesus says "follow me" it is a call on our lives to "be like Jesus".  Being a Christian = being a disciple/follower = someone committed to being like Jesus.

It seems that some are experiencing some tension in that formula.  Many evangelicals have been conditioned to equate "Christian" with a person who has made a moment in time decision to "accept Jesus" or "ask him in their hearts".  With that many have placed a great emphasis on whether someone is "in" or "out" and making an initial decision (praying the sinner’s prayer, etc).  I certainly see value in a decision being made and the sinner’s prayer as being instrumental to many in leading them to follow Jesus and even the importance of talking about wanting to be in "heaven with God and not in hell without God" (although I prefer the New Heaven and New Earth imagery). 

The problem is, however, when being a disciple is something that happens next but is not equal to, that somehow following Jesus is not an imperative.  It is important just not essential to salvation.  This is a total separation of Jesus as Saviour and Jesus as Lord (Zane Hodges all over again).  And from my point of view unbiblical.

My point is simply Jesus’ point, "if you don’t leave everything you can’t follow me".

Salvation by God’s grace that demands total life change, complete obedience, and passion for Jesus’ ministry.


Thinking “deeply” about sporting events

Brenda and I attended the Argo game last night (versus Montreal).  We had been looking forward to this night for some time basically because of our crazy schedules the last couple of weeks.  We left O’ville just after 4:30 p.m. hoping we would have enough time to have dinner in a restaurant downtown before the game but it took us two hours to get there (TO traffic).  So by the time we got to the Rogers Centre we just decided to go in and have a "sub".  The game was great even though we left at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

Here is what I learned last night:

It is better to go to a Argo’s game rested than totally spent.  It takes a significant amount of energy to get into the city, and negotiate the "excuse me, excuse me" of everyone wanting to get in and out of their seat at a game.

Don’t go to an Argo’s game unless you are prepared to deal with the aisle traffic.  People selling their concessions, fans who don’t have a clue that you aren’t supposed to walk up and down the aisle while the play is going on.

Cowbells are really really loud.  When I think of downtown TO cowbells just don’t come to mind.  But they are a staple at the Rogers Centre during Argo’s games.

A 50 yard field goal is a long kick.  The poor Wendy’s kick for a million guy – Dave Thompson (?) – was not even close.  That is another thing I learned . . . fans can be merciless even towards other fans.  The poor guy I thought he was going to be booed off the field.

Anywhere with my wife is good.

We had a blast watching the Argo’s win.  Let’s go blue 

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