God Moments

A few days ago, my wife and our oldest daughter Eden went out for Eden’s first music class for the season.  I was at home with our second daughter Lydia and our son Ezra.  Ezra was crying and would not go to sleep and I started to get frustrated and couldn’t figure out what to do.  Fortunately, Lydia was taking a nap at this time so I was able to focus purely on Ezra.  I decided to strap him into the forward facing baby carrier and go outside into our backyard with him. We walked around and as I stopped in front of one of our bushes, I noticed that Ezra began cooing and talking and reaching out to grab the leaves of the bush.  He was discovering something new about the world around him, and in the midst of this moment, it was like time… just… froze…  All my thoughts focused in on this moment.  It was like all sound was gone also.  I was fully engaged in this moment.  And it was then that I felt the voice of the Lord saying, “I am with you where ever you go.”

Words cannot capture the pure awesomeness of that kind of moment with God.  It was a gentle whisper that caused such a powerful stirring in my heart.  The sense that I got was that God is with me wherever I go, and God delights in these times where I discover more about His character and His love and His goodness.

I want to encourage you with these words.  May you have God moments this week.  Whether it’s on the drive to work, or the bus to school, whether it’s on a nice walk in the park or hanging out at a coffee shop… May you become so aware of God’s presence around you.  May you be in tune with God’s voice speaking softly into your heart.

Inked: A Christian Perspective on Tattoos

Our journey through the bible this week brings us into the territory of the “law” texts.  When reading through Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, one can often wonder, what do all these laws mean and do any of these apply to the Christian today?

The law texts in the Old Testament were stipulations given to Israel, by God, under the covenant that God made with Israel.  In other words, this was a covenant list of “to-dos” for Israel.  Another word for testament is covenant.  The law texts are all grouped in the Old Covenant.  For Christians today, we are under the New Testament or New Covenant, which means that the Old Testament laws are no longer binding upon Christians unless stated within the New Covenant.  Jesus made references to the ten commandments, also known as, the ethical laws in various ways, as is found in the book of Matthew 5:21-48.  These are the commandments of Jesus and are applicable to Christians.  All the rest of the Old Testament laws are not applicable.

With that said, Leviticus 19:28 says, ” You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord.”  This particular law was one of a few laws that forbid an Israelite from conforming to certain pagan rituals that were common among the surrounding Canaanite societies.  Among the Canaanite mourning rites for the dead was putting tattoo marks on the body, signifying allegiance to certain pagan deities.  This goes hand in hand with the very beginning of Leviticus 19 where it talks about being Holy (set apart) from the surrounding cultures and not to follow after those deities.

In today’s world, tattoos are very commonplace.  Although tattooing still can be done to show allegiance to deities, mainstream tattoos are done usually for the sake of self expression.  In the Christian world, more and more people are choosing to get inked, either for simply personal expression, to show allegiance to Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, or a combination of the two.  So what’s the deal, is this a good thing or a bad thing?

Well, I will say it like this.  It depends.  First of all, we need to establish the fact that Christians are not bound to the Old Testament laws, and in the New Testament, Jesus does not mention anything about the practice of tattooing.  In fact one can argue that even Jesus had some form of writing on His body (Rev 19:16).  Although that last point could be argued on the basis of biblical interpretation, I think it is safe to say that Leviticus 19:28 does not apply to Christians.

However, 1 Corinthians 10:23 says, “Everything is permissible – But not everything is beneficial”  Paul goes on to say that “nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.”

So my take on the Christian and the tattoo would be, think about it before getting inked.  It is a big decision.  I know some Christians, including myself, who have tattoos to have their testimonies on their skin for the sake of witnessing to the saving power of Jesus.  I’m personally all for that, keeping in mind that I am not conforming to the world for the sake of just fitting in, but to stay on mission for the Lord.  But I would highly recommend prayer and fasting if you are considering going that route just to make sure that your heart is to, first and foremost, honour the Lord with your life.  It took me a few years of praying and seeking God before finally get inked.  I still choose to be cautious of causing others to stumble, so I won’t necessarily be busting out my sleeve tat in church when I am preaching!!  Maybe someday!

In sum, Christians are not bound to Leviticus, but we are bound to our Lord and to live for His glory.

 

Through the Bible in 90 Days Commences

With the start of my preaching ministry at Trinity EMC, my dream of seeing revival is always in the horizon.  Last Sunday began a sermon series called “Through the bible in 90 days” which was spearheaded with the story of King Josiah who, in the midst of a nation plagued with idolatry and broken covenant with God, was ignited with passion after hearing the book of the law read to him.  My hope and prayer for Trinity church is that as we go through the bible in 90 days, we will discover a God who is intensely passionate about His people, which in turn will cause His people to be intensely passionate for Him.

Lord come.  We bid you come.  As we seek your face and turn from our cravings for other things, may your Glory be revealed and spread like a wild fire.  Amen.