Don’t Fall Asleep

What’s the strangest thing that has ever happened to you at church? I bet you’d have a hard time beating Eutychus’ story. The Apostle Paul was in Troas for a week of special meetings. Being a preacher, Paul kept on talking until it was close to midnight. The room was lit with oil lamps which meant it was getting stuffy. No doubt everyone was getting a little tired. Eutychus was sitting on a window ledge, perhaps for some fresh air. He grew drowsy and nodded off to sleep. Then he fell out of the window.   He fell from the third story and was pronounced dead. But Paul went down and prayed over him. “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him” said Paul. (Acts 20:7-12) They all went back upstairs to eat and talked until the morning. It was a night they would all remember. Luke records that the people went away comforted. They had seen God at work in a mighty way. Only God can bring about resurrection and this strengthened their faith. They had confidence in the message of Jesus since it was backed up by miracles. Our Creator can bring life out of death. God gives us spiritual life. We were dead in our sins but God has given us life. We are a people of the resurrection. Not only in our spiritual life but in many areas we look to God to bring life out of death. Sometimes it’s our hopes and dreams that are dead. They’ve fallen out of the window and landed lifeless far away from us. We think nothing can be done. But then we hear the word of God speak, “Do not be alarmed, for his life is in him.” Don’t forget that our God is a miracle worker. The situation that looks hopeless can become hopeful when God is at work. So the lesson is – don’t fall asleep in church and look to God who brings life out of death.


When do we stop dreaming? As children, it was natural to dream about the future and what we might be when we grow up. We could dream and imagine a better future, excitement, and adventure. But life has a way of beating you down and your dreams grow less and less powerful. There is no lack of dream killers around us: All these things can shut us down. On the other side, there are plenty of motivational speakers in the world today who see themselves as ‘dream releasers’ helping people follow their dreams. “If you can dream it, you can do it” is their motto. If only it was that easy. As Christians, we sometimes get caught between wanting to dream and achieve things and wanting to do what God has planned for us. Those two things often feel like they are different and how can we tell the difference between them? I don’t think God is a killjoy, preventing us from having dreams. He wants us to have a sense of purpose and fulfillment in life. And I don’t think every dream or desire for the future I have is necessarily from him. My dreams can often be selfish. He wants me to use my gifts and talents not just for myself but to be a blessing to others. I’m never sure to what extent God is the source of my dreams. The need for discernment is always necessary. Above all, God desires we love him and those around us. There are many ways to live this out, and each one of us has a unique path. But the ultimate goal is the same. If we are pursuing those two commands, then we can have some confidence we are on the right track. If we are just pursuing our own agenda, we might be off course. Paul tells us in Philippians 2:13 “It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” The context of this verse is important, as it follows the description of Jesus emptying himself to come and serve us. He is our example of being obedient to the father. When we are centered on loving God and loving others, submitting our dreams and desires to him, I think we can trust him to direct our paths. We can prayerfully invite him into our situation and share our dreams. We can trust him to keep us from danger or warn us about what might lie ahead. We can trust him to shape our dreams in a way that pleases him rather than just our fleshly desires. Don’t stop dreaming about what God can do through your life to be a blessing to others. He wants you to use those creative abilities and desires to impact the world we live in. Our dreams don’t always come to pass as we plan. There are setbacks and struggles. Not every plan of man is the right one. But that doesn’t mean we should sit around and do nothing. It’s a big world and there’s room yet for your dreams.

Kangeroos and Burning Bushes

Amazon delivery driver Alexis Prochniki thought she was seeing things last week as she was driving her route through southern Ontario, Canada. At first, she thought it was a deer, not an unusual sight on her travels.  But the ‘deer’ appeared to have little arms and was hopping along the road.  She backed up her truck for a second look. Were her eyes playing tricks on her? It looked like a kangaroo. If you live in Australia, a kangaroo might be a more common sight. However, in southern Ontario during January, it’s pretty unusual. The kangaroo had somehow escaped from a local zoo. The police received several reports about the rouge marsupial and put out a statement assuring people that they weren’t hallucinating. In Exodus 3, Moses saw something that caught his attention.  “The angel of the Lord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. So Moses thought, “I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up.” (Exodus 3:2-3) We get used to our routines and surroundings. When the unexpected happens, we aren’t always prepared. We don’t always stop to look. Moses was curious and went over to see what was going on. It turned out to be a significant moment in his life. It’s good he paid attention. Not every sighting of a bouncy kangaroo is necessarily a divine moment. But how prepared are we to take a second look at the unexpected? Are we open to a divine interruption in our day? Or are we too busy to stop and ponder? Are we open and curious about where the Lord may show up in our lives? Like Moses, we may just have an unexpected life-changing encounter. Paying attention is the key.

Giving Praise

“Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;    worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.” Psalm 29:2 I wonder how much time, in an average week, we spend ascribing glory to the Lord. After all, this is what Psalm 29 tells us to do. What exactly does ‘ascribe glory to the Lord’ mean? It just means talking about God in a way that honours him. Many of us spend time talking to God. We have a long list of things that we need help with. There’s an ever growing list of concerns. God is interested in our problems and we should bring those needs before him. The book of Psalms, however, reminds us how important it is to praise God for his greatness; to ascribe the glory due his name. For some reason, we find it difficult or hard to put into words. Our hearts are worshipful, but we don’t know what to say. If you need help, just open your Bible to some of the Psalms and pray along. Psalms is an ancient prayer book that has helped God’s people express themselves for centuries. While we find the whole range of human emotions in the Psalms, they do a particularly good job of praising the Lord. I encourage you to take some time this week to read a Psalm and pray along. Check out Psalm 8, 65, 76, 100, 103, 111, 145-150. Our God is great and awesome. Our hearts need to offer him praise and thanksgiving simply because he is worthy. “Bless the Lord, O my soul;And all that is within me, bless His holy name!” Psalm 103:1 See you Sunday,

New Habits For A New Year

One of the most helpful books I read last year was James Clear’s Atomic Habits. I’ve been thinking about it again as 2024 begins. Often, people make resolutions at the beginning of a new year, and those good intentions tend to fade after a while. Full of ambition and desire to change but seldom is there a plan of action. What I liked about Atomic Habits was its focus on making small changes rather than instant transformation. We really are creatures of habit and if we change our habits, we end up changing our behaviors. Habits are often things we do without thinking. Maybe you find yourself scrolling social media too much. Or perhaps you aren’t in the habit of preparing healthy meals. Maybe it’s as simple as the morning routine or preparing to go to bed and get a good sleep. Rather than making many resolutions, we might be better off examining some of our habits and how they impact our daily lives. What is one thing you would like to change during this coming year? What is one healthy habit you would like to add that might move you slowly closer to your goals? Clear writes “Your habits shape your identity, and your identity shapes your habits.” We ought to think of ourselves as followers of Jesus first and find habits that reinforce our identity in him. The Apostle Paul writing long before the insights of modern psychology said, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 1:5-8) Our daily habits build on one another. If we start in the wrong place, we end up heading in the wrong direction. Don’t be overwhelmed with trying to make all your life changes in this one week. Think about one habit that might be helpful to change or one practice that will be helpful to start. You might be surprised at how it impacts the rest of this year.