Breathe, Church.

Imagine a young hockey player has the opportunity to sit down for coffee with their NHL hero and ask them for some advice on how they got to where they are today. The hockey god sits back, strokes their mullet and goes on to give some choice advice: Have the instincts of a ninja, reflexes of  a fighter pilot, accelerate like a Formula 1 car, change direction like a hummingbird and be able to leg press a Honda Civic. Then work harder than everyone else, want it more than everyone else and… Read More

The Epiphany of Grace

I remember being in the mall and noticing a few people gathered around a display, staring deeply into pictures comprised of nothing but thousands of dots. I later learned these images are called autostereograms. Every so often, someone would shout, “I see it!” I joined the group … and I saw nothing. I felt like I was in an Emperor’s New Clothes situation. I was tempted to chime in from sheer peer pressure. “Um …yes! I see it too … the … horse.” “It’s not a horse, it’s a dog.” “Uh ….. Read More

Sacrifice, Freedom & The Act of Remembering

By Susan Dunk Sunday November 11th is Remembrance Day for us here in Canada and for most of the commonwealth countries. (That’s right … we still have a sovereign, her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.) There is so much significance to this day and why it is called Remembrance Day. It used to be called “Armistice” after World War 1 and was recognized for the whole week. In Canada, the name was changed to Remembrance Day in 1930. I think it’s unfortunate the week was reduced to a day. We would do well to… Read More

The Envelope

A father dies and leaves an inheritance to his two children, Jane and Grace. The family member handling the estate gives them each a letter containing the cheques for their inheritance. Jane takes the envelope and puts it in her pocket without opening it. Grace opens it immediately and finds herself in utter shock as she looks at amount written on the cheque. The two siblings hail a cab to go to the bank to claim their inheritance. They get stuck in an agonizing traffic jam. A truck has overturned and is… Read More

Where is God in sickness and death?

In the first year of our church plant, I had the honour of officiating a funeral for one of our members. According to the Scriptures, Janet is not lost. Her family and her church family know precisely where she is. She enjoying the presence of God in a way that words could never convey. For Christians, thinking about our mortality is not morbid, but  reassuring. To be sure, we have deep sorrow in death – but we don’t have sorrow without hope. At the core of our worldview, we do not believe… Read More

The Hinge

Jesus Christ, for many people, is understood as a moral teacher, champion of the underdog and all around nice guy. He said a lot of “love your neighbour” type things, wasn’t afraid to sit at the social outcast table and unlike the religious-who’s-who, Jesus got invited to hang out at parties. The thing is, Jesus also said a lot of things that disqualify Him from being just another sage in a long line of tunic clad gurus. He said things like, “I saw Satan fall from lighting from heaven” [1] and “If… Read More

God’s Last Word on Sin

Last Sunday at Redeemer, I unpacked the well known account of the woman who was caught in adultery. The difference between the religious leader’s judgemental hatred toward the woman and God’s gracious heart toward her is a chasm. What the religious leaders thought Jesus ought to do and what Jesus actually did could not have be more opposite. The religious crowd salivated over judgement, Jesus extended mercy. The reason that Jesus merciful actions were not a defiant act that contradicted God’s law is because Jesus came to bear the full weight of judgement… Read More

Justification: One and Done.

When I was about 10, I went on a hike with a boys brigade. We were all racing down this path at lunchtime when I decided to beat everyone to the bottom by deviating from the path. I ran straight down the side of the hill and received an immediate, involuntary lesson in physics. My little legs couldn’t keep up with the momentum that was required to keep up and I ended up going down the hill Princess Bride “as you wiiiiiiiiish” style. The protestant reformation took place 500 years ago – October… Read More

Modern Reformation Anyone?

On October 31, 1517, Luther famously nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg. Luther’s pen unleashed cultural ramifications that today’s bloggers could only dream of. He nailed his theses to the door, a few people read it, translated it from Latin into German and thanks to the technological wonder of a relatively new piece of technology called the Gutenberg Press – his 95 theses went 16th century viral. After 4 years of debate on justification by grace & faith alone, Luther was brought before the church assembly… Read More

John 1: a mic drop on grace

Our family loves going to the theatre. We love movies. You know that feeling when there’s a film you’ve been looking forward to for a while and it finally hits the theatres?  You’re sitting there and the moment the production house logo comes up accompanied by an epic score, you get this “here we go!” feeling. For me, the 20th century Fox score is a thing of legend. Probably because the first film I ever saw in theatres was Return of the Jedi when I was 10. John 1 reads like the… Read More

Exile, Homecoming & Grace

Many of us have had to navigate conversations regarding the refugee crisis. How the Christian is to relate to the poor, the outcast and the refugee is not something that is framed by our political leaning, but the ramifications of our belief in the gospel, regardless of our political leaning. If Christ’s life, death, resurrection and ascension are true, then the gospel offers us an eternal perspective that informs how we relate to the issues of the world around us. Christian generosity flows from the belief in eternity. Christ has saved us in… Read More

Grace from A-Z

Susan and I were at a function a few months ago and introductions were happening around the table. Getting asked what I do for a living is always an interesting conversation starter. So when the question came to me, I told everyone I was a presbyterian minister and the guy sitting next to me got really excited. He said, “Oh good!” and then he proceeded to share, with refreshing honesty, his disgust and frustrations with the church. It was really interesting to hear his thoughts and the experiences he had that caused him to… Read More

Ruined.

I was in Ethiopia a few years back and I had the incredible privilege of preaching in some churches. After one of the services, I was asked if I wanted some coffee. I looked down and saw a small, badly stained pot and some tools I didn’t recognize, sitting next to a tiny fire. I agreed to have a cup, so one of the ladies went and picked some coffee beans off of one of the plants growing beside the church and began to roast them. Soon I was holding a small cup… Read More

The terrible search

This past week at the Golden Globes, Jim Carrey took to the stage to present the award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Though his short, humorous speech got a lot of people laughing, I don’t doubt that the poignancy of his words also got a lot of people thinking… “I’m two time Golden Globe winner Jim Carrey …and when I dream, I don’t just dream any old dream. No sir. I dream about being three time Golden Globe winner, Jim Carrey … because then I would be enough. It would… Read More

Blurred

Written by Susan Dunk A few nights ago I was cozy in bed reading “The Story of God’s Love” by Sally Lloyd Jones (a stellar book) to my nine year old son. The story was Noah and the Ark. I was reading the story with my usual gusto when Nijel stopped me with tears in his eyes. He said, “Mommy, if God destroyed the whole earth with a flood that means He killed children.” I saw his distraught face and I panicked. My first thought was, “Where is your seminary trained father right… Read More