Tuesday, August 30, 2011

ANXIOUS ABOUT LUNCH


It feels good when we are able to help people. Our capacity to give brings greater fulfillment than our expectation of how we can get more for ourselves.

Still, are there not times when you feel desperation and anxiety about paying your bills, getting new shoes and paying your rent or mortgage? I know I get stressed about these things.

Jesus taught the disciples about handling this stress with prayer. We are to ask God for our daily bread.




Matthew 6:
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us today our daily bread.



Why would Jesus teach us to pray daily about our basic needs? Bread is more than food. It represents all the basic needs that we have in a day. To ask God to meet these needs is an act of surrender and dependency. God wants us to know that we can depend on Him. We need to ask God daily because we can worry about these things everyday.

There is a richer life in God than spending our days anxious and troubled. God invites us to discover His plans to supply our needs.

Friday, August 26, 2011

DRIVING HUNGER FROM OUR COMMUNITY




What will you eat today? How much food will you throw out today?

Quote from Forgotten Harvest video:

In this country (U.S.A.) 25% of all food is wasted. 96 billion pounds of food is thrown away. If we could rescue 5% of that, there would be no hungry people in Michigan or across the country.

Forgotten Harvest is a charity that gathers food from growers and suppliers and redistributes it to charities and agencies that feed people. New Song Church is now receiving hundreds of pounds of fresh produce weekly that would otherwise be thrown out.

Here are some comments I’ve heard from recipients:

• "Wow! Fresh tomatoes... I can't remember the last time I had any. I just cannot afford them."

• "I took enough to share and distributed to 14 households. It feels good to be helping others.”

• "I went home and made stuffed peppers for my family's supper. I had enough peppers that I was able to freeze the rest."


At the same time that we have access to clean water, food, basic education and healthcare much of the world still considers these basics to be luxury. In Dave Blundell’s book ‘Hungry For Life’ he makes the case that world poverty could be adequately addressed for $40 billion annually. Americans spend almost that much on golf alone in a given year.

We may not have $40 billion in our hands, but we can all work together to reduce poverty in the world. When you support New Song Church financially, in prayer and with your time you make it possible for us to provide food, clothing and of course the gospel of Jesus Christ.

It’s important for us as a church to stay economically streamlined so that our dollars and labor stay focused on caring for people’s needs.

The apostle Paul spoke to the church in Ephesus about his personal commitment to keep costs down. Instead of depending on the churches to meet his physical needs, he worked freelance as a producer of fine tents.



Acts 20:
35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ”



There are many myths about self-reliance and poverty.

• Poor people are lazy and stupid
• You can become anything you want to
• You are a poor steward of God’s resource if you don’t have more than enough
• God wants me rich so I can easily give it away to care for the needs of others

There is an ancient Hebrew proverb that says,


Proverbs 30:8
Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.



Can you imagine being satisfied with a lifetime of daily bread? Or do you believe that you need bigger barns to store your stuff in?

Monday, August 22, 2011

CALLING ALL MUSIC REVIEWERS & PROMOTERS


I have a 15 year musical relationship with 2fish, a band that features the music of Kevin Saunders and myself. We are in the final mix stage and getting ready to release our Christmas CD this fall. It is entitled 'Mystic Ramblers'. We'll be launching a new website in tandem with the album release.

This project involved several quiet miracles and provisions for the journey.

Danny Brooks is a Canadian phenom who came with guest vocals on 2 tracks. See www.dannybrooksmusic.com

Dan Cutrona provided keyboards and creative support. Dan began touring with and performing/recording with artists such as Joe Cocker, The Bee Gee’s, Billy Preston, Donna Summer, Al Green, Deniece Williams, Dion, Petula Clark, Cliff Richard and others. Dan also focused his work in the Contemporary Christian music field, working with artists such as The Archers, Amy Grant, Sandi Patti, Bryan Duncan, Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, Phil Keaggy, Andrae Crouch, Kelly Willard, Keith Green, and Shelia Walsh. In the mid-‘90’s Dan, through his record label, worked within the worship community, and was blessed to do recordings and play live with Bob Fitts, Kevin Prosch, David Ruis, Delirious, Brian Doerksen, Don Potter, and Graham Kendrick.

If you're like me, I have a limited appetite for Christmas music. It's nice to listen to for a couple weeks and then it sits idle until next year. When we decided to do a Christmas CD, we set the bar high.

First, it needed to avoid the tin pan alley sound and feature songs of Christmas that do not usually get covered frequently (or at least not interpreted our way). We settled on We Three Kings, Go Tell It On The Mountain, Do You Hear What I Hear, Good King Wenceslas and Joy To The World.

Secondly, we wrote Christmas songs that contain the themes but could be played year round. I think you'll agree when you hear them.

Third, we wanted a true variety album. We wanted to tip the hat to musical styles that have influenced us without sounding like karaoke. There is a Baskins-Robbins display that dips into blue-eyed soul, rock, blues, gospel, bluegrass, reggae and middle-Eastern influences.

This one is hitting Canadian Christian bookstores this fall. Watch for it in the catalogue and in-store play.

If you write a blog, do music reviews, promote concerts or are looking for Canadian Content for radio and satellite, please contact me at revkevinrogers@hotmail.com . I would love to send you a promotional copy and talk about the project.


Friday, August 19, 2011

WORLD WITHOUT END


I had a friend named Chris Verra who co-wrote a song with me back in the 1980’s. The song was entitled ‘World Without End’. Sung with my best Bruce Springsteen voice, it described the human longing for God’s Kingdom to be found here on earth.



World Without End

Like a silver web these highways spread
North to South, East to West
Taking us from town to town
But all roads will end
And we'll circle ‘round
Driving on, going ‘round the bend
Looking for the road that leads
To the world without end

I’ve got an urge to put some miles
Between me and those phony smiles
Check the oil, fill the tire
Hold me down, I’m getting higher
Driving on, going ‘round the bend
Looking for the road that leads
To the world without end

Looking for, looking for the golden highway
Driving on forever and I got to do it my way
But every wrong turn takes me to a dead end
And He sits beside me knowing where I’ve been
Trying hard to show me
The world without end



Isn’t that just like us? Insisting on our own way, we pursue paths that bring us to a dead end. Jesus came to be the Way to the Kingdom. The Holy Spirit is our Divine passenger pointing us back to the right way.

How should we pray in light of God’s Kingdom?


Matthew 6:
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.


A kingdom is the domain in which a king has authority to rule. We are invited by Jesus to pray for God to come among us and take charge of everything. The high King of Heaven is responsive to your invitation.

We pray this invitation to align our hearts with God. He wants to be here and be our King.

There have been many earthly governments that campaign for a better world. More jobs, stronger economy, better education- but we’ve become disillusioned by the failed promises of a better country.

The prophet Daniel had a vision that revealed the rise and fall of world empires and kingdoms. In a statue made of various materials he was given a view of the rule of man—empires including Babylon, Assyria, Greek and Roman.

But eventually a new kind of Kingdom would emerge. Beyond all human comparison, the Kingdom of God will finally bring the perfection of Heaven to earth.


Daniel 2:
44 “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.



Was this only for a future time beyond our lifespan? Jesus came as the Promised King and opened the door to the Eternal Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is now and it’s also not yet.

As we pray, we are to invite God to bring His governance to bear in our lives. We are living citizens of God’s Kingdom. Every day we are praying and looking for God’s Invasion. All of these statuesque governments and overlords will eventually bow or be brought low.

There will finally be a recognition that only one King exists in Heaven. The earth will be rightfully returned to its owner and He will take care of it.

In the face of this world’s troubles, we pray for our Lord and King to return.

• Come to our hunger, disease and genocide.
• Come to our racism, greed and pollution.
• Come to our injustice, intoxication and isolationism.
• Come to our loveless, fierce tribalism.
• Come to our false religions, arrogant knowledge and political manipulation.
• Come to our broken world and restore all things to your Master Plan.
• Come separate the sheep and the goats, the true and the false, the evil and the good.
• Come as our Father

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

PUTTING A FACE TO THE NAME




Matthew 6:
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,


Have you met someone that you had previously heard of but not seen? We will often say, ‘Now I can put a face to the name.’ Little did Jesus’ disciples realize that their rabbi was putting a face to God’s Name.

Jesus’ disciples had some understanding of who the God of Israel is. This was the Holy Name that Jews would not utter out of fear and respect. Jesus teaches them how to speak to their God.

They understood the sacredness of God’s Name, but did they relate to the Almighty as a child to Abba Father? How much of God do we know?

John Piper has said,

I like to think of the biblical revelation of God as the tip of an iceberg floating in an ocean of mystery. Nine-tenths of God's majesty lies beneath the surface of revelation. And the tip of the iceberg revealed in Scripture is so high that it extends out of sight into the clouds beyond anyone's ability to comprehend it fully. Only a tenth of his character is given to us in this age for our contemplation, and even this is so great that we will never exhaust its riches.
( http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/sermons/hallowed-be-thy-name-in-all-the-earth )

From what we do know of God, we have grounds to view Him as the Name above all names.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said,

In the Jewish texts of Jesus' own day, the commandment about not taking God's name in the vain, from the Ten Commandments, is often understood as uniting the name of God with a curse - using the name of God as a kind of magic word - and that's to trivialize the name of God, it's to bring it down to our level, to try and make God a tool for our purposes.
So "Hallowed be thy name" means: understand what you're talking about when you're talking about God, this is serious, this is the most wonderful and frightening reality that we could imagine, more wonderful and frightening that we can imagine.
All the more extraordinary that we should be able to approach God as Father.

( http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/prayer/lordsprayer_1.shtml#h4 )

We are not invoking a magic word when we lift up God’s identity. We are speaking to the Almighty in terms that we can understand- Father. But ‘Hallowed be thy Name’ also begins to establish God’s otherness. God is more wonderful and frightening than we can imagine.

A healthy fear of God is not based on distrust and wondering about His rationale. The fear is akin to Moses’ experience. He was allowed to have the full glory of God’s goodness pass him as Moses was concealed in a rock crevice. He felt the powerful presence but was not allowed to see God’s face. To do so would have killed Moses.

What a strange and wonderful mystery that God’s face is revealed in human form through His Son Jesus. We can look upon Jesus and see the Father’s face. Jesus did say, ‘If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.’

Jesus is the Name above all names.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

"ENJOYED YOUR MASS FATHER KEVIN"


For two weeks, I’ve been thinking daily about the phrase in the Lord’s Prayer- ‘Hallowed be your Name’.

What does it mean to hallow something or someone? And what’s in a name?

When I was born, my mother had read a book in which a doctor had the name Doctor Kevin Rogers. She liked the sound of that and thus I was named. (Kevin, not Doctor). My middle name is Donald after my father.

One of the phenomena in the life of a church leader is entitlement. Depending on your point of reference, people have the habit of calling us something special. I wish I had a dollar for each time that I have been asked, “So what do I call you? Pastor Kevin? Reverend Rogers?” I think my favorite label is when Roman Catholic influenced friends mistakenly call me ‘Father Kevin’. Then they tell me how much they enjoyed my Mass.

Often I will respond light-heartedly to questions about my title by saying, “You can call me Kevin. Long before I was Pastor Kevin, my mother called me Kevin. You can do the same.”

In case anyone cares, I am an ordained Reverend and have the role of pastor. But my name is Kevin. If you respect Kevin, it will be easier to claim the title pastor as it relates to your life. The most important entitlement for me is what my Heavenly Father calls me. In the world of people, Kevin works for me.

To adapt some poetry from the American legend Robert Zimmerman, let me say:

You may call me Kevin, you may call me Kev
You may call me Rogers, you may call me Rev
You may call me KR, you may call me K
You may call me anything but no matter what you say
You’re gonna have to serve somebody


I'm going to serve the Name that is higher than I. I'm going to bend low hoping not to block your view of the King I represent.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: RUMORS OF GOD

Here's a pop quiz. Email or Facebook me with your answers and I'll send out a copy of this book to the highest score.

(Incidentally, the winners of my last book giveaway 'Jesus, My Father, The CIA and Me' were Brad Boughner and Vince Shepley).

So here's the quiz for winning this book:

1. You have been to Australia
2. You have been disillusioned with the North American church believing that its best days are over
3. You are involved in ministry with a friend who lives in another city and have known each other from your youth.
4. You are feeling compelled to dream something great for God
5. You are tired of cynicism and want to restore hope

_________________________


I grew up in church and felt God's call in my life during my teen years. But, I had qualifiers at the start.

1. I believed that great works for God required going outside or around the church
2. The last thing I wanted to do was become a pastor

Subsequently, I came to realize that God's chosen Kingdom bearer is the Church. My discontent and outward look were well-intentioned, but I needed to align myself as a member of Christ's Body. In turn, I chose to do the last thing in the world. No regrets.

Darren Whitehead & Jon Tyson grew up as young believers in their home country of Australia. Their educational and ministry paths brought them both to America where they re-acquainted and have maintained a long friendship.

It may be that the eyes of the non-American born have clearer vision than those who know nothing else. They bring a fresh perspective on God's dream of a Church filled with hope and ready to serve in fresh, new ways.

This book is a good example of what the Spirit is saying to the Church. For they who have ears to hear...

_______________________


"Book has been provided courtesy of Thomas Nelson and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Thomas Nelson".





Monday, August 1, 2011

CONVERSATIONS WITH HEAVEN


The Lord’s Prayer teaches us to pray to our Father who is in Heaven. Why the locator in the text? Does it make a difference if God is in Heaven or on earth? Theologians tell us that God is omnipresent—He is everywhere.

So why not pray ‘Our Father who exists everywhere’? It would not be wrong to speak of God in this way, but Heaven is significant to us who are land-locked.


Pope Benedict XVI says:

This word ‘our’ also gives us the key to understanding the words that come next: ‘Who art in Heaven.’ With these words we are not pushing God the Father away to some distant planet. Rather, we are testifying to the fact that, while we have different earthly fathers, we all come from a single Father, who is the measure and source of fatherhood. As St Paul says: ‘I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every fatherhood in heaven and on earth is named.’ …
God’s fatherhood is more real than human fatherhood, because he is the ultimate source of our being; because he has thought and willed us from all eternity; because he gives us our true paternal home, which is eternal. And if earthly fatherhood divides, heavenly fatherhood unites. Heaven, then, means that other divine summit from which we all come and to which we are all meant to return. The fatherhood that is ‘in heaven’ points us towards the greater ‘we’ that transcends all boundaries, breaks down all walls, and creates peace.


It helps me to know that my prayers are received from Heaven’s perspective and not earthly limitation. The God who thinks through and plans everything is listening. His perspective is the one thing not available from anyone else.

Heaven’s agenda matters more than we can imagine. Our plans and thoughts are lifeless without the Father’s input. We need to always include our Father and maintain a conversation about what’s going on. It is in talking to our Father that we discover His face. In prayer we watch God’s hands extend. It is our conversations with Heaven that help us interpret the earth.

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